Case study

Turning a fascination for psychology into a career

A fascination with the human psyche had always been a constant thread in Amanda Ripley’s life. It wasn’t until she started reading books about psychology, that it dawned on her that she had found something that she was deeply passionate about. That’s when she decided to study our Psychology MSc and started moving her career in a new direction.

Recognising the signs

The signs had always been there that Psychology was the career for Amanda, but it took her a little time to recognise them. She explains, “I’m fortunate that I was able to recognise those signs and be able to pursue this route, had Psychology been a course that was on offer at my secondary school I would almost certainly have read it as my undergraduate degree.

“My undergraduate degree was in History and my specialist area focused on motivations, power dynamics, group theory and how social and cultural mores were often wielded as tools to serve particular ends.

“As you can see a fascination with the human psyche has been a constant thread in my life. It really started to become ‘real’ for me when I picked up a book a few years ago called The Charisma Myth by Olivia Fox Cabane and honestly it spiralled from there reading more books, talks, absorbing absolutely anything and everything I could and it dawned on me that I’d found something I was so deeply passionate about, something, that still to this day I can’t get enough of.”

A passion and a goal

Amanda has always immersed herself in everything that she does, and she particularly loves a challenge. She hasn’t always known the direction she would take her career but she says, “It’s hard to say or be specific about one’s trajectory in life, I’ve certainly found that things never quite turn out as you expect and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. For me it’s quite often been in a good way.

“It’s a natural thing for me and from personal experience and the experiences of family and friends. It is amazing when people open up and talk to you. I love to help people with their self-esteem and confidence and by using little tips and tricks to help shifts mindsets I can help people get back on their feet.

“Organisational and social psychology are my favourite areas. In an organisation it embraces almost everything including social psychology, looking at the work setting and different motivations for work. As you spend 80% of your time at work, it is important to enjoy what you do. By making little changes it can benefit employees and companies.”

Due to these interests Amanda explains, “My ultimate goal career-wise is to have my own consultancy as an industrial/​organisational psychologist/​executive coach. I’m also strongly considering a PhD in industrial and organisational psychology.”

Amanda Ripley writing happily at a desk
Online student Amanda Ripley

Finding the right course

When looking for an online course Amanda knew she wanted to study a Psychology MSc as it is a necessary building block towards a career in Psychology. She says, “There are few universities that offer the conversion course and even fewer online, I was looking for the most competitive both intellectually and particularly in terms of course content.

“Derby was by far the leader out of all the available universities both in terms of official ranking and student satisfaction for this course but also the diversity of choice for additional modules. Which has definitely been proven to be the case.”

The course that Amanda chose to study was our online Psychology MSc that is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS). She explains, “BPS accreditation requires quite a strict course content, however Derby have maximised what they can do outside of that with a plethora of options and I feel it’s given a much wider exposure and experience and I am better trained for it.”

From attending our course Amanda explains, “I feel I’ve started to become a very competent psychologist. Through this course I’ve really been able to grasp not only a complete but really ingrained understanding of psychology; how to research and produce research, which we have to present for assessments in exactly the same format as one would for a published journal article. I feel confident in statistical methods and techniques and psychological theory.”

Excellent support

Amanda decided to study her Psychology MSc at an accelerated rate, which she admits was challenging but she enjoyed it as she could quickly see the progress she was making on her course. She says, “As the time was condensed there was no time for my skills to lack and decrease and I was able to solidify what I was learning.

“What I’ve enjoyed the most is how friendly and willing the tutors are to help you. I’m also fortunate to have an excellent tutor for my final research paper (Yasuhiro Kotera) who is always willing to help and is also just a lovely human being to chat to.

“There was so much course content and I found it all so exciting. Every week it was always building on from the previous week and there was a new nugget to get your teeth into. I liked that it was all accessible from the beginning and I didn’t have to wait for something to be there.”

Fantastic achievements

While on her course Amanda achieved great things. She was one of the winning entries for this year’s BPS student competition, with her writing published in The Psychologist. She was also invited to attend this year’s BPS conference: Psychology of the Future Changing Landscapes.

She says, “The competition is usually won by a PhD student, so it wasn’t something I was expecting. It was great to be published in The Psychologist and to attend the conference. I was also selected to present my research at the PSYPAG [Psychology Postgraduate Affairs Group] Annual Conference.”

model brain being shown on mobile phone

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