Psychology A Level

Health, Public Services and Care

Health, Public Services and Care
Health, Public Services and Care

What will you be working towards?

Code Ps01
Qualification Type GCE A/AS Level or Equivalent
Qualification Level Level 3
Course type Full Time


Have you ever wondered why we behave the way we do? Why do we obey or disobey people? Why do we have phobias? How do we learn? Are our phobias learnt or innate? The Psychology course aims to address these questions, and more, to try and help us to understand the complexities of human behaviour. We also aim to delve into some philosophical debates and question the nature of reality.

Psychology is the fascinating study of human behaviour. Throughout the course we aim to explain a range of different behaviours, including the causes and treatments of disorders such as OCD and depression, why horrific acts like the Holocaust happened, and how our experiences or genetics can influence our likelihood to turn to crime. Research methods are at the heart of the course, so students will be encouraged to take part in, or facilitate, a range of different psychological research, in order to develop their skills as a researcher.

The subject requires an interest in a range of disciplines as it is a blend of the humanities and the sciences as well as involving some basic mathematical skills. This allows students to explore each lesson from a range of different perspectives and develop a multi-dimensional understanding of the world around them. As this course allows you to develop an in-depth understanding of human behaviour, it is a useful subject to study in preparation for all career sectors and is an excellent accompaniment to other A level subjects.


How will I learn?

Classes include lectures, group work, practical work, videos, discussion and role play.

What will I learn?

Unit 1 (Introductory Topics in Psychology):

• Social Influence - This topic aims to understand how our behaviours are influenced by those around us. It looks mainly at conformity and obedience and why humans blindly obey even destructive authorities.

• Memory - This topic helps us to understand how the human memory works. It focuses on what strategies we can use to help us remember more and explanations for why we may forget. It also looks at how memory research can be applied to the real world to help with improving the accuracy of eye witness testimonies.

• Attachment - This topic focuses on how and why we form attachments with our primary care giver when we are infants and looks at how that attachment style can affect our future relationships.

• Psychopathology - Explores abnormal behaviour and the causes and treatments for disorders such as OCD, Depression and Phobias.

Unit 2 (Psychology in Context):

• Approaches in Psychology - This topic looks at the building blocks of Psychology. It explores the different perspectives that can be used to explain human behaviour such as the biological, cognitive, behaviourist, humanistic and psychodynamic approaches.

• Biopsychology - Explores how our physiology affects our behaviour e.g. brain structures, hormones, neurotransmitters, circadian rhythms etc.

• Research Methods - This topic focuses on training students on how to be researchers. It looks at how psychologists conduct studies and what different methods they can use.

Unit 3 (Issues and Options in Psychology):

• Issues and Debates - This topic looks at the key debates in psychology such as do we have free will or is our behaviour more influenced by nature or nurture.

• Forensics* - This topic explores why individuals might turn to crime and the effectiveness of custodial sentencing and rehabilitation schemes. It also focuses on criminal profiling as a technique to catch unknown criminals.

• Relationships* - This looks at the causes and explanations for the formation and breakdown of romantic relationships. It also looks at virtual relationships and the more unusual parasocial relationships.

• Eating Behaviour* - This topic looks at reasons behind our food preferences and focuses on explanations for anorexia and obesity.

*Option units can change

How will it be delivered?

Paper 1 – Introductory topics in Psychology

Social influence




Paper 2 – Psychology in context

Approaches in psychology


Research Methods

Paper 3 – Issues and options in psychology

Issues and debates in psychology

Option from: Relationships, gender or cognitive development

Option from: Eating behaviours, schizophrenia or stress

Option from: Forensic psychology, aggression or addiction

Each paper is 2 hours long and contributes 33.3% of the final A level grade. All exams will be taken at the end of the two year course. 

Entry requirements

5 Grade 4 and above at GCSE. Minimum grades: 5 in GCSE English, 5 in GCSE Science, 5 in GCSE Mathematics (or equivalent). Psychology is classified as a Science subject and students will need to be competent at Science and Mathematics. Also the ability to write with precision and clarity, in an essay based format, is essential.

Your next steps...

Many students who study 'A' Level Psychology go on to university to study at degree level. Psychology is a popular subject and universities usually specify high grades at 'A' Level as entrance requirements to a whole host of different courses. Psychology is useful in many careers such as counselling, teaching, nursing, management, social work, and the police. There are also specialist careers which can be followed in Psychology. For these you will need a degree in Psychology and further training.