Students

Liz Moon on careers in psychology.

SO, what do you want to do with your psychology undergraduate degree? You’ll be glad to hear that the world is your oyster – career opportunities are quite varied for psychology graduates. This is probably not down to their stunning personalities, although that always helps. It may be because of the wide range of skills you acquire through studying psychology. Critical thinking, evaluation skills, statistical know-how… need I continue?
But when do you need to start thinking about your future? The answer is simple…right now! The sooner you start considering your options the more prepared you will be when the time comes. If you leave it until the last minute, you will miss out on so many opportunities.
So what do you need to know? Those considering a career as a chartered psychologist in any of the Divisions of the BPS – be it in clinical, occupational, health, forensic, educational, counselling or sport and exercise psychology – need to start with an undergraduate degree that is accredited by the BPS providing graduate basis for registration (GBR) in order to continue to postgraduate training. If you are unsure about this, check out www.bps.org.uk/bps/roles/Student.cfm – all accredited degrees are listed by institutions (along with a link to the Student Members Group, and other student resources). If you are on a course which isn’t accredited, don’t panic! You can still obtain GBR by taking a Society-accredited conversion course or sitting the Society’s qualifying examination.
If you are considering becoming a psychologist or lecturer, postgraduate study is required, so if you can’t wait to finish studying, then going on to become a psychologist may not be the route for you. And getting onto postgraduate training can be tough, so start thinking about it early. With the increasing numbers of psychology undergraduates, placements on some of the popular courses (e.g. clinical psychology) will be looking for at least a 2:1 and some kind of work experience. Think laterally; offer your services to local groups related to your field of interest. For example, if you are interested in forensic psychology, then look out for voluntary work in the prison system or youth offender schemes. Keep your eyes and ears open.
Whatever your situation the best advice is to start investigating your future now; the information is out there if you want it. If you are unsure of what you want to do or want further information on the requirements necessary to progress in
the field of psychology, get a copy of the leaflet So You Want to Be a Psychologist?, available free from the BPS (and from the weblink above). Alternatively (and additionally) keep an eye out for events organised by the BPS – there are workshops and conferences organised all the time. Get out there and get involved,
as all too soon your degree will be over!

- Liz Moon is Assistant Associate Editor of the Students page and is a second-year at the University of Winchester.

Behind the name

by Noel Sheehy
Philip Zimbardo designed the Stanford Prison Experiment, a study of iconic status that alerts us to the consequences of deindividuation and of the need to mitigate its pernicious effects. Zimbardo spent his childhood and adolescence in the South Bronx ghetto of New York. At the age of five and a half he contracted double pneumonia and whooping cough and spent six months in a grim hospital ward for children with life-threatening diseases. He and Stanley Milgram were in the 12th grade at James Munroe High School and lost contact with one another but met up again in 1960. By then Milgram had been appointed assistant professor at Yale and Zimbardo was holding down a position at New York University while moonlighting at Yale in order to make enough money to live in the Big Apple.
Further reading: Blass, T. (Ed.) (2000). Obedience to authority: Current perspectives on the Milgram paradigm. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

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