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Psychology A Level at Thurston Community College

Course description

AQA A-Level Psychology is an engaging and effective introduction to Psychology which will appeal to a cross-section of students, regardless of whether they have studied Psychology before. The two year course comprises of 3 units; Introductory topics in Psychology, Psychology in context & Issues and options in Psychology, examined by 3 written papers at the end of the course. Students will be assessed on 3 skills in each of the 3 papers:

• A01 - to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of psychological concepts, theories, research studies, research methods and ethical issues.
• A02 - apply psychological knowledge and understanding, analyse, interpret and evaluate psychological concepts, theories, research studies and research methods.
• A03 - evaluate therapies and treatments including in terms of their appropriateness and effectiveness.

Course content

Year One
Paper 1: Introductory topics in Psychology
- Social Influence; conformity, obedience, resistance to social influence, minority influence, social change.
- Memory: Models of memory, Long-term memory, forgetting, eyewitness testimony.
- Attachment: Caregiver-infant interactions in humans, Animal studies of attachment, Explanations of attachment, Types of attachment, Bowlby’s theory of maternal deprivation.
- Psychopathology: Definitions of abnormality, explanations and treatments of; obsessivecompulsive disorder (OCD), phobias & depression.

Year One & Two
Paper 2: Psychology in context
- Approaches in Psychology: Learning approaches, The cognitive approach, The biological approach, The psychodynamic approach, Humanistic Psychology, Comparison of approaches.
- Biopsychology: The divisions of the nervous system, Sensory, relay and motor neurons, The endocrine system, Localisation of function in the brain and hemispheric lateralisation, Ways of studying the brain, Biological rhythms.
- Research Methods: Scientific processes, Data handling and analysis, Inferential testing.

Year Two
Paper 3: Issues and options in Psychology
- Issues and debates in Psychology: Gender and culture in Psychology, Free will and determinism, The nature-nurture debate, Holism and reductionism, Idiographic and nomothetic approaches.
- Relationships: Evolutionary explanations, Factors affecting attraction, Theories of romantic relationships, Virtual relationships in social media, Parasocial relationships. - Schizophrenia: Classification of schizophrenia, Biological explanations for schizophrenia, Psychological explanations for schizophrenia, Drug therapy, Cognitive behaviour therapy and family therapy, Interactionist approach.
- Forensic Psychology: Problems in defining crime., Offender profiling, Biological explanations of offending behaviour, Psychological explanations of offending behaviour, Dealing with offending behaviour

Entry requirements

B in Psychology or 5 in English Language


All units will be externally examined in June Year 2.

Assessment questions on all papers take the form of multiple choice, short answer and extended writing.

Future opportunities

Provides valuable skills for a wide range of career options, including; psychiatry, clinical psychology, counselling, social work, teaching, nursing, advertising, sales and personnel management. Beneficial for students looking to study Psychology at a higher level.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Thurston Community College directly.

Last updated date: 29 March 2017
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