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Psychology A Level at Gateacre School

Course description

What is Psychology? It has been defined as ‘The Science of Mind and Behaviour’. Its scope includes questions as diverse as the following: How do we perceive colours? How do children acquire Language? What causes Schizophrenia? Is eyewitness testimony unreliable? What causes Stress? Why do we dream, and how does the brain function? Why do people commit crime or take illegal drugs? Psychology works toward trying to explain why we do things and how we do them.

Course content

The interdisciplinary nature of Psychology means that it is useful in many different careers. Whether students are considering entering Higher Education to study for a career in Business, Computing, Media, Law, English, Drama, Teaching, Nursing, Medicine or any of the many other Degrees, chances are Psychology will, in some way, inform their studies. Psychology is likely to be useful in many careers. If students decide that Psychology is the subject for them, they could consider taking a Degree solely in Psychology. When supplemented by further courses students can continue into the following more specialised areas, Clinical, Sports, Educational, Health, Occupational, Forensic or Criminal Psychology.


AS Units

AS Unit 1: Social and Cognitive Psychology (20% of the total marks).

This unit is designed to introduce the social and cognitive approaches to psychology. The unit is divided into two parts, Social Psychology: obedience and prejudice and Cognitive Psychology: memory and forgetting. We cover topics such as: the causes of prejudice; why people commit violence; how human memory works. We also look at the ways in which psychologists carry out research. Within each approach there is the requirement for students to conduct a short practical investigation.

AS Unit 2: Understanding the Individual (30% of the total marks).

This unit is designed to introduce three approaches in psychology: the Psychodynamic Approach, the Biological Approach and the Learning Approach. Students look at the ideas of Freud and how some mental illnesses may have their roots in events in an individual’s childhood. We look at the influence of genes and chemical processes in the body in determining human behaviour. We also look at the impact of role models and the power of the media in shaping behaviour. Within each approach there is the requirement for students to conduct a short practical investigation.

A2 Units

A2 Unit 3: Applications of Psychology (20% of the total marks).

Students study two areas: criminal psychology and health (substance abuse) psychology. The unit examines reasons why people commit crime and how offenders are treated. It also examines the causes of drug abuse and the various treatment programmes put forward by psychologists to try and end an addict’s drug dependency.

A2 Unit 4: How Psychology Works (30% of the total marks).

This unit focuses on the debates between approaches within contemporary psychology. In the clinical psychology section of the unit, students study aspects of clinical psychology, which include how different approaches in psychology explain and treat mental health issues. In the issues and debates section, students will be asked to draw on other areas of the specification in order to understand conceptual and methodological issues. Students will develop an understanding of how to use theories and evidence from different areas of psychology and apply them to issues.

Entry requirements

Students do not need to have previously studied psychology, although an interest in understanding human behaviour would be an advantage. During the course students will need to be able to communicate effectively, cope with data analysis and scientific thinking. It is therefore a requirement to have obtained a GCSE grade C in Maths, English and Science.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Gateacre School directly.

Last updated date: 25 June 2015

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