This very popular and highly considered course is for people who want to explore and evaluate a wide range of human behaviours from a variety of different, and often conflicting, perspectives.
Whilst we do not teach you how to read people’s minds, the course will challenge you and help you to develop a better understanding of yourself and those around you.
You will be required to learn a number of detailed psychological studies and to develop a strong critical awareness of the research methods used. Other key concepts we engage with include ethics, gender bias and the question of free will. This is a scientific course and it is an excellent way to develop your powers of analysis and evaluation of what may first appear to be common sense assumptions.
The A-level course at St Brendan’s follows the AQA specification, designed to get students to engage with psychology in an analytical and critical manner. Students will learn about research methods throughout and will undertake a number of small scale studies.
Year 1: Introducing Psychology as an academic discipline, exploring areas ranging from memory to obedience. There is a strong emphasis on application and the use of research methods.
Year 2: Applying psychological theory to explain topics such as schizophrenia and gender development. We will also look at the applied field of forensic psychology and discuss current issues and debates including: freewill and determinism.
The three modules to be covered over the two years will be:
Introductory topics in Psychology
- Social influence (conformity, obedience, minority influence and social change)
- Memory (models of memory, explanations for forgetting, eye-witness memory)
- Attachment (care-giver infant interactions, explanations for attachment, maternal deprivation research)
- Psychopathology (Abnormality definitions, phobias, depression and OCD)
Psychology in context
- Approaches in psychology (Behaviorist, cognitive, biological, psychodynamic, humanistic)
- Biopsychology (nervous system, fight or flight response, localization of function, brain scanning techniques, biological rhythms)
- Research methods in psychology (experimental and non-experimental techniques, data handling and analysis)
Issues and options in Psychology
In depth look into how psychology is applied to 3 areas from a selection, including gender, cognitive development, schizophrenia, stress and forensics, and an exploration of issues and debates in psychology including, gender & culture bias, free will & determinism, nature-nurture debate, ethical implications of research.
Meet the Psychology teachers and students
Methods of Teaching and Learning
The courses are taught by specialist, experienced teachers. Students will learn through a variety of methods including whole-class lessons, group work and individual work, and A-level students will have the opportunity to carry out a number of set pieces of psychological research. Active learning is often utilised and students will be expected to carry out independent reading and note-taking as part of their extension work. There will be regular interim tests of understanding of the subject content.
Methods of Assessment
The course is 100% exam based.
A variety of primary texts, journals, video clips and internet based resources are used within the classroom and most resources are also available on the college’s virtual learning environment (Moodle). All students will need an approved AQA textbook to use during the course. In addition to this, the library provides a range of resources which students are encouraged to use throughout the course.
The skills and knowledge acquired through studying Psychology provide a sound basis for students who wish to enter Higher Education and as a degree in its own right. It is also a suitable course for those who wish to take up employment immediately from college. The course provides a useful background for nursing, personnel work, and teaching. Some students may wish to follow through their interest in this subject to work in an applied area of psychology such as; forensic psychology, criminology, counseling and sport and exercise psychology.
Students are offered multiple trips in Psychology. A recent trip to the University of Bath gave students insight into life at a top University and what studying Psychology at Higher Education is really like.
Students have also attended conferences linked with the syllabus, like a recent conference on criminology.
In Year 1 we run a trip to the Zoo, where the focus is on animal observation and research methods.