Gareth Richards, MSc Research Methods in Psychology

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Gareth Richards, from Leominster, graduated with an MSc in Research Methods in Psychology. We caught up with him to find out about his studies and experiences at Swansea University...

What did you do prior to studying at Swansea University?

I completed my A-Levels then worked for a year: I had a job as a labourer, worked in a supermarket, and then briefly ended up as a tennis coach/racquet stringer!

Why did you choose to study for a postgraduate qualification at Swansea University?

After having completed my undergraduate degree (BSc Psychology), I decided to stay at Swansea for my Masters.  This made a lot of sense to me, as I already knew the city, knew the department, and had a number of friends still studying at the university.

Can you tell us about your course?

The Research Methods in Psychology MSc course was very hands-on and research focused.  Amongst other things, I learned about a range of research techniques, collaborated with other students, developed skills in statistics, and completed four research projects!

What part of the course did you enjoy the most?

The thing I enjoyed most about the course was the research project that I undertook in the second half of the year.  The course provides great flexibility, essentially allowing you to complete whatever project you like, so long as you are able to gain ethical approval and find a supervisor willing to work with you!  This was a fantastic opportunity, which has since allowed me to present at an international conference, and publish my findings in peer-reviewed journals!

What was your highlight whilst studying at Swansea University?

The highlight of studying at Swansea University for me has been the people.  Although I left four years ago now, I am still in contact with many of the friends that I met whilst studying as an undergraduate and as a Masters student.

What are your plans for the future?

I am currently in the process of completing a PhD in Psychology at Cardiff University, and am therefore looking for a postdoctoral position to further my career in academia.

How will your qualification help your career? 

Completing the MSc in Research Methods in Psychology has already helped my career.  Firstly, being able to demonstrate relevant research and statistical skills was very beneficial when applying for PhD positions.  Secondly, actually having these skills made the subsequent transition from Masters to Doctoral level much easier than it otherwise would have been.

Would you recommend Swansea University to other students? 

I would definitely recommend Swansea University to other students.  Firstly, the Department of Psychology is top class, being comprised of internationally recognised researchers from many different fields, and is also welcoming and encouraging of its students.  Secondly, the university itself is lively and exciting, and just over the road is the beach: what’s not to love?

What advice would you give to students considering postgraduate study?

I would advise students considering postgraduate study to be prepared to work hard!  Although the British system by which a Masters degree can be completed in a single year is very rewarding (and indeed can save a lot of time and money), it is also intense!  Essentially, you get out of it what you put in, so expect to do a fair bit of work!