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Case Study

Sally Anderson


MSc Psychology (Conversion)

PGCE Post Compulsory Education and Training (PCET)

Sally Anderson has studied both MSc Psychology (Conversion) and PGCE Post Compulsory Education and Training (PCET) at Sunderland. Since graduating, Sally now runs her own art business, and is looking to start her own Precious Plastics workshop to create in a sustainable way.

Before I came to university and before the pandemic, I worked in entertainment, and had a part time job that I loved. I had been talking about going back to do a Masters for years but I never quite got around to applying. When the pandemic happened, my self-employed work became really unstable, and I wallowed for a while but then decided it was time to do something completely different.

I chose the University of Sunderland because I was a mature student with a house and work in South Tyneside, so I only really looked at local areas. Sunderland offered the MSc Psychology (Conversion) which not all universities do, as well as the post-16 PGCE Post Compulsory Education and Training (PCET) which really fit with what I wanted to do.

My favourite part of my Psychology Masters was doing my thesis, even though it was very, very hard work. Doing independent research and having the freedom to choose your own topics and methods was very rewarding. In my PGCE, I’d have to say my placement at Connect Company at the Sunderland Empire. I absolutely love the group and was made to feel so welcome by the team there. For prospective students, my advice would be to take full advantage of everything that’s on offer at the university while you’re there and after you graduate. The business support, networking, and careers service are all excellent at Sunderland.

While studying, I started my arts for wellbeing business, and this is my main job today. I’m an artist selling my own work but most of my job is community engagement, working all over the northeast with all kinds of different groups. My future aims are to set up a Precious Plastics workshop and grow this over the next few years. I’d like to be selling more of my own artwork too and exhibiting more often but I find this often takes a back seat to my community work!

There are lots of little things I have learned during my studies at Sunderland which benefit my work today, rather than any one big thing. The UN’s plan for Sustainable Development that we learned about on the PhD most directly informs my day-to-day decisions and business practices.

Overall, I’d say my time studying at the University of Sunderland has been a great experience!

Published 2 February 2024

Find out more about Sally on her website and her instagram.

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