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Psychology. Worth studying?


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Old 20-12-2007, 23:29
Angrysquirrel
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I'm a history graduate, thinking of going on to do a post-grad, possibly in psychology as this is something that has always interested me.

I'm not sure yet which area I would like to specialise in, it would depend which avenues have the best career opportunities in the end. Is it even worth studying in the first place though? I know its very popular choice, so I'm not sure if I'd just be wasting my time.
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Old 20-12-2007, 23:36
Macaroni
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It's an area that's interests me, but on a leisurely basis.

Are you only really thinking about taking this post grad for employment opportunities? Why did you study history and what plans did you have for that particular degree? What changed?

I understand people change their minds (fair enough) and things are different these days but perhaps bogging yourself down with another qualification you haven't thought about fully could only delay employment or veer you into the "dunno what I want to do" lane.
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Old 20-12-2007, 23:37
John_Elway
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At what level are you thinking of studying it?
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Old 20-12-2007, 23:38
John_Elway
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I know you said post-grad... but I mean, MSc. or Diploma or something etc.
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Old 20-12-2007, 23:44
Angrysquirrel
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I took history because I liked it, not necessarily because I saw myself having a career out of it.

I would now like to study something with a career in mind, so would only think about doing something vocational. It has to be something that interests me as well, though, which I why I'm thinking of psychology.

As for what course I will study, I assume an MSc, but I'm not sure what would be the best route to take?
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Old 20-12-2007, 23:46
dorydaryl
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I'm biased as I'm doing a Psychology PhD, AngrySquirrel.
I find it fascinating and VERY diverse...there are so many branches.
One bit of advice, if you're thinking of PG study in Psychology, choose the course carefully. Some of them will require quite a bit of statistical knowledge and experimentation (i.e. MSc); others perhaps less so (MA). If you're okay with stats, you've got more choice, but not all Psychology-based postgrad programmes will require that. Some courses are also quite specific; my MSc was in 'Psychological Approaches To Health'. Our department (Univ. of Leeds) also runs a 'Memory and Cognition' MSc, or a Qualitative Methods and Health' one. The emphasis of the topics reflects the Psychology department's strengths and interests. Ours has strong emphasis on cognition, nutrition and health. Other departments may focus on social, occupational or sports psychology.
Think about whether your strengths are likely to be in 'qualitative' or 'quantitative' research, whether you can travel/ move to do postgrad study in an area/ topic of interest (psychology or otherwise) and, obviously, find out as much as you can about the courses before you go further (though you don't need me to say that, patronising cow I am!)

Good luck.
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Old 20-12-2007, 23:49
John_Elway
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Well I think the only person who knows whether it's worth it is you as it all depends on what you want to do.

I have a psych BSc. and loved it. The only think I'd say is IF you're doing it primarily for a career then don't do just any MSc. Do one that the British Psychological Society approve of and endorse as being a graduate member of them will help significantly.
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Old 20-12-2007, 23:50
John_Elway
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I'm biased as I'm doing a Psychology PhD, AngrySquirrel.
I find it fascinating and VERY diverse...there are so many branches.
One bit of advice, if you're thinking of PG study, choose the course carefully. Some of them will require quite a bit of statistical knowledge and experimentation (i.e. MSc); others perhaps less so (MA). If you're okay with stats, you've got more choice, but not all Psychology-based postgrad programmes will require that. Some courses are also quite specific; my MSc was in 'Psychological Approaches To Health'. Our department (Univ. of Leeds) also runs a 'Memory and Cognition' MSc, or a Qualitative Methods and Health' one. The emphasis of the topics reflects the Psychology department's strengths and interests. Ours has strong emphasis on cognition, nutrition and health. Other departments may focus on social, occupational or sports psychology.
Think about whether your strengths are likely to be in 'qualitative' or 'quantitative' research, whether you can travel/ move to do postgrad study in an area/ topic of interest (psychology or otherwise) and, obviously, find out as much as you can about the courses before you go further (though you don't need me to say that, patronising cow I am!)

Good luck.
I'd second about the stats. Although much 'maths' is done for you by specialist software, you can't really get away from it.
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Old 20-12-2007, 23:52
Angrysquirrel
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I'm biased as I'm doing a Psychology PhD, AngrySquirrel.
I find it fascinating and VERY diverse...there are so many branches.
One bit of advice, if you're thinking of PG study, choose the course carefully. Some of them will require quite a bit of statistical knowledge and experimentation (i.e. MSc); others perhaps less so (MA). If you're okay with stats, you've got more choice, but not all Psychology-based postgrad programmes will require that. Some courses are also quite specific; my MSc was in 'Psychological Approaches To Health'. Our department (Univ. of Leeds) also runs a 'Memory and Cognition' MSc, or a Qualitative Methods one
Think about whether your strengths are likely to be in 'qualitative' or 'quantitative' research, whether you can travel/ move to do postgrad study in an area/ topic of interest (psychology or otherwise) and, obviously, find out as much as you can about the courses before you go further (though you don't need me to say that, patronising cow I am!)

