A Level

Type of study
Examination board


Psychology is the scientific study of human behaviour and mental processes. It is concerned with how and why people think and behave in the way they do.

If you are interested in this course, consider the following questions: What happens to a person when the two hemispheres in their brain have been surgically divided? Is it possible to fake being mentally ill and gain admission into a mental institution? Would you be prepared to kill another person because an authority figure tells you to? Can a defendant’s accent influence the sentence they receive in a trial?  These questions, along with others, will be explored and answered in this course.

You will study the key approaches in Psychology, research methods and areas of Applied Psychology such as Criminal Psychology, Issues in Mental Health and Environmental Psychology. You will develop logical skills of analysis and interpretation, and an appreciation of the contribution of Psychology to our society. Psychology is unique, in that it fits well with any other A Level subject. Most popular combinations are Biology, Sociology, Law, Business Studies and English Language.


Availability & Details

Psychology, A Level HSDC-SD-AP2PSY

HSDC South Downs Campus
Academic Year 2017-18 (1 year)
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A minimum of five GCSEs at grades A*-C, including English and Mathematics at grade 4 or above.

On this course you will study:

Research methods
In this component the four main types of research methods that psychologists use to investigate human behaviour will be explored. You will have an opportunity to carry out these methods giving you first-hand experience of the strengths and weaknesses that accompany the methods of investigations. 

Psychology themes through core studies
There are 20 specific research studies (core studies) that you will learn, understand and evaluate in depth. You will learn four studies from within these approaches; social, developmental, cognitive, biological and individual differences. 

Applied psychology
You will learn about applied areas of Psychology. You will explore issues in mental health, looking at explanations of mental illness. In addition, you will study Criminal Psychology, examining explanations of criminal behaviour and how psychology is applied within the Criminal Justice System. Lastly, you will learn about Environmental Psychology considering issues such as recycling behaviour and the impact of our environment on well-being. 

Teaching concentrates on guiding you through a process of active learning, via lively group discussions and structured activities. These are designed to allow links to be made between personal experience or viewpoints and the more research-based theory and evidence that is studied and assessed by a series of structured essays set as homework throughout the course. Statistics is an aspect of the practical work.

Regular reading and research is essential, as is the on-going practical element, which is thoroughly supported and assessed by tutors. You will be encouraged to use a variety of sources such as books, videos, journal articles and computer software. Great emphasis is given to the development of independent study skills, making use of the College’s Learning Resource Centre.

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My experience at South Downs has been really good, it’s been really rewarding, all the lecturers were so lovely and supportive there’s no way I could have done it without them - the teaching has been outstanding.

Lucie Brooks, A Level student

South Downs has been the best two years of my education. All my teachers were great and amazing, and I think they were the most helpful they could have been.

Megan Capaldi-Tallon, A Level student

My experience at South Downs has been decent, I’ve met lots of people, its been great to be honest, I’ve really enjoyed it.

Oliver Smith, A Level student


The skills and knowledge of Psychology are relevant to any career involving contact with other people. Whatever your career path from medicine to law, from counselling to business, from sport to teaching, Psychology provides you with an excellent foundation and many transferable skills.

What to do next

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