omcaxx
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I'm a fourth year Environmental Science student and I'm thinking about doing a Psychology conversion masters after I graduate. However, I'm not sure if I'll be able to get into a course. I've heard that Psychology conversion courses are incredibly competitive. I have okay grades (2:1 average so far) but I don't have anything to put on my CV aside from a part time job and volunteer work at a museum. I would like to look for more volunteering opportunities working with people but that's hard to do at the moment due to COVID. Is there anything I can do to make my application stronger? What kind of experience would make me a good candidate for a place on a course?
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Abigail R Brown
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(Original post by omcaxx)
I'm a fourth year Environmental Science student and I'm thinking about doing a Psychology conversion masters after I graduate. However, I'm not sure if I'll be able to get into a course. I've heard that Psychology conversion courses are incredibly competitive. I have okay grades (2:1 average so far) but I don't have anything to put on my CV aside from a part time job and volunteer work at a museum. I would like to look for more volunteering opportunities working with people but that's hard to do at the moment due to COVID. Is there anything I can do to make my application stronger? What kind of experience would make me a good candidate for a place on a course?
Hey omcaxx,
I am currently doing a Psychology Conversion Masters via distance learning at Arden University, I achieved my undergrad many years ago with a 2:1 and work in retail! For my application I did have to write a small personal statement (not like the ones you write for UCAS) about myself, my interests, any relevant experience, and why I wanted to do the course. I must admit after finishing my undergrad I did a gap year abroad working with children at a local church and have dipped in and out of working in nurseries, however in the current climate it is obviously a little harder now to gain experience and this will be taken into account on application. I think really explaining why you want to do the course and what you hope to go on to do afterwards is a big help, more online places are opening up all the time for students so it might be worth considering doing it online rather than at a university. I manage to fit studying around my full time job which is great and you could use that to your advantage to gain experience in the psychology field. Even though I am not physically in a classroom with other students I never seem to feel alone because there is a great support network around of students and tutors, more so than when I did my undergrad at a redbrick university.

Hope that helps.

Abigail
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Arden University
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(Original post by omcaxx)
I'm a fourth year Environmental Science student and I'm thinking about doing a Psychology conversion masters after I graduate. However, I'm not sure if I'll be able to get into a course. I've heard that Psychology conversion courses are incredibly competitive. I have okay grades (2:1 average so far) but I don't have anything to put on my CV aside from a part time job and volunteer work at a museum. I would like to look for more volunteering opportunities working with people but that's hard to do at the moment due to COVID. Is there anything I can do to make my application stronger? What kind of experience would make me a good candidate for a place on a course?
Hi omcaxx,

I recommend undertaking wider reading around Psychology - the British Psychological Society is a good place to start for that. You could also follow the Arden University Psychology Twitter account - they tweet lots of articles: https://twitter.com/ArdenUniPsych

I wonder if doing some kind of remote support volunteering role might be possible and of interest for this? I know charities ask for volunteers to offer support to vulnerable people via phone call, texting or via an app; such as Shout 85258, Samaritans, Childline...

Feel free to take a look at Arden University's MSc Psychology course while you are at it - you'll be able to view entry requirements and the like: https://arden.ac.uk/our-courses/dist...psychology-bps

Amy
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giella
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They’re actually not that competitive as a general rule. Certain ones are depending on the university and their links to the professional doctorates. But generally these courses are big earners for the universities running them as the entry requirements are quite low ie 2.2 or 2.1 in any discipline. Some of them don’t even look at the personal statement before accepting them.
Which ones are you considering?
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bones-mccoy
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You generally only need a 2.2 or 2.1 for a conversion course. They are designed for those who hold no prior psychological background so don't tend to ask for any experience either. From my experience they're much easier to get onto compared to an MSc in more specialised areas of Psychology.
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JamesManc
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Psychology conversion is not hard to get accepted into, they want your money after all. Clinical psychology has about a 5% acceptance rate but a conversion I would imagine almost anyone who applies gets in.
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omcaxx
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(Original post by giella)
They’re actually not that competitive as a general rule. Certain ones are depending on the university and their links to the professional doctorates. But generally these courses are big earners for the universities running them as the entry requirements are quite low ie 2.2 or 2.1 in any discipline. Some of them don’t even look at the personal statement before accepting them.
Which ones are you considering?
I'm in Scotland so I'm thinking about Edinburgh (my current uni), Glasgow or St. Andrew's. So they're not the easiest universities to get into. Which is why I want to make sure I have a really good application.
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giella
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If you're aiming for competitive conversion courses - and bear in mind you don't necessarily need them - then I would say you probably need to think in terms of going into the conversion oven-ready for the doctorate itself in terms of experience. They may want people who are going to boost their conversion figures for the clinical and educational doctorates rather than just using them as a cash cow. Once you're on those courses, you'll probably find they're pretty full on as well. Having started full time on a competitive conversion course with professional doctorate links, I found that I wasn't going to be able to support myself and be a high achiever at the same time. I dropped down to part time pretty quickly and was able to turn out those precious distinctions and high merits whilst working. You can't count on continuing to hunt out experience whilst you're doing the conversion full time. You want to be able to concentrate on the work when it's needed.

