Are distance learning BSc courses viewed differently by admissions?

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Are distance learning BSc courses viewed differently by admissions?

Post by Bella272 » Fri Jun 29, 2018 1:22 am


I was just wondering whether there are any Clinical Psychologists or trainees who completed their undergraduate Psychology degrees with the Open University or via distance learning with another University? In particular has anyone gained entry to a DClinPsy course within the last five years after having completed their undergraduate via distance learning?

I took an MA(Hons) [undergraduate] course at a top 10, Russell group University, received an academic prize for the highest attainment in my cohort for second year but then fell ill. I took several (year long) interruptions of study and then during a bit of a crisis I voluntarily withdrew from my course- a decision that I massively regret! The course I left was a four year course so having left at the start of third year I received a DipHE. I am now trying to decide between applying to the Open University, the University of Derby or the University of the Highlands and Islands to complete my BSc in Psychology via distance learning OR whether to apply to transfer credits to a brick university next year. My condition still has a big impact on my life so I am leaning towards distance learning.

If anyone has any advice I would really appreciate it.

Also I am 30 so getting on a bit and I wonder if anyone could advise whether I am a little too old to be considering becoming a Psychologist? As yet I have no real relevant work experience, except acting as a full-time carer for a sufferer of dementia (who had psychotic episodes/rage, which I dealt with on a daily basis) counts. I have had therapy with Clinical Psychologists for so feel that I have some awareness of what the position entails from psychometric testing to formulations etc.

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Re: Are distance learning BSc courses viewed differently by admissions?

Post by Geishawife » Sun Jul 01, 2018 7:16 am

The OU is a highly regarded institution so a degree from there will be viewed very favourably. Furthermore, the courses are most interested in how well you do, not where you study. So, aim to do as well as possible and get as high a grade as possible. That is what matters. And, as far as age goes, you are more than young enough to pursue CP as a career. Many people start at your age or older.
Good luck.

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Re: Are distance learning BSc courses viewed differently by admissions?

Post by hawke » Sun Jul 01, 2018 10:29 am

I did 60 credits with the OU in 2011 (when they didn't offer GBC accreditation, but also had much lower fees!), as this was the easiest way to get on to a conversion Masters. To be frank, I learnt far more from the OU textbooks than I did on the Masters at the brick uni, and I always go back to my OU textbooks if I need to re-learn something.

From speaking to people, the impression I get is that the OU / distance learning are highly respected, as it requires much more independent learning and motivation than a standard undergrad course that is set up to shelter & spoonfeed its students somewhat. Often people do distance-learning because they're also doing something else - working or caring for example - and this is perfect fodder for a personal statement talking about the skills you have to successfully juggle those things.

It might be worth thinking about whether you want to start a whole new psychology undergrad degree though. With your DipHE, you may well be able to transfer your credits somewhere, finish off a different undergrad, and then look at psychology postgrad conversion courses to get the GBC. For example, the OU does an Open Degree (BSc/BA Hons) that allows you to transfer in past credit, and top it up with their modules - which could be the psychology ones you would need to get on to a conversion course. Just a thought.

30 is by no means too old to be starting out on this. Course are predominantly filled with people in their mid-late 20s, so it is more unusual - but the profession is crying out for more diversity, so don't see your age and life experiences as a negative here!

My only query would be that you describe your condition as still having a big enough impact on your life to make you likely to choose distance learning. Bear in mind that this is not an option for the DClinPsy, nor is studying part-time. If therapy is your main interest, it may be worth considering the counselling diploma/doctorate as these tend to be far more flexible. I say this as someone who also has a condition impacting their life who has had to do a lot of soul searching to weigh up what I want and what I can realistically expect of myself. Even the job of your dreams isn't worth it, if it risks impacting your health negatively.

Good luck with whatever you do decide!

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Re: Are distance learning BSc courses viewed differently by admissions?

Post by Bella272 » Thu Jul 05, 2018 8:22 pm

Thanks Geishawife, that's really good to know. It's also encouraging to think that I would not be exceptionally old- if everything goes to plan though it would take 1-2 years to finish my degree, 1 year for a Masters, 2-3 years for AP or other clinical experience so I would be in my late thirties and that's if I don't take any time off to start a family. I guess I'll just have to see how things go! I'm also considering going down the Counselling Doctorate route.

Thanks Hawke! I did look into the Open Degree as I could transfer a greater number of credits (I think I could transfer 240 (of 280) credits towards the Open degree but only 120 towards the BA Psychology). My only concern is that if I later decide against taking the Conversion MSc (and against pursuing a career as a Psychologist) then I will be left with a BA(hons) Open, which will not be worth much to employers. Derby University do a one year, online top-up Cognitive Behavioural Therapeutic Approaches BSc and I'm considering applying for that as it would be one year of full-time study however I'm not sure how it would be viewed either.

I am going to have a think about the best way forward and I am wondering whether the Counselling doctorate would be more suitable although it's so expensive!

Thank you both for your help!

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Re: Are distance learning BSc courses viewed differently by admissions?

Post by EstrellaAmore » Tue Jul 10, 2018 11:27 pm

I completed my degree by distance learning at one of the universities you mentioned. Although I am not looking to be a clinical psychologist, I have been accepted onto Educational Psychologist training, so in no way has the online degree held me back! It was a great experience as allowed me to fit in work and other responsibilities alongside studying. Wishing you lots of luck!

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Re: Are distance learning BSc courses viewed differently by admissions?

Post by workingmama » Wed Jul 11, 2018 8:35 pm


I and a goodly number of my OU cohort registered with OU with a clear plan for DClinPsy applications, and we all (in our small group) got places relatively quickly on completion. I'd do the full BSc for what it's worth and do it slowly to manage the cost/get a great grade. x
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Re: Are distance learning BSc courses viewed differently by admissions?

Post by malcolmclayton » Thu Sep 06, 2018 5:31 pm

I completed my BSc with Derby by distance learning and am starting clinical training this year. Didn’t seem to be an issue as I had several interviews at different courses.

Good luck!

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