The Student Room Group

What's the deal with conversion courses?

So I'm a US student wrapping up my Bachelors in Psychology. I've applied to 5 UK programs and have been accepted into 3 so far, 2 of which are Psychology conversion courses (CC's). I realize CC's are usually for people who got their undergrad degree in another subject, but as my US degree won't be GBC approved, I was told a CC would be a good idea.
I applied to MSc CC's under the impression that the completion of this program would be sufficient enough for me to then apply to a DClinPsy program afterwards. However, I've recently read that I'll need to get the CC MSc, then a "real" MSc, THEN a doctorate. As my hope is to get my Doctorate as quickly and cheaply as possible (a PsyD in the US is much more expensive and takes 5+ years), I'm not keen on traveling all the way across the pond only to have my education still take 5 or so years.
So can anyone clarify? Will I need a CC MSc in Psychology, as well as another MSc and then a doctorate? Or can I proceed to a DClinPsy with just the CC MSc?
Thanks!
@Noodlzzz might be able to advise?

Where do you plan to practice as a clinical psychologist? If it's not in the UK, you should make sure the UK degree is accepted for professional registration purposes in the place you plan to practice. If it is in the UK, you should make sure you have or will have right to work in the UK on graduation (as leaving then reapplying for a working visa I gather is more complex and difficult than staying and moving directly into a job).
Reply 2
Original post by artful_lounger
@Noodlzzz might be able to advise?

Where do you plan to practice as a clinical psychologist? If it's not in the UK, you should make sure the UK degree is accepted for professional registration purposes in the place you plan to practice. If it is in the UK, you should make sure you have or will have right to work in the UK on graduation (as leaving then reapplying for a working visa I gather is more complex and difficult than staying and moving directly into a job).

I'm open to staying in the UK to practice, should I complete my education there and if I like it. I'm working with an advisor as Study Across the Pond who helped me choose programs recognized in the US though should I decide to return.
Reply 3
Original post by krogerhl
So I'm a US student wrapping up my Bachelors in Psychology. I've applied to 5 UK programs and have been accepted into 3 so far, 2 of which are Psychology conversion courses (CC's). I realize CC's are usually for people who got their undergrad degree in another subject, but as my US degree won't be GBC approved, I was told a CC would be a good idea.
I applied to MSc CC's under the impression that the completion of this program would be sufficient enough for me to then apply to a DClinPsy program afterwards. However, I've recently read that I'll need to get the CC MSc, then a "real" MSc, THEN a doctorate. As my hope is to get my Doctorate as quickly and cheaply as possible (a PsyD in the US is much more expensive and takes 5+ years), I'm not keen on traveling all the way across the pond only to have my education still take 5 or so years.
So can anyone clarify? Will I need a CC MSc in Psychology, as well as another MSc and then a doctorate? Or can I proceed to a DClinPsy with just the CC MSc?
Thanks!

Hi, I also applied to Msc Psychology ( CC) in the UK for january 2020, i got accepted. But then i'm having some serious concern about if the course would align my professional area. Since I'm a nurse and did my BSN in india. While researching through vast range of course , i came across Msc psychology CC, and i reviewed a modules. It was quiet interesting , as i did my final dissertation during my undergrad in Mental health areas. I was quiet allured by psychology course. Now i 'm 50/50 to weather accept the offer or not, while i've also applied for Msc nursing to other universities, which i think would be a better choice for me in future prospect. However, my agent, she has been claiming that i would get my visa extended soon i finish my course and that i can look up for other jobs either related to psychology or nursing. But, my research brought me to a conclusion that i cannot change my student visa status to working visa , you have to go back to the country and apply for it. Which is definitely a lot of hassle.
Original post by krogerhl
So I'm a US student wrapping up my Bachelors in Psychology. I've applied to 5 UK programs and have been accepted into 3 so far, 2 of which are Psychology conversion courses (CC's). I realize CC's are usually for people who got their undergrad degree in another subject, but as my US degree won't be GBC approved, I was told a CC would be a good idea.
I applied to MSc CC's under the impression that the completion of this program would be sufficient enough for me to then apply to a DClinPsy program afterwards. However, I've recently read that I'll need to get the CC MSc, then a "real" MSc, THEN a doctorate. As my hope is to get my Doctorate as quickly and cheaply as possible (a PsyD in the US is much more expensive and takes 5+ years), I'm not keen on traveling all the way across the pond only to have my education still take 5 or so years.
So can anyone clarify? Will I need a CC MSc in Psychology, as well as another MSc and then a doctorate? Or can I proceed to a DClinPsy with just the CC MSc?
Thanks!


