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Tuesday, 18 May 2021

So you Want to be a Psychologist? Doing a Degree in Psychology

By Dr Becky Spelman

Second-level students who are interested in doing a degree in Psychology should choose their A-level subjects accordingly. Ideally, they would study at least one science- or maths-based subject, as well as other relevant subjects such as Psychology, Anthropology, Philosophy, Economics, and so on.

Most universities offer degrees in Psychology, and as the courses are both sought-after and demanding, the requirements to enter are generally quite high. However, even those who have not obtained the grades they require in the first instance may get onto a course through the “clearing” process if not all the positions are filled after the first round of offers, and if the university feels that they have an aptitude for the subject. Other routes to a degree in Psychology include doing a foundational course that will be taken into consideration on application for a degree course.

Students can end up in a very wide range of careers, but anyone hoping to practise as a Clinical or Counselling Psychologist (which is typically the goal of about 25% of graduates) should confirm that the degree course that they are interested in is accredited, and that it follows the professional body guidelines established by the British Psychological Society (most of them do, but it is wise to confirm this before enrolling on a course).

While all students will study the basics of discipline, and diverse subjects including Physiology, History of Psychology, and so forth, they will also be given opportunities to specialise in a wide range of areas, including Clinical Psychology, Educational Psychology, and much more. The degree is also often offered in combination with a wide range of humanities, social science, science, and business subjects, demonstrating the great flexibility and diversity of the subject.

Those who have a clear vision of their future career can consider an integrated master’s in a relevant specialty, where they can progress seamlessly from undergraduate to master’s level, without having to reapply, whille conversion courses offer a route into Psychology for those who have previously studied something else.

Holding a degree in Psychology is the first step towards practising as a Psychologist, but in the UK, you will need a Doctorate in order to work as a Psychologist; or, if you are interested in working in a related field, but do not want to do a Doctorate, you can take one of a range of post-graduate diplomas or master’s degrees, which will qualify you to work as a Psychotherapist.  

The fact that university courses in Psychology are so sought-after shows how rewarding a career in this field really is. Fortunately, for those who are truly determined, there are many paths towards a wonderful career in Psychology!


For help with the issues discussed in this article speak to one of our therapists here at Private Therapy Clinic for a free initial chat or to make an appointment.

REFERENCES — website of the British Psychological Association — National Careers Service Website, information about a career in psychology — psychology-related careers in the NHS — Prospects careers advice, information about a career in psychology

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