Masters or not?

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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Shevlin
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Masters or not?

Post by Shevlin » Tue Aug 11, 2020 12:18 pm

Hi there,

I would be very grateful if somebody could give perhaps a word of advice on my current situation.

I have just graduated from the OU with a 1st in psychology. Clinical has always been the goal and I have worked in a few settings to gain experience - as a support worker in elderly care, eating disorders and a residential setting for adults with autism. I am now an ABA tutor for a young man with autism.

I have been accepted onto an MSc in developmental disorders at Lancaster. This is a passion of mine - with my work in autism and I also have a daughter with Down syndrome - but I am not sure if this will actually add anything to my chances of eventually getting on the doctorate course?

I'm also waiting on responses from Sheffield, MMU and Salford in courses broadly on either research methods or applied therapies. I am interested in these subjects, and felt they would help my eventual DClinPsy application, but now am thinking whether an MSc is a useful next step at all?

Any words of wisdom would be much appreciated. I am not at all connected to the psychological world at the moment and so have few people to discuss such matters with.

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Geishawife
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Re: Masters or not?

Post by Geishawife » Wed Aug 12, 2020 7:18 pm

I think it comes down to why you want to do an MSc. To answer your first question, no, with a 1st in your undergrad, the MSc will not add anything to your application, at least in terms of the academic side. That said, if you are passionate about the topic and by doing the MSc you feel you could grow and develop in ways outside of academics (hope that makes sense!!) then it might be worth doing. You do, of course, have to consider costs. Given it is not necessary, think about how much you think you would gain from it. Only you can know if it's worth the cost.

Clinical courses look for people who are academically able and who have the right "personal attributes" to make them good clinicians. You have no need to prove the former (your 1st does that) and if you feel the MSc would help you with the latter, then go for it. And, in answer to your second question, I would opt for the one in developmental disorders as it is clearly close to your heart.

That's a long winded way is saying you don't HAVE to do an MSc but there is certainly no harm in it if you feel you would grow and develop from it. Good luck!

Shevlin
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Re: Masters or not?

Post by Shevlin » Fri Aug 14, 2020 3:11 pm

That is really very helpful advice, Geishawife. Thank you for taking the time to reply!

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miriam
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Re: Masters or not?

Post by miriam » Fri Aug 14, 2020 5:00 pm

I'd say it is maybe not quite as clear cut as not adding anything these days, as 30% of psych grads now get firsts in their undergrad. But it does add much less if you already have a strong academic background and I would definitely see it as something to do if you are very interested in the topic or topping up a particular skill area, not as a necessary or preferable step towards gaining a doctoral training place. I'd also add that spending time and money on a masters may be a less effective investment in your career than volunteering or taking a low paid job, but people don't tend to think of these things in the same way.

PS there are lots of recent/current threads about the pros and cons of masters courses that you might find interesting, so do browse or search the relevant sections of the forum.
Miriam

See my blog at http://clinpsyeye.wordpress.com

Shevlin
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Re: Masters or not?

Post by Shevlin » Fri Aug 14, 2020 11:05 pm

Thanks Miriam! And yes, 30% achieving a 1st is a lot, isn't it? That is something I hadn't thought about.

I now have MSc offers in developmental disorders at Lancaster and psychological research methods at Sheffield. Am waiting on a Nottingham course that would be perfect but I suspect I was too late to apply to, and am on a reserve list for Manchester but I think anything coming of that is unlikely.

Apart from that I am waiting for Salford and MMU to get back to me. These courses are really good for plugging skills gaps I have (practical therapy based and also research work) but I am unsure as to how important people consider university reputation? With my undergrad degree being OU, I thought that I best apply to higher-ranked unis to prove that I am up to the job academically, feeling that the OU may be looked down upon slightly (I may well be entirely wrong in thinking this, I appreciate). Would that be a reason to opt for say Lancaster or Sheffield, even if their courses weren't ideally suited - does reputation matter to that extent?

Throughout my entire degree, with it being OU, I have never met another person. It's all been done in my study at home. I'm now paying the price for that when I realise that I have absolutely no idea, nor anybody to talk to, when it comes to being informed about the wider academic and professional world of psychology.

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miriam
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Re: Masters or not?

Post by miriam » Sat Aug 15, 2020 12:55 am

The OU is well-regarded, and a self-study first from the OU is impressive. Pick the MSc you most want to do or that you feel will most add to your skills, if you do one at all. Nobody will care about the university choice - particularly during coronavirus when all courses are having to hastily adapt to remote learning.
Miriam

See my blog at http://clinpsyeye.wordpress.com

Shevlin
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Re: Masters or not?

Post by Shevlin » Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:24 am

Excellent, thanks for your advice. I will stop asking questions now!

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