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Psychology A Level at St Angela's Ursuline School

Course description

The mind is something intangible that exists within our brain. An unseen process of enzymes, chemicals and electric current moving within the structure of our neural networks dictates why we feel, think and behave the way we do. But why is it that some people suffer from stress and mental illness? Why do some people fear snakes yet a few think they are cuddly? Psychology looks at questions like these in the study of the human mind and behaviour. It is a science with cutting edge research that has real world applications to issues in everyday life, ranging from things like artificial intelligence to social change. Psychology is the study of how people think, act, react and interact. It is concerned with all aspects of human behaviour and the thoughts, feelings and motivations underlying such behaviour.

Psychologists do not just attempt to simply explain people’s behaviour, they use their understanding to help people with difficulties and bring about change for the better. For example, psychologists are concerned with practical problems such as reducing stress at work, helping students who have difficulties at school, designing better housing estates and helping victims of crime.

Psychologists observe and measure behaviour and their therapies are based on scientific study. Psychology has links with many disciplines including biological, computer and forensic science as well as humanities such as sociology, philosophy, anthropology and even literature.

Entry requirements

Students are required to have a B in GCSE Maths, alongside a B in English and Science, (preferably Biology.) No previous experience of Psychology is required, as the course is very contemporary. Due to the evidence studied, a keen interest in cultural affairs is also beneficial.


‘How Science Works’ underpins all work completed on the course and is both implicit and explicit throughout all lessons. There is no written coursework; Students are assessed solely on their examination performance. Students should therefore be able to read complex material from a wide range of sources, to learn scientific experiments and analyse them using statistics. The A Level is based on essay skills.

There are three papers that will be used to test students on the A level programme: Paper 1: Introductory topics - Social influence, Memory, attachment and Psychopathology.
Paper 2: Psychology in Context – Approaches in Biopsychology and Research Methods
Paper 3: Issues and Options in Psychology – Issues and Debates in Psychology.

Alongside the main exams, there are regular class assessments, mock papers and formal and informal tests. All assessments are tracked against a students’ target grade to ensure that every student reaches their full potential.

Future opportunities

There has never been a better time to work in Psychology. Many of our students go on to read Psychology at university and pursue a career within the discipline. Most commonly, psychologists can be found in the health and education services although they appear in almost all aspects of life. Types of work undertaken include; teaching, business management, the prison service, the police, advertising, armed forces, teaching, the health service, the civil service, sports and the media. Last year our students went on to study a variety of degrees including Medicine, Criminology, Child Development, Nursing, Psychology, Occupational Therapy and Social Policy.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact St Angela's Ursuline School directly.

Last updated date: 15 March 2017
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Key information

  • Start date: Next September