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Helen Thornley

MSc Occupational and Organisational Psychology

HLS_Postgraduate -Student _Helen -ThornleyWhere are you from?

Peterlee, County Durham

What undergraduate course did you study and where?

BA(Hons) Business and Management, Durham University

Why did you decide to study a masters? Was it you passion for the subject? To fast track your career or to find a new one?

To expand my human resources related knowledge, skills, and experience, and increase my employability.

Why did you choose Northumbria University? Why did you choose your specific course?

Affordability. Northumbria is the only university within a commutable distance to offer an MSc Occupational and Organisational Psychology course and it charges significantly lower tuition fees than most other institutions. Because people fascinate me and I was eager to expand on my business background and learn how, from a psychological perspective, employers can help employees achieve their potential for the good of both the individual and the firm.

What makes your specific course challenging/inspiring/different? How would you sum up the difference between Undergraduate and Postgraduate study?

Having never formally studied psychology before, I found the course challenging initially but am thoroughly enjoying learning about its practical applications. More convenient timetable, far smaller classes, longer assignments.

What was it like studying at Northumbria? What are the different ways that you learn on your course? Is there a mix of lectures, seminars, team projects? Are there interesting guest lectures? Is your feedback constructive?

Very good. Four two hour lectures a week (some of which are guest lectures) involving a mixture of presentation and group discussions. One one hour employability workshop each week (most of which are delivered by ex students).

How connected is your course with industry? Do you have the opportunity of placement, work on projects?

Very connected. Lecturers (all of whom are experienced Occupational Psychologists) inform you of and provide you with many relevant work experience opportunities.

What impressed you most about our academic staff?

Highly experienced practitioners that are knowledgeable, passionate, and seem to genuinely care.

How accessible do you find our staff? Do you feel at ease?

Accessible and easy to talk to.

As a postgraduate student, what aspects of university life are important to you? (E.g. facilities, student community, location, support services)

Convenient location, friendly staff and students, and good facilities.

What doors do you think this course will open for you? How will your course help you achieve your career goals/give your career an edge?

Gained good contacts through employability workshops. I would like to work in human resource management and consultancy. Throughout my masters, I have gained relevant knowledge, skills, and experience that will no doubt prove useful in my future career e.g.Occupational Ability Test User Certificate.

Have you changed as a person?

More open-minded and receptive to other disciplines points of view.

How would you describe yourself in 3 words before coming to Northumbria? What are the 3 key skills and attributes you have gained since being here?

Hard-working, ambitious, friendly. Psychological knowledge, open-mindedness, research skills

How would you describe Northumbria in 3 words?

Big, friendly, genuine.

Do you feel that your course has been a worthwhile investment in your future?


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