25/02/2022

Psychology Master’s: 7 Reasons to Stay On at University

A degree in psychology can lead to a number of career paths, but some of these careers may require a second degree. A psychology master’s can help you access the best psychology degree jobs where postgraduate training is vital.

If you’re a third-year student studying psychology at the University of Bolton, there are so many reasons to stay on at university to earn your master’s. We’ve been ranked in the Top 10 in the UK for Student Satisfaction in Psychology Courses* for the fourth year running, so there’s nowhere better to upskill than Bolton!

Here are some of the reasons to continue in education and study a psychology master’s:

1) Increase job opportunities 

By studying a master’s, students can gain access to more employment opportunities. While not all psychology degree jobs require a second degree, employers often favour those with advanced skills or training.

Postgraduate study is also a common route for becoming a clinical psychologist, or a viable pathway for those wishing to earn a doctorate. The same applies for forensic psychology, and anyone looking to work in this field will need a master’s degree or higher.

2) Boost earning potential 

It’s no secret that second degree holders earn more money than first degree holders. Not only do they have more exposure to top employers, but postgraduates actually earn an average of 18% more according to the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI). 

These higher earnings are reported just six months after graduation, meaning students are getting a quick return on the investment in their education.

This isn’t just true of clinical psychology or counselling career paths either. There are many related career paths where a master’s degree is looked upon favourably by recruiters, and access to higher paid management roles is made possible when candidates have advanced qualifications.

For instance, you may be able to progress faster and enjoy higher earnings as an occupational therapist, careers guidance specialist, human resources manager, social worker, family mediation and support worker, communications manager, youth worker, or jobs within the prison and probation services.

A master’s degree can even unlock lucrative freelance and consultancy opportunities, giving you the chance to help a number of clients and charge a higher rate for your services.

3) Go into a specialism

A psychology degree can lead to a number of specialisms, ranging from counselling and positive psychology to social neuroscience. Pursuing a master’s allows you to take your career in any direction, and specialist qualifications can increase job prospects in your chosen field.

Not everyone knows the exact area they wish to work in when they apply for an undergraduate degree, and it’s common for students to change their minds or discover particular topics that interest them during their time at university.

On the flipside, for undergraduates already pursuing a specialism (such as combined criminology and psychology degree or a psychotherapy degree), a general psychology master’s can be a fantastic way to diversify their skills.

The MSc Psychology course at the University of Bolton is open to applicants from any psychology discipline, allowing students of all psychology backgrounds to improve their knowledge across a number of fields, in a friendly and supportive learning environment.

4) Practice therapy

Many students who pursue an undergraduate psychology degree do so because they are interested in helping others and working as a therapist. This line of work is extremely rewarding because it allows you to have direct contact to those affected by psychological disorders, placing you on the front line of support.

While a first degree teaches you the skills, theories and concepts to work effectively in therapy, it doesn’t deliver the necessary training to work towards becoming a licensed therapist. There are a number of routes you can pursue if you want to work in psychotherapy or counselling. At Bolton, we have targeted courses in cognitive behaviour or the new and exciting field of positive psychology.

As an example, our MSc Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapies course offers training that prepares you for Level 2 Provisional Accreditation as a Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist (CBP). And our dual qualification MSc Counselling and Positive Psychology course awards the ABC level 4 Diploma in Counselling, preparing you to meet the registration requirements for the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).

5) Learn from and network with leading experts

As a third-year psychology student at the University of Bolton, you’ll already have been studying under some of the UK’s leading experts. Many of our teaching staff are actively involved in significant and ongoing research in this subject, meaning that your studies are at the forefront of the industry.  

By staying on to do your psychology master’s, you’ll get the amazing opportunity to build on your existing relationships and network with leaders in your chosen area. For instance, if you wish to do a master’s in the relatively new branch of positive psychology, you’ll get to study under lecturers who are involved in this therapeutic practice.

With connections to a wide range of employers, our staff and dedicated Employability Team will also be on hand to secure placements and support your career ambitions.

On top of this, postgraduate study places you in the midst of other like-minded students who are passionate about honing their skills. You’ll be surrounded by the best in class, enriching your learning experience and helping you build a powerful professional network for the future.

6) Improve your research skills

Scientific research is vital for any psychology degree job, but especially in clinical practice. This is because relevant research provides detailed and accurate knowledge about psychological problems, helping practitioners establish whether treatments are effective.

But in order to get the answers you need from research, it’s important to have the right analytical skills. This is something you will learn in your undergraduate degree. However, a master’s degree helps you put research skills into practice.

By developing your research methods, data analysis and critical thinking skills with the guidance of our research-informed tutors, you can learn to apply research in the right way, avoiding costly mistake later on in the workplace.

7) Go into teaching

Another reason to study a master’s in psychology is to get into teaching. While it’s possible to teach at school level with an undergraduate degree and PGCE, teaching in higher education usually requires at least a second degree.

During your master’s, you will pick up a number of transferable skills to support you in a variety of workplaces, including corporate and clinical settings, as well as for working in education. These invaluable skills include skills in research, critique, problem-solving, presentation skills, interpersonal skills, innovative thinking, team work and project management, public speaking, and workplace professionalism.

Are you looking to stay on at university? Whether you’re interested in doing a positive psychology degree, a cognitive behavioural therapy degree, a criminology and psychology degree, or a general psychology master’s, we have the right course for you.

To find out more about applying in 2022/23, see our psychology master’s degree courses.

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