School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

Undergraduate study

Natalie Gillson

"Without my placement I wouldn't be able to apply for the jobs I want to when I graduate; it sets me apart from other graduates"

Natalie Gillson

Year of Study



BSc (Hons)

Why did you choose this course?

I chose Loughborough because it is one of the few universities that offer a placement year and are highly ranked for Psychology (in the top 10).

What do you enjoy most about your course?

I like the mix of modules; every semester we do some biological, some social, some developmental, some design and analysis etc.

What do you think of the teaching quality?

I've always enjoyed lectures and since I was in first year in 2010 the number of lecture hours has increased considerably, following feedback from students.

Do you have a favourite module?

I enjoyed learning statistics and design and analysis. They aren't usually the most popular modules but they've been really useful and I like knowing how to complete my own research project.

What support have you had from the department?

I've been lucky enough not to have really needed any help during my time here but there are plenty of places to get it. In Psychology everyone gets a personal tutor who is the first port of call if you have any problems but there are also groups like the maths learning support centre, student voice etc to deal with any problems students have.

Describe a typical day on your course

There is a large emphasis on independent study in psychology at Loughborough. I only have lectures a few days a week so much of my time is spent reading or doing coursework.

Have you done a professional placement?

I completed my placement last year at a mental health organisation. It was absolutely invaluable; it gave me real-world experience and helped me decide what I want to do when I graduate. I've learnt how to go about getting myself on that career path and learning the skills that I need to get there. Without my placement I wouldn't be able to apply for the jobs I want to when I graduate this summer, it sets me apart from many other graduates.

What do you hope to do when you graduate?

Eventually I'd like to be a clinical psychologist, which requires a doctorate in clinical psychology. When I graduate I hope to get an assistant psychologist post, or something similar, that will allow me to gain experience that I'll need to gain a place on the doctorate. Most assistant psychologist posts require a year's worth of experience in a clinical setting. Because I've done my placement year I have this experience and can compete for these jobs, without it I would have to look elsewhere and work my way up to being considered for an assistant post.

What would you say to someone considering studying your course?

Do you want to do a placement? If so, seriously consider Loughborough. I can't recommend a placement year enough, if you want to work in psychology you will need the experience to get further in your career path.

Even if you don't want to do psychology, you will get references and a diploma qualification that will recognize the quality of the work you've done in that year that employers will take note of. When you're considering universities look at staff research interests because they will determine many of the optional modules you'll get offered.

What do you think of the social atmosphere?

My biggest worry about Loughborough was the sport culture. But I've been at Loughborough for four years now and that’s not been a problem. Instead of joining any sports teams, I decided to learn something new and became a qualified scuba diver with the Sub-Aqua Club, the Students’ Union's Scuba Diving Club.

I also became quite involved with RAG (Raising And Giving - charity work). In my first year I climbed to Mount Everest base camp and in April I'm dog-sledding around the Arctic Circle.

What do you enjoy most about being a student here?

I think Loughborough's campus is fantastic. There are loads of great facilities, most of which you can use without being part of a club and everything is close and in one place. At Loughborough you get so many opportunities, from work experience during a placement year to extracurricular activities.

What do you find inspiring about Loughborough University?

Doing my placement year allowed me to see what I needed to do to get a job in the area, which has really inspired me to make sure I have these skills and has given me a drive to excel in my degree.