Will it be Leicester?

Having suffered a minor shock on Monday morning on hearing that Birkbeck are apparently reviewing the future of their masters qualifications in psychological sciences, I was relieved on Monday evening to find that the prospectus I had requested from Leicester University for their masters in Occupational Psychology had arrived. And very interesting it looks too. For a mere (gulp) £3,795 per year, a part-time distance learning masters could be mine in two years, starting in October 2012.

The modules on offer cover personnel selection and assessment, ergonomics, the psychology of organising, the psychology of occupational training and development, the individual at work, research methods and a dissertation. I wouldn’t necessarily choose to do a couple of the modules perhaps, but it seems to me that there would be sufficient wriggle room – particularly in the dissertation – to do something a little more exciting than study just psychometrics or undertake experiments of questionable value with teddy bears.

I was also reminded that the module on my current degree that I thought I’d get least out of (ED209 – child development) was rather good. I’ve even just about  recovered from the young lad on the ED209 DVD who continually insisted that the reason any object floated was “because it was shaped like a boat”.

Now, while I have absolutely no desire to end up in “personnel”  (after all, as Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry once said, that’s for … well, he wasn’t very impressed when he was assigned to personnel after shooting lots of bad guys) there’s definitely enough in the Leicester course to be interesting and useful in my work too. Who knows, if I can convince our HR department that it would be useful to the business for me to do this course, then perhaps I can tease some sponsorship money out of them as well … (*)

Perhaps the biggest shock was their application form (Application form? I’m used to the OU – you just turn up, pay your money and you’re in!) They want to know all kinds of things about me, such as my previous qualifications, work experience, whether I can speak, read and write English and worse … why I want to do the course and if I already have any ideas for my dissertation! Oh, and they want references too. References! Anyone would think that they were going to be paying me, rather than the other way around…

In all honesty though, the form really isn’t that daunting … and I’m especially looking forward to answering the question “Outline the changes you would make in your work and/or own time in order to accommodate the demands of a postgraduate distance-learning course”. I’ll be able to (metaphorically) wrinkle my eyes up and with a furrowed brow, sniff the air and say something like:  “I was an OU student for five years … nothing could be better preparation for your course than that.”

But wait. I’m getting ahead of myself. It sounds like I’ve already made the decision to carry on – and I most definitely haven’t. There are still other courses to look at and other avenues to explore. There are also the views of my loved ones and their priorities and desires to take into consideration. I don’t want to be too selfish.

So – I’m making no decisions  until after Christmas at the earliest. It’s still quite novel having a life away from work that isn’t study … and it’s rather nice too. I’m not sure that I want to give it up again quite so soon – or ever.

Watch this space, as they say.



(*) Of course, I’m only joking about people who work in HR and personnel. I have first hand experience of how very dedicated they are where I work for example. But the “Dirty Harry” reference was just too tempting to resist. Sorry.