Meet the StaffsPsych Graduates – Sian (BSc Psychology & Child Development including a Foundation Year)

As part of our new series of StaffsPsych Graduate Success Stories, we are pleased to introduce Sian who graduated from our BSc Psychology & Child Development course in 2015 after also successfully completing a Foundation Year.

Sian introduces herself and talks about her experiences studying Psychology and Child Development at Staffordshire University, and tells us how her degree has helped her  pursue a PhD in Psychology:

Please tell us a little about your background before coming to study at Staffordshire University:

When I left school at 16 years old, I trained to be a hairdresser and worked full time for several years. I decided to have a career change in my mid-twenties, so I completed an Open University course to help me get back into education.

What attracted you to studying Psychology at Staffordshire University?

I was interested in child psychology and Staffordshire University was one of the only universities to offer this type of course.

Furthermore, Staffordshire University gave me the option to complete a Foundation Year as I had taken extended time out of education. I think this was beneficial as this year gave me the tools to succeed at University.

What were the best parts of your experience at Staffs?

The staff in the Psychology Department were very approachable which made my time at Staffordshire University more enjoyable. In addition, I gained training in all the latest equipment and software related to psychology research. The Science Centre, where the Psychology department is based, has state-of-the-art equipment that is available to all students.

What was the biggest challenge(s) that you overcame whilst studying at Staffs?

I think the biggest challenge that I faced at university was time management. I had a young child and trying to juggle all my commitments was difficult sometimes. However, I found planning my timetable in advance really helped.

What have you done since leaving Staffs (e.g. volunteering, working, travelling…)? How did your course help you with this?

After graduating, I spent a short time working as a research assistant investigating the effects of watching television on children’s creative thinking. Subsequently to that, I worked for Leeds University, on a longitudinal smoking prevention project investigating adolescents’ views on smoking. Currently, I am undertaking a PhD looking at improving eating behaviours in high school students using the social norms approach.

What are your plans for the future?

My plans for the future include conducting more research in to children’s eating behaviours and potentially teaching in Psychology.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about applying to study Psychology at Staffordshire University?

Staffordshire University offers a supportive learning environment which will give you transferrable skills that can be used in any job setting. The advice I would give to someone applying to Staffordshire University is embrace every opportunity offered to you. The Psychology Department at Staffordshire University offer a fantastic curriculum with additional opportunities outside of the course for learning.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about your time at Staffs?

My time at Staffordshire University has given me so many skills that are transferable to an array of different jobs and I am really grateful for being given the opportunity to study at Staffs.

The Department of Psychology at Staffordshire University offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Psychology at the University’s £30 million Science Centre in Stoke-on-Trent.

Interested in a Psychology degree? Come to an Open Day – for further details and to book your place at an open day please click here.

For more information about the Psychology degrees on offer at Staffordshire University please visit the below pages:

Meet the StaffsPsych Graduates – Andrew (BSc Psychology & Counselling)

As part of our new series of StaffsPsych Graduate  Success Stories, we’re pleased to introduce Andrew who graduated from our BSc Psychology & Counselling course in 2017.

Andrew introduces himself and talks about his experience studying Psychology and Counselling at Staffordshire University, and tells us how his degree has helped him pursue his dream career as a Health Psychologist:

Before coming to Staffs, I lived in the small southern town of Dunstable, Bedfordshire. Up until the time I was going to university open days, I had not travelled any further north than Northampton, so coming to Staffordshire was quite the trek initially! I studied Biology, English Literature, Chemistry, and of course Psychology at A Levels, and fell in love with the subject. Not only because I find what makes people tick so interesting, but because of it could offer me. Like many young people, I have struggled with my mental health. By being a person to lean on for my friends back in school, as well as going to seek therapy myself, I knew that pursuing a career in Psychology was my calling.

What attracted you to studying Psychology at Staffordshire University?

I wanted to study psychology, but to also specialise in counselling and therapeutic skills. As one of the only universities in the country at the time that was offering a counselling specific course at a bachelors level, Staffs was an easy pick. After going to an open day, seeing all of the equipment and facilities on offer, and feeling so welcomed by both staff and current students, I knew that I could work well there (and I did!).

What were the best parts of your experience at Staffs?

Where do I begin! Of course, on the campus life side of things I enjoyed heading out to the student union bar with my friends. I got involved with anything and everything that I could, including setting up societies, running liberation networks, and being a part of student projects where I could. But mostly I am proud of what I achieved, and ultimately getting the best degree I could, graduating with a 1st Class.

What was the biggest challenge that you overcame whilst studying at Staffs?

Putting myself first and being confident in my abilities. I have always been a people pleaser, and while that has its benefits, often times my tendency to help others would come at a detriment to my own wellbeing. By going through the process of earning a degree and getting the much-needed support from my personal tutors and peers, I developed an appreciation for being much more introspective, and realising that my needs needed to be met too. Thanks to that, my confidence in myself and what I can offer as a graduate is at an all-time high, and I do not think I would have turned out like this had it not been for the course I chose, and the people who helped me along the way.

