"The purpose of Psychology is to give us a completely different idea of the things we know best" - Paul Valery.
From intriguing optical illusions that reveal the inner workings of the brain to shocking experiments that expose how far people will go to obey an authority figure, there is always something amazing to learn about the human mind and behaviour. Studying Psychology can give you a better understanding of yourself and those around you, it will develop your communication and critical thinking skills and give you a greater appreciation of human development at all stages of life. It gives insight into mental illness and having an understanding of psychological research methods can help you evaluate some of the claims that you will encounter in books, magazines, television shows and movies.
The two-year A Level course covers a wide variety of different topic areas, including Attachment, Memory, Social Influence, Psychopathology, Gender and Forensic Psychology. Each topic is examined in relation to the underlying psychological theories and evaluated with reference to up to date research studies. Alongside the different topics studied run themes that permeate throughout Psychology, such as the nature-nurture debate and the extent to which it is possible to study people scientifically. Students will also study the brain and nervous system in relation to the control of behaviour and mental illness. There is a significant emphasis upon understanding and evaluating the research methods used by psychologists and the way in which data is interpreted using descriptive and inferential statistics.
INTERNATIONAL BACCALAUREATE (SL)
The two-year standard level Psychology course examines the interaction of biological, cognitive and sociocultural influences on human behaviour. Students can expect to develop an understanding of how psychological knowledge is generated, developed and applied. This will allow them to have a greater understanding of themselves and appreciate the diversity of human behaviour.
The holistic approach reflected in the curriculum, which sees biological, cognitive and sociocultural analysis being taught in an integrated way ensures that students are able to develop an understanding of what all humans share, as well as the immense diversity of influences on human behaviour and mental processes. The ethical concerns raised by the methodology and application of psychological research are also key considerations of the IB psychology course. As well as the three key influences on human behaviour, students will also study an option (currently Abnormal Psychology) in the second year and undertake an Internal Assessment project during which they are required to plan and undertake a simple experimental study and to produce a report of their findings.
Psychology graduates gain an impressive range of skills that make them highly employable. Psychology programmes deliver skills employers value, such as numerical skills, the ability to understand and work with statistics, effective communication and the ability to work productively in teams – and this gives students a real edge when competing with graduates from other disciplines. Psychology graduates, for example, move into careers in advertising, career counselling, education, the health professions, human resources, management and social services, and of course they also have the option to progress a career in a professional area of psychology, such as forensic psychology. It is the combination of skills and the nature of the discipline itself that not only underpins the recent growth in numbers of students studying psychology at university, but also assures its continuing relevance in the global marketplace.
“Psychology has shifted my perspective of the way we think and behave. In a way it has been a revolution.”
“Psychology will change the way you think. You can apply it to everyday life, like how to bring up children and also to other subjects you study, like Biology. It is the best subject; I took it as my fourth subject because I thought it sounded interesting and now I’m planning to study it at university.”