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Psychology is a popular choice for university students, but which A-Levels do you need to take? 

That’s why we ensure that our Psychology summer school students have access to personalised 1:1 tutorials with expert tutors. 

So they can receive the best advice on their next steps in education according to their future goals.

We’ve also created this guide to help students like yourself choose the right A-Levels for studying Psychology at the university. Our guide includes information on the A-Level requirements of the Top Psychology universities in the UK.

After reading this article, you’ll feel more confident in making an informed decision about your future.

What Subjects Do You Need For Psychology A-Level? 

University of Cambridge

You can study Psychology in-depth at Cambridge by applying for the Psychological and Behavioural Sciences Tripos. The typical Cambridge A-Level for this course is A*AA. 

However, it is worth noting that some Cambridge Colleges may require A*A*A. No required or preferred subjects were specified. 

University of Oxford

There are two Psychology courses you can take at the University of Oxford, including:

The Oxford A-Level entry requirement for either of these Psychology courses is A*AA. 

For those wanting to study Psychology, Oxford highly recommends studying any of the following subjects to A2 Level:

  • Mathematics
  • Science (i.e. Biology, Chemistry, Physics, or Psychology)

University College London (UCL)

The required A-Level grade to study Psychology at the University College London is A*AA. With a contextual A-Level offer of BBB. 

For aspiring UCL Psychology students, you’re required to take at least one A-Level subject from among the following:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Psychology 

Although it’s preferred if you take two, rather than just one. 

University of Bath

The University of Bath requires A*AA in three A levels for students who want to study Psychology. An alternative offer is AAA.

Bath requires an A-Level each in numeracy and essay-based subjects.

Numeracy subjects include:

  • Mathematics
  • Statistics
  • Any science
  • Economics
  • Psychology

Essay-based subjects include:

  • Economics
  • English Literature
  • History
  • Philosophy
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Religious Studies

King’s College London

King’s College London requires A-Level grades of A*AA for prospective Psychology students. What is the contextual offer? It’s AAB. 

Applicants need to have at least an A in any one of the following required subjects:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Psychology

It’s important to note that King’s doesn’t accept these subjects as one of your A-Levels:

  • General Studies
  • Critical Thinking
  • Thinking Skills
  • Global Perspectives 

University of St Andrews

The University of St Andrews requires an A-Level grade from ABB to A*A*A for Psychology applicants. Does it specify what subjects it prefers or requires? Nope. 

The A-Level requirement is the same for the two Psychology degrees you can choose from:

University of Bristol

The University of Bristol offers three undergraduate Psychology courses:

All three have the same standard A-Level offer of A*AA and contextual offer of AAB.

Both BSc Psychology and MSci Psychology with Innovation require an A in a science-related subject, including:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Further Mathematics
  • Geography
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Psychology
  • Statistics

What about for MSci Psychology and Neuroscience? Bristol requires an A in a core science/maths subject, including: 

  • Psychology
  • Biology (or Human Biology)
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Mathematics (or Further Mathematics)

University of Exeter

The University of Exeter’s standard A-Level offer for BSc Psychology is AAA with an A in a Science subject. 

Here are Exter’s accepted Science subjects:

  • Biology/Human Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Computing
  • Design and Technology
  • Economics
  • Electronics
  • Environmental Studies
  • Geography
  • Geology
  • Life and Health Sciences (Double Award only)
  • Marine Science
  • Maths/Pure Maths/Further Maths
  • Nutrition and Food Science
  • Physical Education
  • Physics
  • Psychology
  • Science (applied)
  • Sport Science
  • Statistics

Durham University

Durham University offers the following Psychology courses:

With these joint programmes:

The standard A-Level offer for these courses (except BA Education Studies – Psychology) is AAA. What about for BA Education Studies – Psychology? The required A-Level grade is AAB. 

Durham doesn’t require specific A-Level subjects. However, for BA Education Studies – Psychology, a Grade 5/B (or above) in Mathematics GCSE is needed for the application.

Cardiff University

What A-Level does Cardiff University require for prospective psychology students? A*AA-AAB. There are no specific or preferred A-level subjects for Cardiff’s Psychology (BSc).

Do You Need Maths For A-Level Psychology?

Maths is not a requirement for A-level psychology, but it is useful to have a strong foundation in maths skills. This is because much of the coursework in psychology involves conducting and analysing research, which requires strong maths skills. 

