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Psychology: Applied Psychology (Extended Certificate)

Psychology is the scientific study of the human mind. It aims to explain why we behave the way we do. The Level 3 BTEC National Certificate and Extended Certificate in Psychology is suited to those who do not meet the entry requirements for A Level Psychology and for students who prefer a more modular approach. Students will sit exams in both year 12 and year 13 and will be assessed through external exams and internally assessed coursework units.

Subject content

Over the course of two years, you will study a number of units including:

Psychological Approaches and Applications.

You will be introduced to different approaches in Psychology including the biological and cognitive approach. You will develop an understanding of how psychological approaches, research and concepts can explain gender, aggression and consumer behaviour.

Conducting Psychological Research.

You will gain an understanding of the research process and the key methods used by researchers to test theories that provide information about how people think and behave. You will carry out your own pilot study and learn how to analyse your findings.

Health Psychology.

Here you will explore how psychological theories and studies explain health behaviours; how stress and addiction develop and are maintained; lifestyle choices and health-related behaviours; and how psychology can be used to change behaviour.

Introduction to Psychopathology.

You will be introduced to how psychopathology is differentiated. You will explore how society’s approach to mental illness has changed, for example the move from asylums to community care; causal factors and different approaches to treating mental disorders.

This course is an award of Pearson. Visit the Pearson website to read the full course specification.


BTEC National Certificates and Extended Certificates are assessed using a combination of internal and external assessments. Assessment is 60% examinations and 40% coursework.

Progression opportunities

This course develops skills that are useful in a number of jobs and professions including law, business, medicine, journalism, marketing, advertising, personnel work, management and many more. You can progress to Higher Education to study a variety of courses such as business and marketing, education and health care and also different areas of psychology such as forensic psychology.

Meet the A Level expert

Rebecca Thompson

Rebecca studied a BA (Hons) in Criminology with Psychology at Leeds Beckett University and a PGCE at Sheffield Hallam University.

Rebecca said: “Most students haven’t studied Psychology before they come to College, which makes it an exciting new subject that can strengthen skills in a range of areas, including analysis, essay writing, Maths and Science.”

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