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Psychology is the study of human behaviour; what makes us unique and similar, what might drive, influence or cause our behaviours. It offers both a scientific and a non-scientific approach to studying human beings and is generally defined as the study of mind, brain and behaviour. Psychology combines well with science subjects and also with a more essay based subject profile.

AQA 7182

PsychologyPsychology is the ideal bridging subject between arts and science subjects. Psychology trains humanities students to think scientifically and helps science students to communicate arguments within essays. It teaches a range of valuable skills, provides a good combination with almost any other subject but more importantly, is a credible and interesting discipline in itself.

You will cover aspects of some of the main topics within psychology; developmental, cognitive and social psychology along with psychopathology. Within these you will also develop an understanding of the research methods behind psychology and critically analyse psychological knowledge and understanding. Human behaviour is not straightforward and the complex debates within understanding it are also considered.

Students have enjoyed combining psychology with subjects as diverse as music, English literature, physics, economics and history

Previous students have gone on to study medicine, natural sciences, philosophy, sociology and more broad-based social science courses. Others have opted for pure psychology degrees. Career paths in psychology include clinical psychology, forensic psychology, health psychology, educational psychology and academic research.

Course content

  • Paper 1: Social Influence, Memory, Attachment, Psychopathology
  • Paper 2: Approaches in Psychology, Biopsychology, Research Methods
  • Paper 3: Issues and Debates in Psychology, plus one option from Relationships, Gender or Cognition and Development, one option from Schizophrenia, Eating Behaviour and Stress, plus one option from Aggression, Forensic Psychology and Addiction.


Paper 1

2 hours, 33.3%

Introductory Topics in Psychology. 

Written exam, multiple choice, short answer and extended writing questions.

Paper 2

2 hours,  33.3%

Psychology in Context.

Written exam, multiple choice, short answer and extended writing questions.

Paper 3

2 hours 33.3% 

Issues and Options in Psychology.

Written exam, multiple choice, short answer and extended writing questions.


How much science and maths is there in Psychology? 
There is some biology in some parts of both courses as both include Biological approaches to human behaviour. Psychology is a social science so it does use scientific methods, but it also uses a lot of other methods too.  About 10% of the exam is based on maths, but this includes graphs, averages, basic percentages etc.  In A level there are some statistical tests we cover but only 1 you have to do and it's very simple.  
What subjects does Psychology go with? 
It goes with any combination of other subjects as it is a science, but also a humanity.  We have students taking Psychology who study all of the other subjects.  See below about what degree subjects Psychology can lead to.
What jobs does Psychology lead to? 
Taking Psychology as a degree can lead to all kinds of jobs although if you want to become a Psychologist (Educational, Clinical, Forensic etc) then you will need to do Postgraduate study after a degree in Psychology.
Do we cover Forensic Psychology? 
Forensic Psychology has been a very popular area for many years and one of the A level units we cover is Forensic Psychology.  We also run the Forensic Psychology Enrichment programme over the year for anyone in years 12 to 13.  Forensic Psychology may not be what people think it is though; it isn't much about serial killers and profiling, but more a look at criminal behaviour, causes, and potential ways of reducing crime.
Is it a hard subject and should I take it? 
All A levels are demanding and Psychology is not an easy option, but neither is it harder than others.  If you are interested in people and how they behave, then you'll be interested in the course and you'll enjoy it.  It involves a mixture of scientific method and good writing skills so being able to communicate knowledge clearly in short and essay form is important.  It also requires you to think and not just learn knowledge; if you want to simply know 'what the answer is', then this might not be the subject for you.