Letters extra: The case for psychology

29th August 2003 at 01:00

There seems to be envy at the popularity of psychology, which makes it a target of attack. If the critics were to study psychology, it may help them understand why it has become the third most popular A-level subject.

Not because it's easy - you may as well say that English or history is easy - but because it is not a national curriculum subject, so there is the element of novelty, and because it is an intrinsically interesting and useful subject.

Psychology is about the study of people and their behaviour, and we are all interested in that. It is a diverse subject which incorporates elements of biology, maths, development, animal behaviour, and cognitive and social science. It also has direct practical relevance for understanding how we learn - extremely useful for teachers and students.

Psychology attracts a wide range of students - those studying both natural sciences and the arts, so it is a useful bridge between the two. Psychology graduates are among the most employable graduates, because they have access to many fields - from health, education and law to human resources, advertising and marketing.

It does attract many students who think it is any easy subject - hence the relatively high failure rate at A-level. But critics should take a look at the exam and its specification
before making claims about its actual difficulty.nbsp;

Ms S Dury
Sydenham, London

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