The Student Room Group

Psychology Conversion Degrees

Hi everyone!

just wondering if anyone has any experience with doing a postgraduate psychology conversion degree.

i’m currently on an undergrad law degree and whilst i like what i’m learning i know that i don’t want to do it as a career and would much rather go into a psychology related field which has some overlap with the law field, like forensic psychology.

i know i’d need to do a conversion degree, so i have a couple questions:

1. are these courses particularly challenging to get onto? is there a lot of demand compared to the amount of spaces for instance?

2. for psychology does it matter which type of uni you go to? (as for law i made sure i went to a russell group uni)

3. is there anything i should do during my undergrad degree that could help my prospects in terms of getting a place and transitioning to this career path?
(i studied psychology a level and got an A* in it, plus i am studying optional psychology modules within my law degree)

Thanks!
(edited 12 months ago)

Scroll to see replies

They're not particularly challenging to get onto really. As long as your undergrad is at a 2.1, you'll be good. Some relevant work experience would be good too.

Conversion courses are pretty standard across the board, they all have to contain similar modules in order to grant GBC on completion.

Some will ask for a certain number of credits of psychology but as you're doing optional psychology modules within your degree, that shouldn't be a problem.
(edited 12 months ago)
Reply 2
Original post by bones-mccoy
They're not particularly challenging to get onto really. As long as your undergrad is at a 2.1, you'll be good. Some relevant work experience would be good too.

Conversion courses are pretty standard across the board, they all have to contain similar modules in order to grant GBC on completion.

Some will ask for a certain number of credits of psychology but as you're doing optional psychology modules within your degree, that shouldn't be a problem.

thanks for the reply!
this makes sense, im hoping if i get a first or a 2:1 in my law degree this will seem impressive enough to get into a course as everyone in the law school loves to keep saying how transferable our degree will be lol.

i am more worried about what to do after the conversion course as i know a doctorate is incredibly difficult to get onto and i imagine specialised masters (like a forensic psychology masters for instance) would also be competitive.

i suppose it’s no more or less competitive than finding a training contract after a law degree though so hopefully i can make it happen.

out of interest, what would be deemed relevant work experience? as i’m sure it’s hard to get direct experience through the nhs or other healthcare providers
Original post by emilyxsierra

i am more worried about what to do after the conversion course as i know a doctorate is incredibly difficult to get onto and i imagine specialised masters (like a forensic psychology masters for instance) would also be competitive.

i suppose it’s no more or less competitive than finding a training contract after a law degree though so hopefully i can make it happen.

out of interest, what would be deemed relevant work experience? as i’m sure it’s hard to get direct experience through the nhs or other healthcare providers


Yes, in many ways there are direct comparisons to law where you could probably find a place to study undergraduate law 'somewhere' fairly easily, but getting a training contract or pupilige is where the massive bottleneck lies. Not sure what the ratio of training contracts to applicants is but there is currently about a 1 in 4 success rate (and many of the 75% who don't get a training place are often very, very good).

Check the threads on this forum or on www.clinpsy.org.uk for examples of relevant work experience while you are studying.
Reply 4
Original post by Lord Asriel
Yes, in many ways there are direct comparisons to law where you could probably find a place to study undergraduate law 'somewhere' fairly easily, but getting a training contract or pupilige is where the massive bottleneck lies. Not sure what the ratio of training contracts to applicants is but there is currently about a 1 in 4 success rate (and many of the 75% who don't get a training place are often very, very good).

