Hi. I'm new to the forum but I really don't know what to do next. I'm 24 and have a degree in Criminology and Sociology and a PG Dip in Applied Criminology. Looking back I never really knew what I wanted to do but have always been interested in Psychology but decided to go down the Criminology route. I'm now thinking of doing another course, either an Investigitive Psychology masters or a conversion course in psychology. What are the main career paths for Psychology graduates compared to someone like me who just has a social sciences degree? I like the idea of being a psychologist but it would mean another course after the conversion and more money. Is anyone else in the same position? I'd love for someone to give their guidance or share their experiences. I can do anything I want with my life but I hate having no clue with what to do!





well, most people that i know who specialized in psychology (including myself) went into corporate training because that's where the *moolah* is. some are into recruitment because now firms are quite particular in hiring the right combination of people with good technical and soft skills.

criminology looks great on TV (criminal minds, numbers etc) but u gotta be really strong internally. investigative psychology involves profiling and what not, which is very intriguing. personally speaking, i kinda dig criminology in the past but i dont think i hv the stomach for it. i've taken a glimpse into some of the murder cases and i must say, it's kinda hard for me to retain objectivity without being shadowed by emotions.

a few psy grads become psychiatrist ie shrink. it aint as glamorous as a criminologist but at least u'd be safely positioned in a leather chair. finally, u could go into lecturing.. which is okay i guess, but there won't be any suspense whatsoever. :)

hope it helps.


Thanks for that. That's given me something to think about :)


Hi there,

I've done a BSc, MSc, and PhD in clinical psychology and am now working as a research associate on a research team who do work with people with bipolar. Many people who do psychology do not continue in a psychology profession as you need a least a doctorate to really get anywhere. I have just applied for clinical psychology training, which trains you to be a practitioner, i.e. work more directly with people with mental health difficulties doing therapy and delivering interventions etc. It is very tough to get onto this course and I am not optimistic really, but that's what so many psych students want to do. You cannot become a psychiatrist after doing a degree in psych. Psychiatrists have all been trained through medical school and gone on to specialise in psychiatry- they tend to concentrate on dealing with medication, whilst the psychologists are not allowed to prescribe medication (at least in the UK) and therefore concentrate on psychological/social interventions/treatments. You can also do a professional doctorate in health psychology, educational psychology etc. All of my friends who have done PhDs are now doing clinical training or working as research psychologists.

My friends who just did a BSc in psychology have gone on to many other things- some have gone into occupational psychology, a couple work as assistant psychologists, research assistants, health care assistant on psychiatric wards etc. Many others have gone onto graduate schemes to do something completely different. Most people who do a BSc in psychology do not end up working in psychology due to the competition, but it's a really interesting career if you stick it out! Try looking on the British Psychological Society website for ideas about careers in psychology.

Best, KB


i beg to differ keenbean. u can be a psychiatrist with BSc, but u wont be dealing with medication though. a simple example would be couples psychiatrist that deals with marital problems.


Pikirkool, you are so wrong, or possibly just very misinformed? Or perhaps English is not your first language and you don't understand what the word psychiatrist means?

You cannot be a psychiatrist with a BSc in Psychology. You cannot be a couples therapist with a BSc in Psychology. A BSc in Psychology doesn't qualify you to be a practicing ANYTHING, it is an academic qualification.

There are lots of routes through further training if you are interested in working towards becoming a practicing psychologist/therapist of some sort - some of these are even funded! Many of the therapy routes would be open to you with or without GBC, but the practitioner psychologist routes would only be open to you after the conversion. Good luck!


how did a mistake in occupational requirement get translated into the failure to understand English? seriously?? LOL then again, maybe cognitive psychology is not ur expertise.

anyway, u're both right on that account though, that having a BSc in psychology doesnt allow a person to be a psychiatrist. i've checked with a friend and she explained that the person(psychiatrist) i had in mind had gotten a 2nd degree in medicine and some license etc to become a psychiatrist, which i wasnt aware of.

i've always looked at psychiatrist ie shrink as a profession rooted in psychology but it isn't so. furthermore, there's some subtle differences between couples psychiatrist and couples therapist in term of qualification.
u can be a couples therapist with BSc in psychology by attending some clinical training programs but not a couples psychiatrist. check it out below :

wow, this was fun. scratch psychiatrist from the equation, and substitute it with therapist. but remember they're both referred to as shrinks.

sorry for the mistake though, my bad. :)


Hey :)

If it helps, I'm a 31 year old female psychology graduate interested in clinical health psychology and currently retraining to be a chartered health psychologist.

After my BSc psychology degree I completed postgraduate courses in health psychology, research methods and clinical psychology (MSc, MSc, PGCert), followed by a clinical psychology relevant PhD ( waiting for examiners verdict) and last year I started a professional doctorate in health psychology (although this is on hold at the moment due to funding problems and overwhelming stress following from waiting for verdict from PhD examiners). I've also worked in various research assistant roles, assistant psychologist positions, a research associate in health psychology job (loved that job!) and several social care positions.

I've had an enjoyable, yet, long and stressful journey, but I'm interested in Psychology, keen to broaden my skills and committed to continuous professional development. I realize my experience is probably a complete outlier, but if you're interested in a career as a psychologist, then by no means would you have to go through what I've gone through!

