Accessibility links

Psychology A Level at Cirencester College

Course description

Psychology involves delving into the forces that drive and determine human behaviour.  You will study some of the most important and interesting research from around the world.  At A-level you will have the opportunity to study mental health disorders, forensic psychology and one other elective module, either sport, child or environmental psychology in your second year.  Studying Psychology enables you to learn the skills that are required to design and carry out research projects, and to apply your psychological knowledge to real life situations and events.

Course content

Component 1 – Research Methods (30%, 2 hour exam)

Component 2 – Psychological themes through core studies (35%, 2 hour exam)

Component 3 – Applied psychology (35%, 2 hour exam)

Component 1 – Research Methods
This module encourages students to become familiar with four techniques for collecting and analysing data: self-report, experiment, observation and correlation. Students will be taught the technique and then be given the opportunity to design and conduct their own around the college in small groups.

Component 2 – Psychological themes through core studies
This module allows students to explore different approaches to explaining behaviour including the physiological, cognitive and social approaches through studying twenty pairs of key psychological studies, one classic and one contemporary study.

Component 3 – Applied Psychology

This module allows the exploration of specific areas of Psychology that students may wish to specialise in. All students will study mental health and forensic Psychology and have the option to pick their third module.



Criminal Psychology

Students will explore what happens before, during and after criminal behaviour. In lessons we will look at;
• Reasons behind criminal behaviour – biological, social and cognitive
• The collection and processing of forensic evidence
• Crime prevention strategies
• The courtroom
• Effect of imprisonment

Mental Health

Students will explore the different types of disorders, treatments and key research on mental health disorders. In lessons we will look at;
• Historical views of mental health
• Defining abnormality
• Categorising mental health
• The medical model
• Alternatives to the medical model


Sport psychology focuses on areas such as; optimising arousal, controlling anxiety and measuring anxiety in sport, benefits of exercise to mental health, self-efficacy and sports confidence including imagery and sports orientation, personality, its measurement and its relationship to sport and teams, coaching and leadership.

Child psychology focuses on areas such as; what psychologists mean by intelligence and what biological factors affect intelligence, brain development and the impact of risk taking behaviour, perceptual development in children, cognitive development in children and the impact on their education, development of attachment and the influence of television advertising on children and the stereotyping in such advertising.

Environmental psychology focuses on areas such as; Environmental stressors and their impact on our biological responses, biological rhythms and the impact of their disruption on our behaviour, conservation behaviours and the factors which influence the tendency to conserve or recycle, cognitive overload and the impact of observation in the workplace environment, the impact of built environment and urban renewal on our wellbeing and Territory and personal space in the workplace

We use a wide range of strategies to get you involved and deepen your understanding. These include traditional lecturing and note-taking, research and presentation, mind-mapping, discussion, games, quizzes and peer learning. You will be expected to think for yourself and be proactive in your learning!

Entry requirements

Basic college entry requirements apply.


Assessment is through an examination at the end of the course..

Future opportunities

While you don’t need to have an A Level in Psychology to study it at degree level, it will give you a good grounding in the subject. Some universities prefer Psychology applicants to have an A Level in maths or a science subject as well, or at least a strong maths grade at GCSE, though you will need to check specific university entry requirements.

Psychology is also a degree subject that is commonly paired with another, to create a combined degree program known as Joint Honours. Subjects which Psychology goes well with for the Joint Honours option include:

  • Philosophy
  • Religion,
  • Ethics
  • Criminology

The branches of Psychology include:

  • Occupational, Clinical
  • Health
  • Sports
  • Developmental
  • Social
  • Child
  • Educational
  • Forensic

Graduates tend to specialise in these areas by doing post-graduate study after doing a degree in Psychology. Psychology can lead onto many career roles including:

  • Psychologists
  • Counsellors
  • Support Workers
  • Social Work
  • Youth Work
  • Probation Officers
  • Teaching
  • Advertising
  • Public Relations
  • Lawyers
  • Politics
  • Police
  • Human Resources
  • Business

Cirencester College Psychology students have recently gone to top Universities such as Cardiff, Bath, and Exeter, either to study Psychology or related degrees including Physiotherapy, Biomedical Science, Neuroscience and Primary Teacher Training.

Psychology is a very useful qualification to have as it involves learning about human behaviour and is viewed favourably by employers. Careers linked to psychology include; clinical psychology, occupational psychology, sport psychology, health psychology, educational psychology, teacher, human resources, counselling, marketing, speech and language therapist, play therapist, armed forces, police, medicine, veterinary science, physiotherapy and so much more!

How to apply

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

Last updated date: 27 January 2017
Provider logo

Key information