Masters or not? Experience and postgraduate certificate under my belt.

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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Maango
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Masters or not? Experience and postgraduate certificate under my belt.

Post by Maango » Tue Aug 06, 2019 7:31 pm

Hi guys I'm hoping you can give me some tips around making a difficult decision.

I graduated in 2015 with a low 2.1 (literally in the cusp). Since then I've got a lot of experience and was always putting off completing a master's due to the funding and other roles popping up at the time of enrollment which caused me to drop out last minute from masters in the past.

Currently I'm working as a qualified PWP and have previous experience (2years) as an AP working with dementia and brain injury.

I've been thinking if a master's would be worth it considering I now have a postgraduate certificate in advanced psychological-wellbeing - would unis take this postgraduate qualification into consideration when noting my low 2.1? Or would a master's really bolster my resume? I have an invite to interview for a master's so needing to make a decision around it.

Thank you for any responses in advance.

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hawke
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Re: Masters or not? Experience and postgraduate certificate under my belt.

Post by hawke » Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:38 pm

I would suggest having a look at some universities you are interested in and looking at their short-listing criteria. Realistically with a low 2:1 you will need to demonstrate academic/research potential in another way, and universities will vary based on what they include in this part of their shortlisting. The research-intensive universities have very high standards, to the point where many applicants will have a PhD already, and a Masters almost considered standard. From my own experience of applying, the PWP qualification is considered clinical experience rather than research experience, because it doesn't involve a research project.

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workingmama
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Re: Masters or not? Experience and postgraduate certificate under my belt.

Post by workingmama » Wed Aug 07, 2019 10:50 am

I will respectfully disagree with the PP about the frequency with which the students on the 'research oriented' courses have MSc or PhDs. Whilst some universities cohorts may have a larger number than others of trainees with postgrad qualifications, certainly some of the research oriented courses have cohorts with very low numbers of postgrad quals (although high percentages of people with First class degrees or RA experience). In any case I think with a low 2:1 you'd be well advised to do the MSc to show your academic ability. Best of luck!
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hawke
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Re: Masters or not? Experience and postgraduate certificate under my belt.

Post by hawke » Wed Aug 07, 2019 11:08 am

workingmama wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 10:50 am
I will respectfully disagree with the PP about the frequency with which the students on the 'research oriented' courses have MSc or PhDs. Whilst some universities cohorts may have a larger number than others of trainees with postgrad qualifications, certainly some of the research oriented courses have cohorts with very low numbers of postgrad quals (although high percentages of people with First class degrees or RA experience). In any case I think with a low 2:1 you'd be well advised to do the MSc to show your academic ability. Best of luck!
Fair enough, I do acknowledge that claim was based on one particular university's procedures, where I was told a 1st class degree was not sufficient to get past their first stage of academic short-listing that year because so many of the applicant pool had higher qualifications. (I was querying it, because I do have a Masters, but because it was a conversion course they counted it as equivalent to an undergraduate degree. You may be able to detect some slight bitterness on my part!) My opinion of other universities was entirely based on hearsay from other trainees.

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Geishawife
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Re: Masters or not? Experience and postgraduate certificate under my belt.

Post by Geishawife » Wed Aug 07, 2019 7:50 pm

If you want to bolster your academic profile you will have to do a Master's, as PG Certs are not accepted as further evidence of academic ability. Do bear in mind, however, that some courses that use selection tests will accept your low 2:1 without the need for further qualifications. If you are able to move to train they might be an option if the cost of a Master's is prohibitive. I would suggest you have a good trawl through the courses and their selection criteria and see if any of the courses using tests appeal before committing to anything.

Maango
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Re: Masters or not? Experience and postgraduate certificate under my belt.

Post by Maango » Thu Aug 15, 2019 5:28 pm

Hi guys, thank for all your replies. Having a long hard think I thought I'd go for the masters, I feel like it will set me up well for the doctorate and with PG loans available now I guess this will help with funds. Happy to say I went for an interview and have a place for a master's starting this September :) but will also be applying for the doctorate to start next year too. Hopefully this is a viable plan!

ryan95
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Re: Masters or not? Experience and postgraduate certificate under my belt.

Post by ryan95 » Thu Aug 15, 2019 7:26 pm

Let me know how you get on with your journey very interested to hear from you

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miriam
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Re: Masters or not? Experience and postgraduate certificate under my belt.

Post by miriam » Fri Aug 16, 2019 2:53 am

Sounds like you've made your decision.

But if you do a masters course, make sure it is credible and has a significant research/thesis component. Some masters courses are rubbish, and don't really prove your academic chops at all, they just take your money and have taught work and course work without a research project of any standing and aren't really worth much beyond the fact you were willing to spend £9k and a year jumping that particular hoop.

And as a general point, don't forget about doing RA posts and/or publishing papers as proof of academic ability. The latter are much less common than masters qualifications and say more about your ability to contribute to peer-reviewed research and writing, without costing nearly as much time or money.
Miriam

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

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workingmama
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Re: Masters or not? Experience and postgraduate certificate under my belt.

Post by workingmama » Fri Aug 16, 2019 4:17 pm

I have so many bits of potential research and no time to write some of them up, so it may be worth approaching psychologists directly and ask whether anyone would supervise you doing a research project in their area not linked to a Masters. As long as people show academic promise (good degree), it makes little difference to me whether I'm supervising a voluntary RA or a Masters student. It takes the same amount of time and I can usually access some of what they need (access to databases and some teaching/ colleague support) without their being on a formally registered course.
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Punkgirluk
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Re: Masters or not? Experience and postgraduate certificate under my belt.

Post by Punkgirluk » Fri Aug 16, 2019 10:59 pm

Agree in principle Workingmama however my experience may be a cautionary tale! I was keen to gain further research experience- found a potential supervisor, as you say he was more than willing to have someone help with an ongoing project- cleared with my employer to spend one day a week doing research- then the university vetoed it. Apparently even though there was no money for a paid RA- by employing me as a volunteer RA they were exploiting me and preventing someone else accessing the (non existent) job 🤷‍♀️🤷‍♀️. Both me and the supervisor tried everything to make the uni happy but it proved impossible.
So actually it may be significantly easier to get relevant research experience as a registered masters student even if not as part of the course

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workingmama
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Re: Masters or not? Experience and postgraduate certificate under my belt.

Post by workingmama » Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:47 am

Fair point! We have it established in our Trust, and whilst I won't work with voluntary APs because I find the system exploitative and geared towards that can afford to be here 9-5pm on a working day, I work with people to help them access research experience because (in my own experience) it can be fit around one's own daily paying-for-food job. It's not ideal for anyone, and I accept that many other Trusts won't have this as an established stream.
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