Look at the British Psychological Society (BPS) website which provides an informative overview of psychology career paths. If considering a psychologist career in the UK, graduates with non psychology undergraduate degrees must complete a BPS accredited conversion degree and graduate with a good classification (ie at least a 2.1). Following undergraduate psychology degree/conversion, some professional career paths (ie health, forensic) require completion of relevant MScs, followed by a professional doctorate which then leads to chartered psychologist status. Applicants also need relevant experience for entry onto postgraduate courses.

Only a minority of psychology graduates practice psychology professionally (as a chartered psychologist). Most of my uni friends are qualified clinical psychologists, working in academia post PhD and some combine psychology practice with academia/research.

I've taken a detour from original clinical psychology career path, but I'm enjoying health psychology! I don't think I could stomach a third doctorate (clinical psychology doctorate), but I would love a split post which allows psychology practice and incorporates research! x


PS- Aside from interests within particular psychological disciplines, I think there is a tendency for psychology graduates to go for clinical psychology, as the clinical psychology doctorate or training places are fully funded by the NHS (Trainees receive an income from the NHS/university for 3 years). Clinical Psychology is also more established and well known in comparison with other psychology career paths which is reflective of number of jobs advertising for clinical psychologists in comparison with other psychologist jobs (although some job advertise for clinical/health/counselling psychologists). There's also confusion between psychiatry and psychology within the general population (and sometimes amongst academics!) which is highlighted in this thread.

I think the above factors partly explain why getting onto clinical psychology training is super competitive, but possible with required academic credentials, relevant experience, excellent interview performance, a reflective admission form, strong references from relevant professionals (ie clinical psychologists) and a bit of luck!

Other chartered psychologist routes via professional doctorates (ie health, forensic, counselling etc) are almost always self funded by trainees themselves (ie expensive!), and are therefore arguably less competitive than admissions onto the clinical psychology doctorate.


Hi Pikirkool!

Yeah you definitely have to have done a medical degree to train as a psychiatrist. With a BSc in psychology you aren't really qualified to do anything until you have done some sort of further training, whether that is a doctorate or some other course. To be a clinical psychologist you need to do a doctorate in clinical psychology (although this used to be a masters degree, so some older clinical psychologists do not have a doctorate). Then you can get involved in lots of things, including therapy, but in the UK are not allowed to prescribe medication- it is the psychiatrists who do this. Psychiatrists tend to concentrate purely on prescribing medication- not many are involved in therapy any more, or at least not in the NHS- that's usually done by a psychologist or equivalent. I believe in other countries clinical psychologists are allowed to prescribe medication, and there is a debate over that here in the UK, but I digress! It is confusing, because both psychiatrists and psychologists are often referred to as 'shrinks' and various other things!

I have just applied for clinical psychology training for the first time and it's super-competitive, as Pineapple said. I am not massively optimistic about getting onto the course this year, but I've given it a shot! Applications have shot up in recent years because once on the course, you are paid a decent salary by the NHS for the three years, whereas many other professional doctorates are not funded. It's complicated!!!

Anyway, all the best for 2013!


hey pineapple and keenbean,

thank you, for both of ur kind wisdom on this matter. i find clinical psychology very challenging because it dawned to me that the effort of isolating empathy at work is quite impossible with my kind of personality. i tend to allow emotional leakage to occur, in the sense that i'd be greatly affected by those i counsel. professionally, this could instigate frequent chaos.

by focusing on industrial psychology, specifically on process engineering, i roam in a safe zone :) .most of my work involves the training and consultancy on the integration of humanistic factors with technology, which is kinda cold and objective in some ways, but it does not demand a close encounter with the turbulence of dark emotions.

sometimes, i do fantasize on doing a doctorate on forensic or clinical psychology. hehe perhaps in a few more years when the segregation of emotions can be successfully attained. i wish both of u all the best and please be extra kind to ur patients. i've been to the psychiatric ward to accompany a few of my troubled friends. u wouldn't believe how *mechanical* some of these shrinks can be.


"i wish both of u all the best and please be extra kind to ur patients. i've been to the psychiatric ward to accompany a few of my troubled friends. u wouldn't believe how *mechanical* some of these shrinks can be"

Hey Pikirkool, no danger here. I have bipolar disorder and have spent a lot of time on various psychiatric wards (including 4 months of 2012). So I know how cold and mechanical some of these people can be- this was behind my move into psychology (from biology) 10 years ago and is still the main reason that I wish to pursue clinical psychology. It is hard to isolate empathy, and I don't do that very well, because I can deeply feel everything that my participants say to me. But I have learnt ways to cope with this and am still learning. I am trying to use my experiences to make me a better psychologist, otherwise it would be a waste of my time spending all those months in hospital!

Best, KB


Hi. Thanks for all your comments.

I'm not too sure on what I want to do as a career, but I'm thinking of doing a conversion course in Psychology as it will (hopefully) give me a lot more opportunities. I loved A-level Psychology and if I could go back, would probably have chosen it for degree level.


Has anyone else done a conversion course in Psychology?