Matthew Gibson, from Kirkcaldy in Fife, graduated with a first class BSc (Hons) Psychology from QMU in 2015 before enrolling on the Master of Research (MRes) degree. He is due to graduate with an MRes distinction in July 2017.
The MRes is an award that may be the first step towards an academic research career. It is also relevant for students keen to pursue research in other organisations with client-focused settings. The programme provides opportunities to develop advanced research skills and assessments are focused on real world relevant outputs. Students who complete this course will have acquired and demonstrated the fundamental skills required to successfully conduct sound research and disseminate research findings.
During his postgraduate studies, Matthew was appointed as a part-time psychology lecturer and technician at QMU, which gave him his first experience of teaching and the opportunity to share his knowledge with the next generation of psychology students.
Matthew now hopes to undertake a PhD and pursue a career as an academic researcher, working in psychology.
Why did you choose to study psychology at QMU?
“After attending an open day, I was struck by the friendly size of the QMU campus and the fact that it was a very new and modern building. The campus had a very friendly atmosphere and it made an impression on me.
“The wide variety of modules on offer as part of QMU’s psychology programmes appealed to me. The range of specialist interests amongst the staff and the variety of research being conducted is really interesting. I also knew that there were a number exchange programme and volunteer modules on offer at QMU to carry out activities in other settings, working for organisations beyond academia.
“The staff to student ratio at QMU also means that you’re not completely lost in a sea of students during your studies.”
Did you work whilst studying for your MRes at QMU?
“During my MRes studies, I was lucky enough to be appointed as a part-time lecturer and technician within the Department of Psychology at QMU, which was really good experience to help me pursue a career in academia.
“I also had another part-time job outside the University, which meant I had to be disciplined with my time management in order to balance the demands of work and study.”
How do you think the MRes has equipped you with the skills and knowledge to develop your academic career?
“Studying psychology and the MRes at QMU has enabled me to develop knowledge in a number of areas and acquire a range of skills, including critical thinking & research skills as well as an awareness of issues like ethical practice, all of which are relevant to a number of graduate careers.
“Furthermore, large elements of the MRes degree are taught by staff from a wide variety of disciplines, so you learn about a wider range of issues than you might if you complete a subject specific postgraduate degree. This platform enables you to share and discuss issues with students and staff from a multitude of backgrounds, both personal and academic, which adds considerably to the experience offered.”
What top tips would you give prospective PG students based on your own personal experience of MRes Psychology at QMU?
“My advice to any prospective students is simply to make sure you plan ahead, both in terms of making sure the degree is right for you and in terms of managing your time effectively once your on the MRes. It’s important to keep on top of the workload and manage competing deadlines for different assignments. The more you engage with the degree and the taught modules, the more you’ll get out of it.”
What are your plans after graduating from QMU?
“After gradating with an MRes from QMU in summer 2017, I’d like to study for a PhD and eventually pursue a career as a lecturer in psychology.”
"Studying psychology and the MRes at QMU has enabled me to develop knowledge in a number of areas and acquire a range of skills, including critical thinking & research skills as well as an awareness of issues like ethical practice, all of which are relevant to a number of graduate careers."
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