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The North School

Social Sciences

Subject Overview

Incorporated into this department are the following subjects:

Psychology is taught as a GCSE and an A Level

Sociology is taught at A level

Criminology Applied Diploma 6th form (Level 3)

Extended Project Qualification Year 12 (Level 3)

The department ethos is to encourage students form balanced and justified opinions via debates and written work. Many A Level students go on to study these subjects at university level. Studying these subjects allows students to develop analytical thinking skills and evaluation skills on the topics they study to establish the validity and reliability of what they are taught and read.



Psychology literally translates as ‘the study of the human mind’. This subject offers you the opportunity to learn about the science behind human behaviour by understanding how research is conducted and used to develop theories and laws about human behaviour.

GCSE Psychology is a 100% exam subject. There is no coursework.

Students will sit two 90-minute exams at the end of year 11.

Paper 1 – Studies and Applications in psychology 1

  • Criminal psychology
  • Development
  • Psychological problems.
  • Research Methods (Designing an investigation)

 Paper 2 – Studies and Applications in psychology 2

  • Social Influence
  • Memory
  • Sleep and Dreaming
  • Research Methods (Novel Source)



Sociology is the systematic study of society and our place within it. Sociologists attempt to uncover essential truths about how human beings act in order to challenge the status quo and improve society. A level Sociology examines social behaviour from a variety of perspectives: how it originates and then develops, and the ways people are organised into groups according to distinctions such as class, gender, sexuality and race.

In A level sociology we study…

  • Education—how does the way we are taught affect our life chances?
  • Culture and Identity—how do we form our identity? Are we in control of it…or does culture make us who we are?
  • Beliefs in Society—how important is religion to society today? Is it a positive or negative influence?
  • Crime and Deviance—who commits crime and why?

Sociology is a 100% exam subject – there is no coursework.

Students will sit three two-hour exams at the end of Year 13


Psychology is the scientific study of the human mind, behaviour and experience. A Level Psychology offers the opportunity to explore different ways in which our behaviour can be explained.

A Level psychology will develop your understanding of the main areas of psychology and the scientific research methods applied to studying human behaviour as well as the ability the analyse and evaluate these.

A level psychology is a 100% exam subject. There is no coursework.

Students will sit three 2-hour exams at the end of year 13.

Paper 1: Introductory Topics in Psychology

  • Social Influence
  • Memory
  • Attachment
  • Psychopathology

Paper 2: Psychology in Context

  • Approaches in Psychology
  • Biopsychology
  • Research Methods

Paper 3: Issues and Options in Psychology

  • Issues and Debates
  • Option A
  • Option B
  • Option C

Studying psychology has a number of benefits including the ability to think critically, improved communication skills and, perhaps most important of all, an insight into human behaviour that can be applied to real life.


The Level 3 Applied Diploma in Criminology is a qualification with elements of psychology, law and sociology. This qualification allows learners to gain the required understanding and skills to be able to consider employment within some aspects of the criminal justice system, e.g. the National Probation Service, the Courts and Tribunals Service or the National Offender Management Service.

Students studying the applied diploma award will complete 4 core units:

  • Changing Awareness of Crime
  • Criminological Theories
  • Crime Scene to Courtroom
  • Crime and Punishment

Units 2 & 4 are assessed externally. Both are 90 minute exams. Remaining Units 1 and 3 are coursework based which may require you to write essays and produce PowerPoints by an agreed deadline. These will be 8 hour assessments that are divided across 3 days.  

This qualification is designed to help students work towards higher level qualifications at college or University. Degree course such as Criminology and Criminal Justice are accessible with this qualification. 

This qualification cannot be taken in conjunction with A Level Sociology, Psychology or Law.


The Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) is an independent research project that allows students to move beyond the restrictions of A Level specifications and select a topic that is of particular interest to them. Students can choose a topic to explore that they have never studied at school before. The student will then be required to conduct their own research into their chosen area and produce either a 5000-word essay or can even create an artefact of their choice supplemented with a 2000-word essay. Previous examples have been a creation of a dog biscuit brand, website creations, paintings and even items of clothing. This is a wonderful opportunity for students to showcase their talents in research as well as presenting their findings to their fellow peers at the end of their project. Choosing to complete the EPQ will demonstrate to universities that the student can excel at independent research.

Higher Education Links and Career Opportunities

Strong relationships are established with local universities (University of Kent, Canterbury Christ Church University). Several University of Kent students studying social science subjects have recently completed a teaching module in the department, passing on their knowledge to the current cohort.

Many of our students go on to university to study social sciences. Ex-students have gone on to qualify as solicitors and barristers or work in legal research posts for private companies and the Government.