Original post by artful_lounger
@Noodlzzz might be able to advise?

Where do you plan to practice as a clinical psychologist? If it's not in the UK, you should make sure the UK degree is accepted for professional registration purposes in the place you plan to practice. If it is in the UK, you should make sure you have or will have right to work in the UK on graduation (as leaving then reapplying for a working visa I gather is more complex and difficult than staying and moving directly into a job).


Thanks for the tag!

I'm almost certain you won't need another MSc, the CC course should be enough for the doctorate.
Original post by krogerhl
So can anyone clarify? Will I need a CC MSc in Psychology, as well as another MSc and then a doctorate? Or can I proceed to a DClinPsy with just the CC MSc?
Thanks!

Can you name your source that says you need two MScs.

Why won't your US degree be approved when you apply? You need to finish your degree and apply for BPS membership and see what happens? If you personally know someone else in a similar situation that got rejected, that's something to base it on, but you still need to apply.

The advice/info about two masters' degrees sounds like a misunderstanding or simply wrong. I can see possibilities of where it could be correct, but it seems likely wrong.

You do occasionally see grads who have had to do two postgraduate qualifications before a PhD/Clinical doctorate/other route to be chartered, there is a poster on here, but in general it's fairly rare. It's usually when funding bodies dictate so for a regular PhD, rather than a clinical doctorate or someone has a different background or lower grades (below a 2.2 isn't BPS accredited anyway and a robust discussion about chances in Psychology) so the university says nope you ain't coming on the MSc unless you do this first.

I assume from the gist of your post you would be applying for non-NHS clinical doctorates? I don't know about privately funded ones, but I would be cautious on the chances of succeeding. Although the course is shorter, it's not very typical at all for someone to get on straight after the MSc. The degree is just one component and substantial work and voluntary experience is needed. A more realistic time schedule is to suggest that those accepted on clinical doctorates are often in their mid-to-late 20s to early 30s.

(parts of the post written to reflect that the person hasn't finished their degree so can't apply for BPS membership).
(edited 4 years ago)
Reply 6
Original post by marinade
Can you name your source that says you need two MScs.

Why won't your US degree be approved when you apply? You need to finish your degree and apply for BPS membership and see what happens? If you personally know someone else in a similar situation that got rejected, that's something to base it on, but you still need to apply.

The advice/info about two masters' degrees sounds like a misunderstanding or simply wrong. I can see possibilities of where it could be correct, but it seems likely wrong.

You do occasionally see grads who have had to do two postgraduate qualifications before a PhD/Clinical doctorate/other route to be chartered, there is a poster on here, but in general it's fairly rare. It's usually when funding bodies dictate so for a regular PhD, rather than a clinical doctorate or someone has a different background or lower grades (below a 2.2 isn't BPS accredited anyway and a robust discussion about chances in Psychology) so the university says nope you ain't coming on the MSc unless you do this first.

I assume from the gist of your post you would be applying for non-NHS clinical doctorates? I don't know about privately funded ones, but I would be cautious on the chances of succeeding. Although the course is shorter, it's not very typical at all for someone to get on straight after the MSc. The degree is just one component and substantial work and voluntary experience is needed. A more realistic time schedule is to suggest that those accepted on clinical doctorates are often in their mid-to-late 20s to early 30s.

(parts of the post written to reflect that the person hasn't finished their degree so can't apply for BPS membership).

