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Psychology A-Level at Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College

Course description

Psychology is the scientific study of human behaviour and mental processes and is an increasingly popular subject choice. It appeals to those interested in the workings of the human mind and the manner in which individuals relate to each other in everyday situations.

Course content

AS Level Course Content

Unit 1 – Psychology: Past to present

Five major psychological approaches form the basis of this unit: the Biological, Psychodynamic, Behaviourist, Cognitive and the newly emerging Positive approach.

This unit will require students to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of each approach on the following areas:

  • how the approach explains human behaviour
  • classic pieces of research associated with the approach
  • how each approach has been applied to a therapy

Students will also develop evaluation skills and an ability to use their knowledge of each approach in the context of a contemporary debate such as the ethics of neuroscience, how conditioning techniques are used to control the behaviour of children and the reliability of eyewitness testimony.

Unit 2  – Psychology: Investigating behaviour

The core theme for this unit is psychological research. The unit is made up of two parts:

Principles of Research

This will involve understanding the ways in which psychologists conduct their research and students will gain an appreciation of the role of analysing data. Students will have the opportunity to conduct a piece of research themselves and through this will learn about the ways in which psychologists analyse their data and draw conclusions. Students will also be encouraged to appreciate the complex issues involved in conducting scientific research within psychology.

Novel scenarios:

The second aspect of this unit will allow students to apply their knowledge and understanding of research methods to research scenarios that they have not seen before.

A Level Course Content

The A level course contains and extends the AS work and includes a further unit, which will enable students to apply their knowledge of Psychology in the real world through the study of issues, debates and controversies that have been studied within Psychology.

Unit 1 – Psychology: Past to present

Unit 2 – Psychology: Investigating behaviour

Unit 3 – Psychology: Implications in the real world

Unit 3  – Psychology: Implications in the real world

The unit is made up of two parts and will enable A level students to develop their knowledge and evaluative skills that they will have gained from Units 1 & 2 and study more in-depth topics within the discipline of Psychology:


Students will learn how psychological theories and research have been applied to different types of behaviours such as criminal behaviour, schizophrenia and stress.


Students will explore controversial issues within psychology that have had an impact on society. These include: culture and gender bias within psychological theory and research and the ethical costs of conducting research with humans and animals.

Entry requirements

The usual entry requirement to QE is 5 GCSE grades at C or above including Maths or English. A good number of students study four AS Levels in their first year and to do this we require at least 3B grades and 3C grades at GCSE including Maths and English Language. Students who do not achieve these GCSE grades take fewer subjects at A Level and will be required to do resits in GCSE Maths and English if they have not already achieved a grade C in these core subjects. The College is large enough to have a very flexible timetable that allows students to take almost any combination of subjects at A Level. The advantage of this system is that we can tailor your programme to suit your needs and abilities. We give lots of advice if you decide to apply to the College.

Subject Specific

Students should have a grade C in GCSE Maths, English and Science or Merit in Applied Science. It is recommended students should have a B in GCSE English and Science, or a Distinction in Applied Science. The course contains an element of Maths in order to understand research findings and when analysing data. The course contains biological explanations of human behaviour. In addition students need good writing skills for the essay component of the exams.


Future opportunities

An AS or A Level in Psychology is a well-respected qualification as students acquire both literacy and numeracy skills. These flexible skills are useful in a range of career choices.

A Psychology degree is the required foundation for further study leading to careers in Clinical Psychology, Educational Psychology and Occupational Psychology. However, Psychology graduates often pursue careers in personnel work, the Health Service, social work, advertising, counselling and the prison service. Combination degrees can also lead to a wide range of careers.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College directly.

Last updated date: 17 April 2015
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