Experiences of Online MSc Psychology conversion wanted

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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Experiences of Online MSc Psychology conversion wanted

Post by SR79 »


I have been applying for various Psychology conversion courses that can be taught via distant learning. Both Coventry and Northumbria have courses starting in Spring but I have since discovered (from current students on Facebook) that some people have posted that Northumbria's course in poor, with little teaching/interaction and students being left with a bunch of reading and sorting themselves out. Considering the fees are not that far behind an in-person masters I think this is a reason to be cautious about studying there.

For financial reasons I need to be able to work alongside the masters, hence the distant learning option - I'd love to do in-person if I could (Covid permitting).

Anyway - I'd love to hear from others who are studying this way, especially anyone at Coventry or Leicester as I have received offers from them .

Last edited by miriam on Wed Feb 24, 2021 8:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: to remove potentially defamatory content and unprofessional language.
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Re: Experiences of Online MSc Psychology conversion wanted

Post by miriam »

This post was potentially defamatory, as it was second hand opinion expressed as fact. In line with our policy, and my responsibility as the forum owner, I have therefore made minor edits to re-word the defamatory content. We also don't encourage swearing and unprofessional language, so I have removed that.

Please remember that the plural of anecdote is not data, and opinions on the internet are not always objective facts. So whilst it is definitely worth learning from other people's experiences of a particular course, your own mileage may vary.

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Re: Experiences of Online MSc Psychology conversion wanted

Post by lingua_franca »

Hi SR79,

While I agree with Miriam that the opinions of strangers on the Internet are subjective, I do think that you should approach any distance learning course carefully and make sure all your questions are answered to your satisfaction before you sign up. Universities are under enormous pressure to recruit more students, a situation has been exacerbated by Covid and the resulting loss of income, but that definitely predates the pandemic. (As an academic, I've had a ringside seat on the mayhem.) Distance learning has been touted across the higher education sector as a way of generating income, because it makes it possible to have much larger student cohorts. There are many excellent online degree courses out there, which were designed with the specific needs of distance learners in mind - the Open University is a great example of this - but I worry that some universities are less well equipped for online teaching, and that the financial squeeze means they can't take the time they need to develop the provision to a consistent standard. This pressure to get backsides on seats is causing a lot of stress for academics at the moment, especially as it's happening in the context of more financial cutbacks.

The result is that some distance courses may feel more like a 'poor relation' to in-person learning. In your shoes I'd probably be more inclined to choose a well-established course for this reason, but that doesn't mean newer ones are automatically going to be bad. Remember that disgruntled people are usually the ones who talk loudest, and satisfied students are less likely to post on social media. The pandemic means that many students are much more frustrated than they would otherwise be, because no one has exactly had the student experience they were hoping for this year, and levels of burnout are high. I wouldn't discount the views of current students, but I wouldn't base my whole decision on them either. Look at sample course materials if you can, find out what the teaching is like (e.g. will there be scheduled seminars or is it all asynchronous), and make a choice based on what looks like the best fit for you needs.

Good luck with it, and I hope you enjoy whichever course you end up picking.
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Re: Experiences of Online MSc Psychology conversion wanted

Post by SnowGem »

I would be interested to hear about some experiences of D/L courses too, as have struggled to make up my own mind which conversion might be the best option.

One thing that I would say is that I think most distance learning courses require you to be self-motivated. I completed my Undergraduate degree (non-psychology) by distance learning. There was very little in the way of interactive, live teaching. The course materials were there to guide you, but it was up to you to be an independent learner. I wonder whether there could also have been a mismatch in some of the expectations expressed by some of those student reviews? I can imagine if one has experienced very supportive lecturers, amidst the buzz of interactive lectures/seminars, this some might feel disappointing when experiencing the different feel of distance learning.
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Re: Experiences of Online MSc Psychology conversion wanted

Post by maven »

Absolutely. I very much need interaction to be motivated and learn!

Wise men talk because they have something to say, fools because they have to say something - Plato
The fool thinks himself to be wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool - Shakespeare
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Re: Experiences of Online MSc Psychology conversion wanted

Post by littlewing »


I am currently undertaking an online MSc psychology conversion at UHI so I thought I'd share my thoughts.

The distance learning MSc is VERY different to a standard, on-campus course (I have also completed an in-person MSc before). The contact time with the University is extremely limited (for me sometimes its only 1 hour a week) but you are expected to self-study around 35 hours+ per week. There is very little guidance at my University, the odd tutorial and article is given but otherwise it is basically a course you navigate yourself. Unless you live near your classmates, there is no opportunity for in person interaction with them, (unless you're into zoom chats etc.) so I would only recommend it if you are prepared to motivate yourself to sit and study on your own every day for the necessary amount of time. For me personally, I much preferred my University experience which was on-campus, I've found the distance learning very challenging at times, but it was the only option for me as I need to work alongside it (and even if I had done an in-person course it would've been online anyways because of COVID). If you have the possibility of learning on-campus, I'd recommend to go for this over distance learning. However, if you are like myself and that is not an option, then a distance learning course is ideal - just be prepared for a lot of alone time with your laptop and books! :D Best of luck in your journey

I should note of course that my experiences are reflective of my University - I can't speak for other distance learning courses which may be more 'hands on', but I imagine a lot are the same.
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Re: Experiences of Online MSc Psychology conversion wanted

Post by 5389tf »

I'm hoping to start an online MSc conversion course this year too. UHI is high on my list (useful post littlewing, thanks!) but I'm a bit concerned that it's only one third the price of Glasgow's DL equivalent. Am I missing something? Does anyone have any (hopefully not defamatory) explanations for the difference in price?

I requested a prospectus from UHI a couple of years ago, and was put off by its emphasis on how fun and enjoyable it all is, without any real focus on the intensity of the learning experience... which for me is kind of the whole point.

That said, it's affordable, local to me, and crucially it's BPS accredited, so I'm currently going on the assumption that if it does turns out to be a bit low-intensity, that just leaves more wiggle room for work experience, extra reading etc.

(I've been agonising over whether to apply for campus-based courses as I'd cherish the experience now much more than I did for my undergrad degree 10+ years ago, but low funds + rescue dog with an anxiety disorder (making shared accommodation impossible) mean that moving to e.g. Glasgow or Edinburgh isn't feasible atm.)
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