“What I wish I knew before starting my PG course…”

Zoe Hopkins: “I did the Experimental Psychology (EP) MSc, since my undergraduate degree was not in psychology. My year as an EP MSc student was very demanding – I never felt like I’d manage all the work I needed to do. As it happens, I did manage to get things done, and if I’ve one piece of advice for postgraduates on the EP MSc, it’s this: never be afraid to take time away from the course. Time out is time well spent: it gives you a chance to relax and recharge, and also gives your brain a chance to synthesise all the information you’ll be taking in from your studies.”

Shengyu Yang: “1. If you would like to read PhD right after the MSc course, you had better contact the potential supervisor as soon as possible. During the third term of your MSc study, you can already prepare the relevant proposal and go with the application process. 2. There are gatherings for postgraduate students in the school of psychology at regular intervals. It is fun and helpful for you to meet new friends and talk about your study and life.”

PG Mentors

Amy Smith: “Having completed an MSc, my biggest piece of advice for MSc, MRes and PG students is to have fun with it, and don’t worry about making mistakes! Nobody on your course has all of the answers – if they did, they’d be the supervisors already (and even then, supervisors don’t have it all figured out). At PG level, we’re all still learning, and we tend to be our own worst critics. Give yourself room for error – because each problem is a learning experience.”

Philine Harris: “One thing that I only realised during my PhD is how valuable you as a research student are to your supervisor. Your work is as important to you as it is to them and they are grateful for your contribution to their area of research. Never worry about troubling them for their time – I was worried I might be getting on my supervisor’s nerves with my silly little MSc project, when I actually now realise how much all supervisors value the work of any student doing research with them. Another thing that I wish I knew when I was doing my MSc was the power and the value of asking for help. If you’re stuck (whether doing research for your project or work on the taught modules), ask around for help. Start with your supervisor or academic advisor or lecturer, and if they don’t know, they’ll point you to someone who will. It’s much quicker than trying to find the answer yourself and you’ll network along the way as most people are flattered when someone approaches them for help!”

 Vlad Costin: “Don’t be afraid to express opinions during seminars. Doing an MSc usually means that you are taught in smaller groups and you will often have more seminars than in your undergrad. The more you put in, the more you get. There is no reason to feel intimidated. The lecturers or tutors leading the seminars are almost always very nice and enthusiastic about students who are ‘brave’ enough to question the ideas discussed. Expressing half-baked opinions and learning how to get better at thinking critically helped me a lot.”


Are you interested in doing one of our Masters? Come to the Open Day this Wednesday and talk to the convenors and current students. We will be in Pevensey 1, Lecture Theatre 1A7 and in room 1A1 from 2:45-4pm.

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