Which masters?? UK vs. EU, Neuropsychology vs. Psychosexology

The place to ask about degree courses, conversion courses, masters, PhD or other qualifications. Discuss specific courses, their pros and cons, the content, the application process, different institutions, how to fund them, etc. Includes advice if you have a 2:2 and questions on transcripts
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Which masters?? UK vs. EU, Neuropsychology vs. Psychosexology

Post by smo27 »

Hello all!

I'm currently completing a conversion course in the UK and looking to eventually get onto the DClinPsy. At first, I was sure that I wouldn't do another master's since I'm not sure how I could afford it since I've already taken out my postgraduate loan for the MSc. However, the more I think and read about it, the more I feel like additional study would really help prepare me for the role and academic side of AP positions and the DClinPsy.

Fortunately, my mum gets an allowance of c. £1000/month for me up to the age of 25 so long as I'm in full-time education (thus making studying part-time whilst working to fund my studies a bit redundant). This means I could just about cover tuition and living costs depending on where I go (e.g. even the UCL course could be affordable if I got a job as a Residence Advisor and therefore don't have to pay for accommodation). I'm just trying to weigh up doing a course I'm really excited for vs. what's affordable vs. what will actually help me get onto the DClinPsy and have the career I want.

I'm desperately passionate about experiences of trauma, especially with respect to sexual and gender-based violence. I definitely want to work in the UK with the NHS, but am also very keen on spending some weeks every year or so volunteering with the Red Cross or MSF helping people with these kinds of traumatic experiences. However, I also have aspirations of doing the Paediatric QiCN and going down the clinical neuropsychology route.

There are two 'dream' courses that I have found which I would both love to do, however, each has its own benefits and drawback. I was wondering if anyone could give me some insight as to whether my thoughts are well-founded, which direction you think is best to get onto the DClinPsy, or any other thoughts/ opinions? I don't want it to seem like I'm fobbing off the decision to strangers on the internet, but I've spent so long thinking about it all and would really, really appreciate some outside feedback from people who actually understand the psychology field. There are also other master's in the UK I'm considering since I could possibly live at home to save money, but I'm not particularly excited by any of these.

BA (Hons) History - King's College London - First Class
MSc Psychology of Mental Health - University of Edinburgh - on track for Distinction (currently on 85% average)
Experience: Voluntary peer supporter/wellbeing lead in Sixth Form; Digital helpline volunteer with ED charity; Befriender with a different ED charity; Volunteer bereavement support group facilitator

UCL/Anna Freud Centre and Yale Child Study Center - MRes Developmental Neuroscience and Psychopathology
https://www.ucl.ac.uk/pals/study/master ... opathology
- World-leading institutions and experts - 'impressive' on applications for jobs and DClin?
- Set-up of the course means I can spend a year consolidating and gaining knowledge before getting into a full year of research;
- opportunity to get work experience (AP, RA, SW) in London alongside first-year studies;
- Excellent preparation for QiCN
- Get to experience a range of perspectives from across the world
- Understanding developmental psychology (how we change as we go, the consequences of early experiences) and neuroscience (how the brain physically acts/responds/recovers) is applicable to pretty much any clinical psychology sub-speciality
- I love living in London and have an excellent support network of friends there
- Tuition fees only just covered by allowance so being an RA and working alongside uni is imperative - so quality of life likely not to be very good
- Even worse in second year when I'll definitely have to pay for accommodation
- Is it too research-focused and therefore not as 'impressive' or good for DClin applications as I think it is?
- Don't actually need it to enroll on QiCN, so primary benefit ought to be for AP/RA/DClinPsy

La Sapienza (Rome) - Masters in Clinical Psychosexology
https://corsidilaurea.uniroma1.it/en/co ... 30389/home
- Hugely interesting programme which is the only one of its kind in Europe (if not the world)
- Very relevant to humanitarian work I wish to do
- Masters + DClinPsy (or any other professional accreditation) enables practice as EFS & ESSM Certified Psycho-sexologist
- Covers theory of clinical work (e.g. assessment/formulation/treatment) as well as sex-specific material
- Get to live in Rome and thus learn a new language and assimilate to a different culture, which ought to be helpful even in the UK when dealing with such a diverse range of service users
- Very, very cheap and allowance would probably cover all tuition and living costs - better quality of life?
- No idea how it would be looked upon when applying to AP or similar roles in the UK, or the DClinPsy - even though it covers a lot of clinical material, will it come across as 'odd' or too specific?
- Moving to another country is risky - I love living abroad and experiencing new things, the course is in English and I have a friend in Rome to help with social life, but is things aren't so good I'll be in a new country all by myself with fairly basic knowledge of the language

