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    (Original post by Meliae)
    Health psychology? Isn't that about helping people quit smoking and cope with terminal illness and such?
    Various. As with all areas of psychology, you can work in such a variety of different settings. It seemed attractive at the time as my impression was that I might be able to structure the job in a way that's more like working on 'projects' for a few years at a time then moving on, rather than have the same 9-5 job for 20 years. I get bored with routine. Also, in the back of my mind partly it was because I wanted to spend time working with Multiple Sclerosis patients, and researching the ways to improve their lifestyle. My mother was diagnosed with it about 10 years ago and it's a condition that greatly affects your psychological health (depression and anxiety are very common in people with MS) and your family life. A cure isn't exactly imminent, so management is the best option right now and a part of me still wants to be involved in that specifically, but hopefully by doing medicine I'll be helping lots of people cope with a variety of long-term illnesses and their consequences.

    (Original post by Meliae)
    Secondly, a lot of it is stating the obvious and any experiments would be full of confounding variables and prove very little, if anything.) No offence...
    None taken. But what you will realise is that ALL areas of psychology suffer from these same problems, neuroscience included. It's not just the seemingly 'fluffy' subjects. For example, I don't know if
    (Original post by Lord Asriel)
    Lord Asriel
    can confirm, but is it not true that when an area lights up on an MRI you cannot tell if it is activation or inhibition? Which one it is would seem to be incredibly important for determining what role a brain area plays in a task. Before I learned about it I used to think "Why don't they just do an fMRI on it??" but whilst fMRI is certainly one of the best tools we have at the moment, it does not provide any answers. Psychology does not provide any answers, only more questions.

    Currently most interested in (the physiological basis of) consciousness and such as I said in my last post, which is nice because it blends philosophy, biology and psychology.
    Just bear in mind that you won't get to study 'consciousness' as such. If by 'consciousness' you mean awareness of our own thoughts etc, that kind of stuff will not come up in the first two years of a course. What does come up is the visual system, the motor system, various cognitive theories, development of 'theory of mind' (which I suppose could almost be the development of consciousness!). If you're lucky the uni you go to might do a third year option on something (I think Oxford had a third year option called Conscious Awareness - apparently they do a lot on "blindsight," if you haven't come across that already). My point is, just be prepared to study a lot of stuff you won't actually feel a great deal of passion for. Psychology is so varied, no-one can be expected to like all of it, and indeed no-one does.

    In terms of consciousness reading, this book was edited by one of the tutors who ran the cognitive neuropsych option, he's a professor of philosophy of mind:
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Frontiers-Co.../dp/0199233152
    Also editor is Larry Weiskrantz, who is the most famous name in the study of blindsight (he used to teach in my department, still hangs around sometimes), have a look down the amazon list of some of his books, might be up your street:
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/...e%20Weiskrantz

    I meant I hope I don't change my mind when I start studying it.
    That could happen with anything though, it's the chance you take when you choose I always get people asking if I study counselling! (for three years??) Basically I just didn't even consider switching. I knew it was an option, but it was far too much hassle and the last thing I wanted was more work. I had resigned myself to not enjoying it, and was definitely enjoying my social life and extra-curriculars enough to compensate, I didn't want to spend less time on those (which a switch would have meant). As it is I'm glad I didn't switch as I now have fewer final exams than PPPists, and I was able to do more of the Psychology options (which I have been loving). I've got a whole year off plus four years of medicine to be able to study physiology (and hopefully the rest of my life), but my time at Oxford, my time studying Psychology and being close to my friends is limited, and I'm making the most of that while it lasts.

