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Course overview

The aim of the course is to offer full-time students the opportunity to gain a National Qualification in Psychology. Studying Psychology provides an excellent subject qualification for many careers and you will be able to use it to progess to Higher Education. Universities recognise the research skills and the understanding of human behaviour that a Psychology qualification brings. Psychology forms a large part of a number of degree courses including nursing and healthcare, social work, teaching, criminal justice, sports science and business studies.

What else do I need to know?

This course includes a wide variety of learning experiences, such as lectures, one to one tutorials, group work, discussions/debates, practical sessions, DVDs and personal research when preparing for assessment.
You will also have the opportunity to participate in several educational visits.

What are the entry requirements?

You will have high overall GCSEs with a minimum of five 9-4 grades, which should include three or more at grade 5 or above. Your GCSEs should include maths and English at a minimum of grade 4.

The BTEC Extended Certificate is a course studied in conjunction with 2 full-time A Level subjects, over a 2 year period.

How is it assessed?

Progression to year two of study will be dependent on successful completion of Unit 1 and Unit 2 in year 1.
Assessment of the BTEC Extended Certificate in Applied Psychology is 40% internally assessed and 60% externally assessed via examination.
Year 1
Unit 1: Psychological Approaches and Applications (externally assessed via examination)
In this unit learners will explore the four key approaches in Psychology - social, cognitive, learning and biological and will learn to apply these approaches to issues relevant to contemporary society. Learners will be asked to apply their understanding of psychological research and concepts in explaining gender identity, aggression and consumer behaviour.
Unit 2: Conducting Psychological Research (Internally assessed)
Learners develop knowledge, understanding and skills in the scientific process and in psychological research methodology through their own project. This element of the qualification in particular would give learners a distinct advantage if they intend to study social science in Higher Education.

Year 2
Unit 3: Health Psychology (externally assessed via examination)
How is stress linked to illness? Why do people become addicted to behaviours or substances? Which factors influence whether people engage in healthy or unhealthy behaviours? These are the questions addressed by Health Psychologists, who are interested in how psychological and physiological factors affect health and ill-health. In this unit you will explore psychological concepts and research into stress and addiction. This unit explores the motivation behind healthy and unhealthy behaviours and the factors that might persuade individuals to finally change a behaviour or to follow the advice given by medical professionals.
Unit 4: Introduction to Psychopathology (internally assessed)
In this unit you will examine modern approaches to defining Psychopathology and the changing attitudes to treatment, from ancient beliefs through the advent of confinement in asylums to modern community care practices. You will examine types and characteristics of different mental disorders and the factors that can cause mental ill health, exploring the approaches adopted by professionals when treating mental disorders.

What financial support is on offer?

This course is free for anyone aged 16 – 18. If you are outside this age group please contact 01782 254188.
College Maintenance Allowance (CMA): Anyone with a household income under £21,000 can receive up to £20 per week financial support to help pay for travel and meals and meet the costs of essential trips, books, stationery and equipment. The payments will be subject to full attendance on your course. A range of other financial support is available, depending on your personal circumstances. For more details visit

What can I do next?

When you have gained your BTEC Extended Certificate in Applied Psychology you can use it alongside other qualifications to progress into Higher Education. There are a wide range of undergraduate degrees available in Psychology both locally and further afield. Both Staffordshire and Keele University offer a variety of Psychology degree courses. The BTEC Certificate can also be combined with many other subjects, for example, Criminology and Health. Employment opportunities for Psychology graduates are wide ranging, including teaching, social work, counselling, employment within the National Health Service and many more.

How do I find out more?

If you wish to find out more about this course, please contact Zoe Emery, Head of Psychology on

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