Careers in Psychology

Emma Murphy

Psychology graduate Emma Murphy, a white woman with long blonde hair.

“A degree at Essex will prepare you for both the practical and theoretical sides of the industry.”

Emma Murphy, BSc Psychology and MSc Advanced Psychology, now a Graduate Trainee Educational Psychologist at The Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust.

This year I will qualify as an Educational Psychologist. This would not have been possible without studying for both my BSc Psychology and MSc Advanced Psychology at the University of Essex.

It was here that I learned and honed skills specific to my chosen career, such as how the innerworkings of the brain impact behaviour and what elements of psychological theory are most relevant when working with children and young people. My degrees also helped me improve more general abilities essential to succeed in the world of work, like researching and giving presentations.

After my undergraduate degree I worked in a range of jobs, some more relevant to my career path than others. It was during this time that I decided to return to Essex and complete the MSc Advanced Psychology course. I was subsequently accepted on the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust’s three-year doctoral training programme in Educational Psychology. While having a Masters degree wasn’t essential for this opportunity, postgraduate qualifications from Essex show employers your level of commitment and depth of knowledge.

My current role is incredibly varied. I work closely with children, parents and carers, school staff, and help develop school policy. For me, the most enjoyable aspect is supporting children and young people as this is precisely why I chose this career. Trainee Educational Psychologists play a vital role in ensuring that pupils’ voices are heard and that they receive all the support the need from families and school staff.

There are so many pieces of advice I could give to anyone considering studying towards a career in Educational Psychology. First things first, make sure you choose to study somewhere that has academics specialising in this field.

A degree at Essex will prepare you for both the practical and theoretical sides of the industry, but make sure you take advantage of all that’s on offer alongside your studies. No work experience is ever wasted so, if you can, apply for any opportunities that will give you first-hand experience of working with children and young people. There were always vacancies like this advertised on the university jobs board.