Stepping up from an undergraduate to a postgraduate

Callum Mogridge knows the University of Manchester campus like the back of his hand. He has completed an undergraduate degree in Psychology here, he’s in the midst of his master’s in Organisational Psychology, he’s also worked as a researcher and to top it all off he’s planning on doing his PhD next year too. Below, he discusses the transition from undergraduate student to postgraduate student and provides an insight in to what he has gained from his master’s so far…

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Last summer, I graduated with a First in BSc (Hons) Psychology from the University of Manchester. I always knew I wanted to go into teaching since being young but whilst studying at Manchester, I have also enjoyed doing research and testing assumptions with scientific/experimental approaches. Therefore, I decided I wanted to go into academia, where you can do both teaching and research.

During my undergraduate degree, I found myself enjoying Applied Social Psychology more than anything – Social Psychology being something I disliked at sixth form college (just shows how things change). Then, in my final year, I did a unit on Organisational Psychology, taught in the most part by two amazing lecturers (Dr David Hughes and Dr Sheena Johnson) from the Alliance Manchester Business School. It was at that point that I decided that this was the area for me and a few weeks into the course, I started applying for the MSc in Organisational Psychology.

I remember in school everyone talking about about how hard the jump from school to college was – I never felt it; the same was said about the jump from college to university – again, I didn’t feel this. However, the jump from an undergraduate to a postgraduate degree has been significant. I am quite organised and I manage to keep on top, but there is a lot of adjusting to new standards and expectations.

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Although the content itself is really exciting and interesting, it is more difficult and the workload is a lot more. During a bachelor’s, you typically have three years to make up your grades, whereas now I am well aware I have one year to make everything count! Not just in terms of my grades but my professional development too.

I am now over half-way through my MSc, and I am loving it. It’s hard work, but great fun. I have met some amazing people and made friends of life, from a truly international cohort. Of course, an MSc can be costly, but I have found it to be worth it. For example, on our course we can complete our Test User Qualifications in Personality and Ability via SHL for British Psychological Society accreditation. This usually costs a good few thousand pounds in itself, but is incorporated into the course costs, thus making the course well-worth it!

I’ve managed to continue my commitments to the student experience too, I have remained involved in Student Representation, Widening Participation, and Teaching and Learning. I am currently involved as a Teaching & Research Assistant in Psychology, mainly teaching Applied Psychology and research in Implicit Attitudes and Discrimination.

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I am currently preparing a new piece of research for my MSc Dissertation, assessing personality and knowledge hiding behaviours, but this may be hindered by the current COVID-19 pandemic. I’m also planning another research project to assess the role of emotionality in the way students interpret their marks and feedback. This way, we can all get the most out of our feedback and improve our grades going forward.

Something that is most notable is my ability to use data analysis techniques and statistics. As any student with a background in Psychology will know, statistics can be a killer! During the course of my MSc, I have managed to drastically improve my ability to use data analysis techniques, and even develop my competence in advanced techniques, such as mediation and moderation models, exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis, and structural equation modelling. For me, this has been the highlight of the course (which is odd considering I once hated statistics). Statistics and Data Analysis is an extremely valuable skill set that is sought after by employers and postgraduate research admissions.

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This September I should be starting a PhD at the University of Manchester, while continuing my teaching and research. I really look forward to joining the Organisational Psychology Group, it consists of real world-class researchers, and I feel like I am in a really fortunate position.

All in all, I’m really pleased with my MSc, despite all that is happening in the world at the minute. If anything, the current situation has made me realise how lucky I, and we as a wider student community, are to have access to an education and have the ability to still do this from home where possible. We’ve been incredibly well-supported by staff on our degree programme, and I couldn’t be happier.


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