Check the threads on this forum or on www.clinpsy.org.uk for examples of relevant work experience while you are studying.

ahh yeah this makes sense

yeah throughout my time at uni, this is all we’ve been told on my degree, that the majority of us won’t get a training contract and will end up being paralegals.

thanks for the advice, i’ll look into work experience options as I’d like to start early with getting some experience
Reply 5
oh another question i had

will having mental illnesses affect my prospects? not in terms of being able to study because i know even at my worst i am capable of doing well academically.

but in terms of restrictions/limitations on doing certain jobs/certain work experience? if i could show evidence that my illnesses are managed (whether that’s through medication or therapy), would this still affect my career prospects?
Original post by emilyxsierra
thanks for the reply!
this makes sense, im hoping if i get a first or a 2:1 in my law degree this will seem impressive enough to get into a course as everyone in the law school loves to keep saying how transferable our degree will be lol.

i am more worried about what to do after the conversion course as i know a doctorate is incredibly difficult to get onto and i imagine specialised masters (like a forensic psychology masters for instance) would also be competitive.

i suppose it’s no more or less competitive than finding a training contract after a law degree though so hopefully i can make it happen.

out of interest, what would be deemed relevant work experience? as i’m sure it’s hard to get direct experience through the nhs or other healthcare providers


It's true that the doctorate is difficult to get onto but those level courses generally are in any discipline of psychology. The Forensic MSc isn't so bad if you have a first/2.1, relevant work experience and a fairly good personal statement. In terms of work experience, pretty much anything related to supporting vulnerable people is a good shout. HCA/support work roles are really good for getting hands on experience in a forensic environment and a lot of organisations offer bank positions which are flexible and can fit around other commitments.

Original post by emilyxsierra
oh another question i had

will having mental illnesses affect my prospects? not in terms of being able to study because i know even at my worst i am capable of doing well academically.

but in terms of restrictions/limitations on doing certain jobs/certain work experience? if i could show evidence that my illnesses are managed (whether that’s through medication or therapy), would this still affect my career prospects?


As long as you can demonstrate that you're seeking help, engaging with treatment and can manage it on a daily basis, there's no reason why experiencing mental illness will prevent you from studying further or working directly with service users. Lived experience is perceived as really valuable in terms of having empathy and being able to relate to others.
Reply 7
Original post by bones-mccoy
It's true that the doctorate is difficult to get onto but those level courses generally are in any discipline of psychology. The Forensic MSc isn't so bad if you have a first/2.1, relevant work experience and a fairly good personal statement. In terms of work experience, pretty much anything related to supporting vulnerable people is a good shout. HCA/support work roles are really good for getting hands on experience in a forensic environment and a lot of organisations offer bank positions which are flexible and can fit around other commitments.



As long as you can demonstrate that you're seeking help, engaging with treatment and can manage it on a daily basis, there's no reason why experiencing mental illness will prevent you from studying further or working directly with service users. Lived experience is perceived as really valuable in terms of having empathy and being able to relate to others.

yeah i was actually just thinking i imagine any degree at the level of doctorate is going to be hard to get into (even though i know clinical is especially competitive) so i’ll have to put a lot of work in anyway, so i don’t see the difference in just working a bit harder to try and distinguish myself from other applicants if that makes sense

and that’s good to hear about the work experience, as i’ve found some local charities that offer hands on experience in clinical settings and some for forensic settings that seem to accept a lot of applicants, so that’s promising

and i was hoping having experienced mental illnesses can be seen in a more positive light, as i do think it makes me more empathetic to others and also helps me naturally have a better understanding of what is/isn’t an appropriate way to treat patients or helpful/unhelpful things to say. i can understand why there could be concerns especially as the conditions i suffer specifically are still quite stigmatised, but i’m hoping to finally be able to get some form of treatment on the nhs soon, so i don’t see why it should affect my prospects as i have a good work history and academic history, so i’m hoping this would be enough evidence alongside engagement with any treatment im offered to show i am capable of working in this field just as anyone else.
anyway thank you for the reply, it’s been very informative!
Reply 8
also, sorry for yet another question ahah but i’ve been strongly considering trying to transfer courses from my law degree to a psychology degree. i’ve just finished first year so am going into second year. i don’t know whether it’s advisable to switch though. it’s likely id have to repeat first year in the new subject wouldn’t i? in which case, i’m thinking it’s more worthwhile to stick which the law degree and finish it and then do a conversion as this will take the same amount of time (4 years total) yet i’ll have gained more qualifications from it as it feels like a waste of a year to have started this law course otherwise.

