How important is placement in Masters?

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zehra3
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Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2018 7:36 pm

How important is placement in Masters?

Post by zehra3 » Tue Apr 02, 2019 12:19 pm

Hi everyone,
I am hoping to become a clinical (neuro)psychologist one day. I currently hold an offer from Bristol for the MSc Applied Neuropsychology course and from Reading for the MSc Theory and Practice in Clinical Psychology. They both seem like great courses, this course is apparently the same as their Clinical Neuropsychology course which you can complete after DClinPsyand and the modules are mostly taught by clinical psychologists + Bristol is a great uni. On the other hand, Reading also has great modules and also has an 8-week clinical placement but I don't know whether it is as reputable in Psychology as Bristol (or if that matters). Should I go for Reading because of the placement or should I choose Bristol so maybe having an MSc in neuropsychology would set me apart? I am really stuck and I don't know which one to choose.

Any help is appreciated, thanks!

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persephone56
Posts: 192
Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2011 7:37 pm

Re: How important is placement in Masters?

Post by persephone56 » Wed Apr 03, 2019 9:12 am

I would do the one you prefer the sound of. I did a Masters that I thought "would look good on my application" and I hated every minute of it. I should have done one I'd actually enjoy.

A placement is a great opportunity, but if that's all that's really attracting you to the course then I'm not sure it's enough. An 8-week placement may give you an advantage in gaining an entry level job once it's done, but I'm not sure about beyond that. That being said, I'm not sure any particular Masters would "set you apart" on selection for the DClinPsych either - you'll get the same amount of points for it that anyone else would get for having a Masters, and it's more about what you do with it afterwards that will count. Basically, I'd say follow your heart, but think more about what each Masters will set you up for in terms of jobs after you finish rather than trying to guess which one will look best when applying to the doctorate.

JB99
Posts: 58
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2018 2:12 pm

Re: How important is placement in Masters?

Post by JB99 » Wed Apr 03, 2019 11:42 am

zehra3 wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 12:19 pm
Hi everyone,
I am hoping to become a clinical (neuro)psychologist one day. I currently hold an offer from Bristol for the MSc Applied Neuropsychology course and from Reading for the MSc Theory and Practice in Clinical Psychology. They both seem like great courses, this course is apparently the same as their Clinical Neuropsychology course which you can complete after DClinPsyand and the modules are mostly taught by clinical psychologists + Bristol is a great uni. On the other hand, Reading also has great modules and also has an 8-week clinical placement but I don't know whether it is as reputable in Psychology as Bristol (or if that matters). Should I go for Reading because of the placement or should I choose Bristol so maybe having an MSc in neuropsychology would set me apart? I am really stuck and I don't know which one to choose.

Any help is appreciated, thanks!
Hi Zehra,

If it helps, I did the Bristol MSc in Applied Neuropsychology. I could not speak more highly of this course. It is fascinating and clinically relevant. It covers, in depth, neuropsychological assessment, which is core to professional neuropsychology. It also covers clinical interventions, neuroanatomy, theories of cognition, the whole lot! Its content is paired with the QiCN, which is the post-doctorate qualification in neuropsychology.

The MSc in Applied Neuropsychology offers the potential to do patient-facing research for the dissertation component. This is a fantastic opportunity to gain clinical experience while studying. My research gave me the opportunity to deliver cognitive screens to stroke inpatients, which ultimately was the primary factor for successfully gaining a neuropsychology AP position (I had no patient experience prior, and would not have stood a cats hec in chance of getting an AP job). That, coupled with my strong knowledge of cognitive assessment from the MSc, allowed me to do well in my interview.

The Bristol MSc keeps two doors open: academic and clinical. If you enjoy research, it's a good masters to do if you want a backup plan. The MSc is impressive on the CV for any clinical neuropsych PhD application and keeps academia open if you do not manage to get onto clinical training.

There are some downsides.The MSc does not guarantee clinical experience, and depends on you choosing a clinical "external" project and being selected for it (first-come, first-served basis I think). There are also dangers of being caught up in ethics, although mine were sorted by my supervisor. I know that some of the people who did not complete a patient facing project have struggled to gain AP positions. I think roughly 50% of the cohort end up in AP positions? Also, the number of clinical hours is quite low, which is bad in some ways, but it does allow you to get a part time patient-facing role while studying.

Having said all of this, it sounds like the Reading masters provides more certainty in terms of clinical experience. Perhaps this would make it more desirable, as I think the single biggest barrier in gaining an AP post is lack of clinical experience. It's a really tough call, but all I would say is that the Bristol masters was the absolute making of me, and that year was fundamental in getting me to clinical training.

I agree with what Persephone said above. The prestige of the university offering the MSc does not matter, as normally you just get points for having an MSc level qualification (some do not even care what grade you get!). I think what would "set you apart" the most would be the quality of the clinical experience and the knowledge and confidence that you can bring to interview.

Feel free to message me if you have any questions!

greymatter
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Apr 15, 2019 8:44 pm

Re: How important is placement in Masters?

Post by greymatter » Wed Apr 17, 2019 9:18 am

I’m in a similar position as I am trying to choose between the MSc Theory and Practice in Clinical Psychology at Reading and MSc Foundations of Clinical Psychology at Southampton.

It appears that some of the lectures at Southampton are shared with students on the DClinPsy, which would offer an interesting insight into it and the university itself has a good reputation. The MSc also provides the opportunity for a 50 hour placement which would be great for experience. In comparison, the MSc at Reading includes a much longer placement but I can’t find very much information about the other modules offered or others’ experiences of doing the placement.

While choosing the placement at Reading would be strategic for gaining clinical experience, I can’t help thinking that the course at Southampton offers broader modules and perhaps keeps more options open, in case I decide not to pursue a career in clinical. Am I right in thinking this?

Does anyone have experience of either of these courses? What do you feel like you gained from either one of them?

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