Cecily Donnelly, MSc Abnormal and Clinical Psychology


Winner of the Rodger Wood Award for Outstanding Academic Excellence at Winter Graduation 2018, Cecily Donnelly tells us about her time at Swansea University and her hopes for the future... 

What did you do prior to studying at Swansea University?

I did my undergraduate degree in Psychology at Cardiff University and also spent time working in various NHS settings. This included being an Assistant Psychologist working with children and adults with learning disabilities in Oxfordshire and Northamptonshire, working as a marketing intern in the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies service in London and working with young people with acute mental health problems in an inpatient setting.

Why did you choose to study at Swansea University?

Initially, I chose Swansea University because I thought the course would help me to develop the clinical skills I need to become a Clinical Psychologist. As a bonus, when I went to the Open Day, I found all the staff very welcoming and helpful, and I loved the Singleton Campus and its beautiful seaside location.

Can you tell us about your course?

The Abnormal and Clinical Psychology Course involves developing a thorough understanding of both the theory and practice of clinical psychology, including developing personal views on the appropriateness of diagnosis, understanding the importance of psychological formulation and critically analysing the effectiveness of treatments. It also gives students the opportunity to contribute to the scientific community by undertaking research alongside world class academics.

What part of the course did you enjoy the most?

I most enjoyed planning and conducting my own research project. My supervisor was supportive of all my ideas and encouraged me to choose a subject about which I felt passionately. I also really enjoyed the wide ranging subject matter that the course covers, as I could learn more about mental health conditions and treatments that are not usually covered in undergraduate degrees.

What’s been your highlight whilst studying at Swansea University?

There were so many great things that happened this year while I completed my studies, but my two main highlights are:

  1. 1. Our first day where we were introduced to lots of lecturers and we got to know one another and start to make friends (and there was a free lunch!). It was great to meet so many people who felt so enthusiastic about improving mental health services and I enjoyed interacting with academic staff and discussing different research projects that they were undertaking. 
  2. 2. Achieving an extremely high grade in an essay that was very close to my heart and receiving very positive feedback. I had chosen the topic of the essay after working in a service for people with eating disorders so it was great to be able to impart some of my personal knowledge, as well as exploring research that helped me develop a better understanding of how to treat eating disorders.

What are your plans/hopes for the future?

I have recently moved to London to become an Assistant Psychologist with South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, working with young people with eating disorders. I hope to continue to develop the skills that I learnt during my time at Swansea University so that I can undertake a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology in the future.

How will your studies help you pursue your chosen profession?

I feel that this year has really enhanced my understanding of mental health and clinical psychology. It has given me the opportunity to develop a more reflective approach when supporting individuals who are in distress. These skills will allow me to continue to grow as a psychological practitioner, and give me the confidence to train as a clinical psychologist.

Would you recommend Swansea University to other students?

Yes! The staff, the other students and the campus make Swansea University a great place to study.