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Students develop a thorough grounding in the multiple areas of psychology, as well as an in-depth knowledge of research methods, and awareness of the shift of psychological paradigms throughout history.

What is it all about?

Psychology is all about human behaviour and what dictates it. We look at a range of research and theory that attempts to answer questions such as:

  • Why do we have the capacity to blindly obey orders which go against our conscience?
  • What causes mental illness, and how can we best help people suffering from mental disorders?
  • What can happen to a child who grows up without loving parents?
  • What is the best way to interview witnesses to crimes to ensure that we can elicit the greatest amount of information possible?
  • Do certain genes contribute to the development of aggression or even to the onset of complex psychological disorders such as schizophrenia?
  • What actually happens to the brain when we take an addictive substance such as alcohol or nicotine?
  • From an evolutionary perspective, why do human beings show preferences for certain foods?
  • What chemical changes during pregnancy can alter the growth of the developing fetal brain and effect gender identity?


What GCSEs do I need to have?
We ask for the standard 5 A*-C but you must have a C in Core and Additional Science.

Contrary to the reputation Psychology sometimes receives from the Media and the influence of shows such as “Derren Brown”- it is actually a difficult subject. It has nothing to do with learning to read minds. This is nonsense; Psychology is a Science.

Psychology is becoming increasingly centred around neuroscience- therefore students have to have excellent biological knowledge about the functioning of the brain and nervous system. Students also have to be able to work with complex statistical analysis, undertaking calculations and being able to work out which statistical tests are necessary for which types of research. Finally, the examinations contain a lot of essay writing, so students need to have developed excellent literacy skills.

What other degrees can Psychology A level lead me to?

The strong skills base which students develop through the study of Psychology acts as a secure foundation for higher degree level study. Skills such as critical thinking and logical analysis of research, independent learning, and the ability to compare and contrast theories are invaluable in any undergraduate or post-graduate qualification.

What kind of career can studying Psychology prepare me for?

Psychology has a broad range of real world applications in everyday life and offers excellent career prospects. Besides the obvious path through which you can become a chartered psychologist, a Psychology degree would allow you to enter careers such as social work, HR, media, business, teaching, nursing- any career which involves working with people. The transferable skills you will gain will aid you in many different areas of both your academic and professional working life.

Subject content:

Compulsory content:

  1. Social influence
  2.  Memory
  3. Attachment
  4. Psychopathology
  5. Approaches in Psychology
  6. Biopsychology
  7. Research methods
  8. Issues and debates in psychology

Optional content

Option 1

  1. Relationships
  2. Gender
  3. Cognition and development

Option 2

  1. Schizophrenia
  2. Eating behaviour
  3. Stress

Option 3

  1. Aggression
  2. Forensic psychology
  3. Addiction

Key Stage 5 

AQA GCE Psychology A (2180)

In AS Psychology the topics covered will be Memory, Attachments, Stress, Abnormality, and Social Influence. These will be taught with integrated Research Methods. Assessment is through two formal exams - one in January and one in June.

A2 Psychology aims to improve students understanding or research through a practical approach. Research methods, mental health and psychology in action (e.g. addiction) are covered in preparation for unit assessed in January. Three further topics e.g.relationships, gender and eating behaviour are taught and assessed in June.

Full details of the courses offered by the Hitchin Schools Sixth Form Consortium are shown in the Consortium Prospectus.


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