Claire Flanagan

Psychology MSc

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  • Year of graduation: 2021
  • Current job title: Research Integrity Specialist
  • Industry Sector: Publishing

Your course of study.

Why did you choose your course?

After finishing my undergraduate studies, I was unsure what to do next, I wanted to gain a better understanding of Psychology to learn about the types of career pathways. I began researching different master’s courses and came across the psychology conversion course. This particular course provided the opportunity to gain an in-depth understanding of research methodologies as well as offering an insight into the central subdisciplines within psychology, such as biological psychology and neuroscience. I was keen to apply for this course as I wanted to expand on my research skills and develop a broader understanding of Psychology to help guide my career.

What aspects of the course did you enjoy the most and why?

I really enjoyed the interactive sessions within the course, particularly trying the Dementia suit, which was a surreal experience, and testing my classmates with Verbal Memory Tests. These activities put into perspective the symptoms of Dementia and how it is diagnosed which helped my understanding when completing assignments.

Your university/career journey.

How do you think your studies have helped your career or personal development?

I have gained an in-depth understanding of valid research methods which have helped me to peruse a career within scientific research publishing. My communicating skills have strengthened by completing presentation assignments, these enabled me to gain confidence when speaking to large groups of people – something I now do regularly!

Describe your career progression so far, and any plans you have for the future. Are there any particular hurdles you may face?

I’m really happy within my role. I love reading innovative studies and find investigating research integrity concerns extremely rewarding. As I’m so happy where I am, I’ve not given too much thought on my next steps, however I aim to continue to progress to take on further responsibilities.

Which, if any, skills and knowledge/understanding gained on your degree are most useful in your current role?

One of my main responsibilities is to assess and check ethical approval of scientific research, this is something I already had a good understanding of prior to obtaining this role as I had learnt first-hand about participant safety and consent procedures during my dissertation project.

Extra-curricular activities.

What extra-curricular activities did you participate in whilst studying at UON, i.e. sports, societies, volunteering, working as a student ambassador?

The teaching timetable was condensed so I was able to organise my independent study time and maintain a part-time job. I had time to volunteer to code data for a research study on the perception of scientists in primary schools lead by a senior lecturer. I also attended online psychology conferences that the university provided access to which were extremely insightful and engaging.

How did these extra-curricular activities enhance your career prospects?

By taking part in this research project, I was able to gain confidence conducting quantitative research, especially in terms of using SPSS. I also enjoyed discussing the results and debating the theory behind this phenomenon with lecturers and peers.

Your advice.

In one sentence, what advice would you give to undergraduates interested in this career path, e.g. tips on gaining entry, accessing opportunities, anything you wish you had known earlier?

Take advantage of the research and extra-curricular opportunities – the year goes by quick so make the most of it!

In ten words, or less how would you summarise your UON experience?

I would summarise my experience as fulfilling, enriching and extremely valuable, I would love to do it all over again!