Adrienne Rennie

Adrienne Rennie

United Kingdom
MSc Clinical Psychology and Mental Health

A masters really allows you to examine and focus further in the parts of your previous education that has interested you.

Obviously, I was very interested in the clinical psychology aspect of my undergraduate. This course provided a closer and clearer examination of my future intended career. It not only strengthened knowledge I had on areas like mood disorders, but introduced me to topics I was unfamiliar with, such as third-wave therapies, extending past the standard Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, psychopathology, and Applied Behavioural Analysis. This broadened my perspective and enhanced my knowledge in aspects of mental health and therapeutic practices, which I have been able to adapt to my current job and voluntary roles

Our classes could sometimes be big in size, but generally masters classes are smaller than most undergraduate classes. Therefore, we would have discussions and debates within the modules, which was commonplace. This sounds overwhelming if you aren’t used to discussions and debates, especially having been involved in larger undergraduate classes. But, usually they are forgiving places that allow you to learn and give your opinions or experiences of whatever topic the discussion is about. You are encouraged to participate, but not pressured. I always tried to participate as I felt I could learn this way, plus it kept me and the other students engaged.

During this course, you were expected to be independent, taking the initiative in dealing with your work, moving forward with your research projects, and grabbing opportunities. Often, postgraduate courses can leave you with a ‘sink or swim’ feeling. You are given more responsibility. You are supported, yes, but your hand is not held. Personally, it developed and expanded my soft skills e.g. organisation skills, etiquette etc., Organising your workload is very important in every job you will come across, particularly within psychology posts. If I did not learn how to organise my workload, I wouldn’t have a job, and I wouldn’t have made it through the masters.

What I appreciated the most during my time at Swansea was support I received from my academic mentor and my dissertation supervisor. I had turned in an essay for my Psychopathy and Sexual Disorders, and received an average mark, which left me feeling disheartened as I was concerned this would be a running theme throughout my masters. I met with my mentor, Jeremy, and he briefly read through my essay, before providing the clearest advice I have ever received when it came to an essay. If you could look into my brain, you could probably see a neurological version of a jigsaw puzzle finally getting its last piece. He ran through some examples with me, rewrote out the information, and engaged fully in helping me how to write an essay. I then wrote two essays for my Psychosis module and my Eating Disorder module, and I received much higher grades, with the essays reflecting that I had indeed taken on Jeremy's advice.

The masters course allowed me to really expand on my research interests and explore new research methods I hadn't done before. As the classes can be smaller sometimes, you get a greater opportunity to talk with your supervisor and your lecturers, and it helps when you already have some understanding of psychology from your undergraduate. A masters research project is a great place to improve your research skills, and look further into a research topic you might be interested.

It is definitely advantageous to have a masters. It gives you an edge in the already competitive market that is psychology. It can effectively bide you time to gain further skills. Within courses like this, particularly in psychology, you can also develop good connections as I did, and, in doing so, get incredible support.