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Psychology A Level (Distance Learning) at National Extension College *Fees Payable*

Course description



The study of the mind is an exciting and constantly advancing science, with new discoveries and theories being created all the time. This home study A level will provide you with an understanding of psychology’s differing models, as well as taking a look at a number of fascinating areas, such as how memory works, causes of and responses to stress, psychopathology and ethical considerations related to the subject. Suitable for anyone with an interest in how the mind works, and ideal as a complement to a physical science such as biology, our distance learning programme covers everything you’ll need to know to gain this qualification. You’ll gain an insight into what makes us behave the way we do and learn about the complex research methods employed to study the processes of the mind. 


You should allow for between 250 and 300 hours' study time, plus additional time for completing assignments. You will have tutor support for a period of up to 18 months from the date of enrolment.

Course content

Unit 1: Research methods: cognitive and developmental pyschology

  • Part 1: Research methods
  • Research methods and techniques
  • Investigation design
  • Data analysis and presentation
  • Part 2: Cognitive psychology – memory
  • Models of memory
  • Memory in everyday life
  • Part 3: Developmental psychology – early social development
  • Attachment
  • Attachments in everyday life

Unit 2: Biological and social psychology and individual differences

  • Part 1: Biological psychology – stress
  • Stress as a bodily response
  • Stress in everyday life: sources of stress
  • Stress in everyday life: approaches to stress management
  • Part 2: Social psychology – social influence
  • Conformity and obedience
  • Social influence in everyday life
  • Part 3: Individual differences – psychopathology
  • Defining psychological abnormality
  • Approaches to psychopathology
  • Treating abnormality

Unit 3: Topics in psychology

  • Part 1: Biological rhythms and sleep
  • Biological rhythms
  • Disrupting biological rhythms
  • The nature and functions of sleep
  • Sleep disorders
  • Part 2: Relationships
  • The formation, maintenance and dissolution of relationships
  • Human reproductive behaviour
  • Effects of early experience and culture on adult relationships
  • Part 3: Gender
  • Psychological explanations of gender development
  • Biological influences on gender
  • Social contexts of gender role

Unit 4: Psychopathology, psychology in action and research methods

  • Part 1: Psychopathology: schizophrenia
  • Schizophrenia: clinical characteristics and issues of classification and diagnosis
  • Explanations of schizophrenia
  • Therapies for schizophrenia
  • Part 2: Psychology in action: the psychology of addictive behaviour
  • Models of addictive behaviour
  • Factors affecting addictive behaviour
  • Reducing addictive behaviour
  • Part 3: Research methods: psychological research and research methods
  • The scientific method
  • The scientific process
  • Selecting and applying appropriate research methods
  • Sampling
  • Reliability and validity
  • Ethical considerations in psychological research
  • Selecting graphical representations
  • Probability and significance
  • Choosing statistical tests
  • Using inferential analysis
  • Analysing and interpreting qualitative data
  • Reporting on psychological investigations

Entry requirements

Passes at A–C in GCSE English and maths are desirable but no formal qualifications are required.


This course follows specifications 2180 (A level), 1181 (AS) and 2181 (A2) from the awarding organisation AQA. Full details of the specifications can be obtained from AQA's website.

Four exams for the full A level: Unit 1 (1hr30m, 25% of marks), Unit 2 (1hr30m, 25% of marks), Unit 3 (1hr30m, 25% of marks) and Unit 4 (2hrs, 25% of marks)

Six AS assignments, nine A2 assignments
No coursework

Please note that due to upcoming changes the final opportunity to sit exams for this course isSummer 2016.

Financial information



It’s your choice: pay in full and discount your course fees, or spread the cost with our finance offer. To pay in instalments, you will need to enrol by telephone.

Representative examples:

For the full A level
Course fee:   £545
Deposit:  £54.50
Amount of credit:   £490.50
Monthly payment:  £81.75
Duration of agreement:  6 months
Total repayable:  £545
Rate of interest:  0%(fixed)
0% APR representative.  
For AS level or A2 level
Course fee:  £325
Deposit:   £32.50
Amount of credit: £292.50 
Monthly payment:   £48.75
Duration of agreement:  6 months
Total repayable:   £325
Rate of interest:  0% (fixed)
0% APR representative.  
For enrolments in the UK there are no additional postage and packing charges. For enrolments outside of the UK the following postage and packing charges apply:


  • EU – £75 for the first course and £40 for second and subsequent courses
  • Rest of the world – £130 for the first course and £70 for second and subsequent courses

Further information

Essential textbooks


  • Cardwell, M., Clark, L. and Meldrum, C., Psychology AS for AQA A, 4th edition, HarperCollins, 2008


  • Cardwell, M., Clark, L. and Meldrum, C., Psychology A2 for AQA A, 4th edition, HarperCollins, 2009


How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact National Extension College *Fees Payable* directly.

Last updated date: 24 July 2019
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Contact details

    • Contact name:
    • Course and Fee Enquiries
    • Contact telephone number:
    • 08003892839
    • Email address:


  • More information

      This means you can study from anywhere!

      Further details of where you can sit any examinations are included in the Assessment section of each course.

      Please note that fees are payable for the National Extension College's courses.