-By Chesta Ahuja.
While going abroad to pursue a master’s degree in psychology can open avenues for enhancing your practice in a globally recognised institution, there are few essential tips to keep in mind before applying for a course abroad.
1. Approach an overseas education consultant – In the “google it” world, a certified overseas education consultant is important for giving professional guidance tailored to your requirements. They help in determining the suitable educational destination based on the domain of your interest and also assist in narrowing down your course options according to the prevailing career opportunities. They are experienced to offer support with filling applications, writing Statement of Purpose, applying for educational loans and scholarships, meeting visa requirements and other practical considerations such as pre-departure meetings and negotiating circumstances with universities, if required. Education consultants have credible associations in the educational industry, providing platforms for you to directly interact with the representatives of different universities before making a choice.
2. Professional psychology bodies – It is important to understand the functioning of the representative psychology society in the respective country and its impact on the recognition of your degree, both locally and internationally. For example, British Psychological Society overlooks the application, development and promotion of psychology in the United Kingdom. It accredits psychology courses all over the country, ensuring standardised teaching and research quality. Students undertaking accredited courses become graduate members of the society with access to society resources and benefits. Further, to become a recognised psychologist in a specific country, it is vital that your qualifications match with their set criteria, which can be assessed by directly contacting the society.
3. Eligibility of previous qualifications – In addition to complying with the requirements of the professional psychology society, for a master’s application, your undergraduate degree should be relevant for the course you want to apply. Entry requirements could vary for different psychology courses, depending on the university and the country. While M.Sc. Clinical psychology needs a mandatory psychological background, M.Sc. Business/Organisational Psychology might not be as strict about it. It is recommended to understand the entry requirements before starting the application process. Few additional requirements such as previous knowledge in research methods and design might be important for your admission into the course. Relevant work experience can also add value to your application for a master’s degree.
Note. Few universities might offer mirror courses, one accredited and another not. The courses without accreditation usually offer the same course structure as the accredited ones but are not recognised by the psychology society of the country, which might be important to consider for career prospects.
4. Course Structure – Before settling for a course at a university, understanding the course structure is a necessary step. The taught content should be relevant to the changing demands and structure of the field. It is worthwhile to understand the skills and knowledge development provided by the different modules offered on a course and how it is significant for your specialisation. A balance between theoretical learning and the opportunity to understand its application to a real-world scenario is essential while evaluating the course structure. For the same course, the structure could differ between universities depending on the interest areas of the faculty teaching the course or the university as a whole. This further forms the basis for choosing a university and course which align with your academic interests.
5. Faculty and their research profile – The faculty profile on the university website talks about their specialisations, interest domains and contributions. This becomes an important step to narrow down your options based on your own academic interests. It might look like a far-fetched idea at the beginning or you might not be thoroughly aware of what ‘interests’ to look for, but this could be highly beneficial in future while you choose a topic for your master’s dissertation or consider applying for a PhD. The faculty profile for your course should not be inclined towards one area of expertise but should encompass a variety of experience and knowledge for you to learn from. There is always an opportunity to approach the faculty directly through the given email id for further queries.
6. Get in touch with the alumni – There could be a lot of uncertainty around the delivery of the modules, networking opportunities, career prospects or more general questions about the student experience while applying for a course. Getting in touch with the alumni of the course via LinkedIn or joining relevant Facebook groups can help to a large extent in clearing such doubts while building connections which might be useful during your time at the university. Learning from the experiences of international alumni is a great way to prepare for your time abroad as well as a starting point to build professional contacts.
While these tips are important to keep in mind, other imperative factors such as economic viability, post-study work opportunities in the country, and reputation of the university are equally necessary to consider before applying for a course. Education consultants are trained to navigate these conditions for you.
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