This month’s theme is careers – that scary topic of what you’re going to do next after your postgraduate studies at King’s. Well fear not, we’re here to inform you of why the IoPPN is a good choice for your career and how your course and the department help prepare you for those next steps.
Course level guidance
Whilst each course is different in its specific area of focus, whether that is Neuroscience or Child & Developmental Psychology, the assignments are set out in a way to help develop your clinical, research and applied skills.
“The Organisational Psychiatry and Psychology course provided me with a practical approach to my subject, whilst maintaining a high standard of academic teaching which King’s is known for. For example, our Programme Leader was very supportive and would always remind us that the skills we learn on the MSc would be transferable to our future jobs. She would say ‘imagine someone in an interview asked you this question, I want you to be able to critically discuss your answer with them on this subject’ This course really enhanced my knowledge and confidence and I feel ready to move on to the job market. Additionally, we were always able to discuss anything we didn’t understand in our tutorial groups which are smaller teaching classes where you might feel more comfortable asking questions. Overall, during your course you are learning transferable skills that you can write in a personal statement for a future job or talk about in an interview.” Tamsin
Course-specific careers days
Many courses will have their own mini-careers services. Below we talk briefly about our course’s career events:
“The Affective Disorders MSc had a day-long careers event with lots of different speakers from PhD students and post-doctorate research fellows to clinicians within local NHS trusts as well as general careers advice and a CV talk. It was really helpful to see potential career paths for students who were unsure of what they wanted to do after King’s.” Sarah
“Organisational Psychiatry and Psychology MSc had a careers event that included different businesses rotating around and introducing their area of work to us. Our advice would be – don’t be shy! I really benefited from talking to the businesses afterwards and getting some business cards. It gives you a great base to start contacting people when the time comes to get a job.” Tamsin
Overall, we found the days interesting rather than daunting, it reassured us that this masters really could take us anywhere!
There is SO much going on in terms of careers at the IoPPN and King’s! There are weekly seminars, journal clubs and talks, such as the Grand Rounds, that anyone from any course can attend, and they are always hosted by experts in the field. In addition, there are specialist groups such as the Maudsley Lectures in Psychoanalysis or the Immuno-psychiatry meetings that focus on specific areas of psychology, psychiatry or neuroscience. Going to only one talk might inspire a dissertation title or inform you of a job role or research area you never knew existed. Honestly there is something for everyone, and it is usually summarised into weekly emails.
I would also recommend getting involved in opportunities beyond the IoPPN. I recently attended the EAWOP conference in Dublin ‘Enabling change through Work and Organisation Psychology’, recommended by my programme leader. It was really eye opening. I met lots of great contacts and it has given me lots to talk about in interviews for future jobs. I also highly recommend applying to join the King’s Professional Skills and Leadership Award, this award equipped me with skills that I can confidently transfer in to the business environment.
The Careers Service
The careers service is extremely comprehensive at King’s. You really get the feeling that King’s are with you every step of the way.
As you start to apply for jobs King’s will support you to put together a more general CV or tailor your CV to specific jobs. When I attended a CV session I came out feeling really motivated and more confident in my experience and ability. So, when your amazing CV gets you that interview – King’s will then support you through the assessment process, providing mock interview sessions and assessment centers. The careers service can also point you to work experience to enhance your career prospects, and possibly earn you some money on the side! Internships are advertised throughout the year on a easy to use website called Careerconnect. If you haven’t already, I recommend getting to know the opportunities available to you within the careers service.
For an interesting read about what IOPPN graduates generally do after completing their degree, check out the IoPPN Grad Stats. This webpage provides lots of information from median salaries to the most popular employment sectors.
Sarah: I had the option to do a clinical placement on my course, which I did with a local home treatment team. This experience offered an invaluable insight into the needs and issues of the client base I would be working with as a future clinical psychologist, and no doubt gave me worthwhile experience to talk about in job interviews! During my placement, I sat in on assessments and accompanied clinicians on home visits to acutely ill individuals with disorders such as psychosis, bipolar disorder and depression. From hand-over procedures to reviewing patient notes, I learnt the importance of clear communication between clinicians that enabled them to coordinate care effectively.
Working with a dynamic home treatment team made up of psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and care coordinators taught me how to work as part of a diverse group of health professionals. This was an enlightening look at the multidisciplinary nature of mental health in the NHS and a really formative experience for me. This experience most definitely contributed to me landing a mental health job for after I finish my course! Finally, I think a great thing about clinical placements is that it often compliments the material you’re learning in lectures and write up in assignments, it helps transfer theory into practice which is essential as a clinician!
An Alumni’s perspective
Hear from Emma about how the Mental Health Studies MSc has helped her to gain a place on the highly competitive Doctorate of Clinical Psychology (DClinPsy) this September! I must highlight how she has mentioned the impact her friends had on her success, always remember that social support is SO important to help you through your masters and beyond.
“I went to King’s College, London to study MSc Mental Health Studies (at the Institute of Psychology, Psychiatry & Neuroscience – IoPPN) from 2014-2015.
The course provided flexibility through selecting modules; I chose psychological therapies and pharmacology, which covered a broad overview of approaches both in terms of psychological theory and interventions and psychiatric interventions. Teaching was therefore, multidisciplinary in nature, and it was good to have an understanding and appreciation of different disciplinary approaches, as most NHS teams are multidisciplinary in nature.
Whilst on the course, I had the opportunity to work at CAMHS (SLaM NHS Trust). The course provided a breadth and depth of knowledge which I could apply to my work at CAMHS, as well as providing practical insight into working in a multidisciplinary team and increased awareness of the current NHS context. Towards the end of the course, I also gained an Honorary Assistant Psychologist position within a health psychology team (GSTT NHS Trust), which provided experience of psychology and mental health in a physical health context.
I can’t write about how MSc Mental Health Studies helped me progress in my career without mentioning the friends I made whilst on the course. It was great to study with like-minded people who were on a similar career-path. My friends not only provided support during the course, but also I learned from their career insights, experiences within mental health, and increased knowledge of career-enhancing opportunities. I really value the friendships and connections I made from the course.
The course inevitably helped in making successful job applications, for highly competitive Assistant Psychologist positions. Post-graduation, I worked in a voluntary capacity for IAPT and a paid capacity as a SEN Teaching Assistant, Assistant Psychologist at CAMHS, and Assistant Psychologist within an adult autism service (Oxleas NHS Trust). The course has helped me to make successful applications which have led to further practical knowledge, specialist training, and insights from working in multidisciplinary teams, across a range of NHS services, populations, and presentations.
I have recently made a successful application to the Doctorate of Clinical Psychology (DClinPsy) course on my first attempt, 2 years post-graduation. Having an MSc in a highly relevant field, from the IoPPN strengthened my application as it demonstrated my ability to study at postgraduate level, provided further theoretical knowledge and research experience, provided placements and led to work within the NHS. I firmly believe that studying MSc Mental Health Studies and that have come from the course, have helped me to achieve a place on the DClinPsy at Bath University.”
That’s all from us folks! Hopefully we’ve excited and inspired you about the range of opportunities available at the IoPPN and as a King’s student in general. Remember that you probably won’t be able to do everything – after all, our courses are very demanding, but with this information you can start looking into what you might like to take on in September!
Tamsin & Sarah