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What if I don't get a merit/distinction on my MSc?


User: myohmy1985 - 09 October 2012 22:59

I am currently finishing my MSc (Psychology) and had finished all my assignments and research project when today I get a letter from the disciplinary committee saying that I had been suspected of plagiarism for my literature review. I can resubmit my work but any pass mark will be capped at 40%. Anyways they've been a bit harsh and I will appeal however if worst comes to worst it means I can forget about a distinction and am scared I won't even get a merit (because the lit review is worth 40% of the research module with the dissertation at 60% so that means it weights a lot). So my question is, thinking of the worst here, if I only get a 2:2 (less than 60%) for my MSc do I still have a chance of applying to a Clinical Psychology Doctorate?

Any help will be most appreciated as I am freaking out beyond belief here, because I am thinking this is my career in academia ruined :-(

User: keenbean - 10 October 2012 08:34

Hey there! Do you mean the clinical psychology practitioner doctorate (DClin) or a clinical psychology research-based PhD? I don't think not getting a merit/distinction will be the end of the world either way- what did you get for your first degree? Many people apply for DClin without having done a masters (although there are also many people applying who already have research PhDs)- the only time lots of places insist on a masters is if your original degree was graded lower than a 2.1. If you have a lot of good quality relevant experience it might not have too much of an impact on your application. If it's a research PhD you're after, you might still be fine. Of course, the higher the mark, the better, but I know a few people doing fully-funded PhDs with just a pass at MSc level. Good luck with the appeal etc. Best, KB

User: badhaircut - 10 October 2012 09:13

You say your career in academia, but also talk about a clniical psychology doctorate.

If you are talking about a DClinPsy, my ex is a clinical psychologist and most of her friends who were training with her didn't have an MSc at all. However, they were a bit older and had done clinical experience which seemed more important.

If you are talking about a clinically related psychology PhD, all I had was a 2:1 at undergrad and it was mainly how I did at interview with the supervisor. Depending on the subject you end up doing your MSc subject matter may be irrelevant, but your research methods skills will probably be considered, but you can show these via publications and collaborations as well.

User: bewildered - 10 October 2012 12:31

Can I give you a tip here? I'm sure you didn't intend to, but in your original post you sound very flippant about having been accused (and presumably if already penalised found guilty) of plagiarism. If you come across like that in your appeal, it is unlikely to be successful. The penalty is actually quite light as it stands for a postgraduate student in my experience. Research misconduct is more of a red flag for PhD admissions than your mark, so I think you might be well advised to have a talk with a tutor you trust, to find out what impact it might have. You certainly will have to discuss the situation with the people you intended to use as references to find out how this will effect the reference they would write. In particular, if there are any extenuating circumstances you need to make sure they are aware of them.

User: myohmy1985 - 10 October 2012 15:17

Quote From bewildered:

Can I give you a tip here? I'm sure you didn't intend to, but in your original post you sound very flippant about having been accused (and presumably if already penalised found guilty) of plagiarism. If you come across like that in your appeal, it is unlikely to be successful. The penalty is actually quite light as it stands for a postgraduate student in my experience. Research misconduct is more of a red flag for PhD admissions than your mark, so I think you might be well advised to have a talk with a tutor you trust, to find out what impact it might have. You certainly will have to discuss the situation with the people you intended to use as references to find out how this will effect the reference they would write. In particular, if there are any extenuating circumstances you need to make sure they are aware of them.
Well, I am sure you can imagine how upsetting it is, especially as I didn't intend to rip off anyone's work, and in fact my list of references is all there, my mistake was not changing the text enough from the original source. Ans yes I do think it is unfair seeing I have NEVER been marked down when it comes to references throughout my undergraduate and postgrad studies. Of course I am worried how this will affect my academic record and I am looking to speak to the right people in my department, but thanks very much for putting my mind at rest (!)

User: myohmy1985 - 10 October 2012 15:24

Quote From badhaircut:

You say your career in academia, but also talk about a clniical psychology doctorate.

