Psychology PhD

26-May-20, 16:59
edited about 19 seconds later
Avatar for Misirlou
posted about 3 months ago
Hi everyone.

I have a question I hope one of you learned people can answer as Google has not been able to help me..
Firstly, was wondering if I would be likely to get onto a vision related PhD in a Psychology dept without a psychology undergraduate qualification. I have high A level grades in the 3 sciences and a 2:1 Bsc in optometry and visual science. I am now 40 having worked as an optometrist and doing certain consulting roles, but I have always liked the idea of doing a PhD and possibly going into academia. I was also wondering if I did ultimately want to work in a university Psychology department would I also need to have done a masters conversion in psychology or would a vision science BSc and PhD be enough?

27-May-20, 12:46
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 3 months ago
Hi Misirlou,

I will be honest, what you want to do is relatively common but it might be difficult to find funding. Most universities are willing to accept mature students and highly consider experience during applications. However, it sounds like a niche project vision+psychology and getting a funded scholarship is difficult at the best of times. I would recommend you to investigate your local universities (I am assuming you don't want to move far) to see if there are any lecturers that have the same research interests as yourself. Then contact them about about a PhD as they will know far more than us. They will be able to tell you about funding, entry requirements or if your project idea is any good. Most lecturers are happy to take mature students like you but it is all about funding.

If you have any more questions just ask,
27-May-20, 13:06
edited about 51 seconds later
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 3 months ago
I think there are probably quite a few options available to you. Have you heard of case collaborations? Because your topic of interest is related to your experience and work, I wonder if this could be an additional possibility for you. In case collaborations, part the funding is provided by a funder in industry and the other part is provided by a research council (as opposed to being fully research council funded).

This is the link to MRC case collaboration info:
You could also check out the ESRC one, as this is where the Psychology pathway is.

To address your specific question about a conversion course. I think it might depend on whether you feel you would benefit from it. I did a 1+3 which is a Masters + PhD. The Masters was an MRes which really skilled me up on the research side and was a great foundation for doing a PhD. The funding often includes this MRes year (at least Research Council funding does) and I would highly recommend it unless you quite confident in doing research already.

Do you have a specific idea already which is why you mention going down the psychology pathway rather than the medical one?

I don't think age really comes into it (expect for being an advantage due to your experience).

Hope this helps somewhat - there is a lot more specific advice that could be given about funding etc.

Ps. I am not sure if opportunities for next year are already affected by Covid-19. Again, you'd have to look at the Research Council funding websites for that info.
28-May-20, 01:35
edited about 26 seconds later
by abababa
Avatar for abababa
posted about 3 months ago
I would think less in terms of bits of paper.

What matters when starting, or applying for a PhD, is a) knowledge, and b) passion. b) is considerably more important, because whilst knowledge is inevitably gained during a PhD, passion is usually more likely to be lost. It's very hard to gauge what you do or don't know, but I'd imagine in terms of optometry you know far more subjectively about patients, conditions, and their experiences, than many academics around the field.

I'd suggest you start reading academically on the field, and define a research question. This may seem little guidance but it's effectively what you'll get in more verbose form if you start a self-funded PhD. If you apply for a funded one and can say 'well I had this great RQ in mind - "...", but can see the interest in x... actually I remember reading an article that discussed x...', this will come across very well. If you find this reading painful/tedious (it is) it might help you decide if a PhD is a good fit before you commit. In general, if you can demonstrate knowledge and passion in the application and interview, most academics will listen regardless of 'on-paper' stuff.

You may find at some places there's an initial HR 'sift' that means lacking a piece of paper means an academic never sees your application, though this tends to be at the 'no undergrad degree' rather than the 'not quite the right degree' level. Irrespective I'd think very carefully before spending money on more qualifications if you're not convinced they'd be of intellectual value.


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