mm00ns
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Hi, I need help deciding between LSE or King's.

I've received an offer from LSE for a MSc in International Social and Public Policy (development stream) and an offer from King's for a MSc in Mental Health, Ethics, and Law.

I know they seem kind of random and different but for background, I did an undergraduate degree in psychology and political science. My passion after graduating has tended towards NGOs, addressing mental health needs of women, children, and refugees through policy. I'd like to continue down that path and working in policy, which is why I applied for both those degrees (honestly thought I'd be rejected from LSE now I have a conundrum).

Both the programmes seem rather unknown? LSE keeps restructing their social and public policy programme every few years but their Department of Social Policy is top notch and I know I'd be getting a well-rounded education there but I don't know how well they'd be able to support my interest in mental health?

King's offer on the other hand focuses on the specific relationship between mental health and policy, which is what I'm looking to do but the programme seems very unknown and niche. I can't comment on the quality of education I'd be getting there then - especially since King's postgrad psych programmes aren't ranked on a lot of tables.

In short, I think I'm torn between having to choose a very specific, niche programme in a field I'm very passionate about (mental health) and a more well-rounded programme at a better school, which might not have the capacity to support my interest in mental health.

Sorry for this essay. Any help would be appreciated.
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username4355882
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Look at LSE's faculty for your course and if there are any supervisors that have mental health as their subfield. Also, look at the course modules of LSE and see if you have option to take mental health electives. If you find any of these two, go with LSE hands-down.

In case, you think there is no way for you to specialize in mental health in LSE, then King's could be an option, but I would suggest rethinking your goals. You could perhaps take extra modules in mental health at LSE and then get some work experience before heading to policy think tanks or wtv it is you intend to do. What career path is in your mind? as in right after masters?

Also, LSE's ISPP program opened just recently. like a couple of years back, hence the reason they are still figuring it out. Notwithstanding, it is a great program in their Social Sciences faculty and you would be missing out if you chose King's over LSE imo.
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mm00ns
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Honestly LSE does not really have the support/infrastructure for studying mental health specifically but they have these amazing longitudinal projects/studies that look at health outcomes and I don't think you can look at health outcomes in the 21st Century without also considering mental health outcomes. A lot of their projects look at inequalities as well and if there's anything I've learnt at undergrad in psych, it's that these inequalities definitely play a role in developing mental health issues and there are ways that policy can address these inequalities. By choosing LSE, it would be a lot more of application but that might be better because I would be more exposed to the interplay of a variety of factors which could cause poor mental health outcomes.

I've also gone through LSE's modules to see if any deal with mental health specifically. I found one that mentioned it in their programme structure and I've emailed the social policy department and asked about their policy on taking extra modules/modules outside the programme, and if they have modules that address mental health.

As for what I intend on doing after graduate school, I would like to work for policy think tanks or as a policy researcher. Long term though, I am considering a doctorate when I'm in my 30s for clinical psychology, depending on how policy work pans out for me/if I feel there is a need for me to pursue a doctorate.

Honestly thank you for your help! Going more thoroughly through LSE has made me realise how amazing the programme could be for me if I rethink my approach to what I want to do.
(Original post by batter mix)
Look at LSE's faculty for your course and if there are any supervisors that have mental health as their subfield. Also, look at the course modules of LSE and see if you have option to take mental health electives. If you find any of these two, go with LSE hands-down.

In case, you think there is no way for you to specialize in mental health in LSE, then King's could be an option, but I would suggest rethinking your goals. You could perhaps take extra modules in mental health at LSE and then get some work experience before heading to policy think tanks or wtv it is you intend to do. What career path is in your mind? as in right after masters?

Also, LSE's ISPP program opened just recently. like a couple of years back, hence the reason they are still figuring it out. Notwithstanding, it is a great program in their Social Sciences faculty and you would be missing out if you chose King's over LSE imo.
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iander
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Hi, I have a similar interest in mental health and clinical psychology. Did the department respond about mental health related faculty research?
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mm00ns
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Hi, so here's the faculty in Social Policy: http://www.lse.ac.uk/social-policy/people

Scroll down and you can see the longitudinal research projects they're involved in. It's not exactly clinical psychology, but there are some projects that look at health outcomes and I think it's very easy to argue that you can't look at health outcomes without also considering mental health outcomes. The people in general are also interesting to look at to get a better feel for the type of research they do. A lot of the research that the fellows and professors do are complementary to mental health, as in mental health could be an outcome/dependent variable they could study based on the independent variables (eg. poverty, education policy, refugee status, etc.) they choose.

Batter Mix was right in saying that if you choose LSE, you are going to need to rethink your approach to mental health and clinical psychology because a lot of it will be application and looking at trends, on a more global scale as opposed to working with individuals like in clinical psychology.

That said, LSE does not offer courses that focus solely on mental health either. They have a lot of courses on health in general, where mental health is a subtopic that is discussed. They also have a lot of courses in anthropology that look at the mental health outcomes in certain regions of the world, eg. my interest is in Southeast Asia and they have an Anthropology of Southeast Asia course that does discuss the mental health of Southeast Asians.

When I emailed them, they sent me the graduate course guide (http://www.lse.ac.uk/resources/calen...s/graduate.htm) but did not offer specific courses related to mental health. I had to go through the courses myself.

