A Level Psychology

Sandbach College

Why study this course?

If you want to learn about explanations for human behaviour and be able to apply them to everyday life, then Psychology is for you!  A level Psychology offers a unique insight into many areas of human behaviour, including how our memory works, how early attachments influence future relationships, whether criminals are made or born and what causes mental health issues. 

This qualification offers an engaging and effective introduction to Psychology. Students will learn the fundamentals of the subject and develop skills valued by Higher Education (HE) and employers, including critical analysis, independent thinking and research. You will learn how to interpret and critically assess scientific data and how to  evaluate a range of sources. The course also encourages a development of strong literacy and numeracy skills. The acquisition of such a diverse range of skills will be of great benefit to students in higher education, the workplace and society in general.

Sandbach College at Sandbach High School Entry Requirements

We ask that all students achieve grade 4 or equivalent (a Level 2 pass) in at least 4 subjects, alongside the following subject specific entry requirements:

  • Grade 5 in Maths  (or must take Core Maths if 4) 

What will I learn on this course?

Psychology is the scientific study of human behaviour so over the two year course you will study the main research methods used in collecting data, research design and data analysis. You will study the main psychological approaches including behavioural, cognitive, biological, humanistic and psychodynamic approaches to explaining human behaviour.

In your first year you will learn about a range of introductory topics in psychology. Social influence considers why, in many situations, people follow the majority, despite supposedly having free will and why people often obey authority unquestioningly. Memory examines why we remember certain things and why we forget others and examines the usefulness of eyewitness testimony in crime investigations. We also consider attachment and how this affects relationships in later life and what happens if we don’t form an emotional bond during our early years. You will also study Biopsychology including the nervous system, the endocrine system and the fight or flight response. In your second year you will also study three topics: Relationships, Schizophrenia and Forensic Psychology.

Throughout the course you will develop an awareness of current issues and debates in Psychology such as gender and culture bias, nature versus nurture and free will versus determinism. You will also develop a strong understanding of ethical issues within psychological research.

Examinations & Coursework

This course is 100% examination. 

You will study for 3 exam papers: 

Paper 1: Introductory topics in psychology.

Social influence, Memory, Attachments, Psychopathology  

Paper 2: Psychology in context

Approaches, Biopsychology, Research Methods

Paper 3: Issues and debates in psychology

Issues and debates plus optional units. We currently teach Relationships, Schizophrenia and Forensic Psychology. 


Potential career paths

Having an A-level in Psychology forms an excellent basis for a career working with or managing people. Psychology is a well-respected qualification and a large number of students who study the subject go on to complete a Psychology degree which can lead to a career as a chartered psychologist such as educational, counselling, forensic, health and clinical psychologist with further study. An A level in Psychology also leads to many other different career opportunities such as nursing, law, teaching, police, marketing and business, speech and language therapy, social work and is also accepted by many universities to study medicine.  Past students have gone on to degree courses including Psychology, Criminology, Sociology, Business studies, Teaching, Sport and Exercise Science and Law.

For further information regarding careers that include psychology as part of the role, please visit the careers section on the British psychological Society website https://www.bps.org.uk/public/become-psychologist

Enrichment opportunities

The Psychology department offers a large number of enrichment activities at lunchtime or after school. These include: 

  • Attendance at conferences on Forensic Psychology and criminal profiling.  
  • Trips (e.g. sixth form visits from the True Life Conference, visits to Manchester Law Court).
  • Links with leading local universities
  • Visiting speakers from universities and industry.