What have you done since leaving Staffs?

I came right back! As someone pursuing a career in Psychology I require further training, and it just made sense to return to Staffs to do just that. I am currently studying the MSc Health Psychology course which I love! It has been a slight detour from my initial counselling path, but I could not be happier studying in an area that will enable me to make change, helping as many people as I can to live a healthier and happier life.

What are your plans for the future?

Ultimately, I wish to reach that doctoral level, and I plan on doing a Health Psychology Professional Doctorate sometime in the future to achieve that. In doing so, I hope to one day open my own practice, working with people to achieve their health goals and reach the best self that they can be.

At the moment however, I plan on slowing down after 4 straight years of intense studying. I have a volunteer position set up at a local health and wellbeing service back home, and I have applied for a casual research assistant role to keep me in the world of psychology but will allow me to relax for a few months.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about applying to study Psychology at Staffordshire University?

Do not think that just because you do not know the ins and outs of every theory you’ve come across that you are not worthy to study a psychology degree. Be true to yourself, and let the university know what studying psychology would mean to you. If you are passionate about the area and want to use it in a way to help people, be expressive about it. If you just find the topic interesting and want to know more purely for your own gain, be expressive about that too. Good luck!

Finally, is there anything else you’d like to tell us about your time at Staffs?

I would not trade my time being at Staffs for anything, and I hope that whoever is reading this will consider making Staffs their home for the next 3 years. I am certainly #ProudToBeStaffs

The Department of Psychology at Staffordshire University offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Psychology at the University’s £30 million Science Centre in Stoke-on-Trent.

Interested in a Psychology degree? Come to an Open Day – for further details and to book your place at an open day please click here.

For more information about the Psychology degrees on offer at Staffordshire University please visit the below pages:

Student Blog: Attending the 2017 Graduate Recruitment Exhibition

Following Dr Heather Semper’s blog where she discusses taking some of our Final Year Psychology students to the Graduate Recruitment Exhibition in Birmingham (read more here), two of our current BSc (Hons) Psychology students (Aman and Elliott) blog about their experiences attending this event:

Experiences before the Exhibition

With an event such as this it was hard to know what to expect. On one hand, these are professionals working for big companies which in of itself can feel rather daunting and overwhelming and so you feel a bit of pressure to come across as best you can. On the other hand, it can be somewhat exciting to see what kind of opportunities are available after university.

Experiences after the Exhibition

Elliot and Aman (pictured on the right above)

Thankfully our prior nerves were put to rest. The event itself was very organised and it was easy to navigate around all the different stands. All the people at the stands were approachable, easy to talk to and offered good advice regardless of your degree. In one particular case we were lured into the UK DOMAIN stand by the man working there turning Woolworths vouchers into 20 pound notes. There were several interesting talks throughout the day by different companies about a range of different things from national defence to starting your own business. While other companies such as The Write Stuff were holding CV clinics where you could pay to have your CV appraised or book consultations with the company to have your CV created with professional staff.

Opportunities / talks

As psychology students, we thought that a career within healthcare or applied psychology would be the most likely route after our degree. However, at the event we discovered a plethora of opportunities we hadn’t thought of which are outside of psychology but still use the skills we gain from the degree, such as data analytics, management and marketing to name a few. The opportunities didn’t stop with just looking ahead as there were various opportunities at the event itself such as the aforementioned CV clinic, practice psychometric tests and mock interviews to prepare you for the process of applying for jobs.

There were several talks running during the day the most memorable of which was a talk by DSTL. They presented their currents projects within anti-hacking “honeypot project” and how they as a company are looking for people to who can help with that work as well as a range of other positions within the company. As they are the branch of the government involved with security they couldn’t divulge too much information as it was classified. They went on to talk about what a career within the company would actually be like for a graduate discussing things like pay, on-site resources available to employees, such as gyms and hairdressers and a wide range of other benefits. Finally they discussed the various placement opportunities they had available, such as the summer placement and internships.


We found the event extremely useful and we would highly recommend other people attend it. A huge reason for attending an event like this is that it can show you a range of careers outside of your field you may not have previously considered. The event also allows you to meet with employers and ask questions which you may find difficult to answer from their website as well as the opportunity to find out what skills they specifically look for to allow you to tailor your application to their business. If none of that convinces you there are also plenty of cool freebies available on the day.

By Aman Mankoo & Elliott Phillips, Level 6 BSc Psychology Students.


The Department of Psychology at Staffordshire University offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Psychology at the University’s £30 million Science Centre in Stoke-on-Trent.

Interested in a Psychology degree? Come to an Open Day – for further details and to book your place at an open day please click here.

For more information about the Psychology degrees on offer at Staffordshire University please visit the below pages:

MSc Health Psychology Graduates Talk at the Stoke-on-Trent Health Literacy Group Meeting

The Health Literacy Group (Stoke-on-Trent) hosted an event on 24th June 2016 at Keele Hall. The event was organised by Mike Oliver from the Stoke-on-Trent Council Public Health Team who is also a current MSc Health Psychology student at Staffordshire University.

