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Course, careers, & general information for graduates
Approximately 25% of psychology graduates go on to further study. Postgraduate study and training is a requirement to become a Chartered Psychologist and to register as a practitioner psychologist with the Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC). Many psychology graduates who do not want to be a psychologist often choose to do a postgraduate qualification in their chosen area (e.g. employment and selection, advertising, marketing or teaching), either straight after graduation or when returning to education later in their careers.
How do I choose my postgraduate degree?
As we are an independent professional body, we can’t recommend specific postgraduate courses. There are many websites that can help you choose your university and course (a few examples are listed below), but the final decision is up to you.
The right course choice will depend on what career you wish to pursue. If you want to be a Chartered Psychologist the exact qualifications and training required depend on what area you want to specialise in, but will generally involve taking an accredited doctorate or master's degree, followed by a period of supervised practice. You must complete postgraduate training to be registered with the HCPC.
What qualifications will I need for a postgraduate course?
You will normally need to have a 2:1 of higher grade from an undergraduate degree course accredited by the Society.
Graduates with a 2:2 or lower grade will not normally be accepted unless they have achieved a higher qualification, such as a masters degree.
You should check with universities that offer postgraduate training to find out if completing a masters will be sufficient for entry.
Course organisers will want you to demonstrate sufficient knowledge of academic and research abilities. Usually this will mean a MSc/MPhil in which you have successfully completed an applied research project, preferably in an area relevant to the area of psychology you want to pursue.
We do not accredit this type of course, but here are a few websites to help you find an appropriate course:
How do I become a Chartered Psychologist?
The exact qualifications and training required to achieve Chartered Status depends on what area you want to specialise in, but will generally involve taking an accredited doctorate or master's degree, followed by a period of supervised practice.
Around 20 per cent of psychology graduates end up working as professional psychologists. Around a third of these go into public service (including the health service, education, the Civil Service or the Armed Forces); a further third go into industry or commerce (such as market research, personnel management, food and drink or pharmaceutical industries).
Are there any groups that support postgraduate psychology students?
We encourage all psychology postgraduate students to join the Society so you are able to access our range of products and benefits.
We support and facilitate the Psychology Postgraduate Affairs Group (PsyPAG). PsyPAG is a voluntary organisation run by postgraduates for postgraduates. They run an annual workshop and produce The Quarterly journal.
Where can I get work experience?
Most postgraduate training programmes require you to demonstrate significant work experience as one of their entry requirements. This is especially true in the most competitive areas such as clinical or educational psychology.
You will often find that you have to work on a voluntary basis in order to gain enough experience to find paid work. Consider what type of people you want to work with and contact local organisations and charities that are relevant. For example, if you want to work with children, get in touch with your Local Education Authority, children’s charity or the children's unit at your local hospital.
Unfortunately, we cannot help you to find posts or work experience. Information on the vacancies open to students before completing their degree is normally sent to university psychology departments rather than to the Society. However, there are a number of useful websites to help you identify local volunteering opportunities such as:
Our monthly magazine, The Psychologist, has a Psychologist Appointments section which is sent to all members and is available online. Most of the vacancies listed are for qualified psychologists, but you will find some for psychology graduates.
For more information on the work experience required for specific areas of psychology training, have a look at the appropriate areas of psychology page.
If you are interested in postgraduate study you might find it useful to look at the Guidelines for Assessment of the PhD in Psychology and Related Disciplines. This document includes recommendations for good practice within UK universities and can be downloaded from the Research Guidelines & Policy Documents webpage.