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Sixth Form (Ages 16-18)

Psychology

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Every act of perception is to some degree an act of creation, and every act of memory is to some degree an act of imagination.

Oliver Sacks
 

Why Study Psychology?

Psychology is a ‘living’ subject which is constantly occurring all around us. It is observable in every subtle and gross human action, from our development in childhood, through to how we behave in social settings, including the barely perceivable non-verbal cues we involuntarily express about our internal states.

Psychology is the scientific study of behaviour, thought and emotion, and is a unique and interdisciplinary science which is now very much at the heart of modern cognitive neuroscience. It has close links with biology and seeks to explain the interactions between nature (our biology) and nurture (our environment and learning).

 

If you have ever wondered whether a serial killer’s brain is different from yours, whether our intelligence is genetic or learnt, or what areas of the brain are linked to mental illnesses such as schizophrenia or depression, then psychology is the subject for you.

Psychology is divided into different schools of thought, making for a rich landscape of views that equip students with a wide range of perspectives that can be employed to engage deeply and critically with the course content.

Utilising the scientific method, pupils continually learn research methods throughout the course. This not only equips them with the skills necessary to interpret data and findings of published studies, but prepares students who wish to pursue psychology or other sciences as degree subjects.

Psychology has become an immensely popular discipline and a popular choice at both A level and undergraduate level

 

Developing Transferable Skills

Analysis

  • The ability to consider a topic from multiple perspectives with a view to developing a critical and evidenced based evaluation.
  • Introduction to basic data handling (including numeracy), applying appropriate research methods and statistical procedures.
  • Problem solving, fitting psychological theory and knowledge to applied real world settings.
  • Understanding the philosophical underpinning of psychology and the scientific method.

 

Communication

Developing written and verbal communication are key aspects of the subject, with discussion being a central component to exploring the specification content.

Practical Skills

  • Engaging in practical research, including the collection, analysis and interpretation of data.
  • Understanding the role of ethics as set out by the British Psychological Society in conducting research and when working as a psychologist.
  • Developing independent study skills to deepen and broaden subject knowledge, allowing students to keep abreast of recent developments.

Careers
Psychology is offered at most universities including Oxbridge and Russell Group and since it is so popular, new courses are being offered all the time. For example, psychology is now offered as a joint honours degree with many other topics from the more traditional Psychology & Biology, to Psychology & English Literature or Psychology & Criminology. However, it is essential that any joint course meets the British Psychological Society’s (BPS) accreditation criteria for graduate basis for chartered membership (GBC), otherwise additional conversion courses may be required to pursue a career in psychology.

There are a range of potential careers in psychology, but to become a Psychologist requires a degree and usually an additional post graduate qualification, so should be factored into career planning and costing. Areas of work within psychology include clinical psychology, sports psychology, occupational psychology, educational psychology, counselling psychology and many more (see the BPS website for details). There are an even larger range of careers where psychology is a real advantage, and employers are keen to hire psychology graduates due to their extensive transferrable skills and understanding of human behaviour.

 

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