Career change into Psychology at 25yo: How to get into KCL grad program?

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shinchan
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Hello everyone,

After searching the forums, I couldn't find anything related exactly to my situation so here goes.

I live in the United states and received a Biology degree at a top 50 undergrad institution. I graduated with a GPA of 3.4-3.5: Not enough to disqualify me I think, but not enough to make me stand out. I did take two courses in Cognitive Science and received As in both of them. I got As in my writing and essay related courses as well.

Now I have around three years of work experience as a business analyst in healthcare (mostly reporting and project management, and I plan to get involved in work that will help me learn/apply statistical programming), but I've realized that getting a PhD in Clinical Psychology is what I've wanted all along. Without getting a graduate degree it will be nearly impossible for me to make a case that I can withstand the academic rigor, but now I need to figure out how to get into a graduate program. I really loved London and think going to Uni there is a great option since it will be faster and most likely cheaper.

So my question is, what is the best way to improve my chances of getting into any King's College Graduate Psychology program (I am looking at a bunch of options-Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, Psychiatric Research MSc, Clinical Neuropsychiatry, Clinical Neuroscience....and about 3 more)? The way I see it, I have two options:
1) Stay at my current job, get a Post-bacc degree at a top, name brand recognizable university, and use that to apply if sufficient.
2) Get a job as a research assistant in a Psychology lab and take a few courses to show I know the basic material (for example, an online course at University of Oxford's department of continuing education).

Currently I am leaning towards the second option since it is more likely to provide a valuable letter of recommendation and save me time & money. If it comes to it though, I am willing both to get the post-bacc and switch jobs. I am just stumped because I'm not as educated on what UK universities consider to be stellar qualifications, what doesn't count so much, and what an international student would have to do differently to be accepted. With the current political climate, I wonder if I will have a much harder time of getting accepted. Also, will it matter which Psych related masters program I apply to, and will it be frowned upon if I apply to multiple (say 3-4)?

Thanks for taking the time to read! I understand this might be a real uphill battle, but I'm ready for the commitment.
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alleycat393
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First off, have you checked what the actual entry requirements are for the PhD you're interested in? The reason I ask is that you may already be qualified to do one and will spend loads of time and money doing other things that you may not need. If the entry requirements are not clear then email the uni and ask for clarification on how they'd view you as an applicant. I'm not sure what a post-bacc degree is and how it will be viewed but generally you want research experience and evidence that you're capable of academic level work which the second option will provide over the first. In terms of picking a masters degree you need to pick one that interests you as you have to make a strong case for why you want to do ti and how it will help your career. The degrees may be called different things so pick based on course content.
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shinchan
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Thank you for the response. At this point, I'm definitely not qualified to apply for a PhD since I have no coursework or work-related experience with Psychology.
A post-bacc degree is basically an "in-between" undergrad and graduate degree for those who want to pick up their grades and/or change careers. I think work experience might prove more valuable though.
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cornucopia
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Have you looked at the UCL Graduate Certificate in Psychology? It's a 6-9 month conversion course to psychology for graduates of other subjects, and it enables you then to get onto certain psychology masters programmes. See https://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-st...ology-gradcert

Regarding your specific questions, best thing is really to have a chat to the departments about it. At postgrad level things are more flexible than for first degrees. You may be able to arrange a Skype call to just talk through your options informally.

Good luck :-)
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