Once you graduate with an undergraduate degree in a psychology discipline, you may decide to further your studies with a Master’s qualification. Continuing your education, whether immediately, or after a short working experience period, may help you to improve your employment prospects. Those with a psychology Master’s degree can usually expect a higher salary than people with just an undergraduate award.
In the UK, it is often the case that a student who obtains a good first degree will be offered a place on a Master’s programme at the same university. Psychology Master’s degrees allow for a greater focus on personal research, on a specific aspect of psychology. If you have a topic that you would like to investigate further, you should look for a Psychology Department where the staff have similar interests to your own.
The Psychology Department at Bangor University in Wales (where all degrees are validated by the University of Wales) offer a number of different Master’s degrees in psychology. It is possible to study at Bangor for an MA (Master of Arts), MSc (Master of Science) or an MRes (Master of Research. The final award depends on the subject focus of the course.
If you intend to take a full research degree such as an MPhil or PhD, then studying an MRes first is a good idea. This will enable you to explore and develop your skills in research under supervision. These skills will be necessary when you begin your final research degree.
For those students interested in combining psychology with the world of work, the University of Nottingham’s Institute of Work, Health and Organisations offers a number of postgraduate degrees. It is possible to study for a postgraduate diploma, which usually entails following the taught module portion of the full Master’s degree, but without completing the final written dissertation.
Financing your postgraduate studies can be difficult, especially if you are moving straight from undergraduate level and the debt that can accompany it. Students who are employed by the National Health Service (NHS) may be eligible to apply for help with funding their studies in psychology. It may also be possible to apply for a University Scholarship or Bursary to cover part or all of the fees for your psychology degree.
You should remember to include your living expenses when deciding whether postgraduate study is right for you. Many UK universities have halls of residence that postgraduate and research students can live in at a subsidised rate. There may also be opportunities to become a student mentor or warden in return for free accommodation. Psychology students may find this route beneficial to enhance their resume, particularly if they have not worked formally between undergraduate and postgraduate study.
In a discipline such as psychology, pursuing your studies beyond graduate level will almost certainly lead to better employment opportunities.