Psychology Courses - help required!

#1
Hi guys, have done some digging about on the interweb and the ELC site, but I was wondering if anyone here could 'cut to the chase.' Essentially, I want to study Psychology with the long term aim of actually making it my profession.

Couple of questions:

1) Should I aim to do it a degree level, as there are obviously various awards and levels out there. (Some more reputable than others.)

2) Will I have to take A-Levels or some other 'access to higher education' course to do so. Like many, despite bing reasonably bright, I was pretty unfocussed and quite lazy until the Army.

3) Is it possible to do this whilst working full-time?

Further questions regarding ELCs etc may follow, thanks in advance. :wink:
 
#2
I do believe the OU do a named Psychology degree. You might want to get in touch with whatever the Professional Body for psychologists is called and ask them.

You can start an OU degree without prior qualifiacation and it is perfectly feasable to do this whilst serving and doing y our day job.
 
#3
Cheers DEW, for some reason the OU hadn't crossed my mind. (doh!) What would be helpful is finding someone to chat through the various options with. Preferably someone who isn't only interested in signing me up to their particular course!

Worth contacting my local re-settlement bods for some pointers perhaps?
 
#4
Toasted_Giant said:
Hi guys, have done some digging about on the interweb and the ELC site, but I was wondering if anyone here could 'cut to the chase.' Essentially, I want to study Psychology with the long term aim of actually making it my profession.

Couple of questions:

1) Should I aim to do it a degree level, as there are obviously various awards and levels out there. (Some more reputable than others.)

2) Will I have to take A-Levels or some other 'access to higher education' course to do so. Like many, despite bing reasonably bright, I was pretty unfocussed and quite lazy until the Army.

3) Is it possible to do this whilst working full-time?

Further questions regarding ELCs etc may follow, thanks in advance. :wink:
I'm not a psychologist but flirted with the subject briefly in the nineties, and know well a few working psychologists in differing fields.

First thing first, get yourself a copy of this book, which in my day was central to second year A level and first year undergraduate study:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0340900989/?tag=armrumser-21

Yes, you will need to attain a degree. But you won't necessarily have to study A levels. You could go for an Access to Higher Education course part time (evenings possible in many educational establishments) and then apply for university through UCAS.

Furthermore, if you wish to actually work in a branch of psychology, then you'll really need to study for a postgraduate qualification. I know the qualification requirements for counselling are difficult and not cheap. Furthermore, if one wishes to become a counsellor one must undertake a specific amount of hours of counselling with a therapist -- so be prepared to pay at least £30 per hour for how many hours are necessary and be prepared to open yourself up.

You'd be surprised at the amount of psychology graduates who can't define what psychology is. Put succinctly, Psychology is defined as the study of behaviour.

Finally, never, ever think of psychology as a science. It can not possibly be a science, for there are too many unknowns and variables involved with behaviour. Now neuroscience is something else altogether; could it one day possibly replace psychology?

I'd suggest that if you are serious, during your undergraduate years you'd also look at the limits of psychology by reading a good book on Philosophy of Psychology, like this one:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0415275954/?tag=armrumser-21

Good luck!

Edited to add: get your maths skills up to scratch, particularly Statistics which will prove invaluable in the lab when conducting experiments and research.
 
#5
To become a 'professional' in psychology is a long winded process, you start with you first degree and then for the majority of psychology based jobs you will then need to do some kind of further training, of the 3 friends I have who have degrees in psychology 2 are now on graduate programs for well known high street shops having failed to get a job in a related field ( although high grades in their degrees) and the other is looking at a further 3-5 years ( self funded or sponsorship) study to become an educational psychologist.

I did an access course with a psychology unit and have done psychology units for both of my two years of University, its been general psychology all 3 times and I've found it pretty eye brow raising WTF stuff and yet got my highest marks in it!

OU has a good rep what ever degree path you go for and the fact you study it along side a full time job always looks good on a CV motivation wise.

WW
 
#6
Contrarian said:
Finally, never, ever think of psychology as a science. It can not possibly be a science, for there are too many unknowns and variables involved with behaviour.

And this is different from quantum physics how? :?
 
#7
Good post Contrarian, that's cleared up quite a few points for me. 'Access to higher education' is something I've only recently stumbled across on my research. Whilst leaning further and further towards studying psychology, there's still a nagging question whether to take a psychotherapy course.

Am I correct in thinking that this is a branch of psychology, so studying it from the off would necessarily limit my horizons. Whereas, I can always steer myself towards psychotherapy if I study psychology.

Pleased to see you mention philosophy, as my amateur readings have led me to conclude that it forms an important component. (Actually, was surprised to see some philosophy books have a highly critical stance on psychiatry.)

Many thanks for the pointers!
 
#8
The Power of ARRSE [tm] :)

It's threads like these which make the whole thing worthwhile.

msr
 
#9
Roadki11 said:
Contrarian said:
Finally, never, ever think of psychology as a science. It can not possibly be a science, for there are too many unknowns and variables involved with behaviour.

