Psychology A level distance learning course

dictionary definition of psychology - psychology A level

Psychology A level – a brief introduction

Psychology is the study of the human mind and behaviour.  Psychologists study and design experiments to find out what is normal human behaviour and then carry out research into abnormal behaviour.  They use the information learnt to address social and personal problems.

The Psychology A level includes two major components – AS level and the complete A level. AS level is a qualification in its own right and may be studied for on a one-year distance learning course.  However from this year the grades achieved in the AS level are no longer carried forward to the complete A level.

Each lesson begins with a set of clearly stated objectives and an explanation of its place in the overall programme of study. Effective learning is encouraged through frequent activities and self-assessment questions.

The AS level includes eight Tutor-marked Assignments (known as TMAs). The Complete A level course has a further six TMAs.

There is also guidance on carrying out practical investigations and psychological methods.

The aims of the course are to introduce candidates to the basic theories and research methods in psychology.

AS level Content

  • Introductory Topics

    • Research Methods and Ethical Considerations
    • Introduction to Approaches in Psychology
    • Describing and Interpreting Data
  • Social Influence

    • Obedience
    • Minority Influence and Social Change
  • Memory

    • Models of Memory
    • Forgetting
    • Eyewitness Testimony
  • Attachment

    • Animals vs Humans
    • The Early Years
    • Deprivation and Separation
  • Theoretical Approaches in Psychology

    • The Biological and the BioPsychological Approach
    • The Behavioural Approach (Learning Theory)
    • The cognitive Approach and Neuroscience
    • The Psychodynamic and Humanistic Approaches
    • Inferential Statistics
  • Psychopathology

    • Definitions of Abnormality
    • Depression
    • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
    • Phobias

Additional A level content

  • Research Methods and Approaches

    • Psychological Approaches
    • Issues and debates in Psychology
  • Gender

    • Studying Gender
    • The Biological Approach
    • Gender Differences and Cultural Variations
    • Applying Psychological Approaches to Gender
  • Schizophrenia

    • Classification of Schizophrenia
    • Biological and Psychological Explanations
    • Drug Therapy, CBT and Family Therapy
    • Interactionist Approaches
  • Aggression

    • Biology and Genetics
    • Ethological, Evolutionary and Social Explanations
    • Institutional Aggression
    • Media Influences on Aggression

  • The AS is assessed by two one hour thirty Minute examinations, each worth 50% of the available marks.
  • The A level is assessed by three two hour examinations, each worth 33.33% of the available marks


Students will need to have a minimum of four GCSEs or equivalent.  The course contains elements where a good grounding in Maths GCSE is be advantageous.


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What our students think…

I wanted to apply for a masters degree and the University suggested I take an A level qualification. I found Oxford Open Learning and felt confident that they would support me. Balancing my study with part time work and caring for my children wasn’t easy, but having a supportive tutor and setting regular deadlines helped me get through the course in time. When the results came out and I’d done very well it really boosted my confidence and I felt a real sense of achievement. I am now 6 months into my MSC at University College and looking forward to a new career as a Speech and Language Therapist.

Susan Hayward, Psychology A level, Grade A

Sarah Hayward, Oxford Open Learning Psychology Student

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