The Institute of Work Psychology (IWP) has been running its Occupational Psychology MSc for more than 30 years. For this time we have been educating and training outstanding people who go on to be leaders in the practice and theory of occupational, organisational and work psychology. We suggest you read the below testimonials, from current students to those who left the IWP in 1981, to see where our MSc can take you in the long run.
Jessica Pickard (started MSc Occupational Psychology in 2014)
What were you doing before you started your course?
I graduated from Newcastle University with my BSc degree in Psychology. Following that I spent some time gaining work experience, and I also travelled for six months around Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia.
Why did you choose to study your course?
Following my undergraduate degree I was interested to pursue a career within Clinical Psychology. However after gaining some experience in the field I realised it wasn’t the right option for me and started to explore other areas of Psychology. I did a lot of research into Occupational Psychology, spoke to students currently studying the MSc at Sheffield and read job profiles of current Occupational Psychologists and the varied roles within the discipline. This, coupled with my experience of working in different organisations, inspired me and assisted in my desire to pursue a career in Occupational Psychology, and contribute to improving the wellbeing of employees. In addition, the course is the first step towards my long term ambition of chartered psychologist status and registration as an Occupational Psychologist, and it will enable me to develop practical skills and knowledge to become successful in the field. I chose to study for my Occupational Psychology Masters at the Institute of Work Psychology because of its recognised reputation as a centre of excellence, and also for its friendly and supportive community with dedicated staff who are leaders in their field. I was also attracted by the small class sizes and combination of the interactive teaching programme and research project within an organisation to provide real-world work experience.
What have you most enjoyed about your course/student experience so far?
I have really enjoyed the broad range of modules within my course, enabling me to gain an insight into the different areas of Occupational Psychology and experience its diverse and applicable nature. The interactive and practical element of the lectures have been stimulating and inspiring, and helped develop my communication and critical thinking skills whilst increasing my knowledge and understanding of the field. The support from the staff has really enhanced my experience so far, and it has been fantastic getting to know the other students on my course, both working together during group discussions and projects, and socialising outside of lectures.
What has been your favourite module?
This is a difficult question! The modules that we have been taught so far (including Personnel Selection, Work Systems and Human Factors, and Organisational Behaviour) have all been very interesting and insightful, and really highlighted how diverse Occupational Psychology is. I have particularly enjoyed analysing case studies of past and current workplace issues, and learning how to enhance the wellbeing of employees at work and the effectiveness of organisations.
What do you like most about the city?
What I love about Sheffield is that it is a very student friendly, safe and vibrant city with lots going on, and an abundance of great cafes, bars and restaurants. The fact that it’s a small city makes it easy to navigate by foot (as long as you don’t mind the hills too much – but that’s another bonus as they keep you fit!), and where public transport is necessary, it is cheap and easily accessible and there are excellent transport links to other cities in the UK. Furthermore, Sheffield is the ‘greenest’ city in the UK and is situated on the edge of the beautiful Peak District, where I have enjoyed some excellent walks and cycling.
What do you want to do when you graduate?
There are so many exciting career options within Occupational Psychology and at the moment I am still not entirely sure which specific direction I will take. However following graduation I hope to gain a role within a consultancy and utilise the knowledge and skills I have gained throughout my Masters course, eventually working towards gaining chartership and becoming a successful practitioner within the field.
How do you feel the Management School has helped you increase your employability, either through your course or its support services such as the Employability Hub?
The Management School has so far provided many opportunities to enhance my employability. They keep students informed of work experience opportunities, careers events and employer presentations within the school and are very supportive in gaining placements within companies to conduct research projects. I have attended several of the skills workshops associated with writing persuasive CVs and job applications, and being successful in interviews. In addition, there is a module on my course dedicated to practitioner skills and professional insights which focuses on developing skills ready for practice in Occupational Psychology. Examples of some of the sessions include presentation skills, team working, business strategy and also career workshops with guest speakers currently working in the field.
