Student profile
Olivia Crawford

Olivia Crawford

"The lecturers and academic staff are always so supportive of students and are willing to help you in any way they can."

Entry year


Why I chose my course 

I realised during my undergraduate degree that I had a distinct interest in social psychology after learning about social influence, prejudice, prosocial behaviour and so much more. I decided to apply for the Social Psychology MSc because I felt like I wasn’t done! There was a lot more to learn, and I had such a great time as an undergraduate at the University that I wanted to stay. 

I’m passionate about social psychology because it can help answer many important questions about society. For instance, why people’s interactions change over time or across groups, how we present ourselves to other people, how we communicate with one another or how we make moral judgements. Social Psychology also has global importance in understanding how to improve social issues, for instance reducing prejudice and discrimination. I think you also get a greater appreciation for your own social relationships.

Initially, I chose to study Social Psychology at Surrey because the lecturers' interests sounded fascinating! The lecturers at Surrey have such diverse interests, looking at gender, morality, habits, social media, hate speech, humour and so much more! My advice to anyone looking at studying psychology at university would be to look at what the lecturers are interested in because this is what you might study or even do your dissertation on.

Getting involved with research 

While studying psychology at Surrey you have access to state-of-the-art facilities and equipment, including imaging suites, extended reality (XR) labs and a baby lab. As part of the research methods module, you are able to use eye trackers and devices for recording physiological measures, such as heart rate, to conduct your own mini-experiments. The psychology participation scheme also means you can take part in other students' research and get valuable insight into how to conduct your own study. I've really enjoyed using the facilities when taking part in other people’s research. 

As a psychology postgraduate student, you also have the opportunity to join a research group. The Social Emotions and Equality in Relations Research Group (SEER) hold frequent meetings where lecturers and students from Surrey and other universities, sometimes international, discuss their current research and problems in the field. These are great to attend to hear the latest research and gain valuable insight into the life of a researcher or even enhance your professional skills at one of their PhD training workshops.

Life on campus

In between lectures I like to go to Hillside restaurant with my friends for lunch because they have a great selection of food, including freshly made soups, jacket potatoes, pizzas, curries and fish and chips, which keeps me going for the rest of the day. I also like to grab a coffee from Lakeside coffee shop and sit by the lake because it’s a great place to relax and unwind, and when it gets hot, to have a BBQ!

The University of Surrey in winter is also beautiful! I loved when it snowed and the lakes across Stag Hill and Manor Park froze, it was like a winter wonderland! The University also put up lights across campus and gave out mince pies which made it even cosier.

Looking ahead

Social Psychology at Surrey can also open the doors for a variety of careers. Being able to understand human behaviour and gain scientific research skills makes potential job options and work settings diverse. The lecturers and academic staff are always so supportive of students and are willing to help you in any way they can. 

I have definitely changed since I started at Surrey. I have become a lot more confident in all areas of my life, whether this is academically such as having to give a presentation, getting involved in societies and events, or just learning how to live independently.

Over my time at Surrey, I have developed a passion for impactful research, so following my postgraduate course I am planning to do a PhD. The academic staff have really helped me to make this possible, giving advice and guidance and generally being really supportive, so I am extremely grateful to them!

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