Which Masters course to choose

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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ellydxo
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Which Masters course to choose

Post by ellydxo » Tue Jul 28, 2020 8:15 pm

Hey. I'm totally lost right now and don't know what Masters degree I should be applying for. My end goal is to do the doctorate in clinical psychology - so am I better to choose a practical degree with training in CBT (the Psychological Therapies in Primary Care at Dundee uni) or choose a degree in a psychology topic that I'm really interested in? I had originally applied and been given an offer to study foundations of clinical psychology at Aberdeen but that course has since been cancelled :cry: That was my dream course and now I am lost on what to do. Do I study something that gives me experience, job prospects and just so happens to have tuition fees paid for NHS Scotland, or do I choose a course I'm super interested in and could give me more research experience?

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miriam
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Re: Which Masters course to choose

Post by miriam » Tue Jul 28, 2020 10:13 pm

Why do you want to do a masters? Do you have a weak academic background? Do you want to learn more about a particular topic? Or are you labouring under the (false) impression it is a necessary hurdle to progress towards clinical training?
Miriam

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

ellydxo
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Re: Which Masters course to choose

Post by ellydxo » Wed Jul 29, 2020 11:09 am

miriam wrote:
Tue Jul 28, 2020 10:13 pm
Why do you want to do a masters? Do you have a weak academic background? Do you want to learn more about a particular topic? Or are you labouring under the (false) impression it is a necessary hurdle to progress towards clinical training?
I graduated with a 2:1 in my undergrad so I do feel like I need a masters degree to improve my academic background. I’ve also been finding it really difficult to get a job and feel that a masters degree might help me find relevant work and eventually get that assistant psychologist job.

Pringles
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Re: Which Masters course to choose

Post by Pringles » Thu Jul 30, 2020 10:29 am

My advice would be do something your interested in and don't put all your eggs in one basket.

During my undergrad when I first heard of the DClinPsy I did some research and I decided it wasn't a path that was accessible to me (I was wrong). So instead, I looked at pursuing something I enjoyed doing. I did a Masters in a subject I was interested in and worked with lots of different client groups and settings, voluntarily and paid, until I found something I really loved. In the four years before applying, I found something I was really passionate about. In that job I came across a Clinical Psychologist by chance who asked why I hadn't pursued ClinPsy. I then discovered I didn't need an AP role or research assistant post to apply. I looked into it again and found a course that fit with my values. I also then put it to one side for a while. I looked through the competencies and didn't feel "ready". I applied a year or so later and was successful at interview. I loved my job so much it was actually difficult to decide whether to accept the place or not!

I realise that this is not the typical route to the DClinPSy, but I do think this is what made me successful at interview. There was so much less pressure on myself to perform well because it wasn't the be-all and end-all. I could answer questions authentically and passionately because I genuinely loved the work I did. I didn't have the challenge of competing for a limited number of AP posts or trying to find a way to juggle full-time work with an unpaid post. I didn't have to sacrifice financial stability on short-term posts. I feel very fortunate for my experiences prior to the doctorate.

I have a 2.1 at undergrad, and a pass in my Masters. I've never been supervised by a clinical psychologist or been employed within the NHS. I haven't worked in any traditional mental health settings or services. I have mainly worked in the third sector. It's entirely possible and there are a lot of people who are at the same course as me who have also not been an AP / reasearch assistant.

I love Clinical Psychology and I'm glad I chose to accept the place on the course, but in equal measure, I loved my job before too and I'm confident I would also have been very happy and fulfilled pursuing that career as well.

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maven
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Re: Which Masters course to choose

Post by maven » Fri Jul 31, 2020 12:18 am

It really depends on your percentage within that category. If it is low, then maybe. If it is high, then I'd seek experience first. You don't need a masters for any of the first step posts, and they shouldn't be hard to secure if you look outside the NHS. There are tons of vacancies in care work (with older people, people with learning disabilities, looked after children, etc), support work, healthcare assistant, classroom assistant, nursing assistant, domiciliary care, outreach worker, etc
Maven.

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

lozzyhickers
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Re: Which Masters course to choose

Post by lozzyhickers » Fri Jul 31, 2020 1:25 pm

maven wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 12:18 am
You don't need a masters for any of the first step posts, and they shouldn't be hard to secure if you look outside the NHS. There are tons of vacancies in care work (with older people, people with learning disabilities, looked after children, etc), support work, healthcare assistant, classroom assistant, nursing assistant, domiciliary care, outreach worker, etc
Regarding care work, there isn't really a necessity to have a masters, you're right. But for some entry level jobs, such as RA work, it can be a real advantage. For example,I work in the NHS and recruit RA's, and a masters is a 'desirable' in all the posts. To my memory, nobody we've ever interviewed while i've been in post hasn't had a masters, because having one scores you extra 'points'.