Did you notice how most of the Top Psychology schools in the UK we’ve covered in the previous section require at least one or two maths/science subjects for A-Level? 

Universities that include maths as one of their preferred subjects include:

  • University of Oxford
  • University College London
  • University of Bath
  • King’s College London
  • University of Bristol

The list of universities that prefer A-Level Mathematics speaks volumes on how beneficial maths is for Psychology. 

Is there a GCSE for Psychology?

Yes, there is a GCSE for Psychology. But do you need GCSE Psychology to take A-Level Psychology? Nope, it’s not a requirement for A-level, but it is recommended.

What is usually required for taking A-Level Psychology is a grade 4 or 5 in Maths/Science, English Language, and another subject. 

It’s worth noting that taking a GCSE in Psychology will give you a strong foundation in the basics of psychology, which will be useful when you move on to the A-level course.

It also serves as good preparation for university-level Psychology.

Graduate Destinations

The Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services “What Do Graduates Do” Survey 2021/22 reports that: 

  • 45.5% of Psychology graduates work full-time 
  • 12.5% work part-time
  • 15% work and study 
  • and 11.9% proceeded to further study within 15 months after graduation. 

A majority of those employed work in:

  • Childcare
  • Health
  • and education professions.

Check out Psychology graduate destinations from specific university graduates:

University of Bristol

Most recent graduates work within three sectors:

  • Education
  • Health
  • Social Work

Here are the specific percentages:

  • 32% Assistant Psychologist
  • 26% Health-Related Research
  • 17% Clinical Doctorate Course
  • 13% Continuing Education
  • 12% Others

Other professions Bristol Psychology graduates get into include:

  • Wholesale & Retail
  • Banking & Accountancy
  • Journalism & Media
  • Recruitment & Personnel

University of Exeter

Discover Uni reports that 90% of Exeter Psychology graduates were employed or enrolled in further study within 15 months after graduation. Those employed earn an average entry-level salary of £26,000.

Here are some of the professions of Exeter Psychology graduates:

  • Therapy professionals
  • Project support officers
  • Teaching professionals
  • Data analysts
  • Programmers and software development professionals
  • Business and related research professionals
  • Marketing associate professionals
  • Financial accounts managers
  • Police officers
  • Taxation experts

Who are some of the employers of Exeter Psychology graduates?

  • Avon and Somerset Police
  • BBC
  • Ipsos MORI
  • KPMG
  • NHS
  • The Francis Crick Institute
  • Victim Support
  • YouGov

For those who are enrolled in further study, what are some of the courses Exeter Psychology graduates took? 

  • MSc Cognitive Neuroscience
  • MSc Developmental Psychology
  • MSc Global Mental Health
  • MSc Forensic Mental Health
  • MSc Human Resource Management
  • MSc Applied Data Science and Statistics
  • MSc Psychological Research Methods
  • MA Conflict, Security and Development
  • PhD in Psychological Medicine
  • PGCE Secondary Psychology

Durham University

Many Durham Psychology graduates proceed to have successful careers, whether directly related to Psychology or not, such as:

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Human Resources
  • Marketing Analysis
  • Speech & Language Therapy (via conversion course) 
  • Law (also via conversion course)
  • Teaching (PGCE Primary or Secondary).

Others chose to study further to get a Master’s or PhD degree in Psychology.

Do you want to know more about the career opportunities available to Psychology graduates? Then, check out this article, “What Can You Do With A Psychology Degree?

What’s the Difference Between Psychology and Psychiatry? 

Psychiatry is a branch of medicine that deals with mental illness. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specialises in diagnosing and treating mental illness.

Psychologists, on the other hand, are not medical doctors. They do not prescribe medication or conduct medical procedures. Instead, psychologists use techniques such as talk therapy to help people deal with their mental health issues.

While there is some overlap between the two fields, they are quite different. Psychology is a much broader field than psychiatry. It includes the study of human behaviour, emotions, and cognition. 

But Psychiatry focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness.

If you’re interested in a career in psychology, you will need to complete a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Are you interested in a career in psychiatry? Then you will need to complete a medical degree.

So, if you’re looking to study Psychology at the University, it’s important that you take the relevant Maths and Science A-Level subjects. However, don’t forget that other degrees are available in this field, so do your research to find the right one for you.

We hope this article has been helpful and wish you all the best with your future studies!

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