Whether it's possible to pursue a clinical doctorate after receiving a Masters in social policy - I'm not sure, I'm still trying to figure this out myself but I'm also giving myself leeway and time for my doctorate, if I ever decide to pursue it. I also, personally, do not see a problem with gaining experience applying psychology to a different field and then coming back to pursue a doctorate because I think it would make you a more well-rounded psychologist at the end of the day.

As someone who is interested in beyond psychology/enriching my background in psychology, I think this is a good option for me. It really depends on your final goals though. If you are set on just pursuing clinical psychology at a Masters level, LSE might not be the school for you because they simply don't have that specialisation. I haven't started my degree yet, but I think it's definitely possible to focus on mental health outcomes for your research though - but I'm still trying to figure this part out/how to approach profs, etc.

Sorry for this essay, but I hope it helped somehow?
(Original post by iander)
Hi, I have a similar interest in mental health and clinical psychology. Did the department respond about mental health related faculty research?
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iander
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Yes! That was very helpful! Also do you know if they require mostly quantitative or qualitative research for the dissertation
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username4355882
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(Original post by mm00ns)
Honestly LSE does not really have the support/infrastructure for studying mental health specifically but they have these amazing longitudinal projects/studies that look at health outcomes and I don't think you can look at health outcomes in the 21st Century without also considering mental health outcomes. A lot of their projects look at inequalities as well and if there's anything I've learnt at undergrad in psych, it's that these inequalities definitely play a role in developing mental health issues and there are ways that policy can address these inequalities. By choosing LSE, it would be a lot more of application but that might be better because I would be more exposed to the interplay of a variety of factors which could cause poor mental health outcomes.

I've also gone through LSE's modules to see if any deal with mental health specifically. I found one that mentioned it in their programme structure and I've emailed the social policy department and asked about their policy on taking extra modules/modules outside the programme, and if they have modules that address mental health.

As for what I intend on doing after graduate school, I would like to work for policy think tanks or as a policy researcher. Long term though, I am considering a doctorate when I'm in my 30s for clinical psychology, depending on how policy work pans out for me/if I feel there is a need for me to pursue a doctorate.

Honestly thank you for your help! Going more thoroughly through LSE has made me realise how amazing the programme could be for me if I rethink my approach to what I want to do.
Good thing you did more research! If LSE doesn't have course modules on mental health, you could think on doing non-academic mental health work along with the degree. This way you will stay connected with the field as well as study a great program at a great school. You could then work with think tanks related to mental health policy and then get to a doctorate later.
Honestly, as long as you have the idea that you wish to go into policy, you should go for LSE since your exposure and the new academia will open you to more fields, ideas and options.

I am not saying choose LSE simply for its name but it could turn out to be a great program and the name could definitely open more doors.

Also, while it might prove to be difficult, given that you are interested in a PhD later and that you are inclined towards research, you should seriously look into LSE's faculty and see if you can find someone in the field of mental health policy. You could then perhaps contact them and ask them about a research position or anything of sorts or just share your interest and create some networks?
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mm00ns
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I honestly am not sure about that? I know that there is a required module for the MSc ISPP that's focused solely on research methods. There are also an abundance of courses focused on quantitative methods (Bayesian reasoning, population analysis, etc.). I think it ultimately depends on what you wind up researching/doing your dissertation on? That said, I do think having more quantitative skills makes you more employable.

You can check out the working papers here http://www.lse.ac.uk/social-policy/r...g-paper-series to get a better idea of the levels and variations of quantitative vs qualitative work.
(Original post by iander)
Yes! That was very helpful! Also do you know if they require mostly quantitative or qualitative research for the dissertation
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mm00ns
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Yes, for sure! I was going to look at volunteer activities that I could do alongside schoolwork in a mental health setting or NGO, etc., which could complement the programme.

Honestly, though, the LSE name does carry heavy weight in the social science fields and it makes sense because I believe the programmes and training offered are really well-rounded. My hesitation with choosing King's over LSE was that, while the Mental Health, Law, and Ethics programme is focused on exactly the issues I'm interested in, the programme isn't well-known and I don't know how many doors that would open for me. Also, it isn't necessarily a good thing to have such a niche skillset. I feel like if I choose LSE over King's and decide to pursue a doctorate later on, my more diverse skillset might actually be an asset so long as I don't lose touch with the field of psychology.

And I'm definitely going to take a closer look at their faculty and probably start emailing them sometime next month to figure things out for the coming year. Thank you for all your help!! : )
(Original post by batter mix)
Good thing you did more research! If LSE doesn't have course modules on mental health, you could think on doing non-academic mental health work along with the degree. This way you will stay connected with the field as well as study a great program at a great school. You could then work with think tanks related to mental health policy and then get to a doctorate later.
Honestly, as long as you have the idea that you wish to go into policy, you should go for LSE since your exposure and the new academia will open you to more fields, ideas and options.

I am not saying choose LSE simply for its name but it could turn out to be a great program and the name could definitely open more doors.

Also, while it might prove to be difficult, given that you are interested in a PhD later and that you are inclined towards research, you should seriously look into LSE's faculty and see if you can find someone in the field of mental health policy. You could then perhaps contact them and ask them about a research position or anything of sorts or just share your interest and create some networks?
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