Harpreet and Gurvinder: MA Psychology

 
Harpreet and Gurvinder, MA Psychology students, describe their experiences of the course and of life in the School of Psychology at the University of Birmingham.

Transcript:

Speakers 

S1 - Harpreet Sihre, Psychology MA
S2 - Gurvinder Jalf, Psychology MA 

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S1
Hi, my name’s Harpreet Sihre. I'm currently enrolled on the Psychology MA programme, and I'm also – I was elected as the student representative for the course at the University of Birmingham, and it’s actually the first year which they’ve introduced the course – so feeling really proud and honoured to be here. 

S2      
Hi, my names Gurvinder Jalf. I'm enrolled on the MA Psychology Masters course at University of Birmingham. 

S1      
The course is about not actively conducting lab-based research but for students to, you know, engage in contemporary psychological concepts which they're interested in. So there's the opportunity to really enhance in their own individual interests along with the supervision which they're assigned to prior to enrolling on the course. 

S2      
Yeah, and also to gain more in-depth knowledge of psychology and why the uses of psychology. And you don’t only just learn about psychology, you pick up many other skills which you can use later on in life. 

S1
Well the special thing about this course is that you're able to really gain in-depth knowledge in a particular area of interest and, you know, allowing yourselves to, you know, gain wider application outside of the Masters course. So I think in that sense it’s very special in the fact that it’s not very specific like MScs and MRes, so as the MA it’s very wide and general so I think in that way it’s very special. 

S2
Not only that, even though the course gives you quite a wider application of psychology, it does give you the opportunity to focus on a research area that you're interested in for your literature reviews in your final project. 

The course is delivered though a wide range of lectures, seminars and you have the opportunity to work as groups in terms of group presentations and that. And also liaising with your supervisors which you get to choose who you would ideally want to be placed with at the start of the course.

S1
Just following on from Gurvinder’s point about supervision contact hours as well, I think it’s very essential that students use these hours and, you know, supervisors that we’re assigned to, you know, they're very friendly, approachable, and you can ask any concerns or questions in general also about the Masters course. 

On our course currently there's six of us, including myself and Gurvinder, myself being the representative for the course, and it’s really nice and small and close-knit and we get that one to one contact.  And we also form really good friendship groups as well and, you know, if you’ve got any, you know, questions we want to ask we can always go to our peers or our supervisors. So they’ve got that nice, you know – it’s almost like a little family. 

S2
And not just in terms of the course also in the wider University setting.  There is a postgraduate society which you can join and they have many events specially during the first welcome week, such as – I knew there was an event called, an event to go to Stratford-on-Avon, so it’s a nice way to meet other people on different courses who are also postgraduates as well.

S1
There's also a meal that we had at the first semester one – talking a good few months ago, and this was a really nice, you know, introduction day, get to know peers on your course and just making everyone feel comfortable because, you know, it’s a twelve month course for most students so, you know, you just want to make the journey as nice as possible. 

S2
I chose University of Birmingham because it’s got such a well-known prestigious reputation. It’s in the top band of universities in the country, and particularly for psychology it’s got so many professors and well-known researchers, and it’s great to have that wealth of knowledge that’s available for you to go to if you're stuck on anything or you want to expand your horizons and learn a new topic. It also offers a great support for anything – any concerns you have for the course or even particularly a certain topic area, there's always a specialist there available for you to talk to. I chose the course in particular because it appealed to me in terms of it was local to my family home, and it offered me what I was looking for in terms of I wasn’t sure what I wanted to go into yet, but I knew I wanted to go into psychology.  So it gave me a good grounding and a good overall knowledge. 

S1
So following on from Gurvinder’s point, I just really want to stress that the University of Birmingham, you know, it’s got a great representation, you know, locally and internationally with like leading research, leading academics, and I think in that respect it’s, you know, a brilliant opportunity for students to come here and network with those researchers and academics. 

Okay, so the difference between undergraduate studies and postgraduate studies is that it’s very much independently led. So it’s very much involved in your own research topic areas, and very much focused towards supervision hours as opposed to, you know, bigger lectures during undergraduate. So we have more smaller seminars, more one to one contact, so I think in comparison to undergraduate studies they're very much focused towards, you know, one to one contacts and very much in-depth studies. 

S2
Basically, I would say that it’s – even though it’s quite independent studies there is so much support out there for you, and you just need to send an email to your supervisor and they're like ‘yeah come and see me today, that’s fine’, and it’s helpful in terms of you don’t have to constantly be like ‘I'm on my own for this and I've got all this work to do’ – there's people out there that are ready to support you in trying to get you through this and get the best grades possible. 

S1
Definitely. And I think students should really appreciate that and make use of this support because sometimes it can be a bit intense, but knowing that we've got that support it makes it all so much easier.