Psychology & Sociology
Over the past one hundred years the scientific study of the human mind and behaviour has had a huge impact on how we view ourselves and the behaviour of others.
Psychology is widely considered to be the most significant new academic discipline to have emerged during the 20th Century with many famous academics and scientists associated with the subject. These includes huge figures such as John Bowlby (attachment theory), Stanley Milgram (obedience), BF Skinner (behaviourism) and Sigmund Freud (psychoanalysis). The impact of Psychology has been far reaching, having an influence on how we bring up and educate children, treat mental illness and understand criminal behaviour.
Psychology is a research based subject which investigates a huge diversity of topics and issues. At both GCSE and a level students will learn about many of the most famous studies conducted in the history of Psychology and have the opportunity to reflect on the causes of their own thoughts and behaviour.
This wide range of topics covered on the course is particularly appealing to students and requires them to develop their academic skills, such as essay writing, conducting research and using statistics. As well as learning about key studies and theories in Psychology students will also participate in small scale ‘mini’ experiments to develop their understanding of research methods. They will also look at how Psychology has shaped the modern world through its applications. For example, they will study whether treatments for schizophrenia and depression are effective and how we should punish criminals.
The dominant approach in Psychology is currently cognitive neuroscience with research based on brain scans influencing how we understand human thought and behaviour. For this reason Psychology is increasingly considered a science subject and students will study a significant amount of biology at both A level and GCSE and are also required to learn a limited number of statistical methods.
An excellent way for students to gain a greater understanding of what is studied at both A level and GCSE it is to spend some time listening to the BBC Radio 4 ‘Mind Changers’ series. This can be found here: Mind Changers
GCSE: Social psychology, memory, sleep and dreaming, criminal psychology, child development, mental illness and research methods.
A level: Social psychology, memory, attachment, psychopathology, key approaches and debates in psychology, aggression, relationships, schizophrenia, biopsychology and research methods.
Enirchment: A group of students recently made a trip to Krakow in Poland to study the causes of the holocaust and visit Auschwitz in relation to the famous research conducted by Stanley Milgram.
For more information about Psychology, please contact Mr Neil JenkinsSHCE subject content material description
Sociology is the study of society and of people and their behaviour. It is an evidence based subject which focuses on improving society and informing government policy.
Sociology is a politically charged academic discipline which is often viewed as left wing and critical of the establishment and mainstream media. Whilst this is true to some extent, Sociology actually views and explores society from a variety of perspectives. For example, students will study the origins and continuing impact of feminism alongside the competing ideologies of Marxism and Neoliberalism. They also study the diversity modern of society, particularly in terms of gender and social class.
Sociology encompasses a wide range of subtopics at A level, including the role and impact of education and recent government policy, criminology and crime prevention, global inequality and the changing structure of UK population and family. They will also study research methods and how to conduct effective research. Much of the course focuses on contemporary examples and case studies of events affecting society in the UK and globally, such as the London riots, human trafficking and the role of international organisations, including the UN.
The study of Sociology at A level produces highly literate students who have a far more global and sophisticated view on their role and the role of government in creating a fairer and more equal society. It also brings them into contact with some of the greatest thinkers and academics in history such as Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, Karl Popper and Michel Foucault. Therefore, it not only helps them develop into more effective students but into more informed and capable citizens.
Topics studied on the A level:
Year 12: Family and households, education and policy, research methods
Year 13: Crime and deviance, global development and theories of Sociology
For more information about Sociology, please contact Mr Neil Jenkins