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Fascinated by psychology? Want a career that makes a difference? Ready to find out exactly what’s involved in studying at Master’s level?

In this virtual Q&A MSc Psychology Course Leader Dr Tom Lockhart discusses career options in psychology, the skills you'll learn on the MSc, and key trends in the industry.

About the Course Leader

Dr Tom Lockhart's research centres around anxiety and Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory, a neurological theory of personality. Other research interests include fear, decision making, personality, and behavioural prediction.

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[MUSIC PLAYING] - What route would I need to take to eventually become maybe a social psychologist?

TOM LOCKHART: Absolutely, yeah. Yeah, let's jump into it. So no, that's a very good one, and it's a very key consideration when you're deciding which course to do.

Assuming that you want to be a social psychologist in the United Kingdom, particularly in Britain, and that you don't already have-- we'll go into a bit more detail of what this involves later on, but you don't already have a BPS, British Psychological Society accredited degree, then in order to get on a lot of the PhD programs and to practice in social psychology, then you would need some kind of course that is accredited by the BPS, some degree that gets you onto that pathway.

So this would be an excellent first step in that regard. But exactly as you say, it is the first step and that there would be additional qualifications needed for becoming a social psychologist.

You've correctly identified there that doing a PhD would be probably a requirement if you were to go into a lot of areas of social psychology or certainly a masters in a specialized area within social psychology afterwards.


One of the biggest changes that I've seen is the way that psychology is implemented in something called occupational fields of psychology. So that is where psychologists go into businesses and organizations in the workplace and disseminate some of the findings and techniques from psychology there. And in terms of purporting their applications and their uses within those fields of either business or industry or larger organizations.


Courses, I mean, the fact that it's an online degree is only by means of being easy to fit around everyday life and jobs and families and that kind of thing. The value is exactly the same as the face-to-face degree. And on your certificate actually, when you graduate, it will say MSc psychology, it won't say MSc psychology online degree or anything like that. So it's effectively in the same way. It's the same in terms of career progression because it's a qualification that matters. And it's the same qualification.

In terms of the MSc helping with career progression in general, I think we've covered a lot of it, which is good. But I'll just add that it is very much there are some skills that you can take directly from the degree. So you will get a lot of understanding of critical thinking, you'll get a lot of understanding of the wider areas of psychology that are out there, you'll know how scientific findings can be applied in the real world, you'll have lots of practice, excuse me, with argumentation and having a clear and authoritative voice when it comes to presenting a narrative and explaining things.

You'll have presentation and essay writing and report writing skills. You'll have statistical skills, qualitative analysis skills. And these play into a wide variety of roles if you wanted to use that directly after the degree.

But what a lot of people will want this degree for, and what in many ways it was designed for, is to get you the skills and the content covered that you need to get that accreditation in as comprehensive and quickly a way as you can, so that you can get onto the specialized training routes and get down into that kind of advanced areas of psychology of most interest to you.


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