Oven ready for the doctorate means at least 12 months full time paid clinical experience, ideally NHS, preferably within a mental health setting with CP supervision - assuming you're going for the clinical doctorate. Educational settings such as colleges for adults with learning disabilities are also good and they also would count toward the educational doctorate if you were interested. You want to try and get experience within two or more client groups. Volunteering is well and good but it often doesn't really contribute toward the core experience needed. It's slightly different for psychology grads who are free to offer themselves to be exploited as honorary assistant psychologists (read unpaid labour). If you're a non-psychology grad heading toward the doctorate, you want to be thinking about ways of gaining experience with different client groups, gaining core clinical skills - think roles such as therapy assistant for the allied health professions - and proving that you have the resilience to work within this clinical area.

If you've not got much clinical experience already, you need to hear this: you don't actually want to be a psychologist yet. You like the idea of it. Maybe you like the salary and the prestige the job title attaches. Maybe you like the idea of being paid a band 6 salary to train. Maybe you like the idea of counselling people and helping them navigate their troubles. Maybe you like the idea of what you think psychology is i.e. Freud, the Stanford Prison experiment etc. Until you've wrestled with computational models of language, spent four hours decoding a single paragraph of the first of thirty journal articles you've downloaded to read, grappled with SPSS...you don't really know the subject. Until you've spent time on a brain injury unit, in a secure forensic setting, in a stroke unit, in a paediatric assessment clinic, had to deal with staffing shortages which mean that people can't access therapy because they're waiting to be taken to the toilet for an hour and a half and then have to wait another half hour to be showered, washed and dressed and by which time they're in a foul mood and they have no interest in doing an assessment or therapy and they just want to swear and threaten people...you don't really know what you're getting into.

You're about three years at least from being ready. I think you need to get your feet wet first, maybe try a single module of psychology from an online course such as the University of Derby or through the OU, or through a MOOC. Take a job as a care assistant or a support worker if you can. But don't be jumping in headfirst. Give yourself options and build in exit routes. Using Master's funding on a conversion is a pretty big risk if you don't know what you're getting yourself into. I got halfway through mine before realising I was heading into a career cul-de-sac. Plenty of other people on mine pushed through and then shook off their psychology bug and went on to do completely different things because they realised they hadn't thought it through. Some people quit after failing the first essay and realising their idea of psychology and the reality were just too distant. Maybe 3 or 4 out of 30 eventually went on do psychology as a career and only about half of them as practising psychologists. I look back at it from my current role and I realise just how naive most of us were to believe we had a shot.

Consider alternative career paths - don't be blinded by prestige. If the job you would do if you found out you couldn't be a psychologist has nothing to do with healthcare or education or forensics - the core psychology areas - then you probably have no real interest in being a psychologist.
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CharlieBrownSays
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I think this is really sound advice. I am about to start a psychology conversion at a RG uni. I wasn’t sure that I’d get an offer as my UG results aren’t great and the Uni literature spoke about how competitive the course application was etc . I was also a very late applicant. However, they gave me an offer ... about 3 days after applying, before any references were given. Granted I have considerable work experience but I was still surprised. Since then I got an offer from another RG, just as soon as the referees completed it and basically ticked that box.. looking at the admission stats they accept 60% of applicants, an increase on the 30% acceptance rate a few years ago. For me, this is a related profession to my current experience and I do want to go further to doctorate . But I know it will be tough ...
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Lord Asriel
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(Original post by giella)
Oven ready for the doctorate means at least 12 months full time paid clinical experience, ideally NHS, preferably within a mental health setting with CP supervision - assuming you're going for the clinical doctorate. Educational settings such as colleges for adults with learning disabilities are also good and they also would count toward the educational doctorate if you were interested. You want to try and get experience within two or more client groups. Volunteering is well and good but it often doesn't really contribute toward the core experience needed. It's slightly different for psychology grads who are free to offer themselves to be exploited as honorary assistant psychologists (read unpaid labour). If you're a non-psychology grad heading toward the doctorate, you want to be thinking about ways of gaining experience with different client groups, gaining core clinical skills - think roles such as therapy assistant for the allied health professions - and proving that you have the resilience to work within this clinical area. ..

...Consider alternative career paths - don't be blinded by prestige. If the job you would do if you found out you couldn't be a psychologist has nothing to do with healthcare or education or forensics - the core psychology areas - then you probably have no real interest in being a psychologist.
I can't stress how accurate Giella is with this post.

