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Thinking of Postgrad? OUPS Weekend

1st-3rd September 2017, Warwick University
Online booking has now closed, please contact secretary@oups.org.uk for availability.

Are you thinking about pursuing a career in psychology? Do you find the options confusing, or perhaps feel uncertain about what direction you would like to take? Would you like to have a whole weekend devoted to all things postgraduate?

In response to feedback from our members, OUPS is delighted to be able to offer a new weekend! ‘Thinking of Postgrad?’ is a weekend which aims to demystify a range of careers plus provide you with a ‘taster’  of one of two of the many skills and activities that you might come across if you decided to go down a particular psychology path – but without any of the pressure!

It is hoped by the end of the weekend you will come away having decided what is not for you as much as gaining an appreciation of what is - and how to go about getting where you want to be. You will receive clear, unbiased advice from psychologists with a range of experience and expertise who will be on hand to advise and inspire you. 

This weekend offers a full programme of nine sessions, running from Friday evening (registration from 3pm; dinner at 6pm; evening lecture 8pm) until Sunday tea time (3.30pm). 

Tutors and Sessions

Friday 1st September

Registration Reception 3.00-6.00pm
Dinner   6.00pm
Welcome briefing   7.45pm
Psychology and the MOD: From Theory to Practice Presented by Alex Sandham 8.00pm
Meet and mix drinks party The Bar, Rootes Building (1st Floor) 9.45pm

Saturday 2nd September

Breakfast   7.30-8.30am
Occupational Psychology Presented by Jim Handley 9.00am
Tea/Coffee break   10.30am
Neuroscience Presented by Graham Edgar 11.00am
Lunch   12.45pm
Educational Psychology Presented by Sarah Godwin 2.00pm
Tea/coffee break   3.30pm
Applied Psychology Interventions Presented by Jim Handley 4.00pm
Tea/coffee break   5.30pm
Academia Presented by Graham Edgar 6-7pm
Dinner Panorama Suite, Rootes Building (2nd floor) 8.00pm
Disco Panorama Suite, Rootes Building (2nd floor) 10.00pm-12.30am

Sunday 3rd September

Breakfast   7.30-8.30am
Clinical & Counselling Presented by Neil Frude 9.00am
Tea/Coffee break   10.30am
Human Factors Presented by Graham Edgar 11.00am
Lunch   12.45pm
Panel Session by All 1.30 pm
Revision Weekend ends 3.00pm

Dr Alex Sandham is a psychologist working in the Ministry of Defence – an area which doesn’t immediately spring to mind when considering a career in psychology. Like many of you Alex started her academic journey in psychology with the OU, before continuing to take a Masters by Research and then a PhD in Investigative Reasoning. She is now a Chartered Psychologist with the BPS but not in one of the traditional disciplines.

  • Applied Psychology in Defence and Security

    In this presentation Alex will talk about some of the applied work that psychologists carry out for the Ministry of Defence and the wider defence and security sector whilst trying to draw out the challenges that applied psychologists face when moving from the laboratory to the front line. Therefore, her talk should start the weekend off with a different perspective covering real world application to problems within the MOD and wider government. Her work touches on elements of forensic, counselling and clinical psychology, social psychology, cognitive psychology, neuro and cyber psychology...

The rest of the weekend will be more focused on specific areas, and these sessions will involve a careers component and well as a taster component, bearing in mind the advice and activities included in the different sessions could potentially cross over into other areas of psychology. For example, the Academia session will include routes into academia, designing a poster for presentations, experimental design, careers in research, getting your personal statement right and much more.

Dr. Graham Edgar has been a tutor with the OU for many years and is a regular contributor to OUPS weekends. He was an author of the Perception & Attention chapter in DSE212. He is also Reader in Psychology at the University of Gloucestershire where he works in the general area of cognitive psychology and applied neuroscience. He has particular interests in the areas of perception and situation awareness (SA). Current research includes studies of driver behaviour, and collaboration with international fire services to improve decision making on the fire ground.  He has developed techniques for measuring SA, including measuring brain activity using electroencephalography (EEG). Graham will be taking three sessions covering Neuroscience, Academia and Human Factors.

  • Academia

    Once you have your BPS recognized degree in Psychology then you may ask yourself what you should do with it. One option is to just keep doing more of the same and to become an, ‘academic;’ teaching and researching some aspect of psychology within higher education. Graham has spent many years (precise number redacted) working in, and out of, academia and will explore the pros, cons and practicalities of an academic career.

  • Neuroscience

    In the second of his presentations, Graham will explore one of the most exciting and dynamic (in his opinion anyway) psychology-related disciplines – neuroscience.  Neuroscience is a discipline developing at speed, making it an exciting and high-profile topic in the 21st century.  In this presentation, Graham will consider what neuroscience is, what it can do, and what you can do with it.

  • Human Factors:

    Finally, what can you actually do with your degree?  Can you get a proper job?  In his third presentation, Graham will explore one of many options for taking psychology into the ‘real world’ – human factors.  Graham, in between life as an academic, spent many years working in the corporate research centre of British Aerospace (now BAE Systems) applying psychology to everything from lasers to lavatories.  Human factors is a broad and fascinating area – where else can you be in a Fire Station in Warsaw one week, and a ladies’ toilet in Wales the next?

