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Psychology at A level/Uni

(19 Posts)
Theas18 Fri 23-Sep-11 08:07:30

Hi Ds is 15, he had a "careers interview" with someone from connexions.

Ds is an academic all rounder who could do anything, though probably will be happier doing arts rather than sciences I think.... (projected grades A/A* at GCSE across the board).

I'm a bit confuzzled as I only really know about straight forward academic subjects and psychology was suggested for him, which is completely off my radar. Apparently he has "good people skills" so that would suit him ...

Does he need to continue biology to do psychology at a Russell group uni? Where would it take him longer term?

Not helped by my personal experience of "connexions" via work being the ones that place the struggling kids into very low horizon placements- the predictable "you're female and not academic at all do an NVQ in child care". The "report" from the interview was unreadable scrawl on a carbon copy!

hocuspontas Fri 23-Sep-11 08:22:57

Dd2 has just started Psychology in year 12. I would be interested to find out how it is generally regarded because the school sold it as a 'good' subject. Looks interesting though and I would have liked to have done it myself at school.

BecauseImWorthIt Fri 23-Sep-11 08:33:16

I think psychology at A level is one which is regarded as a 'soft' subject by the Russell group. (I'll see if I can find the link)

OneHandFlapping Fri 23-Sep-11 08:33:37

We have just been doing the rounds of Russell Group unis to study psychology. None of them (Nottingham, Bristol, Oxford, Birmingham) have asked for biology. All of them have asked for maths or a science. Bristol were clearest, saying that they preferred applicants with a mixture of arts and science A levels, and that they used "science" in its broadest sense, eg including geography.

BecauseImWorthIt Fri 23-Sep-11 08:38:05

This is the list from Cambridge, which other top universities admitted they also use:

Generally Suitable Science A-levels
Further Mathematics

Generally Suitable Arts A-levels
Art History
Classical Civilisation
English Literature
Religious Studies

Limited Suitability
Archaeology (Arch & Anth)
Art & Design (Architecture/History of Art)
Business Studies (Economics)
Design & Technology (Architecture)
Drama/Theatre Studies (Arts)
Electronics (Engineering)
English Language (Arts)
Film Studies (Arts)
Government & Politics (Arts)
Law (Law)
Media Studies (Arts)
Psychology (Arts)
Sociology (Arts)

Unsuitable A-levels
Communication Studies
Critical Thinking
General Studies
Health & Social Care
Home Economics
Leisure Studies
Music Technology
Performance Studies
Performing Arts
Physical Education
Sports Studies
Travel & Tourism

BecauseImWorthIt Fri 23-Sep-11 08:39:36

When I was applying to university (which was a very long time ago!), I was interested in psychology. What surprised me was that at some it is a BA subject whereas in others it is a BSc. I'm not sure if it's still the case, but does reflect the fact that it draws from both arts and sciences.

senua Fri 23-Sep-11 08:43:29

Look hereto see details of courses and course-specific entry requirements.

This is from NHS Careers: "It is useful to remember that psychologists are not usually medically qualified and only a small proportion of people studying psychology degrees will go on to work with patients."

I think that Psychology is still looked at a bit hmm by serious academics. It is an 'ology' after all, although everyone is 'allowed' to have one hmm subject at A Level (just not all of them). I speak as one whose DC have both done Psychology in sixth form.

rattie77 Fri 23-Sep-11 08:45:36

Hi, My daughter studied Psychology at A level, went on to do a degree at Sheffield Uni (very good uni for psychology apparantly), then managed to get a post as a research assistant and is now in her final year of her PHD to become a clinical psychologist. It was all that she ever wanted to do, so she was quite driven in that area, it wasn't easy to get the assistant post and she tried twice to get on the PHD/Clinical course as there is fierce competition. I have a psychology/health science degree, and would have loved to have gone down the clinical route, but with a dependent family and non of her drive, I ended up working as a learning mentor in a high school. You obviously don't need a degree to do this role, but it helped to be able to apply the theory to some of the practical issues facing the pupils. I then went on to do a MA in Social Work as I felt my skills wwould be better used in this field. Finally my son has just gone to uni to study psychology - so he feels it a study worth studying.
Sorry for the ramble, just wanted to demonstrate that psychology is a subject that can be applied in many careers/areas of work. Many people go on to sales/people driven posts. I would say if he is interested - tell him to go for it, as he has good people skills he would be well suited to it. It is a fascinating subject to study, - be aware that you can study either BSc or BA, the BSc is more scientific and possibly more adaptable, though this may have changed since I studied it. Good luck