If you are talking about a DClinPsy, my ex is a clinical psychologist and most of her friends who were training with her didn't have an MSc at all. However, they were a bit older and had done clinical experience which seemed more important.

If you are talking about a clinically related psychology PhD, all I had was a 2:1 at undergrad and it was mainly how I did at interview with the supervisor. Depending on the subject you end up doing your MSc subject matter may be irrelevant, but your research methods skills will probably be considered, but you can show these via publications and collaborations as well.
Hi badhaircut

Thanks for your reply, I was really happy to read it. Yes I didn't make myself clear, when I said academia, I actually meant the DClinPsy, sorry! I got a 2:1 for my undergrad and I think I have quite a good chance for a distinction on my dissertation. But I am worried that because the committee won't really go back on their decision as the computer has evidence, I can't possibily argue with them, the only thing I can do is make it really clear that I did not intend to plagiarise, and it was a honest, human error of not going through my text again and checking that my citations were in order even though my list of references was. Anyways I am worried this will ''taint'' my academic records, there will be an anomally of 40% on my transcripts if I apply for the DClinPsy and then what am I to say to them in an interview? Even though I have quite a bit of experience????

User: Malitony2010 - 11 January 2013 01:58

I have just finished my MSc (Human Resource Management) 2:2 (less than 60%) for my MSc do I still have a chance of applying to a PHD in Human Resource Management or related courses ?

Any help will be most appreciated as I am freaking out beyond belief here, because I am thinking this is my career in academia ruined :-(

User: Pineapple30 - 11 January 2013 08:12

Ok, for the clinical doctorate (DClinPsy), with admissions, for most unis, I don't think they look at your MSc transcripts unless applicants have a 2.2 or a low 2.1.

Some career pathways (health psychology) insist on a Merit in an MSc in Health Psychology to proceed onto stage 2 professional doctorate in health psychology.

Obtaining postgraduate qualifications is by no means essential for DClinPsy admission.

Admission criteria for the DClinPsy differ between unis.

- With undergraduate degrees, some universities clearly outline a high 2.1 (over 65% I think at undergrad) or with a low 2.1 or 2.2, strong performance at MSc level (over 65% at MSc level- unis check MSc transcripts here).
- Some unis specify at least a 2.1 without any mention of postgrad qualifications. Remember you've got a 2.1, so you've met the minimum criteria for most unis.

Admission tutors look at a range of factors- academic (BPS accredited undergrad, 2.1 or 2.2 with postgrad qualifications), relevant experience (ie assistant psychologist, research assistant, support worker, care assistant, mental health recovery worker), strong references, good reflective form and strong interview performance if shortlisted.

Some universities require strong academic backgrounds, whereas other universities are more reflective and require strong clinical experience.

Also, some DClinPsy courses have pre interview selection tests (usually a research methods type exam). Applicants who've met the minimum criteria (Ie 2.1, relevant experience) receive invites for a pre interview selection test. Generally, the top % applicants in the pre interview selection test receive invites for interviews. In the case of tied scores, admission tutors then look at application forms again and select the stronger applicant.

All in all, a varied process. Also depends on the level of competition out there as well, which varies every year.

If you carefully select universities for DClinPsy admissions, this should improve your prospects of getting onto the DClinPsy.

Also, a friend of mine obtained a Pass at MSc level (she failed to obtain a Merit in her MSc) and she got onto the DClinPsy and is now a clinical psychologist.

User: Ayurshi - 16 February 2018 10:09

I have a similar concern. I have applied to Glasgow and Bristol for PhD after receiving a masters (2:2) from Edinburgh University. I have a first class under graduation though.It is a development studies field that I'm talking about. Things are getting awkward now because my potential supervisor from Glasgow (who is really interested in my research topic) has not reverted back since the time I shared my postgraduate transcripts with her. I am so worried about getting an acceptance letter, I can't imagine my state of mind while waiting to hear about scholarship decisions. Am I barking up the wrong trees here? Or would you guys suggest that I pursue it? Just two days ago, I received an acceptance letter from Bristol but not a scholarship offer, so I am back to where I started. Suggestions/Tips/ Recommendations, please?





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