Psychology (Applied) Single Vocational A Level (BTEC Extended Certificate)

Course Description

Psychology is the scientific exploration of human behaviour and seeks to look beyond the 'surface' of our actions to understand the causes. Whether you are interested in the suggestion that all behaviour has a biological basis or whether you believe the environment and our experiences are the root of our behaviour. Psychology will allow you to discover and evaluate different viewpoints and you will gain a deeper understanding of the way we perceive and interact with our surroundings. This qualification has a heavy focus on theories and models applied to Health Psychology such as addiction, mental health, gambling, eating disorders, aggression and stress.

Entry Requirements

Students studying three A Levels will be expected to have a minimum of two GCSEs at grade 6 and three other GCSEs at grade 4 or above including English Language and Mathematics at grade 4. This course may be taken alongside A Level courses and may be more suited to learners with a strong profile of prior attainment in vocational studies.

Course Content

Compulsory Topics: Approaches in Psychology, Conducting Psychological Research, and Health Psychology. There is an additional topic: Psychopathology and treatment. Psychology is an academic subject requiring a high standard of written communication and an ability to work independently on practical research projects. There are also biological and mathematical elements to the course.


Unit 1 Year 1 – External examination of short and extended questions

Unit 2 Year 1 – Internal assessments and projects.

Unit 3 Year 2 – External examination of short and extended questions

Unit 4 Year 2 – Internal assessments and projects

Enrichment and Work Experience

Visits have included trips to London, University days, guest speakers and conferences within the North West. These trips are an exciting way to see Psychology in action and how to apply the theoretical knowledge learnt in the classroom. Depending on what areas students are passionate about, they could carry out work experience within schools, the NHS, research settings and youth centres. Students can also volunteer their services on the student council and/or the student mental health awareness group.  There is an opportunity to complete a one week work placement in the spring or summer term.

Additional Information

Students must be equipped with files, dividers, highlighters, calculators, paper and pens to ensure they create full sets of notes for their revision. Some find it helpful to buy a textbook for additional reading and suggestions for suitable books are on the reading list provided at the start of term.

Links with other subjects:

Subjects which have close links to Applied Psychology include: A Level Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Science, Biology, Mathematics, Sociology and Health & Social Care.

Future Career Opportunities

Many students thoroughly enjoy studying Psychology and go on to study it further at university. Some decide to study a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology where they are able to choose which areas they wish to study and can specialise in a particular field. Psychology can lead to all kinds of careers such as occupational, clinical, educational or criminal psychologist. The skills acquired in A Level Psychology also lend themselves to many other careers involving people. Psychology is therefore relevant to people working in market research, advertising, personnel and management consultancy, teaching, social work and nursing amongst many others.

Why study at The Sixth Form Bolton?

The Psychology department is committed to facilitate your learning in an enthusiastic and supportive manner. We offer additional support and enrichment programmes as well as having many excellent e-learning resources to aid your progression through the two years of study.

For students who wish to progress in the field of Psychology and or psychological research at university, The Sixth Form also offers the opportunity to take an additional qualification of Core Mathematics.

Psychology is regarded as a highly academic subject and is well respected by employers and universities alike. We have excellent links with prestigious universities and progression rates to higher education are high.