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Psychology A level at Nelson and Colne College

Course description

Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and behaviour. You will cover a broad range of = fascinating topics including cognitive processes of memory, perception and language in humans, and development of intelligence focusing on learning in children. You will also look at Physiological Psychology – examining human sleep patterns, dreaming and states of consciousness, social influences in relation to obedience, group conformity, prejudice and helping behaviour as well as individual differences in relation to personality traits, intelligence and aspects of abnormal behaviour.

You should have an interest in conducting practical investigations because Psychology uses the scientific method of careful research, experimentation and statistical analysis and requires students to be numerate, to use logical reasoning and to express themselves clearly and concisely in writing.

Course content

The course will include 3 units:

Research methods
Research methods underpin everything that is done in Psychology. Conducting research allows us to test theories in a scientific manner and draw sound conclusions. You will be required to show your understanding of research methods by designing and conducting your own pieces of research on topic areas of your choice. You will also study statistics and use this knowledge to analyse your results and make inferences about causes of behaviour.

Approach and debates in Psychology
Within the discipline of Psychology there are many different viewpoints over exactly what influences behaviour. You will study many approaches in Psychology including physiological, cognitive, behavioural, psychodynamic and social. You will use these approaches to explain a vast array of behaviour including memory, attachment, psychopathology, social influence, obedience, cognitive development. You will also consider many important debates in Psychology such as: Psychology as a science; the nature vs nurture debate; the determinism vs freewill debate; and situational vs dispositional explanations for behaviour.

Applied Psychology
You will study in depth some of these applied areas: Criminal Psychology, Child Psychology and Clinical Psychology. This unit allows you to address many intriguing questions such as: how can we use Psychology to reduce crime and have a safer society, what leads people to suffer from clinical illness and at what point does sane becomes insane, how can psychology inform health professionals, thinking about how we can get people to listen to important health messages.

Entry requirements

You will be expected to have two Bs and three Cs in five subject areas at GCSE, to include a minimum of a grade C in Maths, English Language and Science.


You will be assessed by three external written examinations at the end of the two-year course.

Each exam is 2 hours and accounts for a third of your final grade.

Future opportunities

Former students of these subjects have gone to study at some of the UK’s top universities including Lancaster University, Loughborough University, Bangor University, Newcastle University, the University of Manchester, the University of Leeds and the University of Nottingham.

They are reading an array of interesting and challenging degree programmes including; Psychology, Sociology, Law, Criminology, Social Policy, Education Studies, Criminological and Forensic Psychology and Sport and Exercise Psychology.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Nelson and Colne College directly.

Last updated date: 19 April 2016
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