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Working in the UK with a Psychology Degree from Abroad

By: Roger Cook - Updated: 13 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Psychology Degree Abroad Uk

Basic Considerations

As with looking to work abroad if you have a UK psychology degree, in theory it should be reasonably simple to work in the UK with a degree from another country. However, psychology is what is known as a "regulated profession" and in the UK the British Psychological Society (BPS) regulates entry into the profession.

The core difficulty is that the structure and content of the UK undergraduate psychology degree is different to usual practice elsewhere in Europe. In particular, UK training and education tends to put an emphasis on "breadth" rather than early specialisation that is then followed through into work and training.

If you wish to come to the UK to study for an undergraduate degree in psychology then the procedure is relatively simple. You apply for a University course in the same way as any UK domiciled student. If you live in an EU country you will be eligible to pay the same fees as English or Scottish students (different procedures exist in England and Scotland). The rest of this article considers what your options are if you already have some psychology qualifications from abroad or have completed your education and training and are now looking to move to the UK.

Completing Your Psychology Education In The UK

If you already possess an undergraduate degree then you need to contact the BPS. They have procedures to assess your degree and if successful, you will be eligible for Graduate Membership of the Society and thus eligible for further postgraduate education and training.

Roughly the BPS has set three main criteria and you must satisfy them all:

  • Your degree must be the equivalent of a UK honours degree and the syllabus must have been made up of more than 50% psychology. You may be asked to provide details of the complete syllabus. It is also important that the subjects studied meet the BPS' emphasis on "breadth";
  • The degree must be from a university or institution recognised by the International Association of Universities;
  • You will need to supply translated and authenticated copies of all relevant documents.

If your degree means you do not meet the conditions for Graduate Membership, then you can either opt to take the BPS' own "Qualifying Examination" or undertake one of a number of BPS approved conversion courses.

Once you have satisfied the BPS requirements for Graduate Membership you are entitled to apply for one of a number of professional postgraduate programmes relevant to your chosen field.

Moving To The UK If You Have Already Completed Your Psychology Education

If you have already completed both your undergraduate and postgraduate education and training abroad then you will still need to satisfy the BPS that your qualifications allow you to work as a Chartered Psychologist. In this case you will need to meet two requirements:

  • As above, your degrees must meet the BPS expectations so that you would have be eligible for what is technically called the "Graduate Basis for Registration (GBR)";
  • You must satisfy one of the nine professional divisions that operate within the BPS. This will assess whether your postgraduate training and experience meet their requirements. If you wish to work as a Clinical Psychologist there is an additional criteria - you will need to acquire what the BPS calls a "Statement of Equivalence".

In most cases, you will meet the requirements for GBR but will need to undertake further practical training and possibly do some additional study. In addition if you come from outside the EU you will need to acquire a work permit in order to work as a psychologist.

Summary

If your existing qualifications are from another EU country, you will need to satisfy various requirements in order to meet the BPS expectations either for Graduate Membership or to acquire the title of Chartered Psychologist. In practice most people who have trained abroad do find a need to undertake further training or study to meet the BPS' requirements. If you come from outside the EU, you will, in addition, need to acquire a work permit.

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Hello, I graduated in spain, and I don't really know what does that part of the text means: "Your degree must be the equivalent of a UK honours degree and the syllabus must have been made up of more than 50% psychology. You may be asked to provide details of the complete syllabus. It is also important that the subjects studied meet the BPS' emphasis on "breadth". Thank you very much
Alba Jimenez Gasulla - 18-Mar-11 @ 7:05 PM
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