Masters or alternative postgrad qualification?

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beccasharon
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu May 19, 2016 10:41 am

Masters or alternative postgrad qualification?

Post by beccasharon » Thu Nov 01, 2018 5:34 pm

Hi, apologies if this has been asked before but I just want some advice.

I’m current completing my MSc in Psychological Wellbeing in Clinical Practice. Whilst I was doing my dissertation project over the summer, I developed pretty severe anxiety and it made me unable to continue with my dissertation. I spoke to my supervisors and got an extension until March 2019 to complete it. I’ve also edited the study a bit and had to apply for an ethics amendment and have only just been signed off from the ethics committee to start working on it again.

However, in the break from not working on my dissertation, I have felt such relief from not doing it and the thought of working on it again honestly fills me with dread. I am also seriously reconsidering my job options and wondering if clinical psychology really is the right for for me, or if I wold be better suited to some other form of therapeutic / counsellor job role.

What I am asking is, if I drop out of my Masters now, I will still get a qualification (I think it will be a PgDip), but do you think this will put me at a disadvantage later on when applying to jobs, or if I decide to apply for the doctorate in a few years?

I’m really struggling to decide. I think I would be happier not doing the dissertation as it would be a weight off my mind, but I’m worried I will regret it later, or this decision will disadvantage me somehow.

Any advice would really be appreciated x

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hawke
Posts: 107
Joined: Tue Feb 07, 2017 11:10 am

Re: Masters or alternative postgrad qualification?

Post by hawke » Thu Nov 01, 2018 5:59 pm

I'm sorry to hear you've been having a tough time. I hope you're starting to feel better, and I'm glad the university has been supportive.

In terms of the doctorate, I think it would depend on which university you applied for, as they all have different short-listing criteria. Some put a lot of emphasis on academic results and you would score fewer 'shortlisting points' with a PgDip rather than a Masters. However others completely disregard further qualifications, or have other emphases in their short-listing, and you would not be at all disadvantaged at those universities. So I guess it would depend how flexible you are in terms of where you apply. If you already have some universities in mind, it's worth reading their short-listing procedures in detail to find out.

It sounds like you've already considered this, but the doctorate is obviously going to involve an even bigger research project. There are plenty of other routes into more therapeutic roles, and research is one of the main things that separates the doctorate from these. So perhaps worth some reflection on whether you actually enjoy research or not. If you enjoy it, anxiety can be overcome or managed. If you don't enjoy it, why put yourself through it when there are other options?

Academic jobs aside, I don't think a PgDip would affect you in the job market at all. In my experience in IAPT, it was a rarity to have any form of post-grad qualification, except for the IAPT qualifications themselves. Services seemed much more interested in my potential competencies, rather than my qualifications.

I wonder if it would be helpful to look for the middle ground in your decision. The options aren't just "do the dissertation and put up with months of misery" or "drop out and take the PgDip". Perhaps going in with the mindset of "just giving it a go, I can always drop out later on if needed" might take some of the pressure off. You may find that it's not anywhere near as horrible as it has been built up to be in your mind, and that the first step is the hardest one. But of course, my ultimate advice would be that your health and wellbeing are always paramount, and come before any qualifications!

beccasharon
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu May 19, 2016 10:41 am

Re: Masters or alternative postgrad qualification?

Post by beccasharon » Sat Nov 03, 2018 3:00 pm

Thank you so much for this response. You have given me a lot to think about. I think I’m going to start my dissertation gradually, and whilst I’m doing it I’ll have a look at other options, and what my next steps might look like.
It’s probably because I’m coming to the end of my university life, and I’m having a bit of a crisis of figuring out what I want to do. Especially since I’ve spent so many years of my life studying I want to make sure my end job is worth all that lol.

Thank you again for all your advice :)

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