Why do I think like this? Why do I behave like this? Why do I feel like this? If you have ever asked yourself any of these questions, then you will be interested in Psychology, the scientific discipline that investigates human behaviour and experience.

You will be encouraged to express your own views and develop your own opinions in the course, however the main emphasis of the specification is on learning what psychologists have found out about human behaviour in their research and how they have interpreted their findings. You will also learn how to evaluate psychological research and consider how useful it is in helping us to understand human behaviour or helping to improve human welfare and experience.


Mrs L Ellerby-Jones Subject Leader for Psychology




Psychology is offered at KS5 only (A-Level)

In year 1 you will be introduced to some classic and ground-breaking research in Psychology. We study 20 Core Studies, each one seeking the answer to a specific problem, e.g.

  • Can we trust eye witness testimony to be reliable?
  • What do the two sides of the brain do, and how do we know this?
  • Why do people with autism have social and communication difficulties?
  • Do people obey figures in authority who ask them to do unpleasant or immoral things?
  • Monkey see – Monkey do? Do children learn, as apes do, by observation and imitation?
  • How do children develop their understanding of what is right and wrong?
  • Do some people find it harder to resist temptation than others because of how their brain functions?

The core studies are presented in pairs, as a classic and contemporary study within a theme, such as memory. The studies are evaluated and used to illustrate the main areas in Psychology, such as the Cognitive and Social areas and the main debates in psychology, such as whether psychology is a science and whether we have freewill or not.

Research Methods:
In year 1 you will also study research methods, finding out about the methodology used in the scientific and non-scientific study of human behaviour and experience.

This includes a 10% mathematical element, for example,

  • Understanding the differences between qualitative and quantitative data,
  • Sampling methods and their strengths and weaknesses,
  • Averages, measures of dispersion, graphs and charts,
  • Probabilities, testing hypotheses and inferential statistics.
  • Report writing
  • How science works in psychology

The content for the second year:
In year 2 we study Applied Psychology, looking at how psychologists identify and solve problems in the real world. We will study a compulsory topic called Issues In Mental Health, and then two from Criminal Psychology, Sports and Exercise Psychology, Environmental Psychology, and Child Psychology.

Debates and research methods will also be reviewed in these topics.

Year 12 Psychology Curriculum Plan
Year 13 Psychology Curriculum Plan



How will I know if Psychology is for me?

If you have an interest in science, want to understand human behaviour and can memorise lots of information, then psychology is a good choice for you. If you have good written skills and have the ability to handle and analyse data this will also help you with the course.

How will I know if Psychology is not for me?

Psychology is not for you if you don’t like examination-only assessment, or if you find it difficult to write clearly, or if you think it will be an easy subject. It is not!

What can studying Psychology at A-Level lead onto?

The A-level can lead to a University Course in Psychology and related science and social science subjects, such as Cognitive Neuroscience or Sociology. It will also support students with studies in English and Drama, Media/Film, Business Studies, Sports Science, Politics, Nursing and Teacher training degrees.

What do Psychologists do? 

To find out what psychologists do, go to www.bps.org.uk/careers, where you will find a whole range of careers for Psychologists described, including Health Psychology, Clinical Psychology, Sport and Exercise Psychology, Forensic Psychology, Educational Psychology and research posts in academic fields of psychology such as cognitive neuroscience.