Do you have any advice for students thinking about studying your course?
First of all, I would highly recommend the course! Ensure you do lots of research into it, the city and Occupational Psychology in general to ensure it is the best option for you, and don’t hesitate to contact the school before applying if you have any questions or concerns. Importantly, make good use of the support available throughout the application process – such as speaking to current students who are happy to help and share their experience of the course with you. Unfortunately, I wasn’t available to attend the open day for the Occupational Psychology Masters, but the Management School was very accommodating and I arranged to visit at another time. I was welcomed by the director of my course who showed me round the school which gave me a great insight into its friendly, supportive learning environment. Ensure you make the most of all the fantastic opportunities the School offers throughout your course such as the skills workshops and networking events. Finally, be prepared to work hard, but to also have an exciting, rewarding year that will enhance both your knowledge and practical skills and prepare you for a career in Occupational Psychology.
Rosie Tate (graduated 2012)
I chose to study for my Masters at the IWP because of its indisputable reputation as a centre of excellent in the field of occupational psychology. The IWP is unique in that it offers small, interactive class sizes whilst maintaining a high quality of teaching from lead researchers and practitioners.
From the outset of the course I felt involved in the IWP community and the support I was given throughout my studies was invaluable. The MSc has allowed me to develop both a broad insight into occupational psychology as well as practical and analytical skills, which have proved essential in my current role as Intern Business Psychologist at the Work Psychology Group.
Marc Van Huizen (graduated 2012)
Beyond teaching us the theories in the field of occupational psychology, the IWP provided us with numerous opportunities to learn about how occupational psychology is applied in the workplace by inviting various practitioners to share their experiences with us during the MSc course.
Furthermore, it enabled me to gain a head start in meeting esteemed individuals in our field through encouraging us to attend events such as the DOP annual conference.
After graduation, I feel like I’m in a much better position should I want to pursue becoming a Chartered Occupational Psychologist.
Hannah Rolph (graduated 2012)
The MSc Occupational Psychology at the IWP is a fantastic course where staff strive to educate students on the latest workplace issues. I thoroughly enjoyed the interactive course and if given the chance would go back for more! The culture at the IWP is supportive and encourages students to learn from one another as well as staff.
The course opened doors for me in the world of occupational psychology – I now work as a Business Development Consultant for Saville Consulting – and I met some fantastic individuals who I hope will become lifelong friends.
Meera Shah (graduated 2012)
The theoretical knowledge I gathered, coupled with the practical skill development, is what I loved about this course and I feel it has given me a lot of confidence in my current role as a Research Associate for a boutique consultancy firm, OE Cam LLP.
The vibrant discussions during course lectures, where we had the opportunity to challenge other students and staff, enriched our understanding of the range of topics covered. Additionally the various practical workshops, the group project and the thesis project where we were able to work in a commercial business setting, allowed us to develop more practical and transferrable skills.
Despite being a demanding course, the friendly, open and supportive nature of the academic and support staff at the IWP make the experience an enjoyable and rewarding one.
Stephen McGlynn (graduated 2011)
I’m really proud to say that I have an MSc from the Institute of Work Psychology. The course gave me many different invaluable opportunities: meeting and working alongside people from a variety of different backgrounds, work experiences and cultures; learning from inspirational psychologists and those you read about in textbooks and networking with those out there in industry and practice, understanding the importance of bringing academic theory and psychological practice together.
The course also had a very practical side, with regular workshops and opportunities to practice presentation, business and consultancy skills, and with several months dedicated to your own research project. These skills gave me the confidence to do many unexpected things; pursuing a PhD and BPS Chartership and taking part in the BPS Division of Occupational Psychology’s Leadership Development Programme.
Catherine Wang (graduated 2011)
I appreciated the range and breadth of the topics that the MSc covered in such a short time, and I felt valued as a student knowing that I was learning from the experts in the subject field.
