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What Is Studying Psychology Online Really Like? George’s Story

George tells us more about his experience as an online Psychology MSc student at Northumbria.

George Buchan, online Psychology Masters student

With a background in Sociology and an MLitt in Strategic Studies, George Buchan started the Psychology Masters course in April 2020. Currently studying the course from France, he chose Northumbria due to the fact it was the best ranked university offering a distance learning option. 

Below, he tells us why he decided to follow his dream and return to studying after 15 years in order to reroute his career into psychology.  


What have you enjoyed most about the course, so far?  

I love the philosophical side of psychology, the psychoanalytic theories, everything which points to insight, and improving myself and the world around me. The scientific report writing and using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) has been a challenge, but I have had everything on hand needed to succeed, so there’s definitely nothing to be apprehensive about.  

What has your experience as a distance-learning student been like so far?  

Really good. All the support I need is always available quickly, and having the freedom to work towards the deadlines on the course when I want is great. I don’t have to go to lecture theatres or tutorials, so I can do this Masters pretty much wherever I want – living in France, this has been a huge benefit. 

My Student Success Advisor, Francesco, has also been excellent and is always at the other end of the internet or telephone for pretty much anything. The library service and IT have also been really quick to respond to any questions, so I never feel any barrier between me and the university or the course.  


Where and when is your favourite place to study? 

In my study room upstairs at home with my dog sleeping at my feet! 


What would you say has been the biggest benefit, so far, to studying this course? Has the course helped you in your day-to-day role? 

The course content is very diverse, so when the essential reading is done, you can follow your own interest into any domain of psychology. I had always enjoyed bits of Jung, Freud and Buddhist psychology, but getting the understanding and skills necessary to grasp and critique them properly has been awesome.  

It has also opened up my awareness of the workings of day-to-day social and work situations; you start to see things differently, or perhaps more clearly. 


What difference do you think this degree is going to make to your career, or your life, in the long term?  

Everything I have learned has pushed me to see life from a different angle. In this sense, looking to apply what you have learned to your real, lived experience makes things interesting. I am taking this Masters to reroute my career into psychology and follow my passion. I want to use this to help those who are suffering; you can’t get a much more meaningful role in life than that.  


What advice would you give someone considering studying a distance-learning course with NU? 

Be prepared for self-study, which is the point of distance learning. The course leaders are there by email or on the discussion boards, but embrace the variety of content available and the freedom it offers to follow your interests. Don’t be afraid of self-discipline but, assuming you are taking this course because you are interested in psychology, there is more than enough stimulation here to blur the line between discipline and motivation.  

How would you describe your NU experience so far in three words? 

Beats my expectations. 


Find out more about our online Psychology MSc

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