i don’t hate my degree, i actually find aspects of it interesting (such as the modules based around criminality, and theories behind offending as well as relating to offender mindsets and the link between mental illness and crime), there are just certain modules i absolutely detest and there are more that i don’t like than i do like if that makes sense. i also don’t really enjoy the style of assessment or the method of teaching/learning. however, it’s not a case that because i don’t love the degree or the style of learning, i won’t do well on it, as i know that if i try i can still achieve a good outcome in it regardless of how much i enjoy it, as im a perfectionist so i don’t care if i don’t enjoy something, i will still aim to do well in it regardless. im just wondering if it’s a bit of a waste of my time as i now know that i will never want a career in law having studied it for a year and having looked at the modules i will have to do in second and third year and i know i was kidding myself thinking that the career might start to appeal to me
Original post by emilyxsierra
yeah i was actually just thinking i imagine any degree at the level of doctorate is going to be hard to get into (even though i know clinical is especially competitive) so i’ll have to put a lot of work in anyway, so i don’t see the difference in just working a bit harder to try and distinguish myself from other applicants if that makes sense

and that’s good to hear about the work experience, as i’ve found some local charities that offer hands on experience in clinical settings and some for forensic settings that seem to accept a lot of applicants, so that’s promising

and i was hoping having experienced mental illnesses can be seen in a more positive light, as i do think it makes me more empathetic to others and also helps me naturally have a better understanding of what is/isn’t an appropriate way to treat patients or helpful/unhelpful things to say. i can understand why there could be concerns especially as the conditions i suffer specifically are still quite stigmatised, but i’m hoping to finally be able to get some form of treatment on the nhs soon, so i don’t see why it should affect my prospects as i have a good work history and academic history, so i’m hoping this would be enough evidence alongside engagement with any treatment im offered to show i am capable of working in this field just as anyone else.
anyway thank you for the reply, it’s been very informative!


True! The earlier you start making yourself stand out, the better. Definitely makes it easier in the long run.

Well it doesn't sound like you'll have any issues regarding your diagnoses. In my team of five assistant psychologist's, at least 3 of us have exerienced poor mental health or received a diagnosis of mental disorder. That's not to mention other disciplines in my workplace, such as nursing, as I know loads of people who have experienced similar problems.

No worries, if you're after any other advice let me know :smile: (just for context I've done a conversion course, an MSc in Forensic Psychology and have worked in both a prison and a secure hospital)
Reply 10
Original post by emilyxsierra
also, sorry for yet another question ahah but i’ve been strongly considering trying to transfer courses from my law degree to a psychology degree. i’ve just finished first year so am going into second year. i don’t know whether it’s advisable to switch though. it’s likely id have to repeat first year in the new subject wouldn’t i? in which case, i’m thinking it’s more worthwhile to stick which the law degree and finish it and then do a conversion as this will take the same amount of time (4 years total) yet i’ll have gained more qualifications from it as it feels like a waste of a year to have started this law course otherwise.

i don’t hate my degree, i actually find aspects of it interesting (such as the modules based around criminality, and theories behind offending as well as relating to offender mindsets and the link between mental illness and crime), there are just certain modules i absolutely detest and there are more that i don’t like than i do like if that makes sense. i also don’t really enjoy the style of assessment or the method of teaching/learning. however, it’s not a case that because i don’t love the degree or the style of learning, i won’t do well on it, as i know that if i try i can still achieve a good outcome in it regardless of how much i enjoy it, as im a perfectionist so i don’t care if i don’t enjoy something, i will still aim to do well in it regardless. im just wondering if it’s a bit of a waste of my time as i now know that i will never want a career in law having studied it for a year and having looked at the modules i will have to do in second and third year and i know i was kidding myself thinking that the career might start to appeal to me


If you're very very sure about pursuing a career in psychology (instead of law), and if the process to transfer from law to psychology is not too difficult, then doing that now is not a bad option at all. You'll be making an earlier start in psychology and spending more time in that circle. You don't have to think that you wasted your past year either. Truth is, you gained some general knowledge (or knowledge in law) and more importantly, you gained a better understanding of what you aspire to do in life. OK, I'll stop here.
Just saying this to add to your dilemma lol.
Reply 11
Original post by bones-mccoy
True! The earlier you start making yourself stand out, the better. Definitely makes it easier in the long run.

