Every year, thousands of Psychology Students complete their degree only to become stuck on what to do next. Since the government introduced the Post-Graduate Loan system last year, this has made obtaining a Masters a more attractive offer; however, how do you know if you NEED to complete a master? Check out the 5 Reasons below on why you should have an MSc in Psychology.
Just Graduated? Check out the 4 Problems Faced by Every Psychology Graduate
Don’t know where to turn to for advice? Check out the 5 Myth Busters for Psychology Graduates
Don’t know what to expect in a career in Psychology? Check out the Experience or Money? Salary Expectations For Psychology Graduates
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Low Undergraduate Degree Classification
This is an obvious one and also one that I have mentioned in some of my previous posts (Check So you got a 2:2, Now What?). Many Psychology Graduates who obtain a low classification degree feel they have no future in psychology; however this cannot be further from the truth. There are many successful psychologists who got 2:2’s in Undergraduate and done so by completing a relevant MSc to top up their low results. Many doctorates will take on graduates with a 2:2 who have a high MSc grade classification (Merit or Distinction)
Top Tip: Many graduates gain some experience before starting a masters so the best advice would be to take some time out of education and go into the field. You never know where life will take you and maybe this isn’t the best time to focus on your career. Ask yourself the question “Why do I want to do this?” Then come back with a clearer head, ready to show your full potential.
This is a route some people go down if there first degree wasn’t in Psychology. Many Universities offer a one year conversion course which is equivalent to masters. Depending on the University and your grades, this will give you accreditation from the BPS which is needed to go into any Assistant Psychologist roles. Don’t let this fool you as this is an intense year and you will often be left alone to figure things out, so mustn’t be taken lightly.
Top Tip: Research the University you would like to complete this at and see if they offer accreditation. This is a very difficult course and requires a lot of self-learning. The best advice would be to develop your support networks within the university as quickly as possible and to be honest with lecturers if you do not understand something. It is better to look stupid and pass, than look cool and fail.
This is a no brainer. Many Graduates tell me that once they achieved their MSc in Psychology, they suddenly started getting interviews for Assistant Psychologist roles. This is because you have stepped up a gear and having an MSc instantly demonstrates to the recruiter that you have a higher level of education than others. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you will get more clinically relevant roles; it does however mean that your chances of getting an interview will have risen.
Top Tip: Try gaining some experience whilst completing your masters to give you the best chance of securing a job after you finish. Check out the 6 Jobs for A Psychology Graduate straight out of university? for more guidance on what you could do during your MSc.
A lot of graduates get confused when I mention completing a stage 1 MSc. This is relevant if you would like to go down the Forensic or Health Psychologist route as a requirement to get onto the doctorate is a good grade in Stage 1. Many graduates also complete these Stage 1 MSc’s as a sort of “back up” just in case they don’t end up going down the Clinical Psychology route which is very competitive (as is everything in Psychology).
Top Tip: Think carefully of which route you would like to go down as many Graduates jump into masters without really thinking more long-term. Best advice would be to do your research. Go out and meet psychologists even if it’s a LinkedIn message to ask any questions you may have on your chosen career path. Also check out the Timeline of a Psychology Graduate to see if you’re on the right path to becoming a Psychologist.
One more Year can’t hurt!
I know that this seems like a running joke; however many Psychology Graduates go into Masters as a sort of safety net. The fear of the unknown is difficult which many Graduates avoid by completing one more year as if they will know what to do in the end. Unfortunately, this feeling will remain with you throughout your career as you learn to be comfortable with this. Don’t worry you WILL be fine.
Top Tip: Subscribe to the PsychAssist Blog and follow us on Twitter (@Psych_Assist) as we will help you through this confusing time to get you were you want to be.