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Did you do a psychology degree? What did you do with it/become after?

(27 Posts)
ladyjadie Wed 28-Aug-13 12:27:46

That's it really, I know there are more things you can do with it than become a therapist, and have Googled it but was interested to know what other MNers/their friends/classmates made of a psychology degree and how they went about it. Have just posted another thread about how I'm struggling with the decision of if I could even make it through but that was long enough!


ladyjadie Wed 28-Aug-13 18:36:05

Bump [sorry face]

Someone has said that psychology has the worst career prospects of any uni course and now I'm super bricking it confused

Poppanicolino Wed 28-Aug-13 18:39:52

Not personally but two school friends did. One is now a ski instructor and the other went on to do a masters followed by phd in psychology related areas. I think she felt she wouldn't get very far without the further studying.

FantasticDay Wed 28-Aug-13 18:44:02

I am a government social researcher. Not a psychologist myself but have two colleagues with psych degrees plus social research pg degrees. Its a great job.

Polgara2 Wed 28-Aug-13 18:44:21

Not me but family member did, she is now a Head of Department/Consultant Clinical Psychologist. Very high up but very pressured position, having said that she loves her career.

Bearcat Thu 29-Aug-13 19:10:20

DS's friend is just about to start a PGCE in primary education.

Shockingundercrackers Thu 29-Aug-13 19:12:47

I have a BSc in experimental psychology and I'm a tv producer. The latter had nothing to to with the former I'm afraid. My degree was interesting, but no use at all when getting work.

Tiredemma Thu 29-Aug-13 19:16:09

I think its quite difficult 'nowadays' (sound like my Grandmother) to get a 'good' job with a Psych degree. I have recently been shortlisting for Band 3 Healthcare assistants to work in mental health care and a staggering amount are actually psych graduates who are struggling to find work elsewhere.

callme Thu 29-Aug-13 19:18:45

I have a BSc Psychology which I really enjoyed, but I got pg shortly after graduation and have been a sahm ever since! None of my friends from my course have continued in the field, because you need a fair bit of further study to work in Psychology itself (I'm sure there are people from my course who have gone on to work in Psychology, it's just that I didn't stay in touch with them!). The ones I've stayed in touch with are working in the media, teaching, retail or are sahms like me.

DalmationDots Fri 30-Aug-13 17:46:23

No personal experience but DD is doing a course very psychology based and looked at marketing, teaching primary, education research/policy/management, normal graduate london jobs, clinical psychology including forensics, children and education.

Lots of options but, as with most degrees, it relies on your DC putting the effort in to get work experience and internships.

Great degree btw, if i had my time again I think I would do Psychology smile

LondonMother Sun 01-Sep-13 15:55:38

Psychology is a massively popular undergraduate degree subject. This is fine, as long as the undergrad understands that there is no guarantee whatsoever that it will lead to a career in psychology. There are several different specialisms all leading to chartered psychologist status and she should study the British Psychological Society website to get a better grasp of this. Getting to that level will require years of additional study and work. Forensic psychology is one I happen to know a bit about and it is very hard indeed to qualify as a chartered psychologist there, especially as it is almost always self-funded.

Clinical psychology doctorate courses are very attractive as they offer full (generous) pay and all fees paid for three years while training. However, typically there will be hundreds of applications for each programme and only 20-40 places on offer per programme. KCL typically gets 800 applications for 20 places, for example. Typically the people accepted onto DClinPsy programmes have:

- a First or a very good 2.1; AND
- a good MSc result and/or a Ph.D (postgrad qualification is not obligatory but very, very common as it demonstrates that the applicant is up to the demands of doctoral level study); AND
- quite a lot of relevant work experience, preferably as an assistant psychologist (AP) or research assistant (RA) rather than at a lower level, e.g. health care assistant. The lower level posts are usually essential as a starting point, though, as they are the stepping stones to the AP and RA jobs or to getting onto an MSc or PhD programme.

Not everybody fits that stereotype, but if you don't it's harder and it takes longer. I know one person about to start training who got a fairly low 2.1 and applied for five years in succession until finally, with a fairly good MSc under his belt and two years working at AP level, he got three offers.

Hope this helps!

MoutardeDeDijon Thu 05-Sep-13 14:42:53

I did a psychology degree and am now (following a PhD, years as a researcher, etc...) a university lecturer.

First off, let me just say that whoever told you that Psychology is the worst degree for employment is talking out of their hat. Stats can be found here.

Now, some people get jobs after graduating, others go on to do further study, some are unemployed, and a few fall into other categories. I think that best thing to do is to look at the numbers who are unemployed. Here is a little league table from the latest figures:
Computer Science: 14.8%
Media studies: 13.3%
Fine arts: 12.0%
Electrical and Electronic Engineering: 11.7%
Design: 11.4%
Finance and accountancy: 10.9%
Physics: 10.7%
Biology: 10.6%
Economics: 10.3%
Business and management: 10.0%
Sociology: 9.9%
Politics: 9.8%
Mathematics: 9.4%
Marketing: 9.3%
Chemistry: 9.2%
Performing arts: 9.0%
Architecture and Building: 8.8%
Physical and Geographical Sciences: 8.8%
English: 8.6%
History: 8.6%
All subjects: 8.5%
Civil Engineering: 8.5%
Languages: 8.5%
Mechanical Engineering: 8.4%
Hospitality and Tourism: 8.2%
Psychology: 7.8%
Geography: 7.2%
Law: 7.1%
Sport Science: 5.6%

Psychology has one of the lowest rates of unemployment!

