A-Level Psychology

Examination Board: AQA


Course summary

A-level psychology aims to provide students with an engaging and effective introduction to the subject. They will learn the fundamentals of the subject, in relation to research, theories and vocabulary, as well as develop a selection of transferrable skills such as critical analysis, independent thinking and research skills. This course has been developed in conjunction with the British Psychological Society and gives students an insight into the history of psychology, as well as more recent paradigm shifts in the field. The course is also supported with a variety of enrichment opportunities, both within and beyond the context of 6th Form. Examples include small group practical research projects, data collection from animal observations, conference attendance and guest speaker visits. By the end of their course of study, students should have developed effective academic knowledge that can be applied to subject-specific undergraduate studies (should they choose a university-based route), as well as insight into scientific processes and ethical issues linked to research, strategies to develop and nurture academic curiosity and time-management and independence that will be valued in any workplace.   

Introduction and Structure

Psychology is a broad and diverse social science subject. It equips students with practical knowledge that can support a variety of different professions as well as developing transferable skills that many employers find useful. 

Course Content


  • social influence (Y12)
  • memory (Y12)
  • attachment (Y12)
  • psychopathology (Y12 & Y13)
  • approaches in psychology (Y12)
  • biopsychology (Y12)
  • research methods (Y12 & Y13)
  • issues and debates in psychology (Y13)

Optional (Y13)

  • Option 1: relationships; gender; cognition and development
  • Option 2: schizophrenia; eating behaviour; stress
  • Option 3: aggression; forensic psychology; addiction


Three two hour written examinations, each worth one third of the full A-level.

  • Paper 1: introductory topics in psychology
  • Paper 2: psychology in context
  • Paper 3: issues and options in psychology

Careers and Progression

Having studied psychology possible career options include working in education, mental health, government, social work, forensics, medical professions and business-related careers. However, most require a higher level of education. A-level psychology can lead to degrees in psychology, medicine, nursing, midwifery, sports science, business studies, social sciences and many more. The skills and knowledge obtained through the course can enhance any career and enable students to understand the world around them. Some of the most prestigious universities view psychology as a facilitating subject due to the academic rigour of the course.

Entrance Requirements

Minimum requirement: 6 GCSEs Grades 9-4 (or equivalent), including Grade 4 or above in English and maths

Strongly recommended: Grade 5 in Maths