In July 2017 I completed the final year of my three-year undergraduate Psychology and Criminology degree. I was given the opportunity to select my modules for my last year, Criminal and Forensic Psychology was a module that most took my interest, thus leading me to the Forensic Psychology MSC at the University of Gloucester. This MSc covers various areas of Forensic Psychology such as risk assessment and treatment, which underpin the role of a Forensic Psychologist and also coincide with my desired career route.
Mental health issues were a focal point of the undergraduate criminal and forensic psychology module, revealing the high prevalence of this as a contributory factor to offending and this being a result of many adolescence’s primary care environment. The treatment and assessment of offenders, therefore, serves a vital purpose in the intervention and the prevention of initial offences and or reoffences. I consider the program of study at the University of Gloucester to be sufficient to provide me with theoretical knowledge of various factors surrounding offending behavior, including sexual. In addition to this, the staff and visiting speakers come from a range of forensic settings with personal experience will provide me with specialist insight. The opportunity to gain this specialist insight combined with theoretical and my own knowledge would be beneficial for me to broaden my understanding and perspective, especially when preparing for my career as a Psychologist in a secure ward or prison.
The MSc covers a Research Methods module, incorporating skills I have cultivated from my three-year undergraduate degree; which also introduced me to the fundamental component of Research Methods. Whereby I used extensive qualitative and quantitative methods of obtaining and analyzing data, I, therefore, had to operate data input programs and conduct statistical analysis. My understanding of SPSS and research reports will be of an advantage to me for the MSc Research Methods module, as I currently obtain a basis of knowledge I can build upon during my postgraduate studies. My understanding of SPSS and research reports were of great benefit to me when completing my final year undergraduate Dissertation Portfolio. I was required to analyse historical research conducted, by searching for literature and assessing the strengths and weaknesses of its evidence. An extremely important part of this was the utilization of the APA referencing system in order to solidify any evidence assessed. Although I have acquired many transferable skills from my BSc, which are imperative in Psychological development, the MSc course will help me to develop and tailor my skills specific to my career. I, therefore, believe the MSc to be advantageous to me, both academically and professionally.
The MSc Forensic Psychology program at the University of Gloucester comprises proficiencies that I have acquired as part of my skillset over the past three years of my undergraduate studies. My academic ability is effective as a result of sustaining a part-time job whilst studying, therefore heightening my task prioritization, self-motivation, and discipline. Thus allowing me to work independently towards deadlines and complete essays with plenty of time. Additionally, my time at the University of Roehampton enhanced my communication skills, as group study and in-class presentations were essential components of the 3-year degree. Furthermore, I landed myself a graduate job as an educational recruitment consultant providing experience within corporate business, this refreshing my research and report writing skills. These skills are volatile as an aspiring student for the MSc course and have helped prepare me for postgraduate study.
My current profession as a mental health support worker in a supported home of 5 women in Bristol, has fortified my foundation of knowledge and interest into sexual offending. These women all battle mental health issues including, personality disorder, schizophrenia and bipolar, and a commonality between these women is their historical victimization of sexual abuse and rape. Working with victims as such has given me the push to work with offenders of this nature, as I believe enlightenment at both ends of the spectrum is important to be able to take a critical standpoint. Additionally, my current career will also enhance my understanding as I am currently on target for starting and gaining my workplace related QCF Diploma in Health and Social Care Level 2.
I desire to continue working in my current job role whilst studying the MSc. Additionally, I would like to expand upon my experience and volunteer in settings for sexual offenders as I believe gaining an insight into the experience of both individuals is imperative. Therefore, allowing me to experience first-hand the implementation of treatments, legislation, and strategies when dealing with vulnerable or hazardous clientele.
Post completion of my MSc, I plan to move onto studying for my PhD and working towards practicing in an environment that will enhance my skills as a Forensic Psychologist. I would like to focus on young people’s services, secure hospitals, and rehabilitation units, as I believe during childhood/adolescence is a critical period in one’s life whereby an impact can be made. This reducing the prevalence of young victims and offenders with the effective treatment plans and rehabilitation which in turn will reduce their vulnerabilities.
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