Professor Neil Frude has been tutoring at OUPS events for many years. He is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist within the NHS, Research Director of the South Wales Doctoral Course in Clinical Psychology and a Fellow of the British Psychological Society. He has published a number of books on topics as diverse as family relations, violence and clinical psychology and devised the first “book prescription scheme” for delivering self-help therapy for anxiety, depression and other problems. Such schemes now operate nationally across England, Wales and several other countries. These days, Neil’s major preoccupation is Positive Psychology (as he put it: “These days, I’m up to my eyes in Happiness”). Students really appreciate the way in which Neil uses his enthusiastic teaching style and his clinical experience to bring psychological issues to life. Neil will be covering Clinical Psychology and Counselling in one session.

  • Clinical and Counselling Psychology

    Many students who take a BPS recognized degree in Psychology want to make the transition from being a psychology graduate to becoming a professional psychologist, and the most popular applied psychology profession is Clinical Psychology. In this presentation, Professor Neil Frude, a consultant clinical psychologist and until recently the Research Director of one of the U.K. Clinical Psychology training courses, discusses the nature of both Clinical Psychology and Counselling Psychology and how graduates can train for these professions. There are huge differences in the training arrangements for the two professions, and the arrangements for training as a Clinical Psychologist are currently in flux. It’s no secret that it can be very difficult to get on to a training course, but the good news is that an Open University Psychology degree is highly acceptable as an entrance qualification. The presentation will discuss the pathways to training to enable students to make a judgement about whether becoming a Clinical or Counselling Psychologist is, for them, a realistic ambition. For those who wish to pursue this, information will be provided on how they can increase their chances of being accepted on a training course.

Dr Sarah Godwin is an Educational Psychologist employed by the local authority. Although her first degree was psychology, she is a person who changed her career - like so many of our OU undergraduates aim to do. She knows exactly what that means and what it takes. Sarah has taught in schools and runs training sessions for school staff as part of her role. Her session would be particularly relevant for those considering a career as an Educational Psychologist or for any who just want to find out a bit more about what the job involves.

  • Educational Psychology:

    A career in educational psychology can be highly rewarding, diverse and stimulating. Yet, for some people, when considering their career options post psychology degree, the role of an educational psychologist may appear enigmatic. For this session, Dr Sarah Godwin, practising educational psychologist (EP), will provide insight into the breadth and depth of the role. The session will include: an in-depth look at the role of an EP, including an overview of a typical week; practical activities as a taster of the work an EP gets involved in; explanation of the training route, as well as application hints and tips for gaining a place on the doctorate.

Jim Handley CPsychol. is an Occupational Psychologist and a long standing OUPS tutor. He’s worked with government departments, major multinational companies and charities as well as with small teams and individuals. Currently he has two major interests. One is working with organisations to use psychological principles of behaviour change to help them reduce their energy costs and carbon footprint. The other is to do with improving people’s psychological well-being and resilience. Jim will take two sessions – one on occupational psychology and another on applied psychology involving designing and implementing psychological interventions with lots of real world examples of putting psychology to good use in various environments.

  • Occupational Psychology:

    Are you looking for a rewarding and well paid career in psychology. We’ll look at the following questions: What is occupational psychology and what does it offer as a career? What do occ. psychs. do? Where do they work? How much do they earn? How can I become one? What universities offer the postgraduate training that I would need? Which ones offer distance learning? What can I do if I have a 2.2? What has the experience of OU students who have gone this route? Get answers to these questions and bring your own for discussion too.
  • Applied psychology interventions:

    How can we use psychology to solve real world problems? Introducing the field of applied psychology, Jim will discuss how we can put our “psychology powers” to work to great effect in any domain of life. Examples of recent projects include:
    • Personal: Reducing procrastination and overcoming indecisiveness; addressing problematic mobile phone use in university students; enhancing personal resilience.
    • Relationships: improving well-being of residents in a care home, making teams more effective; improving relationship satisfaction.
    • Work: increasing sales in retail; reducing alcohol-related violence; coping with stress and insecurity in self-employment.
    • Environment: increasing domestic recycling; reducing littering at a beach, moving toward a low carbon economy by reducing energy consumption in office block and heavy industry.

Please note – we are unable to cover all careers in depth – we do not have a separate focused forensic session at this time. We hope to offer one this September but cannot confirm it at the moment. If you would like more information on the above areas plus a fun and inspirational weekend we hope you will consider attending.

What's included ?

Costs are fully inclusive of all accommodation, meals, tuition, handouts and also include social events. Please note that all meals are still included in the non-residential option.

What to expect

The lectures are conducted in lecture theatres within the University campus, and you will be provided with a timetable of talks and lecture notes on arrival.

If you book the residential package then you will have a room in student halls complete with bedding, towels, a hairdryer, coffee making facilities and desk. Wifi is also included. Ensuite rooms include a bathroom with toilet and shower while standard rooms share toilet and shower facilities on the same floor. 

There are welcome drinks and also a psychology book stall, and these are both excellent places to meet other students. All students and staff wear name badges, so it is easy to find somebody to help if you have any questions. You can enjoy your meals with a group of students in the comfortable dining room. The food is fresh, healthy buffet style catering, and there is something to entice everyone. All meals are included in the price of the weekend.

Finally, whilst most students leave exhausted from the learning and socialising, they comment that it is such a worthwhile weekend, and we see many of them each year as they progress their studies!


The weekend takes place at Conference Park, University of Warwick. Accommodation is in single bedrooms on campus.

Warwick is an award winning conference venue with excellent facilities. Access to the sports facilities, including the swimming pool, are included in the price. The university's central location with excellent transport links makes it easily accessible from all over the UK and Europe. There is ample free car parking.

Travel and directions

Click here for satnav postcodes and directions to the University of Warwick.

For campus maps go to Warwick Campus Maps.


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