And this is different from quantum physics how? :?
Don't go there! At least with quantum physics pure empiricism is central to studies, even if the results of empirical inquiries often completely refute or confound perceived wisdom. But then, hopefully, a new paradigm shift will occur thus bringing true meaning and use to the field. Not that I know much about quantum physics. I'm not clever enough for that.
 
#10
Edited to add: get your maths skills up to scratch, particularly Statistics which will prove invaluable in the lab when conducting experiments and research.
gulp! maths not my strongest subject - reasonable up to a point, and I guess I should be able to handle statistical analysis, how complex does it get?
 
#11
Toasted_Giant said:
Cheers DEW, for some reason the OU hadn't crossed my mind. (doh!) What would be helpful is finding someone to chat through the various options with. Preferably someone who isn't only interested in signing me up to their particular course!

Worth contacting my local re-settlement bods for some pointers perhaps?
well worth it. Book a personal development interview with your local education centre and tell them what you are interested in. Either the Ed offr or the IERO will be able to give you some pointers. The IERO has those big thick books that list all the quals needed for career fields and you can get all the gen you need about SLC ELC etc etc
 
#12
Toasted_Giant said:
Edited to add: get your maths skills up to scratch, particularly Statistics which will prove invaluable in the lab when conducting experiments and research.
gulp! maths not my strongest subject - reasonable up to a point, and I guess I should be able to handle statistical analysis, how complex does it get?
Mwahahaha :twisted: . As complex as you can imagine, though for what you need not too complex. The first thing you'll need to do is get over that fear of maths, that block. Maybe you'll need to start from the absolute beginning, for maybe you are unaware of what you do and don't know. The Access course will point you in the right direction. However, at some point further down the line check check out the MIT Opencourseware resources:
http://search.mit.edu/search?__EVEN...eb&courseName=&q=statistics&btnG.x=0&btnG.y=0
 
#13
Toasted_Giant said:
Good post Contrarian, that's cleared up quite a few points for me. 'Access to higher education' is something I've only recently stumbled across on my research. Whilst leaning further and further towards studying psychology, there's still a nagging question whether to take a psychotherapy course.

Am I correct in thinking that this is a branch of psychology, so studying it from the off would necessarily limit my horizons. Whereas, I can always steer myself towards psychotherapy if I study psychology.

Pleased to see you mention philosophy, as my amateur readings have led me to conclude that it forms an important component. (Actually, was surprised to see some philosophy books have a highly critical stance on psychiatry.)

Many thanks for the pointers!
There are many branches of psychotherapy with perhaps the most trendy one being Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). Before you'd embark on a therapeutic specialisation you'd need to complete your undergraduate studies, possibly specialising in clinical or therapeutic psychology in your final year.

Philosophy is a much maligned and misunderstood discipline. Philosophy of Mind predates Psychology. Take a look at existentialism, Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Science, and Logical Positivism if you are looking to become popular down the boozer.

Finally, if you are interested in medical/therapeutic aspects of psychology you could do worse than reading up on Psychiatry (which will be closed off to you unless you study Medicine). I found R.D Laing's works to be of particular interest and significance. He was a much maligned and disparaged figure in the world of Psychiatry, but today his methods and ideas are coming into effect in the world of Psychiatry. A maverick genius decades ahead of his time he was.

Though I'm no expert in psychology, just an interested amateur, and I'm sure that there are Arrsers who work in the field who can aid you more than I can.

Cheers.
 
#14
Amazing_lobster is into all of that psycho babble stuff ;)

PM him nicely and he may help you although I suspect he'll be on here sooner or later!
 
#15
Contrarian said:
Toasted_Giant said:
Edited to add: get your maths skills up to scratch, particularly Statistics which will prove invaluable in the lab when conducting experiments and research.
gulp! maths not my strongest subject - reasonable up to a point, and I guess I should be able to handle statistical analysis, how complex does it get?
Mwahahaha :twisted: . As complex as you can imagine, though for what you need not too complex. The first thing you'll need to do is get over that fear of maths, that block. Maybe you'll need to start from the absolute beginning, for maybe you are unaware of what you do and don't know. The Access course will point you in the right direction. However, at some point further down the line check check out the MIT Opencourseware resources:
http://search.mit.edu/search?__EVEN...eb&courseName=&q=statistics&btnG.x=0&btnG.y=0
This is what I use when I need to do some maths that I haven't used for a while.

http://www.cababstractsplus.org/abstracts/Abstract.aspx?AcNo=19800574863

My own copy of 'Eason, Coles & Gettinby' is over 25 years old and I am not sure if it is stil in print, but if you can find a copy here

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0853121850/?tag=armrumser-21

It really is the best reference book for those tricky little statistical tests that you can never remember how to do.

Ahhh I can feel a Null Hypothesis coming on.....
 