Jul16 HL story

Mike Oliver facilitating discussions during the Health Literacy event

From Ideas to Action: Update and Moving Forward’ encouraged attendees to share ideas and good practices for promoting health literacy for people living in Stoke-on-Trent.

Jul16 HL story 2

Jo Protheroe, delivering her keynote speech

Jo Protheroe, Chair of Health Literacy UK, and Lesley Mountford, Director of Public Health for Stoke-on-Trent, were keynote speakers at the event. They shared health literacy statistics and examples of how health literacy can influence a person’s ability to maintain good health.

After the keynotes there were eight presenters who showcased examples of health literacy initiatives and good practice in Stoke-on-Trent. One of these presenters was our Sarah Higgins, who shared her findings on nutrition label health literacy from her research conducted whilst on the MSc Health Psychology course.

Sarah commented: ‘It was wonderful to hear about so many successful health literacy projects in Stoke-on-Trent and to share my research findings with the group. The passion and motivation to influence health literacy in the area is truly inspiring!’

After the presentations group discussions took place to discuss the examples of good practice as well as feedback on future actions to promote health literacy. For more details please follow the Stoke-on-Trent City Council Twitter account (@SoTCityCouncil) and the #HLStoke hashtag.

Jul16 HL story 3

 Staffordshire University – The Home of Health Psychology

Staffordshire University’s Centre for Health Psychology is a Psy1centre of excellence for teaching and research in Health Psychology, and is home to Staffordshire’s BPS Accredited Stage 1 MSc in Health Psychology and BPS Accredited Stage 2 Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology. The Centre for Health Psychology is part of the School of Psychology, Sport and Exercise, one of the leading research-active academic schools for Psychology and Sport degrees situated in the heart of England.

For further information about Health Psychology courses and research at Staffordshire University please visit the following webpages:

StaffsPsych Student Blog: Mentoring GCSE Students

Anthony Miller, a second year Sport & Exercise Psychology student at Staffordshire University, blogs on his experience working as a mentor with GCSE students:

An opportunity was advertised via the Psychology department’s Blackboard website to be a mentor at a high school in Stoke-on-Trent under the supervision of Penny Vincent. At first I was apprehensive, I had never done anything like this before! I plucked up the courage and realized how beneficial this could be for my professional development, so I decided to go for it!

I went to mentor some Year 11 students at Haywood Academy prior to the Easter break. Doing this really helped me realize what it takes to work in education, and how challenging it can be. For me, going into that situation blind (so to speak) really was difficult, but once the day was finished, I felt confident and competent. I gained the skills to help in a school setting and now I would not hesitate in doing more mentoring sessions.

A Miller Mentoring (March 2015)

Anthony mentoring Year 11 Haywood Academy students

What I actually did was indirectly help the students answer mock exam questions, by finding ways to help them get to an answer without directly feeding the answer to them. At first this was hard, especially without in-depth course knowledge. I also realized that each student is different, and adaptation to the needs of such students is key. Some are quiet, some are loud, and some just really struggle to listen, but this where experience comes in and I am glad I have started with this mentoring role now rather than later. The primary gain from doing this was the students realizing their potential, and learning through my guidance, making a genuine difference to their capabilities.

If you are interested in acting as a mentor please contact Penny Vincent at

Keep up-to-date with regular student blogs and news via the Psychology Department’s blog and twitter feed.

Election Success! Staffordshire Psychology Student voted to the Staffs Students Union!

Jaime-Lee Cunningham, a current Level 5 Single (Hons) Psychology student at Staffordshire University, was successful in her election as a Full Time Officer of the Staffordshire University Students’ Union with a Health and Sport ticket.JLC SU Office (March 2015)Jaime-Lee comments on her motivation for seeking election to the union and her hopes for her term in office:

“Unfortunately there are a lot of students not getting the full university experience and there are many different reasons for this. A big reason for me running for this role was to get students more involved in university life, and try to make it so there are no obstacles in a student’s way to getting the most out of the opportunities at university.

One way in which I hope to do this JLC SU Officer 2 (March 2015)is through reducing mental health stigma amongst students – mental health issues can be more common amongst students than many people realise. There is often a lot of pressure put on the individual to speak up about their difficulties, whereas more needs to be done to educate other students about mental health issues and ways in which they can help others, should, for example, one of their friends be struggling. This will hopefully make it much easier for an individual who is struggling to speak out and seek help.

Another change to help improve student involvement is through improving sports facilities and making access to rooms for training easier for clubs, societies and individual students. This would offer more opportunities for students to get involved in university life as often students find it difficult to fit their academic studies and their sports commitments into their timetable.

The biggest benefit for me would be to know I had helped other students get the most out of their time at university. If I was to hear that the reducing the stigma towards mental health campaign had improved someone’s university life that would be fantastic.”

The Staffordshire Psychology team would like to wish Jaime-Lee every success in her new Students’ Union role!