Good luck.
Hi and thanks for the advice.

I'm really not sure which area I would like to specialise in, but will certainly give it some due thought. At the moment I'm just just trying to decide whether it would be a viable option for me.

How did you get into your PhD? Do you get funding for it? What are you hoping it will lead to?
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Old 20-12-2007, 23:53
dorydaryl
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I'd second about the stats. Although much 'maths' is done for you by specialist software, you can't really get away from it.

OMG, are you an SPSS 'victim' too!
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Old 20-12-2007, 23:55
John_Elway
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OMG, are you an SPSS 'victim' too!
Please don't say that ... *shivers*
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Old 20-12-2007, 23:59
Angrysquirrel
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Well I think the only person who knows whether it's worth it is you as it all depends on what you want to do.

I have a psych BSc. and loved it. The only think I'd say is IF you're doing it primarily for a career then don't do just any MSc. Do one that the British Psychological Society approve of and endorse as being a graduate member of them will help significantly.
Well, its something I know I would enjoy, I'm fascinated by the subject, and have already done a bit of study in it during my first year at uni.

The reason I'm having my doubts is because I don't want to do something with very slim career prospects, although I would also be open to perhaps going on to study it at a more advanced level if I could get the funding for it.
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Old 20-12-2007, 23:59
dorydaryl
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Hi and thanks for the advice.

I'm really not sure which area I would like to specialise in, but will certainly give it some due thought. At the moment I'm just just trying to decide whether it would be a viable option for me.

How did you get into your PhD? Do you get funding for it? What are you hoping it will lead to?

During the final year of my undergrad degree I realised that I quite enjoyed this Psychology lark and wanted to take it further. I also had an idea of a health related topic I would love to look at for a PhD. With the backing of my project supervisors, I applied to the ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) for a scholarship, and, luckily, got it. This provided funding (course fees and living expenses) for a 1 year MSc and a 3 year PhD (known as a 1 + 3). There are also other funding bodies and scholarships available. Sometimes, if you show potential, you can be funded from within the university or a specific department, or at least get a bursary towards course fees. If aiming for PhD level (sometimes you can go straight from BA/BSc to PhD level) you need to show you are passionate about the area you wish to study. If Psychology is your interest, though, I would recommend starting at MA/MSc level, as it was not your first degree subject.

I am hoping to go on to become a clinical psychologist, but that's another 3 year course, where you study 'on the job!' Or, I hope to work in health research and I love teaching mature students, too.
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Old 21-12-2007, 00:00
dorydaryl
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Well I think the only person who knows whether it's worth it is you as it all depends on what you want to do.

I have a psych BSc. and loved it. The only think I'd say is IF you're doing it primarily for a career then don't do just any MSc. Do one that the British Psychological Society approve of and endorse as being a graduate member of them will help significantly.
That's another piece of spot-on advice, there!
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Old 21-12-2007, 00:06
John_Elway
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During the final year of my undergrad degree I realised that I quite enjoyed this Psychology lark and wanted to take it further. I also had an idea of a health related topic I would love to look at for a PhD. With the backing of my project supervisors, I applied to the ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) for a scholarship, and, luckily, got it. This provided funding (course fees and living expenses) for a 1 year MSc and a 3 year PhD (known as a 1 + 3). There are also other funding bodies and scholarships available. Sometimes, if you show potential, you can be funded from within the university or a specific department, or at least get a bursary towards course fees. If aiming for PhD level (sometimes you can go straight from BA/BSc to PhD level) you need to show you are passionate about the area you wish to study. If Psychology is your interest, though, I would recommend starting at MA/MSc level, as it was not your first degree subject.

I am hoping to go on to become a clinical psychologist, but that's another 3 year course, where you study 'on the job!' Or, I hope to work in health research and I love teaching mature students, too.
Best of luck do you daryl.