There are SO many myths and misunderstandings around the path to DClinPsy, and there is no real record of how many people do a conversion course and then get onto training. One could even make the argument for mis-sellling those courses, as they paint a wholly unrealistic picture of the route to qualifying and the low barrier to acceptance (e.g. a 2:2, no screening for motivations or insight into the profession, assessing suitability for future doctoral level study) means that they are actively enrolling people who have no realistic chance of getting onto a DClin/EdPsy etc. That said, conversion course staff don't work on a DClinPsy, aren't clinically trained and probably don't have a great idea themselves about the realities of the route.

I would strongly advise anyone contemplating a conversion to have a list of careers or outcomes that they would be happy with.
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Sroy
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(Original post by Lord Asriel)
I can't stress how accurate Giella is with this post.

There are SO many myths and misunderstandings around the path to DClinPsy, and there is no real record of how many people do a conversion course and then get onto training. One could even make the argument for mis-sellling those courses, as they paint a wholly unrealistic picture of the route to qualifying and the low barrier to acceptance (e.g. a 2:2, no screening for motivations or insight into the profession, assessing suitability for future doctoral level study) means that they are actively enrolling people who have no realistic chance of getting onto a DClin/EdPsy etc. That said, conversion course staff don't work on a DClinPsy, aren't clinically trained and probably don't have a great idea themselves about the realities of the route.

I would strongly advise anyone contemplating a conversion to have a list of careers or outcomes that they would be happy with.
hey. After a conversion in uk how does a path to phd (applying to grad school in the US) look like...I'm not from a science background but I want to do a phd in psychology (not clinical) a go on with a career in research...the requirements for applying to grad school in the US is an undergrad in psychology and then 1-2 years experience as a lab assistant ..so because my undergrad is not in science - the psych Master's conversion becomes crucial for me but do people who get into these programmes - are they able to secure position as a lab assistant or something for 1-2 years? because without that one won't be considered a competitive applicant for grad school in states.
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Sroy
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(Original post by CharlieBrownSays)
I think this is really sound advice. I am about to start a psychology conversion at a RG uni. I wasn’t sure that I’d get an offer as my UG results aren’t great and the Uni literature spoke about how competitive the course application was etc . I was also a very late applicant. However, they gave me an offer ... about 3 days after applying, before any references were given. Granted I have considerable work experience but I was still surprised. Since then I got an offer from another RG, just as soon as the referees completed it and basically ticked that box.. looking at the admission stats they accept 60% of applicants, an increase on the 30% acceptance rate a few years ago. For me, this is a related profession to my current experience and I do want to go further to doctorate . But I know it will be tough ...
hey, would u mind telling me what ur undergrad degree was and what marks did u get (approx.) ? did u apply to Edinburgh or St. Andrews?
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Sroy
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(Original post by giella)
If you're aiming for competitive conversion courses - and bear in mind you don't necessarily need them - then I would say you probably need to think in terms of going into the conversion oven-ready for the doctorate itself in terms of experience. They may want people who are going to boost their conversion figures for the clinical and educational doctorates rather than just using them as a cash cow. Once you're on those courses, you'll probably find they're pretty full on as well. Having started full time on a competitive conversion course with professional doctorate links, I found that I wasn't going to be able to support myself and be a high achiever at the same time. I dropped down to part time pretty quickly and was able to turn out those precious distinctions and high merits whilst working. You can't count on continuing to hunt out experience whilst you're doing the conversion full time. You want to be able to concentrate on the work when it's needed.

Oven ready for the doctorate means at least 12 months full time paid clinical experience, ideally NHS, preferably within a mental health setting with CP supervision - assuming you're going for the clinical doctorate. Educational settings such as colleges for adults with learning disabilities are also good and they also would count toward the educational doctorate if you were interested. You want to try and get experience within two or more client groups. Volunteering is well and good but it often doesn't really contribute toward the core experience needed. It's slightly different for psychology grads who are free to offer themselves to be exploited as honorary assistant psychologists (read unpaid labour). If you're a non-psychology grad heading toward the doctorate, you want to be thinking about ways of gaining experience with different client groups, gaining core clinical skills - think roles such as therapy assistant for the allied health professions - and proving that you have the resilience to work within this clinical area.

If you've not got much clinical experience already, you need to hear this: you don't actually want to be a psychologist yet. You like the idea of it. Maybe you like the salary and the prestige the job title attaches. Maybe you like the idea of being paid a band 6 salary to train. Maybe you like the idea of counselling people and helping them navigate their troubles. Maybe you like the idea of what you think psychology is i.e. Freud, the Stanford Prison experiment etc. Until you've wrestled with computational models of language, spent four hours decoding a single paragraph of the first of thirty journal articles you've downloaded to read, grappled with SPSS...you don't really know the subject. Until you've spent time on a brain injury unit, in a secure forensic setting, in a stroke unit, in a paediatric assessment clinic, had to deal with staffing shortages which mean that people can't access therapy because they're waiting to be taken to the toilet for an hour and a half and then have to wait another half hour to be showered, washed and dressed and by which time they're in a foul mood and they have no interest in doing an assessment or therapy and they just want to swear and threaten people...you don't really know what you're getting into.

