The Student Room Group

Psychology conversion (distance learning)

I’m planning on doing an MSC conversion in psychology but because I don’t live close to any of the universities distance learning is going to be my best option so that I can fund myself through the course.
My question is will this damage my chances of then getting onto a doctorate program down the line? The eventual plan is Clinical psychology and I know these programs can be really competitive. Any help is very appreciated!
Reply 1
Original post by Jammy1995
I’m planning on doing an MSC conversion in psychology but because I don’t live close to any of the universities distance learning is going to be my best option so that I can fund myself through the course.
My question is will this damage my chances of then getting onto a doctorate program down the line? The eventual plan is Clinical psychology and I know these programs can be really competitive. Any help is very appreciated!

Hi!
Doing a distance-learning conversion shouldn't affect your ability to get onto the doctorate program. Of course, you will also need to focus on building up relevant experience as well as this course. I did my BSc with the Open University and it so far hasn't been a problem - I'm an Assistant Psychologist now, still building up that experience!
Reply 2
Thanks for replying, really good to know that it shouldn’t affect the odds of getting in or of getting an AP job. Good luck for future!
No it shouldn’t affect your chances in theory. No one cares where your degree was from or they would say so in the entry criteria. And distance learning doesn’t diminish the value of your degree either.

However, your degree is not just a ticket of entry into the running for CP. Your degree is your opportunity to really explore your subject and to make connections with working academics, with clinical experts etc who might be able to shape your research interests, put you in the right direction for further opportunities etc. Distance learning arguably provides more limited opportunities to do this, especially in a conversion degree which is only a year long. On distance learning courses, you need to make sure that you’re actively seeking opportunities outside your degree or possibly within your degree to really bolster your CV and your profile.
I’d also encourage you really think carefully about whether or not this is the best use of your postgraduate funding. What are your motives for wanting to become a CP? How well do you understand the role? Have you considered any alternative, related careers? Are you interested in research? CPs study for a clinical doctorate and they need good research skills and need to be motivated by research. If research is something you think you’d only ever do for the sake of becoming a CP and you can only picture doing the bare minimum that you have to, this may not be for you.
If your main interest is counselling or talking therapy, please remember that you don’t need to become a CP for this and there are actually many career paths that are far more accessible that would enable you to do this. Mental health nursing is one of them and other allied health professions may also provide these opportunities. You could also do a master’s in CBT or other therapies that would allow you to practise as a counsellor. I do encourage you to consider these routes as well.
Original post by Jammy1995
I’m planning on doing an MSC conversion in psychology but because I don’t live close to any of the universities distance learning is going to be my best option so that I can fund myself through the course.
My question is will this damage my chances of then getting onto a doctorate program down the line? The eventual plan is Clinical psychology and I know these programs can be really competitive. Any help is very appreciated!

@Jammy1995
Hello! I've just completed the MSc Psychology conversion program at Arden University; where you did your MSc won't affect your progression as long as the course is accredited with the BPS (it is at Arden)

If you want an objective overview of quality check out their QAA report (a bit like Ofsted for Universities) and their Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF) report; both available online.

I've worked in FE and HE for nearly 10 years and Arden have the best online portal I have seen; what is often referred to as a digital learning environment. Here is a link to their program https://studyonline.arden.ac.uk/live/postgraduate/psychology/msc-psychology-bps


Marc

Arden University Student Ambassador
Reply 5
Original post by Nerol
Hi!
Doing a distance-learning conversion shouldn't affect your ability to get onto the doctorate program. Of course, you will also need to focus on building up relevant experience as well as this course. I did my BSc with the Open University and it so far hasn't been a problem - I'm an Assistant Psychologist now, still building up that experience!