#16
the_matelot said:
Amazing_lobster is into all of that psycho babble stuff ;)

PM him nicely and he may help you although I suspect he'll be on here sooner or later!
:D :D

Toasted_Giant,

If you want to become a professional psychologist, then you'll have to take it to degree level. Depending on which type of psychologist you want to become will then dictate what you do when you have your degree, but undoubtly most people will change their minds several times (I did this myself).

When choosing a psychology degree, make sure it is accredited by the British Psychological Society, because otherwise you'll have to do a further course to be elligable to do any of the postgraduate training. I'm not 100% sure, but I think this means that you'll be unable to do any joint degrees - i.e. psychology with german etc.

Reference statistics, yes on most decent undergraduate courses statistics will feature heavily. Although it might not be the recommended reading for you, I recommend this book in addition to whatever other book you are told to buy: Andy Fields. The author has one countless awards for his books, and he really knows his stuff. Also, I've noticed a few posters have confused maths and statistics. Maths and statistics are not the same thing. So although you're maths might be crap, it shouldn't effect your ability to do statistics.

Also, if you want a good introductory book on psychology, I recommend this: www.amazon.co.uk/Complete-Psycholog...=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1248553042&sr=1-1

If you want to know any more information, then don't hesitate to contact me. I started doing psychology with the OU when I was in, and left to pursue it with the intention of becoming a psychologist. Although I didn't become a clinical psychologist in the end, I am still in psychology & I still consider myself a psychologist (though others consider me a neuroscientist).

Edit: one more book I recommend Elements of Style
 
#17
Contrarian said:
Finally, never, ever think of psychology as a science. It can not possibly be a science, for there are too many unknowns and variables involved with behaviour. Now neuroscience is something else altogether; could it one day possibly replace psychology?
I have to disagree with you on that point Sir :D

It may not have been a science when you had experience of it, but I think you'd be pleasently surprised now. Most undergradute courses teach psychology as an empirical, biologically based science. On both my undergraduate & postgradute courses I covered a lot of biology in relation to human behaviour.
 
#18
ToastedGiant - I couldn’t comment on the psychology but will give you a warning about the Access to Higher Education courses they tend to have a lot of special people on them. If you are ‘reasonably bright’ as you put it you will find this a tad frustrating!

I did the Access to Humanities, the one you will probably need to read Psychology, and I found it a tad challenging and not in a good way! Although, this might have just been at my local college, others may be better.

Access is a level three qualification, supposedly equivalent to two A Levels, so the essays and projects are not too challenging. At my college, the course started with four introductory modules in either: Biology, Psychology, Sociology, English Literature and History. At the end of the first term, you dropped a subject and continued with three until the final term. In the final term, you completed a 4,000 word research dissertation in Social Sciences and continued one other taught subject. If you like, I can send you some examples of ‘distinction’ essays. The only part of the course I found interesting was the dissertation. Although, I studied it full time the validating agency requires sixty credits so part time must be similar.

Not wanting to put you off naturally there were good aspects of the course, I met some fantastic people (and the vast majority on these courses are single women), I gained solid study skills and a good foundation for degree study and all universities consider the qualification for entry- three of us on my course were accepted to the University of Cambridge.

I’m not trying to put you off this course, as I say it has outstanding benefits but can also be frustrating with some intellectually challenged individuals. Although, as I say this may have been my course, maybe wompingwillow had a different experience?

A website I found interesting when considering doing this course was this one and they have a good pdf with other people's experiences.

Good luck on whatever you decide to do.
 
#19
amazing__lobster said:
Contrarian said:
Finally, never, ever think of psychology as a science. It can not possibly be a science, for there are too many unknowns and variables involved with behaviour. Now neuroscience is something else altogether; could it one day possibly replace psychology?
I have to disagree with you on that point Sir :D

It may not have been a science when you had experience of it, but I think you'd be pleasently surprised now. Most undergradute courses teach psychology as an empirical, biologically based science. On both my undergraduate & postgradute courses I covered a lot of biology in relation to human behaviour.
Sir, I bow to your recent and greater experience than mine. Even though I know you're a folk psychologist really. :D

Now, I'm very angry with my mother. Tell me about myself.
 
#20
Contrarian said:
amazing__lobster said:
Contrarian said:
Finally, never, ever think of psychology as a science. It can not possibly be a science, for there are too many unknowns and variables involved with behaviour. Now neuroscience is something else altogether; could it one day possibly replace psychology?
I have to disagree with you on that point Sir :D

It may not have been a science when you had experience of it, but I think you'd be pleasently surprised now. Most undergradute courses teach psychology as an empirical, biologically based science. On both my undergraduate & postgradute courses I covered a lot of biology in relation to human behaviour.
Sir, I bow to your recent and greater experience than mine. Even though I know you're a folk psychologist really. :D

Now, I'm very angry with my mother. Tell me about myself.
I'm not going to bite :D :D :D
 
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