Progress to Postgraduate: My Journey

Posted on: 31 August 2022 by Samantha Riella in Graduate stories

Katherine is a recent University of Liverpool Psychology graduate. Find out more about her journey to postgraduate study and her top tips for students currently thinking about undertaking a master’s degree.

I recently graduated from the University of Liverpool where I studied Psychology. Understanding and learning about the brain, mental health, behaviour and much more confirmed my interest in psychology and led me to aspire to pursue clinical psychology in the future. 

I am now starting a master’s course in Clinical and Health Psychology at The University of Manchester. I am most excited to learn how to put theories and knowledge into practice, whilst expanding my insight into both the clinical and health aspect of psychology.

What was your best experience while studying your course at UoL?

The Experiment Participant Requirement ‘EPR’ scheme at UoL allowed myself and other students to participate in third year research projects. Participating in research, including EEG studies and interviews was one of the best experiences whilst studying psychology, as it allowed me to experience how first-hand research is conducted, and taught me different methods I could use in my own future research. I think this was one of the best experiences as it helped me gain an understanding of how real-life research is conducted.

What activities did you do during your degree to help the transition into postgraduate study?

I think any work experience or volunteering is important when thinking about transitioning from undergraduate to postgraduate or work life, as it helps you gain an insight into what you enjoy doing outside of your course and general interests.

During my degree, I volunteered at The Brain Charity as a befriender to individuals with traumatic brain injuries. This included talking to these individuals once a week to see how they were doing and have a chat about general life. Befriending is targeted to combat loneliness.

I also did a mental health first aider course, which consisted of a two-day course learning about how to deal with urgent mental health problems. These experiences have helped me feel more confident and comfortable helping individuals who may be struggling with their mental health, and have prepared me for my transition into postgraduate life as I feel I have an increased knowledge and awareness of the field I’m hoping to go into. If you'd like to find out more, you can listen to the Things I wish I’d known as a first year podcast. You can listen to the podcast on Spotify.

What are you most looking forward to in your future career?

My end goal is to become a Clinical Psychologist, and along with helping patients to overcome psychological problems and helping them achieve an increased quality of life, I am also looking forward to the future research I hope to conduct, that may aid our understanding of psychological disorders and human behaviour!

How has the Career Studio helped you?

By putting on lectures about future career paths and how to apply for opportunities. These gave me the knowledge of other areas a degree in psychology could lead me, whilst giving me a starting point as where to go with clinical psychology. Additionally, by putting on courses such as the mental health first aider course was particularly helpful to put knowledge I learnt in my lecturers to practice.

What are your top tips for students currently thinking about undertaking a master’s degree?

Make sure you know what you are getting yourself into! Research a range of potential degrees and make sure the course is a good fit for you – master’s courses are always there for you to come back to if you feel like you don’t know what to do yet.

Similarly, your postgraduate degree may differ from your undergraduate degree by quite a bit, be prepared for a lifestyle that is more like employment. For example, a less structured timetable and therefore increased self-discipline.

If you have a career or particular field in mind, I’d strongly recommend talking to your lecturers, past students with similar interests and professionals in the field. This may guide your choice of course and whether you decide to choose a degree that involves work experience and more vocational work or a course that is more academically focused.