Image: Neil Cufley MBA at graduation

Which course did you study?

Masters of Science in Health Psychology

Why did you choose this course?

I searched on the British Psychological Society (BPS) website for accredited online courses, and I found the University of Derby Online Learning. I first completed the University Certificate in Psychology, then enrolled into the Masters in Psychology, in order to be able to enrol in the MSc of Science in Health Psychology, and finish stage one with the Society. I exited at the Postgraduate Diploma level, and started the Health Psychology Masters. Of course, I loved the University and many of the staff from the beginning. They were very friendly, encouraging, and mostly supportive.

What attracted you to online learning?

As I am based in Qatar, I did not have an option of studying on campus, so I searched for online courses and came across the University of Derby Online Learning.

Why did you choose the University of Derby Online Learning?

Initially I was attracted by the BPS accreditation of the psychology courses. I continued as I loved the staff and everything about the University really.

What were your goals and aspirations when starting your course? Have they changed during study?

From the beginning my goal was to help people as much as I can. I learned a lot during my studies, and discovered areas in life I never thought about. I realised the importance of our psychological state, and how it can shape us both mentally and physically. I gained a lot of knowledge, and I am forever grateful and thankful to each member of the staff. I can now take this knowledge on and help others which was my goal from the start.

How did you balance your study around professional/personal commitments?

Ah! I still can’t believe how I finished really. I wanted to achieve high grades so, I would study anytime, day or night, whenever I had the time.

Whilst studying you experienced challenges in your life. How did the University of Derby Online Learning support you during this time?

When my Dad fell gravely ill, I emailed one module tutor and informed her of the situation and that I may not be able to continue with my studies. She was simply amazing. She supported me and suggested that I take a break rather than quitting and told me to contact her whenever I needed to. At this point I realised that I couldn’t stop at every challenge and quit so I decided to continue. I did and was awarded an A in this module.

During my studies I was also diagnosed with a tumour which my doctor recommended I had removed urgently. At this point I thought to myself that I had three assessments due on 10th December. I had two modules left, and I was not actually willing to give up my study. Surgery had to wait until after assignment submission. After speaking with my surgeon he agreed to schedule the surgery on 11th December, in London. Sophie Williams was my tutor, and all I can say about her is that she is simply amazing, a true blessing. She supported me all the way, even after the surgery when I was no longer one of her students, she kept emailing me to check on me. I submitted my assessments on time, had the surgery and got an A and B for the two modules! The tumour came out benign, and I continued studying.

How would you describe your online learning experience at Derby? What did you find particularly beneficial?

Image: Online health psychology MSc Mai Morsi study areaIt was an amazing enriching experience. Everything was beneficial. Even when times were tough and I thought of quitting I received so much support from my tutors, especially Ainslea Cross who was there for me when my dad’s case got worse during my research project module. I also received a lot of support from family and friends, of which I am very grateful for. Without this continuous support I would not have achieved my qualification.

What was your most memorable moment during your time at Derby?

When I was nominated for the Vice Chancellor Graduation Prize, and when I had the interview with University of Derby Press. All my hard work paid off in the end and my Dad got to see me achieve this which meant the world to him. The main thing I taught myself was to never give up and that strength comes first from within, if I could achieve this with everything that was happening in my life, anyone can.

How has your qualification helped your career? Has the knowledge you have acquired, complimented previous work experience in any way?

This is my second degree, so I started from scratch. It has helped to increase my knowledge about many psychological factors that affect people. I am not sure where I want to be in the future, in terms of my career goals, etc. I am only thinking about how I can use all this knowledge and how I can develop myself more. I also think of how I am now able to help people, and make them feel better in the best way I can. My dream would be to build a new, modern hospital with the latest technology.

Can you describe your experience with just one word?

Amazing

What would you say to anyone considering an online course at Derby?

Definitely go for it! You will never regret making this choice.