This course gave me the necessary experience in research and analysis

Rebecca_Cox_Clinical and Abnormal Psychology graduate

Rebecca Cox graduated from the MSc Clinical and Abnormal Psychology (Distinction) in 2014 and is now working as a Statistical Officer for the Welsh Government.

"When looking to complete my MSc it was for one main reason - I wanted to become a Psychologist. I knew that getting on the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology was extremely competitive and after being out of education for so long I figured completing an MSc would brush up on my skills and give me a better opportunity to gain more experience. I did a lot of research into MSc Psychology courses. I chose USW as the modules they offered interested me the most. 

Whilst completing my MSc Clinical and Abnormal Psychology, I was able to gain a lot of work experience. My dissertation gave me hands on experience with service users and allowed me to experience what it would be like as a real Psychologist. The course also offered students the opportunity to undertake work experience and had many guest speakers in to talk to us about the line of work they were in.

My research is being published

My dissertation titled ‘Panic Disorder: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Coping’ looked at how effective CBT is as a treatment for panic disorder within the Cardiff and Vale Psychology and Counselling department. 

The study included 26 participants who had been clinically diagnosed with panic disorder and who had been referred for psychological treatment. I was required to collate responses of standardised inventories before and after treatment and analyse my results. My dissertation also included a second study which looked at the routine use of coping strategies for individuals who are living with panic disorder who are currently unwilling or unable to access psychological treatment. 

I ended up being awarded the ‘outstanding performance’ and ‘best dissertation’ awards at the end of the year. My dissertation was also circulated round the NHS and is now in the process of being published. It’s great to know that the work you have completed has actually made a difference.

In one particular lecture about the future prospects of MSc Psychology students, we were reminded about all the skills we had learnt and what jobs required these skills. It was at this point that I decided that a career in research and statistics was for me. I had loved conducting research for my dissertation and analysing my results. It was a great feeling.  

About my job 

I am now a Statistical Officer for the Welsh Government. I am based in the education statistics department. Most of my time is spent analysing data and producing charts. I also work on statistical publications – such as the pupil level annual school census– and collect data from schools in Wales which informs these. 

I love the fact that I learn something new every day. Not only do I learn new skills working in my day-to-day role but there are many opportunities to get involved with projects which develop my broader skills. 

One of the most interesting jobs I have worked on recently has been to do with school counselling in Wales. This project involved me collating, aggregating and then analysing data on school counselling, obtained from local authorities. 

I really enjoyed this piece of work as it had not been done before. I was given responsibility for the report, which I enjoyed producing, and allowed to shadow policy colleagues and see the work they do."