Second, there are all sorts of things that you can do with a degree in psychology. There are the 'Psychology' careers: academic, counselling, forensic, clinical, neuropsychology, educational, occupational. These all require further training and a BPS accredited degree. Psychology is also useful as a general degree. Most graduates do not go into jobs that use their degree per se. Rather, they end up in jobs that just require any old degree. This may as well be psychology. Psychology is also quite handy since it is a science subject (whatever anyone tells you, and ignoring the fact that the site I linked to above lists it as a social science, it is taught at universities as a science and is regarded by UCAS as a biological science - hence it's 'C' code) and teaches various critical thinking and statistics skills. Some people also seem to think that it makes you good at working with people, and so a lot of our graduates seem to gravitate towards HR.

breatheslowly Thu 05-Sep-13 14:46:30

You can do any of the general graduate entry jobs as well as the Psychology specific ones. I'm an accountant and I know other Psychology graduates who trained with me.

JoinTheDots Thu 05-Sep-13 14:54:22

I became a careers adviser, my friend is an HR manager and another friend is an educational psychologist.

You really want to look at things from the "what do I want to do / skills do I want to use" rather than what jobs can this degree get me.

strawberrypenguin Thu 05-Sep-13 15:00:57

I work in a library! Btw Psychology degree actually has a fair amount of maths in it! (I wasn't fully aware of this going in to mine)

ladyjadie Thu 05-Sep-13 18:27:50

Thanks for all the replies, some of them have been a lot more heartening!

I called up one uni just outside London, just to ask if they had any clearing places, and ended up being offered a place 30 seconds later! I am shock and really worried now, the course starts on the 26th and I am totally unprepared (was expecting to be told to apply for next year...)

The degree is for me, I'm nearly 28 blush no DCs, and have a bit of experience from the other side (Read: have had a lot of therapies since 16)

I didn't do it A-level, will this count against me? I'm really flipping between giving it a try and crying to my lovely DP that I'll never get through it and I'll fail, (he is of the mind that as we are moving nearby and he is on a decent wage, he wants me to give it a go as he knows how insular I've become and how bad that is for my MH) but I really fear letting people down, especially as everyone I've told have suchenthusiastic (and unsubstantiated IMO) high hopes that "you can do it, you're bright" etc...


ladyjadie Thu 05-Sep-13 18:29:36

Forgot to add the uni is BPS accredited.

EllaWilk Thu 05-Sep-13 18:36:08

I have a BSc in Psychology and currently work in an extra curricular tuition centre for children running the business.

My friend have studied masters in forensic psychology and now works for the MOD. Others have worked in adolescent and child mental health.

breatheslowly Thu 05-Sep-13 18:39:00

You definitely don't need A level. It's a great subject as long as you aren't expecting loads of Freud and "tell me about your mother". People also occasionally think that a Psychology degree means I can read their minds or tell things about them from just watching them hmm. I think it took me most of my first year to be able to spell Psychology.

Just make sure you keep up and make the most of all of the lectures, contact time and practicals (if you have them).

ladyjadie Thu 05-Sep-13 21:48:56

Haha Breathe grin

My DP says the same thing, as long as I turn up to all the lectures and actually spend time in the library now and then, I'm not likely to fail. I'm not convinced but then my confidence is around the same depth of liquid magma..

Re: the maths, how much is there realistically? I got a place because I got a B grade GCSE but tbh I was amazed at that. Am V. worried I'll be asked to do complex sums off the top of my head!

breatheslowly Thu 05-Sep-13 22:07:33

We had special statistics lessons with a book that gave all of the formulae and how to do anything they wanted you to do in the stats exam. I hadn't ever done statistics before and it wasn't assumed that you had. In the exam you were given a copy of the book to help you. So it was very much holding your hand. Remember that they want you to do well and if a B at maths isn't enough they wouldn't let you on the course. Have you checked out what proportion of students starting the course complete it? That might help you to feel more confident.

No one on my course failed. I knew one guy who did very little work and got a 2:2. But Psychology is interesting enough that it isn't a chore to do the work (imo).

MacaYoniandCheese Thu 05-Sep-13 22:15:09

lady the math is statistics...mostly finite mathematics and is actually quite a problem-solving kind of way. It's more wordy-math than having to do sums off the top of your head grin.

MacaYoniandCheese Thu 05-Sep-13 22:18:34

Oh...and I did NOTHING with my degree...unless you count SAHMing (educated mothers raise educated children blah-blah grin ). If I had a do-over I'd pursue a career in HR or further studies in organizational psychology.

MrsRandom78 Thu 05-Sep-13 22:25:20

I did and I used it to do another degree specialising in a branch of psychology and am now registered as a practitioner psychologist with the HPC. Only took 10 yars start to finish...wink

Nospringflower Thu 05-Sep-13 22:29:24

Did psychology degree then worked as research assistant, assistant psychologist and now, 20 years on, a practising clinical psychologist.

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