I agree about the level daryl said to start at. Psychology is so diverse that it's be a shame to jump in half way along. Some areas of psych are (rightly) at loggerheads and contradict each other and it's great to study these different perspectives. One of them changed my life.
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Old 21-12-2007, 00:07
henders
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If you're thinking of a career as a chartered (ie. qualified) psychologist you'll probably find you need graduate membership of the British Psychological Society (http://www.bps.org.uk/) as a first step (whatever area you want to specialise in). This is usually aquired by doing an accredited psychology degree but there are other routes. The BPS website has some good info about the different careers available and what you need to do to get into them.

Postgraduate study is sometimes funded but this is competitive and a related first degree is often a requirement...but again, not always.
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Old 21-12-2007, 00:13
Angrysquirrel
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If you're thinking of a career as a chartered (ie. qualified) psychologist you'll probably find you need graduate membership of the British Psychological Society (http://www.bps.org.uk/) as a first step (whatever area you want to specialise in). This is usually aquired by doing an accredited psychology degree but there are other routes. The BPS website has some good info about the different careers available and what you need to do to get into them.

Postgraduate study is sometimes funded but this is competitive and a related first degree is often a requirement...but again, not always.
Helpful link. Thank you.
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Old 22-12-2007, 21:43
Angrysquirrel
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Hrm. Looks like a lot of the branches of psychology require a lot of further training. I quite liked the idea of clinical or counselling psychology, but both require three years on top of the conversion MSc, which I would never be able to afford without funding.
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Old 22-12-2007, 22:07
henders
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Hrm. Looks like a lot of the branches of psychology require a lot of further training. I quite liked the idea of clinical or counselling psychology, but both require three years on top of the conversion MSc, which I would never be able to afford without funding.
And both generally require 1-2 years postgraduate experience before you'd be likely to be accepted onto the 3 year doctorate. On the plus side, the clinical doctorate is funded so you get a salary while you're doing it (around 22k at the moment i think) and obviously the 1-2 years work experience would be paid (though you'd have to find it yourself and salaries aren't great).

Because the clinical doctorate is funded, entry is very competitive. There are two good websites dedicated to people seeking careers in this area: http://forum.psyclick.org.uk and http://www.clinpsy.org.uk - both aimed primarily at aspiring clinical psychologists, but with lots of info for people wanting to go into other areas of psychology as well.
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Old 22-12-2007, 22:13
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Part of my social science degree was psychology. I did memory,developmental psychology,personality,the love lives of orb spiders (my lecturer was obsessed with the spider's penis being stuck in the female and then eaten by her leaving the penis behind as a plug to stop other males getting their mitts on her),crowd control,identity and group dynamics.
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Old 22-12-2007, 23:26
dorydaryl
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Part of my social science degree was psychology. I did memory,developmental psychology,personality,the love lives of orb spiders (my lecturer was obsessed with the spider's penis being stuck in the female and then eaten by her leaving the penis behind as a plug to stop other males getting their mitts on her),crowd control,identity and group dynamics.
Yes, there were parts of my psychology degree that seemed to have nowt to do with psychology, but were fascinating all the same- can you imagine the above happening with humans!!!
Actually, animal and evolutionary psychology are further areas you can go into/ specialize in, and comparisons are often made with the animal world in social and biological psychology too.
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Old 23-12-2007, 00:22
threecheeses
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I got onto a course in psychology as a mature student with the intention of going into ergonomics.

I was all set for leaving work and got held up at gunpoint a few weeks before leaving (didn't go back) and the course went out the window.

Now interested in doing criminal psychology
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Old 23-12-2007, 00:39
Ja'mie King
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Im studying psychology at the moment, it is fantastic. I really want to be a psychologist so I'm expecting to go on to do a doctorate.

I find it absolutely fascinating. At first I planned to do a degree in Criminology, but switched when I got a taster in psychology
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Old 23-12-2007, 07:18
stormin norm
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I think psychology is fascinating and considered taking it myself. What put me off was the sheer number of people who seem to be studying it these days, and I had heard from a few people that competition was stiff for jobs and places on higher courses.

However, I have several times found myself thinking that I maybe should have taken a psychology degree instead of what I'm doing as I do think it's probably better to study something you love rather than something that will just give you a job at the end of it
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Old 23-12-2007, 09:33
John_Elway
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I think psychology is fascinating and considered taking it myself. What put me off was the sheer number of people who seem to be studying it these days, and I had heard from a few people that competition was stiff for jobs and places on higher courses.

However, I have several times found myself thinking that I maybe should have taken a psychology degree instead of what I'm doing as I do think it's probably better to study something you love rather than something that will just give you a job at the end of it
Do it Norm. It's what I did. Didn't regret it once.
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