    Ultimately whether you study Psychology, Philosophy or Physiology you will not be qualified to do a specific job. If you study Psychology at undergrad you will have to do an MSc or a PhD, if you did Physiology you could do exactly the same. If you did Philosophy it might be more difficult but with some relevent research experience I'm sure you could do the same. Although I'm going into something different I do not regret studying Psychology - it was my ambition and I've fulfilled it. Who knows, it might be even more useful if I decide I want to become a 'Shrink'! It was different to what I expected because I thought I would enjoy and be interested in ALL of it (I couldn't have predicted that I hated Perception so much I had regular breakdowns when trying to write the weekly essay that term), and I also thought I would find answers, even in one or two areas (turns out the number of answers = zero, in ANY area). I hope you can find optimism in uncertainty, I'm just concerned as you say you're not interested in social psych because of the 'fuzzy' methods, but you say you realise that every area has these drawbacks. Philosophy would seem to be the fuzziest method of all! Ultimately people find an area they are interested in, which will certainly be fuzzy, but for some reason the draw to this area allows us to overlook the fuzziness and be interested in spite of it. I just have to remind myself that cognitive neuropsychiatry is still very young (about 10 years, officially I think) and fuzzy too! But it's fun when you get to grips with an area and understand it well enough to try out your own theories.

    Okay, to finish off this mammoth post, I want to explain to you why I think you would get a lot out of Oxford, after having verbally sparred with your for the last few days:

    You are naturally articulate. As well as this being an interview advantage, you will enjoy the chance to talk to psychology experts in a tutorial setting and be able to get a lot out of it. Regular essay writing and feedback will help you develop your critical skills even further and fulfil your potential.

    The college tutor system is pretty great - they are your first port of call for academic worries. If you're uncertain about changing subjects, they are the best people to go to for advice, and they will support you whatever you choose and make sure that academically and emotionally, you're afloat.

    Oxford is a challenge. I think you'll meet that challenge head on and then sock it one in the jaw. Nuff said.

    Opportunity to get yourself involved in research at one leading centres? Can't really turn that down.

    Please talk to someone at the department about what to choose (any chance you could make it to that open day? I could introduce you to one of the dept people who could help you) - and then please apply.
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    (Original post by LatinMachine)
    None taken. But what you will realise is that ALL areas of psychology suffer from these same problems, neuroscience included. It's not just the seemingly 'fluffy' subjects. For example, I don't know if can confirm, but is it not true that when an area lights up on an MRI you cannot tell if it is activation or inhibition? Which one it is would seem to be incredibly important for determining what role a brain area plays in a task. Before I learned about it I used to think "Why don't they just do an fMRI on it??" but whilst fMRI is certainly one of the best tools we have at the moment, it does not provide any answers. Psychology does not provide any answers, only more questions.
    None at all? I said I wanted to study psychology because it doesn't have all the answers so that's not necessarily a bad thing. Like you said, it's good to be prepared for that.

    Just bear in mind that you won't get to study 'consciousness' as such. If by 'consciousness' you mean awareness of our own thoughts etc, that kind of stuff will not come up in the first two years of a course. What does come up is the visual system, the motor system, various cognitive theories, development of 'theory of mind' (which I suppose could almost be the development of consciousness!). If you're lucky the uni you go to might do a third year option on something (I think Oxford had a third year option called Conscious Awareness - apparently they do a lot on "blindsight," if you haven't come across that already). My point is, just be prepared to study a lot of stuff you won't actually feel a great deal of passion for. Psychology is so varied, no-one can be expected to like all of it, and indeed no-one does.
    Basically, I'm interested in how thoughts and awareness arise from physiology. Are we really as in control as we think? To what extent are people responsible for their own actions if it's all just determined by physiology and chemical imbalances in the brain and such? Sounds a bit odd, but I've always wondered that. That's what I want to do my EPQ on, which relates to philosophy, neuroscience, mental illness and psychopathology, social psychology (thinking of Zimbardo and Milgram here)... etc. I saw a program about the science behind dreams which also fits in very well with the neuroscience bit in particular. It links to a lot of areas, so it's not just specifically consciousness I want to study. Looking forward to theory of mind too. I know Bristol has a 3rd year module called Consciousness and a few others that look very interesting. Never heard of blind sight... *goes to look that up*

    In terms of consciousness reading, this book was edited by one of the tutors who ran the cognitive neuropsych option, he's a professor of philosophy of mind:
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Frontiers-Co.../dp/0199233152
    Also editor is Larry Weiskrantz, who is the most famous name in the study of blindsight (he used to teach in my department, still hangs around sometimes), have a look down the amazon list of some of his books, might be up your street:
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/...e%20Weiskrantz
    That looks really good, just what I'm looking for but my god it's expensive. I wonder if I can find a library that stocks it... (One advantage of Oxford... having the Bodleian on your doorstep.)