OP- As it's been said already, if you want to do one, your your own interest, go for it. I had a high 2.1 but still did an MSc because I wanted to. I personally don't feel i'd be where I am now without having done that. But i'll be a long slog if your heart is not in it.

RJParker
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Re: Which Masters course to choose

Post by RJParker » Fri Jul 31, 2020 1:39 pm

lozzyhickers wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 1:25 pm
To my memory, nobody we've ever interviewed while i've been in post hasn't had a masters, because having one scores you extra 'points'
I had a wonderful conversation with a trust today about moving away from using this points for privilege approach in order to stop reinforcing the structural inequalities it amplifies. There is an awful lot of work to be done still though.

lozzyhickers
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Re: Which Masters course to choose

Post by lozzyhickers » Fri Jul 31, 2020 3:40 pm

RJParker wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 1:39 pm
lozzyhickers wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 1:25 pm
To my memory, nobody we've ever interviewed while i've been in post hasn't had a masters, because having one scores you extra 'points'
I had a wonderful conversation with a trust today about moving away from using this points for privilege approach in order to stop reinforcing the structural inequalities it amplifies. There is an awful lot of work to be done still though.
That's good. Unfortunately neither of the trusts I've worked with have taken that approach, and I don't see that changing soon for my current trust. I know a number of universities that use such point systems in their RA recruitment too.

RJParker
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Re: Which Masters course to choose

Post by RJParker » Fri Jul 31, 2020 4:22 pm

It can be a hard sell to get a university to think that university qualifications aren't the most important bit of an individual's capital - easy to see why.

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maven
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Re: Which Masters course to choose

Post by maven » Sat Aug 01, 2020 2:45 am

I'd also argue that a masters in research methods or by research shows a lot of transferable skills into an RA post, that might be advantageous compared to someone whose only research experience was as an undergrad, but very few psychology graduates go into RA posts as their means to gain relevant experience, and most other first step posts don't require one at all.
Maven.

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

lozzyhickers
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Re: Which Masters course to choose

Post by lozzyhickers » Sat Aug 01, 2020 9:50 am

I agree that many other entry level posts don’t require it. It depends on the individuals situation. I personally knew I couldn’t afford to take an AP post or similar banded position so went to RA posts instead, and I know many people who have done so for the same reason. But I’d argue that actually a reasonably large number go on to RA posts to get their experience, the Alternative Handbook seems to reflect this, and as people have realised that AP roles are not ‘Golden Tickets’ this seems to be more common. I know just as many people who got their first experiences from RA work than other types of experience.

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maven
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Re: Which Masters course to choose

Post by maven » Mon Aug 03, 2020 5:48 am

RA pay less cost of masters < care assistant pay
Maven.

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

lozzyhickers
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Re: Which Masters course to choose

Post by lozzyhickers » Mon Aug 03, 2020 8:26 am

Not necessarily. With London weighting it ended up better (financially) for me to go into an RA role, which is also what I wanted. Of course it depends on the masters you pick too, you can get good discounts too if you’re alumni.

What you just said isn’t really a reason to not do a masters. This all thinks back to what I said originally. Of its of interest to you (not as a stepping stone) then absolutely it’s a great idea to do one. If your heart is not in it, then probably don’t as it’ll be a waste of time and money. There are many routes to the DClin, it all depends on what the OP sees as weak spots in his/her application and what’s right for them.

Iggy1
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Re: Which Masters course to choose

Post by Iggy1 » Mon Aug 03, 2020 9:37 am

I completed my MSc about 4 years ago and I really wish I'd spent longer considering the financial implications at the time. I let the post undergrad blues influence my decision and felt it was the only route forward- not the case obviously!

I don't know what it's like now but I couldn't get student finance and took out a loan to fund the course, which I'm still paying off. I've struggled at times to keep my head above water financially, and whilst I feel it benefitted me initially in terms of getting interviews etc, my experience quickly overtook any benefit the MSc added to my application.

What I'm saying is I think the 'MSc leg up' didn't last long, and I could probably have got where I am now without it.

That being said it the course was great and offered great opportunities, and I do believe it put me ahead of the pack for some of the jobs I have held since. But... I know others who did the same as me, experienced a lower quality course and felt no better off after (with a hefty debt to deal with).

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