Psychology A-Level (AQA)

Course Overview

Psychology is the scientific study of the nature of the human condition. Today, cutting edge techniques are deployed to shed light on the entire spectrum of human thought, cognition and behaviour. These include psychological testing coupled with brain imaging techniques such as fMRI, PET and CAT. 

To succeed students must be highly numerate and literate, passionate about science and driven by a desire to understand what makes us human and what shapes our collective experience. 


In the first year you will receive a thorough grounding in the principles of experimental design, research methods and statistics. You will also consider and evaluate some of the most important and famous psychological experiments of the 20th Century. These include Stanley Milgram’s work on ‘obedience’, Albert Bandura’s work examining the effects of violent imagery on violent behaviour in children and Roger Sperry’s work on ‘split brain’ patients and what their experience reveals about the nature of human consciousness. 

In Year 2 you will further develop your understanding of the key features of good experimental design and data analysis. In addition you will consider and evaluate contemporary research into the fields of Clinical, Cognitive, Biological and Social Psychology. These fascinating topics ask questions such as why some people suffer from depression and feel compelled to take their own lives. We consider why some people commit crime and behave violently, and the best way to educate children, thinking about what determines their intelligence and cognitive development. 

This course is assessed by three exam papers at the end of the course. This will assess your ability to describe and evaluate research and approaches. You will also be assessed on your ability to apply your knowledge by analysing case studies or data from experiments. 

One of the most popular A-level courses, Psychology attracts students studying a wide range of other subjects and opens up a vast array of career options. These include: Clinical Psychology, Educational Psychology, Forensic Psychology, Neuropsychology, Health and Social Care, Marketing and PR, Management and Human Resources. Whatever field you choose to work in, you will find A-level Psychology a rewarding and challenging course which develops many of the skills essential for a successful career. 

You should be on track to achieve a minimum of 5 GCSEs at grades 4 - 9, including a grade 5 in a Science, Maths and English.