Higher Psychology


The main purposes of the course are to enable learners to develop an understanding of the psychological study of the human mind and behaviour in a range of contexts, and to enhance their ability to use evidence to explain behaviour.

The course develops learners' understanding of psychology as the scientific study of the mind and behaviour. Psychology is a research-based subject, and it provides the opportunity to conduct practical research. This includes working with human participants in accordance with ethical standards.

Course Content

The course contains three units:

  • H260 76 Psychology: Research 6 SCQF credit points
  • H261 76 Psychology: Individual Behaviour 6 SCQF credit points (two topics)
  • H262 76 Psychology: Social Behaviour 6 SCQF credit points (two topics)

The course aims to develop:

  • knowledge and understanding of psychological concepts, theories, approaches and terminology
  • the ability to use thinking skills when analysing, evaluating and applying knowledge and understanding of psychology
  • understanding of the role of research evidence in explaining human behaviour
  • research skills to select, organise, interpret and evaluate information
  • the ability to plan and carry out psychological research, using appropriate method and according to ethical and scientific standards
  • communication and numeracy skills used in psychology


Homework is issued regularly - typically once a week. This will be less when pupils are underway with the research investigation. Pupils should expect to set aside at least 45 minutes for each homework exercise. Most homework will take the form of written exercises to test knowledge and skills and to consolidate all learning.


Pupils will be assessed in the following ways:

Internal Assessment

  • The three units are assessed on a pass/fail basis.
  • The Research Investigation accounts for 40% of the overall course mark.

External Assessment

  • A written exam is set by the SQA and is worth 60% of the overall course mark.

Entry Requirements

It is recommended that students have achieved Higher English as a suitable pre-requisite for this course.

Higher Psychology is suitable for all learners with an interest in finding out more about the human mind and behaviour. Learners will probably have little or no prior experience of studying psychology, but an interest in human behaviour and life experience will provide a good foundation for learners to progress to this qualification. Learners should be interested in developing their thinking, research and communication skills, either to pursue study and career options related to psychology, or to broaden their learning experience.