It was extremely helpful that guest speakers with practical and consulting experiences were invited to give us a glimpse of the ‘real world’ and the many possible career options. I feel that with this MSc, the combination of a theoretical knowledge base and project management experience have provided a solid foundation for a career in the field of organisational development and transformation.
My current role is Organisational Development Associate in a small consulting firm in Los Angeles, USA.
Shauna Coyle (graduated 2009)
My connection with the IWP has been invaluable to me in building a career as an occupational psychologist in the UK and Ireland. In this field, your network is everything and the staff/student alumni network from IWP is more extensive than most due to its long history and strong reputation.
IWP has a great sense of collegiality, facilitated by small class sizes and one-to-one relationships with staff. Although the course was demanding, it was also practical, interactive and (dare I say it?) kind of fun! We worked hard and played hard and some of my classmates from that year have remained friends for life. I would highly recommend this MSc for anyone who is serious about pursuing a long-term career in the field.
Carla Cavanagh (graduated in 2006)
The IWP’s reputation is second to none. I asked around beforehand and could hear nothing but praise for it. In particular, the small group size appealed to me and the applied nature of both the course and the IWP.
There were real-world experienced academics there, and other students with vast and varied real-world experience. This added much to the topics discussed as they could alsways put me in the context of how to apply them in the world of work. I met some of the best people in my life – it was a really happy time.
I have worked in occupational psychology since leaving the IWP and have put to use all that was learned there. I am now Head of Research at Best Companies, the name behind the prestigious ‘Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For’ lists.
Michelle O’Doherty (graduated in 2000)
I loved Sheffield. It was really well set up for student life. I have very happy memories of time spent with an excellent class, along with access to enthusiastic experts in every topic we were studying. There was always someone’s door to knock on if you had a question about any given topic!
It was really hard work but really enjoyable and truly the best year of my student life. The things that stood out for me were the psychometric testing knowledge gained on the theoretical elements of the varioustopic areas grounded with real-life case studies, workshops, presentation skills, the further development of my commercial awareness and access to a wide network of experts.
I am currently a HR Business Partner with eircom.
Colin Mercer (graduated 1990)
I thoroughly enjoyed my MSc at Sheffield. The combination of taught theory and practical experience gave me the skills and confidence to embark on a career in industry, and later consultancy.
Now I am the Managing Director of Wickland Westcott. In adding value to organisations, process skills are at least as important as knowledge, and it is the combination of the two that makes the Sheffield course so strong.
Johanna Fullerton (graduated 1990)
My year [at the IWP] was a wonderful experience and really has been an incredibly positive influence on my career. In particular I appreciated the practical and applied nature of the course, the numerous role-plays and the challenging case studies. The diversity of the course participants was also notable.
It was easy to connect to the course and the lecturers, and I have valued the connections made during my year there that have stood the test of time.
Completing the course really gave me a strong understanding of what a career in occupational psychology could look like. It afforded me the opportunity to earn a Research Psychologist position in Pearn Kandola. I later became a Partner there and after 18 years made the decision to leave and set up another one – SEVEN, Psychology at Work! It has been quite a journey and along the way I have kept in touch with IWP and even returned to do an invited lecture ten years after graduating.
It’s part of my professional DNA and I plan to keep learning from the wisdom of IWP.
David Morrison (graduated 1981)
It was simply the best place I could have been a student.
The [IWP] staff were world leaders, well published and incredibly nice people. I am still in touch with a number of them and I consider them to be my friends. The best things were being treated as a junior colleague to them rather than a student, the cutting edge knowledge that was being transferred and the open door policy of the staff.
Having been to Sheffield was what opened doors for me and it was responsible for getting me my first job – the reputation was everything and it still is. My most valuable learning experience was the research thesis – I learned to become more independent and confident (we published three papers from my thesis). I was ahead of the game at the time in terms of knowledge and skills.
David has had a distinguished academic career that has included senior positions at the University of Western Australia.