You're about three years at least from being ready. I think you need to get your feet wet first, maybe try a single module of psychology from an online course such as the University of Derby or through the OU, or through a MOOC. Take a job as a care assistant or a support worker if you can. But don't be jumping in headfirst. Give yourself options and build in exit routes. Using Master's funding on a conversion is a pretty big risk if you don't know what you're getting yourself into. I got halfway through mine before realising I was heading into a career cul-de-sac. Plenty of other people on mine pushed through and then shook off their psychology bug and went on to do completely different things because they realised they hadn't thought it through. Some people quit after failing the first essay and realising their idea of psychology and the reality were just too distant. Maybe 3 or 4 out of 30 eventually went on do psychology as a career and only about half of them as practising psychologists. I look back at it from my current role and I realise just how naive most of us were to believe we had a shot.

Consider alternative career paths - don't be blinded by prestige. If the job you would do if you found out you couldn't be a psychologist has nothing to do with healthcare or education or forensics - the core psychology areas - then you probably have no real interest in being a psychologist.
hey. After a conversion in uk how does a path to phd (applying to grad school in the US) look like...I'm not from a science background but I want to do a phd in psychology (not clinical) a go on with a career in research...the requirements for applying to grad school in the US is an undergrad in psychology and then 1-2 years experience as a lab assistant ..so because my undergrad is not in science - the psych Master's conversion becomes crucial for me but do people who get into these programmes - are they able to secure position as a lab assistant or something for 1-2 years? because without that one won't be considered a competitive applicant for grad school in states.
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CharlieBrownSays
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(Original post by Sroy)
hey, would u mind telling me what ur undergrad degree was and what marks did u get (approx.) ? did u apply to Edinburgh or St. Andrews?
Humanities subject, ivy, second, marks not given
Applied NW RG
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giella
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(Original post by Sroy)
hey. After a conversion in uk how does a path to phd (applying to grad school in the US) look like...I'm not from a science background but I want to do a phd in psychology (not clinical) a go on with a career in research...the requirements for applying to grad school in the US is an undergrad in psychology and then 1-2 years experience as a lab assistant ..so because my undergrad is not in science - the psych Master's conversion becomes crucial for me but do people who get into these programmes - are they able to secure position as a lab assistant or something for 1-2 years? because without that one won't be considered a competitive applicant for grad school in states.
The path to academia in the UK is quite diverse. I saw a position a few weeks ago at a UK university for a graduate teaching assistant which would be split 50/50 between teaching responsibilities and PhD research. Minimum entry requirement academically was an undergraduate degree in psychology at 2.1+.

You can also self fund, you can apply for funding through various funding bodies. An increasingly popular model is the 1+3 research model where you’re funded for 4 years to do a research masters + your PhD. The MRes basically equips you with the level of research skills required to research in human psychological sciences. I know people working in human development research without undergraduate degrees in psychology or conversions who’ve taken this route. Depending on your actual background, you might want to consider this route in as it’d be a lot cheaper.
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giella
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Ah hang on, misread your post. I would potentially recommend the MRes anyway. This is a UK qualification that the US is increasingly taking an interest in. Would equip you with the lab skills you need.
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Sroy
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Ah hang on, misread your post. I would potentially recommend the MRes anyway. This is a UK qualification that the US is increasingly taking an interest in. Would equip you with the lab skills you need.
thanks. so can u go for a MRes without an undergrad degree in science? or do u need to go for a conversion degree first?
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giella
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(Original post by Sroy)
thanks. so can u go for a MRes without an undergrad degree in science? or do u need to go for a conversion degree first?
Depends on your background. I know people who have who have done other empirical/cognate subjects first. I wouldn’t recommend going into it from say, a history degree, but maybe a linguistics degree.
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Sroy
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(Original post by giella)
Depends on your background. I know people who have who have done other empirical/cognate subjects first. I wouldn’t recommend going into it from say, a history degree, but maybe a linguistics degree.
thanks. Will it be alright if I reach out to you in the future if I have some more queries ?
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Sroy
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(Original post by omcaxx)
I'm in Scotland so I'm thinking about Edinburgh (my current uni), Glasgow or St. Andrew's. So they're not the easiest universities to get into. Which is why I want to make sure I have a really good application.
Hey,
Have you applied for the course - you mentioned you're at Edinburgh - have u had the chance to talk to some of the students doing the MSc conversion course? What has there experience been like. It'd be really helpful if we could connect with some of them.
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