Beyond

27/12/2008 19:10

For a long time, this particular article only said "I'll keep you posted... :)". I think that I'm now in a position to make that posting!

Many of the "successful academic parapsychologists" (i.e., those who get paid!) that I know were able to get jobs in academia by not talking too much about parapsychology. They usually got their first positions by demonstrating other skills that they obtained during their Ph.Ds, such as expertise in research methods and statistics, or cognitive psychology, social psychology, biological psychology, or some other core area of psychology. This emphasises why it is important to ensure - as Bob Morris always put it - that you have "more than one string to your bow" when you come out of your long journey of many qualifications. But I think that this applies to most Ph.D's, and not just to people studying parapsychology.

I was more fortunate than most. Although it took me a while to get my first full-time post, not only was it in a very friendly department (the Psychology Department at the University of Derby), but I was also employed - at least in part - because of my background in parapsychology and not in spite of it. Not only had people in the department already recognised the usefulness of parapsychology as a teaching tool to teach undergraduates areas such as research methods and philosophical issues, but modules in parapsychology already existed before I started! This is very rare, but a positive sign of what may happen at more universities in the future.

There is one, final element to "becoming a parapsychologist". A few years ago the U.K. government decided that anyone who is teaching at a U.K. university who does not have several years of previous teaching experience would have to complete a post-graduate qualification in teaching (at the University of Derby this is called the Postgraduate Programme in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education). Therefore, be prepared to having to do one final qualification when you get your first lecturing post.

Good luck and let me know how you get on!

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Read my guide on "Becoming a Parapsychologist". I wrote this to try and advise some of the students who contact me asking about this complex issue.