Well it doesn't sound like you'll have any issues regarding your diagnoses. In my team of five assistant psychologist's, at least 3 of us have exerienced poor mental health or received a diagnosis of mental disorder. That's not to mention other disciplines in my workplace, such as nursing, as I know loads of people who have experienced similar problems.

No worries, if you're after any other advice let me know :smile: (just for context I've done a conversion course, an MSc in Forensic Psychology and have worked in both a prison and a secure hospital)

thanks for all the help!
this is good to know bc i was worried it would put me at a disadvantage
Reply 12
Original post by Manny2023
If you're very very sure about pursuing a career in psychology (instead of law), and if the process to transfer from law to psychology is not too difficult, then doing that now is not a bad option at all. You'll be making an earlier start in psychology and spending more time in that circle. You don't have to think that you wasted your past year either. Truth is, you gained some general knowledge (or knowledge in law) and more importantly, you gained a better understanding of what you aspire to do in life. OK, I'll stop here.
Just saying this to add to your dilemma lol.


ahaha yeah i am very much having a dilemma here. but what you’ve said does make sense, and it would also lead to less student debt overall i think. i need to look into the transfer process at my uni, as i’m unsure if it’s easy or not. i don’t see why it should be difficult though as the requirements for psychology are lower than for law (i think it’s AAA/AAB and i got 3 A*s). the only issue might be that there isn’t space on the course.

i also just am so unsure about changing and idk why lol. i know for sure i don’t want to be a solicitor and being a barrister doesn’t appeal much either, i also don’t want to do something vaguely related to law like being a paralegal or working within a law firm, it just doesn’t appeal to me. i just am unsure about changing i think because now i’ve started the degree and gotten through a year of it i want to finish ahah, but i’m not sure it’s actually worth it, esp as i don’t enjoy a lot of the aspects of it
Reply 13
Original post by emilyxsierra
ahaha yeah i am very much having a dilemma here. but what you’ve said does make sense, and it would also lead to less student debt overall i think. i need to look into the transfer process at my uni, as i’m unsure if it’s easy or not. i don’t see why it should be difficult though as the requirements for psychology are lower than for law (i think it’s AAA/AAB and i got 3 A*s). the only issue might be that there isn’t space on the course.

i also just am so unsure about changing and idk why lol. i know for sure i don’t want to be a solicitor and being a barrister doesn’t appeal much either, i also don’t want to do something vaguely related to law like being a paralegal or working within a law firm, it just doesn’t appeal to me. i just am unsure about changing i think because now i’ve started the degree and gotten through a year of it i want to finish ahah, but i’m not sure it’s actually worth it, esp as i don’t enjoy a lot of the aspects of it


Yes, so from what I can gather.. You know what you don't like (i.e. certain aspects of law), but that doesn't mean you're extremely sure about changing courses either.. and I can understand your dilemma. These things can be difficult. Being unsure can sometimes be good, because it means that you don't just do things on impulse.. but sometimes a lot of overthinking can get in the way (this happens to me lol).

Maybe you can find out more about the undergraduate psychology course/modules. Only you would know whether it's something you're really interested in or just something that came to mind because you don't like certain aspects of law. If you eventually find out that psychology is not your dream course either, then continuing on the current track (law) would be wiser, as long as you can focus on your studies and obtain good grades. Once you graduate with a law degree, you can explore other professions, because a law degree does not limit you to being a lawyer.
Reply 14
Original post by Manny2023
Yes, so from what I can gather.. You know what you don't like (i.e. certain aspects of law), but that doesn't mean you're extremely sure about changing courses either.. and I can understand your dilemma. These things can be difficult. Being unsure can sometimes be good, because it means that you don't just do things on impulse.. but sometimes a lot of overthinking can get in the way (this happens to me lol).

