Doctorate Clinical Psych programme application

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Satu
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#1
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#1
Hi,

At present I’m facing a existential crisis. Definitely dramatic but the following is why. My end goal dream is to be able to join the Clinical Psych Doctorate programme. For this I completed my undergraduate with a 2.1 and obtained what will now be 3 years of work experience as a Support Worker (I have a fancier title for this) I also joined the clinical psych programme for my MSc in Clinical Psych and I am due to finish this soon. Unfortunately I have just found out the due to one grade I will no longer qualify for a merit for my MSc despite having reasonable marks in all my other modules (I even scored in the 80s for my stats exam). I also recently got accepted into the PWP trainee programme at UCL.

My question is, how likely will I still be able to get onto the Doctorate programme in the next few years as I now cannot boast about a Merit or Distinction on my MSc ... would it be recommendable to retake a MSc so I could still put this on my CV when I apply?

I’m hoping my grades will redeem me as well as how well I do on the PWP programme but I’m also terrified that I’ve just thrown £18k and a year of my life down the drain due to this one grade.

Any advice?
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marinade
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#2
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#2
(Original post by Satu)
My question is, how likely will I still be able to get onto the Doctorate programme in the next few years as I now cannot boast about a Merit or Distinction on my MSc ... would it be recommendable to retake a MSc so I could still put this on my CV when I apply?

I'm hoping grades will redeem me as well as how well I do on the PWP programme but I’m also terrified that I’ve just thrown £18k and a year of my life down the drain due to this one grade.

Any advice?
You did your best. Be kind to yourself.

You could get a distinction and still not get on the clinical doctorate. That's how it is. In five years time doctorate or not, whatever happens you will see things differently.

You could get a distinction and still not be able to get onto a PWP (it happens). Psychology MScs are incredibly common. There are loads of people with them flipping burgers, being baristas, Teaching Assistants or support workers for years after. There are loads of people mid 20s twisting themselves inside out with worry and frustration. All right so a PWP should be achievable for quite a few people with the mix of the right experience with a BSc, but you got on it, well done. Chapeau. I would focus on the PWP and enjoying and documenting your learnings as much as possible.

In general, why do you think an MSc makes that much difference to clinical doctorate chances? Unless you don't have a 'high' 2.1.
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Lord Asriel
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#3
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#3
(Original post by Satu)
My question is, how likely will I still be able to get onto the Doctorate programme in the next few years as I now cannot boast about a Merit or Distinction on my MSc ... would it be recommendable to retake a MSc so I could still put this on my CV when I apply?

I’m hoping my grades will redeem me as well as how well I do on the PWP programme but I’m also terrified that I’ve just thrown £18k and a year of my life down the drain due to this one grade.

Any advice?
You are getting hung up on the wrong issue. Successful DClinPsy applications aren't built on a single grade or piece of experience, but rather a cumulative package based on experience, academic ability, capacity for reflection and the interview panels view about how ready you are for training and whether or not you will be an asset to the profession.

In some way it is easier to focus on a tangible 'weakness' like not having a distinction, but there are plenty of people who get onto training without any postgraduate degrees at all. If you do well on your PWP, get good experience and build on those academic/research/clinical attributes that selectors look for that is what gets you interviews. Obviously there are basics such as having a 2:1 and GBC etc, but beyond that its more about the complete package you present and how you reflect on it within your application form that counts. In some cases, courses use selection tasks and grades in postgraduate degrees aren't even looked at.

Don't go spending any more money. It's not necessary and it may block you focussing on the areas you actually need to work on. This is where supervision from a psychologist is really helpful, as it is a part of working therapeutically as a PWP, but also as someone furthering their career.
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Satu
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#4
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#4
Thanks I mean essentially I get it.... and totally on it I know there are those out there probably still figuring things out trying to get on the ladder. I do feel fortunate I’ve managed to cross some of my Ts by at least completing my masters. And yes my BSc is a good 2.1 I never got my overall average but I had a high 2.1 for my dissertation very short off a distinction. To be honest I thought with 2.1 on my MSc I could have more ammunition to strengthen my candidacy as an applicant. I realise it’s not a ‘make it or break it’ situation that I’m in but it just would’ve really been a valued part of my application. I’ve also spend a lot of money on the course as well accommodation it’s just depressing that I haven’t been able to get my moneys worth due to one thing going wrong.

