Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and human behaviour. Studying psychology can help better understand yourself but also how you can apply the principles to many aspects within your everyday life. You will gain an insight into what influences human behaviour with a focus on how social, developmental, cognitive and biological factors impact our lives.
Psychology is regarded as a pre-science and is an exciting field to work in, especially due to the development of modern technology. The subject itself has evolved from focusing on the basic assumptions that we are born as blank slates (tabula rasa) and therefore we learn all behaviours from our environment, to looking at cognitive neuroscience where our knowledge is ever-changing due to factors such as brain plasticity.
The A Level course divides psychology into the main approaches; social, developmental, cognitive, individual differences and biopsychology. There is much emphasis on the research methods aspect, which is embedded throughout each topic. These skills and techniques are transferable to many other subjects, such as mathematics, geography, biology, etc. Students will learn how to apply their psychological knowledge to everyday life events, and gain an insight into what influences human behaviour.
The IB course takes a more holistic stance and although it categorises human behaviour into either socio-cultural, biological or cognitive factors, we conclude that an interactionist approach is more appropriate.
Psychology would suit candidates who are:
- Enthusiastic and are driven to understanding human behaviour
- Able to provide thoughtful analysis within everyday life
- Interested in a career path that utilizes the skills learnt from studying psychology
The department aims to:
- Stimulate an interest in psychology in students of all ages
- Develop an understanding of the mind and behaviour
- Develop the skills of critical analysis, planning, observing, evaluating and communicating
- Develop an understanding of the scientific method and its application within psychology and the wider world
- Promote an understanding of the ethical guidelines when conducting independent practical projects
- Place psychology in a historical context and to study the work of professional psychologists
In the Sixth Form, students can take psychology for A Level, or they can opt to study psychology as part of their IB diploma.
Psychology is a subject available in the Sixth Form curriculum and therefore this is a transitional time for students to become more independent in their learning and this corresponds with the style of teaching.
Students should expect dynamic and interesting discussions within class but also experience university style teaching with some larger scale lectures and more personal seminars.
Schemes of Work
Learning is centred on the main approaches within psychology with an aspect of research methods embedded throughout. Students will be able to create and design their own studies to gain an insight into the requirements of a psychologist.
The Sixth Form attend psychology conferences and workshops. These conferences include seminars from world-renowned psychologists, for example Philip Zimbardo. These opportunities enhance knowledge and understanding of the concepts covered in psychology.
There will be opportunities throughout the two years to participate in lectures and workshops from university staff and also other experts within the field. These can focus on the accuracy of eye-witness testimony and the impact this research has had in the field of criminological psychology.