On the entry requirements section of Stirling's DCLinPsy page it says applicants must "have successfully completed a BPS Accredited (Stage 1) MSc in Health Psychology within the past 5 years to a minimum of merit grade or equivalent". Since I'm not doing their Health Psych MSc, I checked out that programs page and saw "Students accepted without a BPS-recognised qualification and intending to progress to BPS Stage Two training towards practitioner health psychologist status will be required to undertake an accredited Psychology conversion course following this programme." This makes it sound like I'd need to take both MSc's (at least at Stirling anyway) before progressing to the DClinPsy. I'm hoping based on comments here that that's not the case...
I haven't applied to BPS for approval yet-well I tried but they told me I can't apply until I graduate in May. I thought taking a CC would be a nice way to skip that step but of course I'm willing to do it if I need to, that's no problem. I can't imagine why a BA in Psychology wouldn't qualify for GBC approval.
Regarding NHS vs non-NHS clinical doctorates...no idea? I know I want a DClinPsy, not a PhD because my career interest is clinical practice, not research or teaching. I'm from the US and everything about grades, applying for, paying for, and obtaining a PhD or PsyD (our DClinPsy) is different here.
https://www.stir.ac.uk/courses/pg-taught/psychology/psychology-accredited-conversion-course/
https://www.stir.ac.uk/courses/pg-taught/psychology/health-psychology/
https://www.stir.ac.uk/courses/pg-taught/psychology/professional-doctorate-health-psychology/
Original post by krogerhl
On the entry requirements section of Stirling's DCLinPsy page it says applicants must "have successfully completed a BPS Accredited (Stage 1) MSc in Health Psychology within the past 5 years to a minimum of merit grade or equivalent". Since I'm not doing their Health Psych MSc, I checked out that programs page and saw "Students accepted without a BPS-recognised qualification and intending to progress to BPS Stage Two training towards practitioner health psychologist status will be required to undertake an accredited Psychology conversion course following this programme." This makes it sound like I'd need to take both MSc's (at least at Stirling anyway) before progressing to the DClinPsy. I'm hoping based on comments here that that's not the case...
I

I think you are getting the route for Health Psychology (Stage 1 MSc + Stage 2 Doctorate) with Clinical Psychology (DClinPsy) mixed up. Both require an BPS accredited undergrad qualification before moving onto Professional training. It is confusing, and you would be better off talking to someone based in the UK with experience in the field.

Overall, you need to research the various pathways, and understand that you are going down one of the most competitive pathways possible. You will need to have relevant experience, good academic qualifications and/or sit through very tough selection tests to get onto a DClinPsy, with the addded disadvantage of coming in from a foreign system, where you don't have NHS experience and selectors may question your commitment to working in the UK. If you pursue a DClinPsy from a self funded place this is expensive, and the competition for NHS funded Band 6 Dclinpsy is around 15% acceptance last year. https://www.leeds.ac.uk/chpccp/

Have a read on www.clinpsy.org.uk to see the profiles of typical trainees and there are threads there about the difficulities of coming in externally from another country.
Reply 8
Original post by Lord Asriel
I think you are getting the route for Health Psychology (Stage 1 MSc + Stage 2 Doctorate) with Clinical Psychology (DClinPsy) mixed up. Both require an BPS accredited undergrad qualification before moving onto Professional training. It is confusing, and you would be better off talking to someone based in the UK with experience in the field.

Overall, you need to research the various pathways, and understand that you are going down one of the most competitive pathways possible. You will need to have relevant experience, good academic qualifications and/or sit through very tough selection tests to get onto a DClinPsy, with the addded disadvantage of coming in from a foreign system, where you don't have NHS experience and selectors may question your commitment to working in the UK. If you pursue a DClinPsy from a self funded place this is expensive, and the competition for NHS funded Band 6 Dclinpsy is around 15% acceptance last year. https://www.leeds.ac.uk/chpccp/

Have a read on www.clinpsy.org.uk to see the profiles of typical trainees and there are threads there about the difficulities of coming in externally from another country.

Thank you m'Lord (couldn't help it).

So, in the UK, are you saying that entry to a DClinPsy program I just need a BPS accredited undergrad degree and don't need an MSc? Because that would be ideal to say the least. Here in the US you can go from a Bachelor's to a Doctorate program without needing a Masters in between but I was told that's not the case in the UK...

You're right: my interest is Clinical Psych and apparently I've got the UK pathways for various types of Psychologists confused. I'll reach out to the schools and do some research to clarify.