I feel like my heart is with the Sapienza course, but my brain thinks I should go to UCL/Yale :( (If I even get onto either of them)
Thank you for reading this essay of a post and for any guidance you can give me!
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Re: Which masters?? UK vs. EU, Neuropsychology vs. Psychosexology

Post by maven »

I think you'd gain little from doing another MSc, and would get more from gaining some paid experience. You've got a first and a distinction at MSc, so you'd gain no additional shortlisting points, and the decision has an opportunity cost in missing out on full-time employment that would actually add to your CV.

But if you insist on another MSc, I think "psychosexology" sounds as much like astrology as CP, and I can't see how a course about working with adult sexual relationships relates to your career aspirations as stated, such as humanitarian work. For most of the CP-relevant posts I know it would add nothing (and it might even subtract from your CV if I was shortlisting for an AP post). So I'd only look at that if I wanted to do sex therapy with private clients or in Europe.

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Re: Which masters?? UK vs. EU, Neuropsychology vs. Psychosexology

Post by Spatch »

Normally for someone with your qualifications and experience I would say that you would benefit from having paid employment that gives you experience and allows you to develop the skills and attributes you would need for a decent application.

However, I am conscious of your limited time frame around having access to that allowance and if it is the case of getting a 'free' (or nearly) masters degree, I can understand why you would want to act on that now. In that case, my thoughts would be to consider the masters degree that gives you the most opportunities if you were not to get onto a DClinPsy. I would say don't focus too much on what masters you think a course may or may not like, as many trainees don't even have one. However, anything that gives you a decent plan B or the possibility to pursue other avenues is good to have in a system where there are many highly qualified applicants and a very limited number of places.
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Re: Which masters?? UK vs. EU, Neuropsychology vs. Psychosexology

Post by banzay »

Hello Smo27,

I would echo what was said above and suggest that you don't really need another MSc, but I also understand your desire to keep studying and learning.

Funnily enough - I'm originally from Rome, so I know la Sapienza well, and I applied to the UCL/Yale MRes a few years ago and got to the interview stage, but unfortunately was not offered a place (I am currently in my first year of the DClinPsy).

Clinical Psychology as a profession in Italy is very different from how it is set up here in the UK (in terms of training, jobs, how it's seen by the public, etc) and Sexology is a popular specialism that psychologists can choose to pursue (although I agree, in English it sounds very weird). I think it's helpful to note that in Italy there's a distinction between being a psychologist and a psychotherapist. So in a nutshell, psychologists can assess clients or provide consultations but cannot deliver a therapeutic intervention. I just wanted to highlight that in case you thought that the MSc would qualify you for therapeutic work. Also bear in mind that clinical psychology is regulated differently in different countries, so an Italian qualification wouldn't necessarily be recognised in the UK.

I guess I feel the civil duty to warn you about how unorganised the Sapienza is and how it resembles bureaucratic hell (as does Italy in general). I've heard many stories of courses supposedly being offered in English, but actually being offered in a weird hybrid that is closer to Italian with some lecturers who do not speak or read or understand English. Also in general I'm not a fan of the Italian academic system, it's very theory-heavy with little practical experience and virtually no critical thinking (you might even be asked to study on the book your professor wrote). BUT you're right - the quality of life in Italy is amazing (in non-COVID times), so I'm sure it would be a great life experience regardless.

When I was looking into the MRes at UCL/Yale I was also toying with the idea of pursuing the DClinPsy eventually and while talking to students who completed the course I got the impression that it is a great course if you want to pursue a PhD, or a career in research more broadly, but it doesn't really give you the clinical experience necessary for the clinical doctorate (but of course you can work as an AP and build you clinical experience later).

I completely understand your desire to experience living in another country - after I was rejected by the MRes I ended up getting onto an MSc in an area of psychology I was very interested in in the Netherlands. That course also gave me the opportunity to do a clinical placement and that's how I started gaining clinical experience which ultimately led me to where I am now.

I hope this helps! I'm curious to hear what you end up choosing.


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