Maybe you can find out more about the undergraduate psychology course/modules. Only you would know whether it's something you're really interested in or just something that came to mind because you don't like certain aspects of law. If you eventually find out that psychology is not your dream course either, then continuing on the current track (law) would be wiser, as long as you can focus on your studies and obtain good grades. Once you graduate with a law degree, you can explore other professions, because a law degree does not limit you to being a lawyer.

yeah i’d say this is true. id summarise it as: i know i dislike the majority of the modules available in law (i only like criminal related modules and medical law, so this is around 3 modules total for the whole degree lol) and having previously done psychology a level and having really enjoyed it i can confidently say that i find nearly every area of psychology interesting (other than maybe some aspects of cognitive psychology but even then i don’t strongly dislike it)

having looked at the psych degrees i do think i’d find them much more interesting than my current degree, esp considering i know for sure i don’t want a career directly related to law. but again, law is very transferable and it doesn’t mean i have to have a career in law. like you said, i think it’s bc i don’t want to be too impulsive and just change suddenly but i also don’t want to stick with law if i’m not going to go into law AND im going to hate most of the modules i have to study
Reply 15
Original post by emilyxsierra
yeah i’d say this is true. id summarise it as: i know i dislike the majority of the modules available in law (i only like criminal related modules and medical law, so this is around 3 modules total for the whole degree lol) and having previously done psychology a level and having really enjoyed it i can confidently say that i find nearly every area of psychology interesting (other than maybe some aspects of cognitive psychology but even then i don’t strongly dislike it)

having looked at the psych degrees i do think i’d find them much more interesting than my current degree, esp considering i know for sure i don’t want a career directly related to law. but again, law is very transferable and it doesn’t mean i have to have a career in law. like you said, i think it’s bc i don’t want to be too impulsive and just change suddenly but i also don’t want to stick with law if i’m not going to go into law AND im going to hate most of the modules i have to study


Cool. If that's the case, then do find out how easy/difficult it would be for you to switch. You wouldn't want to be stuck in a course that you can't enjoy, while knowing there's another course that you would enjoy. As previously mentioned, your past year was not a waste at all, and switching now to focus on psychology might give you other advantages in that field/circle too (compared to taking a conversion course much later). All the best, Emily!
Reply 16
Original post by Manny2023
Cool. If that's the case, then do find out how easy/difficult it would be for you to switch. You wouldn't want to be stuck in a course that you can't enjoy, while knowing there's another course that you would enjoy. As previously mentioned, your past year was not a waste at all, and switching now to focus on psychology might give you other advantages in that field/circle too (compared to taking a conversion course much later). All the best, Emily!

yes, im going to fill out an enquiry form tomorrow about switching and see what the university says!
i also just had the realisation that doing a psychology undergrad course is much more cost effective than a conversion as i’m quite unsure how id manage to fund a masters at this stage, so that is also a big positive if i change

thanks for all the help!
Reply 17
Original post by emilyxsierra
yes, im going to fill out an enquiry form tomorrow about switching and see what the university says!
i also just had the realisation that doing a psychology undergrad course is much more cost effective than a conversion as i’m quite unsure how id manage to fund a masters at this stage, so that is also a big positive if i change

thanks for all the help!


Ooh.. and if you don't mind, hope you'll share with us what they say, because I'm excited to know too lol..
Meanwhile, have a good weekend.
Reply 18
Original post by Manny2023
Ooh.. and if you don't mind, hope you'll share with us what they say, because I'm excited to know too lol..
Meanwhile, have a good weekend.

yes, i will update when they’ve gotten back to me!
you too :smile:
Reply 19
Original post by Manny2023
Ooh.. and if you don't mind, hope you'll share with us what they say, because I'm excited to know too lol..
Meanwhile, have a good weekend.

hi! they got back to me the other day. they said i couldn’t transfer as the course is full. i can check back after a level results day but they don’t see any spaces becoming available. which is unfortunate but it solves the dilemma for me i guess as i’ll just have to wait and do a conversion degree instead

Quick Reply

Latest

Trending

Trending