Psychology personal statement

Lucy Romijn, Career consultant
May, 2022

Postgraduate Diplomas (PGDip) and Masters courses in psychology are one of the most popular conversion courses available

A personal statement for a psychology conversion course isn't significantly different from an application for any other subject. You'll still be expected to discuss your reasons for choosing the course and particular institution, as well as your relevant skills and experience along with your career goals.

In addition, you will also need to cover:

  • your motivation to change subjects/careers, with evidence to back up your decision
  • any preparation you have done to help you study psychology at postgraduate level. This might include relevant aspects of your current undergraduate degree, independent reading or other ways you have engaged with the subject.

If you are thinking of pursuing a career in a psychological profession, relevant volunteer or work experience is valuable evidence to back up your decision to move into psychology. Rather than describing your experience, reflect on how it has shaped your motivation and what you have learned about your chosen profession.

This example should be used for guidance only. Copying any of this text could significantly harm your chances of securing a place on a course.

Psychology personal statement example

Working as a listening volunteer with Nightline throughout my degree in politics and international relations prompted me to embark on a career that helps others. Here, I gained an insight into mental health conditions and saw the impact that empathetic listening and an opportunity to talk can have on those experiencing them. The training I received was my first insight into psychology, introducing me to concepts that inform our approach, such as the development of self-concept and the role of unconditional positive regard in building rapport with callers.

Learning about the theory underpinning my work at Nightline motivated me to develop a deeper understanding of psychological theories and approaches. I have undertaken a range of independent reading that I can build upon in a more structured way through the MSc in Psychology. Reading texts such as How Emotions are Made and The Body Keeps the Score to learn more about the experiences of Nightline callers has given me an insight into the complex interplay of biological and social factors that shape emotions and responses to trauma, while introducing me to research from biological and social psychology, psychiatry and neuroscience.

I am now working as a support worker in a community mental health team where I have observed the different applications of psychological approaches by clinical psychologists, therapists and counsellors. I have recently been able to sit in on meetings between clients and a clinical psychologist and observe the different approaches to assessing client's conditions as well as witness the ways the psychologist worked in partnership with clients to develop and monitor a tailored combination of practical and therapeutic support. The focus on taking evidence-informed approaches and evaluating the effectiveness of interventions motivated me to apply for the Masters in psychology to develop an in-depth understanding of the research that underpins psychological perspectives and theoretical approaches.

I chose the course at XX University due to the optional modules focused on mental health. I am excited by the applied focus of these modules and the opportunity to learn from the research practitioners teaching on the course. I have a particular interest in mental health stigma and holistic approaches to mental health management that I look forward to exploring in more depth with a view to completing my dissertation in this area.

My undergraduate degree has prepared me to engage with the scientific approaches used in psychology. Modules on social science research methods and an introduction to statistics have provided me with a good grounding on qualitative and quantitative research design that I can build upon during the MSc course. I applied my learning from the introduction to statistics module in my dissertation where I conducted statistical modelling using previous voting patterns to assess the potential impact of proposed constituency changes on future local and general elections. Throughout my degree I organised my time effectively to complete coursework, presentations and group tasks alongside my volunteer role and part-time work, consistently achieving a 2:1 in my work.

I intend to continue my support worker role part-time alongside the Masters in psychology to apply my learning and build further experience to support my application for an assistant psychologist post on graduation. The Masters in psychology is an exciting step towards my goal of becoming a clinical psychologist and, in combination with my work experience will support me in pursuing the Doctorate in clinical psychology in the longer term.

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