    That could happen with anything though, it's the chance you take when you choose
    Good point.

    I always get people asking if I study counselling! (for three years??)
    Argh, same here (well, going to study). General response when people ask what degree I want to study and I tell them is 'oh...'

    Basically I just didn't even consider switching. I knew it was an option, but it was far too much hassle and the last thing I wanted was more work. I had resigned myself to not enjoying it, and was definitely enjoying my social life and extra-curriculars enough to compensate, I didn't want to spend less time on those (which a switch would have meant). As it is I'm glad I didn't switch as I now have fewer final exams than PPPists, and I was able to do more of the Psychology options (which I have been loving). I've got a whole year off plus four years of medicine to be able to study physiology (and hopefully the rest of my life), but my time at Oxford, my time studying Psychology and being close to my friends is limited, and I'm making the most of that while it lasts.
    Fair enough. Glad there's time for extra curriculurs because I have a hell of a lot... (That's the trouble with being interested in just about everything).

    Although I'm going into something different I do not regret studying Psychology - it was my ambition and I've fulfilled it. Who knows, it might be even more useful if I decide I want to become a 'Shrink'! It was different to what I expected because I thought I would enjoy and be interested in ALL of it (I couldn't have predicted that I hated Perception so much I had regular breakdowns when trying to write the weekly essay that term), and I also thought I would find answers, even in one or two areas (turns out the number of answers = zero, in ANY area).
    I'm glad you don't regret it. At the moment, I like the sound of most of it, but perception and memory and such sound a bit boring. In practice though, they could be my favourite bits which puts me off doing PPP because I don't want to limit my psychology options before knowing exactly what I want. Ok I wasn't expecting ZERO answers... (Well I was in some areas, like consciousness). On the other hand, I've always preferred discussion and uncertainty to being spoonfed facts. I don't really find it satisfying to be told this is x and this is how it works. I'd rather discuss and think or discover things for myself than be given all the answers.

    I hope you can find optimism in uncertainty, I'm just concerned as you say you're not interested in social psych because of the 'fuzzy' methods, but you say you realise that every area has these drawbacks. Philosophy would seem to be the fuzziest method of all! Ultimately people find an area they are interested in, which will certainly be fuzzy, but for some reason the draw to this area allows us to overlook the fuzziness and be interested in spite of it.
    I was actually just talking about health psych there. I don't think I explained it very well. I don't really see what there is to study in that area that isn't obvious... new techniques of helping people I suppose?

    Social psych is fuzzy but I enjoy it in spite of that. In fact, I quite like the fuzziness there because it involves arguing about and evaluating what exactly the experiments show, which I enjoy.

    Undecided on philosophy. I like the sound of it, but in practice I'm not so sure. I have a couple of books that are basic general introductions so perhaps I'll have a better idea when I get round to reading more of them. (One of them's a graphic guide and the other is 50 philosophy questions you really need to know so when I say basic, I mean it.)

    Okay, to finish off this mammoth post, I want to explain to you why I think you would get a lot out of Oxford, after having verbally sparred with your for the last few days:

    You are naturally articulate. As well as this being an interview advantage, you will enjoy the chance to talk to psychology experts in a tutorial setting and be able to get a lot out of it. Regular essay writing and feedback will help you develop your critical skills even further and fulfil your potential.
    Thanks. Unfortunately, my writing is articulate, but my speech generally isn't. :o: I am looking forward to the interview though. That probably makes me sound completely insane but I like talking about psychology and discussing it with some world experts sounds like a really good opportunity whether I get in or not.

    The college tutor system is pretty great - they are your first port of call for academic worries. If you're uncertain about changing subjects, they are the best people to go to for advice, and they will support you whatever you choose and make sure that academically and emotionally, you're afloat.

    Oxford is a challenge. I think you'll meet that challenge head on and then sock it one in the jaw. Nuff said.

    Opportunity to get yourself involved in research at one leading centres? Can't really turn that down.

