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The University of Southampton
PsychologyPostgraduate study

Cara Laing MSc Foundations of Clinical Psychology, 2013

Cara Laing's Photo

Hi, I'm Cara Laing and I studied MSc Foundations of Clinical Psychology within Psychology at the University of Southampton.

I would advise current students to embrace any opportunity. There is so much going on around the campus all year round and you are bound to find something to enhance your university experience.

Q: Why did you choose to undertake your postgraduate studies at the University of Southampton?
I chose to study at the University of Southampton because I was aware of the University's reputation for psychology and the excellent research opportunities it provided. I was also interested in being part of a new programme of study and felt the whole experience would be beneficial to my career.

Q: How long did it take you to settle in at the University of Southampton and what support did you receive?
I settled in to life at University of Southampton quicker than I had expected. I found the staff very helpful and supportive, particularly with adjusting to studying at postgraduate level. Although the course was new and there were teething problems, I felt any concerns or thoughts I had were listened to and taken seriously. Equally, my peers were very welcoming, which definitely added to the feeling of community about the campus. I received lots of support from teaching staff, the programme director and my research supervisor.

Q: How have you found the facilities here, both across the campus and specifically within Psychology?
For me, the facilities available at the University of Southampton meant studying could be comfortable. The library service was exceptional and easy to use. The staff were friendly and always willing to help with queries, whether they were big or small! The psychology department has great postgraduate facilities, including a designated study centre. This area also housed a psychometric test library. I had the opportunity to complete an audit on the library and was impressed to see the comprehensive collection of tests used in research.

Q: During your studies did you undertake any interesting work placements/collaborations/work overseas or attend any interesting seminars or conferences?
As part of the MSc programme I studied, students had to organise a voluntary placement within clinical psychology. I completed a 2 month placement with a local mental health team in the NHS. This part of the course afforded me the opportunity to put taught clinical skills in to practice and has been invaluable in developing key skills required in psychology practice.

Q: Are there any particular aspects about your programme of study you would like to highlight?
I was very impressed at the quality of teaching. I feel honoured to have been taught by a number of well-respected and successful professionals in the discipline of Psychology. The teaching was engaging and inspiring, with a mixture of lectures and workshops. I enjoyed the personal nature of some of the teaching days, where staff and students alike were able to reflect on experiences and integrate this with theory. A lot of the teaching was also joint with the first year doctorate trainees. I valued this experience and learnt a lot from them.

Q: What do you think you have achieved as a result of studying at the University of Southampton?
In the year I have studied at the University of Southampton, I have developed a mature outlook and developed my knowledge and awareness of Clinical Psychology. The experience has given me the opportunity to form the basis of a hopefully successful career in clinical psychology. Since completing the masters, I have obtained a role as an assistant psychologist. I believe the achievement of completing a master's programme at Southampton has undoubtedly contributed to this and I am happy I chose to study here. I have made some wonderful friends and connections which I will remember throughout my career.

Q: What advice would you give to current students in order to help them get one step ahead of the competition?
I would advise current students to embrace any opportunity. There is so much going on around the campus all year round and you are bound to find something to enhance your university experience. I would also recommend speaking to course tutors if there are any issues, because my experience of doing so was positive and the staff were all so helpful.

Q: What are your plans for the future?
In the future I hope to develop my clinical skills in assistant psychologist posts with the goal to obtain a place on the Clinical Doctorate Training course. Before I studied at the University of Southampton I aspired to be a Clinical Psychologist, and now I want it even more! The staff and fellow students have been inspirational and I feel I am well prepared to pursue my dream career.

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