Hello
Hope it's alright to reply to the post.
It is related, well sort of. 🙄
What is your opinion of the OU conversion course?Do you know a you know anyone who completed this course?
Would you recommend the OU for psychologists in the making👍
Original post by Mimiho
Hello
Hope it's alright to reply to the post.
It is related, well sort of. 🙄
What is your opinion of the OU conversion course?Do you know a you know anyone who completed this course?
Would you recommend the OU for psychologists in the making👍

It’s a fairly new course so I doubt anyone can really comment based on personal experience. However, the OU is a very experienced provider of psychology courses and they’re held in high regard almost universally.
Reply 7
Original post by Turning_A_Corner
It’s a fairly new course so I doubt anyone can really comment based on personal experience. However, the OU is a very experienced provider of psychology courses and they’re held in high regard almost universally.

Thank you so much
Reply 8
Original post by Mimiho
Hello
Hope it's alright to reply to the post.
It is related, well sort of. 🙄
What is your opinion of the OU conversion course?Do you know a you know anyone who completed this course?
Would you recommend the OU for psychologists in the making👍


I didn't do the conversion course, I did the BSc in Psychology with Counselling. I enjoyed it, found it challenging but manageable around work, and managed to achieve a first.

I would recommend it if you are looking for a way to study flexibly around other commitments, and if you are self-motivated enough to keep on top of independent learning.

I definitely think it can be a good option for aspiring psychologists - it seems to have been a good start for me! I felt well prepared for my postgraduate studies and am now working as an AP and finishing counselling training, and will be applying for the DClinPsy for the second time later this year (no success yet, but my work experience was relatively limited when I applied last year).
Reply 9
Hi
Thank you so much for your time, good luck with everything, definitely going to consider the OU. However not sure if psychology is better studied in person at a university.
Mmmm lots to think about. Thank you :smile:
Reply 10
Original post by Turning_A_Corner
No it shouldn’t affect your chances in theory. No one cares where your degree was from or they would say so in the entry criteria. And distance learning doesn’t diminish the value of your degree either.

However, your degree is not just a ticket of entry into the running for CP. Your degree is your opportunity to really explore your subject and to make connections with working academics, with clinical experts etc who might be able to shape your research interests, put you in the right direction for further opportunities etc. Distance learning arguably provides more limited opportunities to do this, especially in a conversion degree which is only a year long. On distance learning courses, you need to make sure that you’re actively seeking opportunities outside your degree or possibly within your degree to really bolster your CV and your profile.
I’d also encourage you really think carefully about whether or not this is the best use of your postgraduate funding. What are your motives for wanting to become a CP? How well do you understand the role? Have you considered any alternative, related careers? Are you interested in research? CPs study for a clinical doctorate and they need good research skills and need to be motivated by research. If research is something you think you’d only ever do for the sake of becoming a CP and you can only picture doing the bare minimum that you have to, this may not be for you.
If your main interest is counselling or talking therapy, please remember that you don’t need to become a CP for this and there are actually many career paths that are far more accessible that would enable you to do this. Mental health nursing is one of them and other allied health professions may also provide these opportunities. You could also do a master’s in CBT or other therapies that would allow you to practise as a counsellor. I do encourage you to consider these routes as well.


This is a really helpful and considered response, thank you. I am a qualified counsellor, but it is a low paid profession and I don't feel is regarded with much prestige or respect - frustrating really as we do pretty much the same work as psychologists. I retrained in counselling from accountancy, but the huge difference in pay makes it impractical to cross over full time so I still work as an accountant part time. My motivation in doing a conversion Msc is to do the work that I love, but to have the pay and professional standing that I have enjoyed in my work as an accountant. I don't agree that there are good routes for counsellors in the NHS - you can retrain in CBT but that costs a lot of money and is generally also a lot easier to do once you are recruited into the NHS. For me that would mean training all over again. The NHS doesn't recruit many non-CBT therapists, and when it does (staff counsellors, grief counsellors), it pays much less. Therefore I feel clinical psychology is the route for me. I'm looking into counselling psychology but the training/placement is unpaid, which I can't afford as a single parent. So in summary, I think there are valid reasons to want to train as a clinical psychologist rather than pursuing counselling as a career. Interested in your thoughts though as you sound like you have experience in this area?

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