A Level Psychology


Explore aspects of your own thinking, through this engaging course – from the workings of memory, to the effect of social influence. Learn more about the causes and treatments for different psychological disorders and consider the importance of mental health. You will also explore key topics in-depth, including gender, schizophrenia and forensic psychology.

Why St Mary's

You will learn in our dedicated psychology teaching space, with access to a library of key texts, curated to support the themes covered in A Level.

Our enriched learning opportunities can include:

  • Events in London – recent speakers include Professor Philip Zimbardo and Professor Elizabeth Loftus, the most influential female psychologist of the last century
  • Psychology lectures at Cambridge University Festival
  • Planning and conducting psychology experiments
  • Psychology Society Club and PsychSoc
  • Teacher surgeries at lunchtime
  • National Psychology essay competitions in Year 12
  • Psychology Residential Trip to London to visit Sigmund Freud's Museum and Bethlem Museum of the Mind

Enabling your transition from GCSE

For almost all students psychology is a totally new subject in Sixth Form. This offers a fantastic opportunity to start with a blank canvas, on a level playing field with your peers. We will introduce new concepts and methodologies, concentrating on the basics to enable you to master the building blocks of this discipline.

You will benefit from learning in small classes, with ready access to support from subject specialist teachers. There are teacher surgeries during two lunchtimes each week, where you can bring particular questions or issues for extra teaching support, although you are very welcome at other times too!

Course overview

A Level content

  • Unit 1 Introductory topics in psychology
    • Social influence - explore the psychology of obedience and conformity
    • Memory - learn how memory works and consider issues with eye-witness testimonies
    • Attachment - study infants and carers with the real-life application of day care
    • Psychopathology - learn about the causes of mental illnesses and their treatment
  • Unit 2 Psychology in context
    • Approaches in psychology - explore different theoretical frameworks in which the study takes place
    • Bio-psychology - learn how biological mechanisms are involved in psychological processes
    • Research methods - an introduction to carrying out psychological research
  • Unit 3 Issues and options in psychology
    • Issues and debates - consider key debates in psychological theory and research, focusing on three topics in detail:
      1. Gender: biological and psychological bases of gender and how gender awareness develops in childhood
      2. Schizophrenia: The different symptoms of schizophrenia, issues when diagnosing and classifying schizophrenia, biological and psychological explanations for schizophrenia, drug therapy and psychological treatments.
      3. Forensic Psychology: Offender profiling techniques employed within the UK and America, psychological and biological explanations for crime and the differing treatment programmes for offenders.


A Level assessment

Assessment is through three written examinations.

  • Paper 1 Introductory topics in psychology (33.3% of total mark)
  • Paper 2 Psychology in context (33.3% of total mark)
  • Paper 3 Issues and options in psychology (33.3% of total mark)

Visit our Sixth Form

At a glance
  • Syllabus: AQA A Level 7182
  • 3 written papers (33.3% each of total A Level mark)
  • Small class sizes
  • Themes: Introductory topics, psychology in context, issues and options in psychology

Entry requirements

GCSE grades (or equivalent)

  • Subject 1: English Language: 6+ (CEFR B2.2)
  • Subject 2: Mathematics: 5+
  • Subject 3: Science: 5+
You will enjoy this course if you...
  • Can explain your ideas carefully and clearly
  • Like analysing and evaluating information
  • Are interested in human behaviour
  • Have secure mathematical skills

What our teachers say...

“So many things in life have to do with the way that we think and react.

Psychology hasn't yet provided all the answers, but it is certainly asking some vital and interesting questions.”

Progress and harmony in the world is only possible if we can understand one another's thinking. Psychology holds the key to enabling us to do just that.

Teenagers get a really bad rap and we mock them and demonise them more than we do any other section of society. And it’s not right. They’re going through an important stage of their development that they need to go through. Most parents don’t know that their teenagers are undergoing such a transformation.” Professor Sarah-Jayne Blackemore, UCL – researching the neurocognitive changes in teenage years

Education is cognitive psychology in practice. Psychiatry and psychotherapy are atypical psychology in practice. Relationships are interpersonal psychology in practice. Life is psychology in practice. By studying this fascinating subject, you will gain knowledge that will transform and inform your view across many areas of your life.

By studying Psychology A Level you will gain highly transferable skills: the ability to question and analyse written, graphical and statistical information; the ability to argue logically in well-structured written form; and the key skills of applying knowledge to novel situations. Psychology is useful in any job requiring understanding of human behaviour.

Our students in recent years have planned careers in sports psychology, clinical psychology, education and research psychology. Psychology also complements a range of other subjects well, including sociology, philosophy, law, the humanities and English literature.

Studying psychology at degree level opens up a wide range of career paths, including counselling psychology, forensic psychology, health psychology, occupational psychology and education.

Leaver destinations

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Our results

Achieve the results you need to fulfil your dreams.

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