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Psychology AS & A Level at Newcastle-under-Lyme College

Course description

The aim of the course is to offer full-time students the opportunity to gain a national qualification in Psychology.

Studying Psychology provides an excellent general qualification for many careers. You will be able to use it to progress to Higher Education. Universities recognise the research skills and the understanding of human behaviour that a psychology qualification brings. Psychology forms a part of a large number of degree courses including social work, teaching, criminal justice, business studies, medicine and many more. It can also be classed as a fourth science for those wishing to study medicine, dentistry and veterinary science.

Entry requirements

The standard entry requirement for A Level study is 3 grade Cs and 2 Bs including maths and English Language at GCSE. A new grade scale is in operation for maths and English which is numerical. The equivalent to a B grade will be a 6 and the equivalent to a C grade will be 5 for entry requirement purposes.


Assessment is comprised of three examinations at the end of two years’ study. Progression to year two of the course is dependent upon performance in an end of year progression exam sat at the end of the first year of study.

Paper 1
Social Influence

You will learn about issues such as why people conform or give in to group pressure. You will also look at why humans obey orders, even those that will inflict harm on others. This unit considers how memory works, why we forget certain things and whether eye witness accounts of crimes can be trusted. Human attachment is also investigated including the reasons why we attach to our parent or caregiver. Lastly you will look at what is abnormal behaviour, what causes it and how is it treated?

Paper 2
Research Methods
Issues and Debates

In this unit you will learn about different psychologists’ views on human behaviour, their arguments and debates. Biopsychology considers the role our biology plays in influencing our behaviour. You will consider how the brain transmits messages and how we study the brain in a scientific way.
You will also look at the body’s natural biological rhythms and their effect on our lives, and learn how to investigate human behaviour in a scientific way.

Paper 3
Forensic psychology
(subject to change)

In relationships, you will consider who we are attracted to and factors influencing romantic relationships. You will also look at virtual relationships and how they differ to face to face. You will consider the symptoms and types of schizophrenia, its cause and possible treatments. In forensic psychology, you will investigate crime and ways of measuring crime, explanations of offending behaviour and how offenders are dealt with.


Financial information

Newcastle Maintenance Allowance (NMA): Anyone with a household income under £21,000 can receive £20 per week financial support to help pay for travel and meals and meet the costs of essential trips, books, stationery and equipment. The payments will be subject to full attendance on your course. A range of other financial support is available, depending on your personal circumstances.

Future opportunities

When you have gained your A Level in Psychology you can use it to progress into Higher Education. There are a wide range of undergraduate degrees available in Psychology both locally and further afield. Both Staffordshire and Keele University offer lots of different psychology degree courses. It can also be combined with many other subjects, for example Criminology and Health. The sorts of jobs psychology graduates go on to do are wide ranging including teaching, social work, work within the National Health Service, counselling and many more.

Further information

The course includes a wide variety of learning experiences such as lectures, one to one tutorials, practical work, group work, discussions/debates, DVDs, and personal research when preparing for assessment. Also, as part of your course in Psychology you will be offered the chance to go on several educational visits including a trip to New York, which includes many new cultural experiences including a tour of the United Nations. There is also an overnight visit to London and a trip to Alton Towers where you get to conduct a piece of research.

If you wish to find out more you can contact Claire Poole, Head of Psychology using the following details. Email: Tel: 01782 254318

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Newcastle-under-Lyme College directly.

Last updated date: 17 November 2016
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