    Please talk to someone at the department about what to choose (any chance you could make it to that open day? I could introduce you to one of the dept people who could help you) - and then please apply.
    I will be applying. Despite the uncertainty, I don't think I could not apply for psychology after everything. Besides, the more I think and talk about it, the more I think it suits me as a subject. (If I decide I don't want a career in it, the backup plan is a law conversion course). I want to go to the open day, and that'd be great if you could but unfortunately my school has decided to schedule other compulsary things on those days. :mad: (Trying to see what can be done about that; it clashes with a lot of open days and a med course some people are going on).

    Thanks for all your help. I've got a much clearer idea of what I want and what I'm in for now.
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    None at all? I said I wanted to study psychology because it doesn't have all the answers so that's not necessarily a bad thing. Like you said, it's good to be prepared for that.
    I can't think of a single essay I wrote which ended with a definite conclusion one way or the other. I can't think of a single definitive research paper which ended an argument because it found 'the reason.' I'm glad you'll be applying. I don't know if your school is anything like mine, but mine basically ignored me until they found I was applying to Oxford, THEN they started bending over backwards to give me help. Perhaps if you talked to your head of sixth form you could be excused from your compulsory things to come on your own if necessary. If they need proof you weren't just bunking a day I can always find someone to sign a document for you.

    As for speaking practice, getting some practice interview may or may not help (as they never know what to ask you for psychology, hehe!), but if it helps you with your confidence then it can only be a good thing. Also when you're in the interview, don't stifle any idea because you think you might get shot down or something. They're really nice and they want to hear your ideas and that you can think things through, regardless of how correct it is. I even *dared* to disagree with one of my tutors in the interview - she loved it, I think it was the reason I got in.
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    (Original post by LatinMachine)
    I can't think of a single essay I wrote which ended with a definite conclusion one way or the other. I can't think of a single definitive research paper which ended an argument because it found 'the reason.' I'm glad you'll be applying. I don't know if your school is anything like mine, but mine basically ignored me until they found I was applying to Oxford, THEN they started bending over backwards to give me help. Perhaps if you talked to your head of sixth form you could be excused from your compulsory things to come on your own if necessary. If they need proof you weren't just bunking a day I can always find someone to sign a document for you.

    As for speaking practice, getting some practice interview may or may not help (as they never know what to ask you for psychology, hehe!), but if it helps you with your confidence then it can only be a good thing. Also when you're in the interview, don't stifle any idea because you think you might get shot down or something. They're really nice and they want to hear your ideas and that you can think things through, regardless of how correct it is. I even *dared* to disagree with one of my tutors in the interview - she loved it, I think it was the reason I got in.
    My school has a sort of class thing to help people prepare for Oxbridge. They haven't started it yet but they told us all the things they'd be doing. However, they're now preventing everyone from going to the open day. I sent an email about it, going to see the head about it when I go back. It's a good school though; they generally do what they can to help and organise various things. Infact, the thing on the open day is ironically intended to help with our applications. Hopefully they'll be able to do something about it. I'll see.
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    (Original post by LatinMachine)
    Perhaps if you talked to your head of sixth form you could be excused from your compulsory things to come on your own if necessary. If they need proof you weren't just bunking a day I can always find someone to sign a document for you.
    Spoke to the head, and apparently we can get out of it to go to open days if necessary and other such things.
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    (Original post by Meliae)
    Spoke to the head, and apparently we can get out of it to go to open days if necessary and other such things.
    Excellent, let me know and we can arrange to meet and have a talk!
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    (Original post by LatinMachine)
    Excellent, let me know and we can arrange to meet and have a talk!
    That'd be great. Planning to go to Oxford on the 1st, stay overnight in one of the colleges hopefully and visit UCL on the 2nd. (God knows why Oxford, Cambridge and UoL all decided to put their open days at the same time... :rolleyes:)
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    (Original post by Meliae)
    That'd be great. Planning to go to Oxford on the 1st, stay overnight in one of the colleges hopefully and visit UCL on the 2nd. (God knows why Oxford, Cambridge and UoL all decided to put their open days at the same time... :rolleyes:)
    Ok, you've got my email so if you send me an email nearer the date with your full name, I'll send you my name & phone number so you can give me a text during the day if you don't see me around. I haven't had it 100% confirmed that I can do the open day, but I'm pretty sure I will be there.
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    (Original post by Lord Asriel)
    The real irony would be if the OP ended up requiring the services of a psychologist in the future, and having to make use of their "useless degree".