LastSummer Fri 23-Sep-11 12:03:03

Intelligent, empathic young people are often attracted to psychology and its almost infinite applications in clinical, pastoral and commercial environments or just in their everyday lives. If your son would like to discover if the subject might be for him, I'd suggest that he reads "The Moral Animal", an entertaining and groundbreaking book by Robert Wright. A great place to start!
A good A level in psychology would help your son gain a place on the degree course of his choosing. He'd at least need to read around the subject.

notabully Fri 23-Sep-11 13:55:14

See Russell Groups 'Informed Choices' publication.
Facilitating subjects are Maths and Further Maths, Eng Lit, Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Geography, History, Languages, Languages (Classical and modern).
Anything else is not likely to be required for any degree and some may even be discounted - so tread carefully.
Psychology degrees are normally open tp you without any specific subject background.
Surely best to keep options open by sticking to facilitating subjects.

marialuisa Fri 23-Sep-11 13:57:54

If he wants to keep his options open he won't need to do Psychology A-level to do Psychology at university. The BA/BSc distinction varies, when I did my degree I chose to graduate with a Bsc despite having all arts a-levels and erring towards the softer social psychology modules for my options. I could have opted for the BA if I wanted. DH has a BA despite having all science a-levels and taking more neuroscience-type options because that was all his university offered.

LastSummer Fri 23-Sep-11 14:39:59

From The Student Room:

Academic Requirements
The academic requirements for Psychology courses are broad depending on the institution you are applying to. For instance, the University of York require AAB at A-level, whilst Manchester Metropolitan University usually give offers around BBB at A-level. International and Scottish grades also vary, and one should consult each institution's website you're interested in on an individual basis.

In terms of what A-levels are most recognised, there is little difference, with a lot of emphasis placed on your personal statement and grades rather than what your subject options are. Indeed, many Psychology students never studied the subject at A-level (though this might perhaps make writing their personal statement more difficult as they must explain why they like Psychology). However, subjects in the sciences do tend to be held with high regard, particularly among the top Universities. Oxford, Cambridge, UCL and York in particular state that candidates must be studying one science subject to full A-level (though they often accept Psychology as one).

At these top institutions, Psychology has become a very competitive course, and one should be prepared to try and go beyond the minimum academic requirements the Universities lay out. In 2006, 85% percent of Psychology students at York were straight A students, with approximately 70% able to offer an additional science subject (usually Biology) as well as Psychology.

To read more:

eatyourveg Fri 23-Sep-11 15:36:23

Some of them will want post gcse maths for Psychology too

lazymumofteenagesons Fri 23-Sep-11 22:23:57

There are alot of statistics involved in Psychology at degree level, that is why they ask for maths. Also some Psychology degrees are more science based than others. Those calling themselves Experimental psychology such as at Oxford will veer more towards science and probably prepare better for the student to practice as a clinical psychologist.

crystalglasses Fri 23-Sep-11 22:41:55

I'm amazed how some people amongst my own acquaintances believe that having a BSc is superior to a BA, even though the content of the dgree was the same and they could choose which letters they wanted after their name. Sorry, this isn't expressed very well, i've had rather too much wine this evening.
I think that psychology A level isn't well regarded at University but imo a psychology degree with plenty of maths content is a superb degree as it enable a lot of different career options.

MotherOfGirls Sun 25-Sep-11 17:26:25

DD1 wanted to study Psychology A level but her school doesn't offer it. I enquired at a few other independent schools and found most don't offer it as they don't consider it particularly valuable. Better, I think, to stick with maths and science at A level as good grades in these subjects will facilitate access to a Psychology degree course but will also keep may other options open.

tinkgirl Sun 25-Sep-11 20:53:10

an element of Psychology is used in most careers so will be useful from this point of view however whether it's worth him taking it or not really depends on what career he would like to go into. What has he got in mind?

happygardening Sun 25-Sep-11 21:39:50

I'm an ex mature student and when talking to others at university apparently many drop out of their psychology degree because its very maths/statistics orientated; nothing like the A level. I've heard others say their children have dropped out for the same reason. Its fine if you know but I just thought I should warn you!

sillybillies Mon 26-Sep-11 12:19:12

you don't need psychology A level to do it as a degree, However I teach it it (and biology A level) and find most kids really enjoy it as an A level. They normally find it harder than expected as they arrive on the course with the pre-conceived idea that's its a breeze and the amount of maths in it can be a surprise. I think for an academic high flyer its a good 4th subject alongside 3 other A list subjects.
I think Psychology gets bad publicity as a subject as its not that easy. It came in the top half of the table in a review of 'how hard it was to get an A grade' that was published in one of the newspapers (can't remember which or when - 2/3 years ago). However still easier than Biology and definitely easier than Chemistry/Physics and maths.

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