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What Is Studying Psychology Online Really Like?

Meet some of the students taking our distance learning Psychology MSc.

We caught up with two of our Psychology MSc distance learning students - Suzanna Knight and Claire Capel - to learn more about why they chose to study online, how they structure their day and what they’re enjoying most about the experience so far.

 

Why did you choose to study Psychology via distance learning?

Suzanna: A Psychology MSc from Northumbria University will support my continued professional development within my field of work: domestic violence, more accurately termed Intimate Partner Violence (IPV). I have worked extensively in the area for almost twenty years in varied settings, both in Ireland and in the UK. In 2020, I began a new role as development manager with Westmeath Support Service Against Domestic Violence, who are funding me to undertake this Psychology MSc. I wanted to study Psychology, even though my background is Sociology, as I increasingly believe there are gaps in our understanding of IPV and consequently our responses to it may be skewed to the detriment of the people we support. The opportunity of studying with Northumbria University has given me the space to explore and investigate these gaps further – while managing to continue to work full-time and raise a family. 

Claire: I am a teacher looking to move into educational psychology in the future and I had been thinking about making the leap into studying a Psychology course for a while. I realised that working and having two school-aged children meant that a better time to start wasn’t going to come quickly, so in order to make it work, I needed to be able to study around my current commitments. Online learning was the best option for me. 

 

 

What does a typical day look like?

Suzanna: I fit my 12 hours a week of study around full-time work and a busy family life. I have two teenage sons, two dogs, a cat, and a really supportive partner. There isn’t really a typical day – I just study whenever and wherever I can, according to my existing schedule. 

Claire: I don’t really have a typical day, but what I really like about the course is that I can dip into it when I can around family life. All of the course material on Blackboard is organised and accessible and each module is broken down into weekly topics with all of the links and resources in one place. I also make the most of being able to download content to view offline, meaning I can complete the reading while waiting for my daughter to finish her sports activities!

 

Where/when do you study best?

Suzanna: I find I’m quite productive while waiting for my son to finish basketball training. I view the weekly recorded lectures online and read through the interactive presentations while I wait for him in the car (mobile data is a brilliant invention!).

Claire: I definitely study best on a Saturday morning, in the kitchen, with a cup of tea.

 

What do you like most about studying online with Northumbria?

Suzanna: As a 53 year-old the ‘new’ technology has not posed any difficulties for me and there is plenty of support from my dedicated and supportive student success advisor if I have any questions (no matter how silly or obvious). Overall, I am really excited by the insights that the course offers and how it is informing my practice and my work. I also know that Northumbria’s Psychology MSc is relevant to numerous and diverse fields that I may wish to pursue in the future – which is very exciting indeed. I am really enjoying reading around the modules.

Claire: Studying Psychology online sounds like it would be a solitary experience, but it’s been quite the opposite! I’ve got to know far more people on my course than I would have if I were sitting in a lesson with a small group. Throughout the modules we discuss weekly topics, share ideas and team up for group tasks. There’s also a really supportive chat where we can ask questions, share what we have found and help each other. The assignments are flexible too, meaning I can apply the topic to my current setting in a school. It’s really helping me to take the next steps in my career. 

 

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