Psychology is a very broad science which gives pupils a deeper insight into many aspects of life and the world around them. It leads to a greater understanding of how innate qualities and experience influence behaviour, enabling pupils to think critically about issues and to see these from many different perspectives. It attempts to evaluate real-life situations by applying techniques and theories from psychologists past and present.
Pupils develop skills in analysis, in using research methods and in evaluating logically and objectively to help support their ideas. They also consider the ethical context of situations and how this affects the way things happen in the real world.
Lecturers and practitioners are regularly invited in to share their expertise. Pupils visit exhibitions, museums and even zoos to consider the wide range and reach of Psychology, and have also gone to a prison to reflect on punishment and rehabilitation. Pupils are encouraged to watch relevant documentaries, read widely in this fascinating field, and think about events in the news. Pupils conduct their own experiments and evaluate these from a practical and ethical perspective which allows them to think like psychologists.
Pupils studying Psychology at A Level should be competent mathematicians (due to the statistical element of the course), able to write well and should possess the ability to structure an argument under time pressure. An interest in human behaviour is crucial, although Psychology is a scientific subject that does not involve expressing opinions. This qualification should enable a pupil to progress on to a Psychology degree or a degree that combines Psychology with another subject. The degree courses offered are biological in nature so it is advised that Biology is studied at A Level in tandem with Psychology, particularly for the top universities.
The applications of Psychology are numerous and provide pathways for careers in areas as varied as cognitive neuroscience, the police or prison services, the field of social work, human resources, marketing, counselling, therapy, teaching, ergonomics, advertising, research, public relations and medicine.