I’m still a bit down in the dumps about things but I’ll try to leave the pity party behind me. I’m definitely gonna try and appeal as well as dispute the foundation of the decision for why I won’t get a merit despite my average being sufficient for one. I found a loophole in the university regulations but I will have to see whether the bureaucracy of the matter trumps the fairness of the decision. Hopefully it will amount to something but at least I’ll know I’ve tried to do what I can. Thanks so much for the reply! It helps having more perspective and rationale thrown at me ! I appreciate it!
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Satu
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#5
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(Original post by Lord Asriel)
You are getting hung up on the wrong issue. Successful DClinPsy applications aren't built on a single grade or piece of experience, but rather a cumulative package based on experience, academic ability, capacity for reflection and the interview panels view about how ready you are for training and whether or not you will be an asset to the profession.

In some way it is easier to focus on a tangible 'weakness' like not having a distinction, but there are plenty of people who get onto training without any postgraduate degrees at all. If you do well on your PWP, get good experience and build on those academic/research/clinical attributes that selectors look for that is what gets you interviews. Obviously there are basics such as having a 2:1 and GBC etc, but beyond that its more about the complete package you present and how you reflect on it within your application form that counts. In some cases, courses use selection tasks and grades in postgraduate degrees aren't even looked at.

Don't go spending any more money. It's not necessary and it may block you focussing on the areas you actually need to work on. This is where supervision from a psychologist is really helpful, as it is a part of working therapeutically as a PWP, but also as someone furthering their career.
Thanks for the reply , and fair point I see what you mean by this. I guess after a years of hard work it just hit me really hard how this degree might after all not be the asset I was hoping it could be. I have a genuine enjoyment of my job and so far have loved the journey I’ve been on. I guess more then anything I wanted to proof that academically and workload wise I could handle whatever was thrown at me as I was working full-time and attending school full-time this past year. I guess I’ll use the experience of things not going well, despite working really hard, as the real learning experience of this MSc journey. But no worries I’ve uninvited myself to my pity party and I’ll try look at the silver lining. I honestly can not contain my excitement to start my PWP training so I’ll try and focus on this instead.

Do you have any further recommendations on what else I could do after PWP training / practicing? Should I still include my MSc during my application for the DClinPsych ? I’m gonna try and appeal/dispute the decision but should this not work would a 2nd MSc (with a Merit or Distinction) definitely not be a good investment? Career prospects wise I’ve considered going down the CBT therapist/High Intensity Practitioner route or even a PhD if all fails with the DClinPsych. Assuming I did either of those routes would a MSc with a merit or distinction not be worth investing in?
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marinade
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#6
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#6
Doing a second postgraduate master's to get on high intensity PWP is utter madness. Do well at PWP and you should be able to get on that.

The only circumstances I would be doing another master's is if it is forced and funded e.g. a 1+3 PhD.
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Lord Asriel
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#7
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#7
(Original post by Satu)
Do you have any further recommendations on what else I could do after PWP training / practicing? Should I still include my MSc during my application for the DClinPsych ? I’m gonna try and appeal/dispute the decision but should this not work would a 2nd MSc (with a Merit or Distinction) definitely not be a good investment? Career prospects wise I’ve considered going down the CBT therapist/High Intensity Practitioner route or even a PhD if all fails with the DClinPsych. Assuming I did either of those routes would a MSc with a merit or distinction not be worth investing in?
I would keep your MSc on your application form, as it is evidence of further study beyond undergrad.

Other than that I wouldn't make any recommendations because I don't know you. I advise my assistants (and trainees) who I directly supervise about their next steps, because I have had a chance to spend time getting to know they think, see how they operate in the work environment and can get a sense of what they need to develop and how they come across. That is why personal supervision from a working clinical psychologist is always better than generic advice or random online commentators (and is one of the bigger predictors of getting onto training according to a study I remember reading a few years ago).

Conversely, I would be very cautious about making potentially costly and time consuming decisions from those who have never met you, especially if they are not on training/ qualified themselves, regardless of how convinced or certain they sound.
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FinalMasquerade
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#8
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#8
Hi Satu,

Course requirements and preferences slightly vary depending on which course you prefer. Some are academically focused, and others are more interested in your experience. It is a competitive field to get in to, and having a breadth of experience is vital. In terms of application scoring, many do not really score the grade you get for any postgraduate courses. They tend to focus on the undergraduate, for which a 2.1 is the minimum. However, if you did not achieve a 2.1, you can make up for it with a postgraduate course (or through explaining extenuating circumstances). Although, as you have mentioned getting a 2.1, you are fine. The 2.1 banding may have an impact (60-64 vs 65-69 overall).

All the best with it.
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