Media Psychology - A Graduate Story
Allie Johns decided a change in career direction was needed and went onto study Media Psychology. Here, she explains just what an impact the course had on her life.
- Why did you choose to study at Salford?
Pure serendipity. Back in 2013 I felt stuck in a rut in my role as a Planning Director. I knew I was interested in human behaviour and digital media, so idly one day in the summer I Googled ‘Media Psychology’ at the first search result I say was ‘MSc Media Psychology at Salford University.’ And the rest, as they say is history!
- What made you want to study your chosen course?
Having made the decision to return to studying in my late 40s, I was excited for the opportunity and felt it was right. However, I would not have made the leap without having had the chance to meet Dr Sharon Coen. With her energy and enthusiasm for the subject and her encouragement for me as a mature, industry-based student helped to calm the nerves and set me on a course that would change my career path.
- Tell us a bit about your course
Media Psychology is about understanding how and why humans engage and interact with media of all kinds, whether that’s social media, TV, print, AR, VR or XR. For example, it’s super-valuable and relevant for anyone who wants to understand the cognitive and emotional drivers of consumer and user engagement to create more effective and enjoyable customer and user experiences.
- How did you learn on the course?
I learned about the power of a Masters degree to transform the way I think and write. I became a fully-fledged objective and critical thinker very quickly and this instantly transformed the way I was able to present data and insight to my clients at the time. Specifically, my MSc in Media Psychology positioned me as a human-behaviour researcher and strategist, which in the world of digital marketing is an incredibly valuable skill to be able to offer employers and clients.
- Did you undertake a placement? If so, tell us a bit more about your experience
Not a placement as such but I did choose a Live Client Brief for my Dissertation project, working with the BBC to research the cognitive and emotional impact of interactive TV drama on viewers. An incredible opportunity, which became a conference paper presented at the ACM Interactive Experiences conference in Chicago, 2016. Subsequently, this helped me to gain my role as Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University, where I’ve been working now since 2017.
- What support is on hand for your studies? What are the teaching staff//school staff like?
Friendly, patient, approachable and helpful.
- Tell me your career journey since you’ve graduated and how did your course at Salford help with this?
My Msc Media Psychology was a pivotal moment in my career. I graduated in 2016 as a 50 year old with over 20 years of senior level industry experience behind me and I felt ready to give back so to speak. And that’s exactly what happened – I joined Manchester Metropolitan University in 2017 as a Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing and have never looked back. Since becoming a lecturer, I’ve created and delivered a variety of undergraduate and postgraduate modules, all driven by my knowledge of digital human behaviour, as a media psychologist. And that all began in October 2013 when I started my Masters at Salford!
- What advice would you give to someone just starting on the course?
Open your mind to the possibilities and be curious. The chance to absorb specialist knowledge and to think and write objectively about how to apply it is liberating and confidence-giving. The opportunity to conduct a piece of primary research can be an absolute game-changer too!
- What would you say to someone thinking about studying Media Psychology at Salford?
Well, first of all, Salford holds the unique position in the UK as the only Uni where you can study Media Psychology. Secondly and more importantly, the academic team are exemplary. They approach the subject with energy and enthusiasm, allowing students to develop their knowledge and skills from both a research and applied perspective. I felt the fear and did it anyway – am sure you can too!