As far as the cost and competition, that's nothing I'm not already prepared for. Higher education in America is incredibly competitive and expensive. My undergrad debt is sitting right around $50k as it is. I'm open to staying in the UK if I'm able and want to but if not I'll come back to the States.
Thanks for the links btw, I'll be sure to check them out.
Original post by krogerhl

So, in the UK, are you saying that entry to a DClinPsy program I just need a BPS accredited undergrad degree and don't need an MSc? Because that would be ideal to say the least. Here in the US you can go from a Bachelor's to a Doctorate program without needing a Masters in between but I was told that's not the case in the UK...


Technically, the minimum requirements for DClinPsy courses are an accredited BPS undergraduate degree and a short period of relevant experience. Masters degrees are not compulsory.

However, in reality the vast majority of successful applicants will have a lot more than the minimum. Some will have postgraduate qualifications such as Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner diplomas or Masters degrees. Others will have research PhDs. It is possible to not have any postgraduate degrees, but if you think about it, the average age of getting onto a DClinPsy is 27, so your competition will have postgraduate degrees, publications or other things that make them stand out from the crowd. Or you find out the few courses that have low level of experience but a very tough selection task for entry like Lancaster and Surrey, and beat the competition on sheer ability alone.

I qualified a fair while ago, so am now in a position careerwise where I have to supervise assistant psychologists trying to get onto a DClinPsy and trainees who are in the middle of their DClinPsys. Out of the dozens I have trained and managed the vast majority have had postgrad qualifications. The few that didn't were exceptional in other ways. None have done the bare minimum.
Reply 10
Original post by Lord Asriel
Technically, the minimum requirements for DClinPsy courses are an accredited BPS undergraduate degree and a short period of relevant experience. Masters degrees are not compulsory.

However, in reality the vast majority of successful applicants will have a lot more than the minimum. Some will have postgraduate qualifications such as Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner diplomas or Masters degrees. Others will have research PhDs. It is possible to not have any postgraduate degrees, but if you think about it, the average age of getting onto a DClinPsy is 27, so your competition will have postgraduate degrees, publications or other things that make them stand out from the crowd. Or you find out the few courses that have low level of experience but a very tough selection task for entry like Lancaster and Surrey, and beat the competition on sheer ability alone.

I qualified a fair while ago, so am now in a position careerwise where I have to supervise assistant psychologists trying to get onto a DClinPsy and trainees who are in the middle of their DClinPsys. Out of the dozens I have trained and managed the vast majority have had postgrad qualifications. The few that didn't were exceptional in other ways. None have done the bare minimum.

Trust me, I have no intention of doing the bare minimum. I'm merely trying to suss out what the actual requirements of these degrees are through all the conflicting information I've received. Plus, as a non-UK student, reading entry requirements about merit grades and "Stage Two training" and 2:1 degrees is all gibberish to me so I'm trying to translate that as well. But I've been reaching out to admissions offices and researching all morning and I came to the same conclusion you just posted. Like the US, masters aren't exactly necessary in the UK to apply to DPsy programs, but obtaining one is essentially the only for someone like me to have a fighting chance at a DClinPsy position (since here in the US we don't get paid clinical opportunities until we're already in the Doc program). Your links were handy and between them and my own research I've managed to distinguish health and clinical and other areas of UK Psych from each other. (Coincidentally, I will be 27 and my undergrad degree required a lot of research experience but no paid work obviously.) This will more than likely change where I thought I was going as I'd planned to accept Stirling but now Bangor or Essex looks like it may be better for me.
You've been hugely helpful. Cheers from Ohio!
You don't NEED a second masters but you won't get on immediately following your conversion for 3 reasons:

1. you have to have your course in hand completed before you apply which means minimum of 1 year between finishing your masters and starting a doctorate

2. You need significant practical experience to get a place (I think the minimum is 1-2 years but the reality is most people you're competing with will have significantly more)

3. You have to live in the UK for 3 years (none of which are for the purpose of education) before applying afaik, you will also be obliged to work in the UK NHS for I think 2 years after graduating if you do a funded course

This is an insanely competitive course, it is NOT a case of simply meeting the criteria, you need to stand out from the hundreds of other very well qualified applicants.
On point 3 which you mentioned- does this also apply to international students?

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