    Btw. Studying this "useless subject" allowed me to:

    - go through university without any debts.
    - Publish 10 peer reviewed articles and a
    decent H index.
    - Free travel to the US/ Switzerland for 3 years.
    - Paid my tuition and gave me a healthy salary to live on while studying.
    - Gave me the title "doctor" and a starting salary of 30k which will probably end up somewhere around the 70-80k range at todays rates.

    Not bad for a useless subject huh?
    Wow, please elaborate or something!
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    I wanted to do a joint Biology and Psychology course simply because I didn't want to abandon my aptitude and passion for Biology but didn't feel confident with limiting myself to it and wasn't keen on job prospects. I might do a Natural Sciences course instead and choose a Psychology module.
    Hmm. This thread is really up and down with whether the degree is good or not.
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    (Original post by thekeythingis)
    I wanted to do a joint Biology and Psychology course simply because I didn't want to abandon my aptitude and passion for Biology but didn't feel confident with limiting myself to it and wasn't keen on job prospects. I might do a Natural Sciences course instead and choose a Psychology module.
    Hmm. This thread is really up and down with whether the degree is good or not.
    I'd go with natural sciences if I were you. That way you can choose what you want to do as you go along. If you end up loving biology and wanting nothing else, you could do that, or if you decided you really liked psychology you could do more of that (or chemistry or whatever). I don't know about other places, but at Cambridge you can get a psychology degree through natural sciences. Also, I don't think many places do just joint bio and psych, especially out of the top unis...

    From this thread, the conclusion I've drawn is that psychology is the wrong degree for you if you want concrete answers and solid evidence; if you're happy to discuss and learn about current research and thinking on a topic without needing definite conclusions, then you'll probably enjoy it.
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    As everyone has said, if you want to be a psychologist then you will need further education and training, however you can usually use the degree without further education for careers in marketing, human resources, research, statistical analysis, etc...
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    Just like any other non-vocational degree, a Bsc Psychology degree may not land you a job in Psychology (for that you would need to continue your education) but it will still help to land you a better paid job simply because you have a degree.

    Not all people who read History become historians, not all people who read Politics become politicians, not all people who read Geography become geographers. Why is it surprising that Psychology is any different?
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    (Original post by Idi Amin)
    ...Then why do so many people want to do it?

    I heard that you can't really make anything of a degree in psychology unless you get a PhD in it.

    Yet so many people are interested in the course. My theory is that these people don't really know what to do with their lives and just chose psychology because they want to go to University but don't know which direction (career wise) they want to go in.
    You can't become a chartered psychologist without the PhD. You can make a lot of the BSc degree without further education. There is a difference. Get off the internet.
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    "Psychology is the most useless degree" is at best contentious and at worst arrogant/wrong. There are plently of useful, rewarding things that a degree in psychology can lead to.
    Just because a degree isn't engineering or medicine doesn't mean it's for 'stupid' people or a pointless thing to study.
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    (Original post by aliluvschoc)
    You can't become a chartered psychologist without the PhD.
    Doctorate. Not PhD.

    A PhD is a research degree and does not qualify you to practice psychology.
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    (Original post by GodspeedGehenna)
    Doctorate. Not PhD.

    A PhD is a research degree and does not qualify you to practice psychology.
    Ugh I guess I was just taking what he said without looking into it properly. But the time scale thing is what I'm getting at.
    • PS Helper
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    PS Helper
    It really annoys me that some people do a Psychology degree just to fill time, or because they don't have 'anything else' to do. It makes it harder for us who want to continue after BSc and even past Doctorate level
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    (Original post by newman24x)
    isn't the understanding of human behavior important? :confused: :confused:
    They don't though.
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    (Original post by lozzyhickers)
    It makes it harder for us who want to continue after BSc and even past Doctorate level
    Not really. It's easy to scramble over the wasters on your way to the top.

    (Original post by RamocitoMorales)
    They don't though.
    Care to elaborate?
 
 
 
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