Through our connections with health care and educational organisations in Poole and Bournemouth, you will have the opportunity to apply for a placement working with older adults with brain injury or neurological disease, or with children, adolescents or adults with neurodevelopmental conditions.
During the placements, you will be given a honourary contract and will have the opportunity to gain experience in a clinical setting, regularly meeting with clinical neuropsychologists and taking part in professional life in this field. You will be involved in data collection and handling such as PAL interviews, behavioural monitoring, UK Rehabilitation Outcomes Collaborative (UKROC), and use of assistive technology. You will also be offered research opportunities that may or may not form part of your Research Project. These could involve case studies, literature reviews to support clinical intervention, or the use of assistive technology. This includes dissertation possibilities. In addition, you will have the opportunity to attend multi-disciplinary team meetings (MDTs)/goal setting meetings during which the patient's history, progress and treatment will be discussed.
Placements are an optional (zero credit) component of the course. Applications for placements involve submitting a CV and undertaking an interview. Placement positions are highly competitive so we cannot guarantee each student a placement or the placement of their choice, but we do our utmost to help everyone who wants one to gain a placement. We additionally encourage students to find their own placements in order to enhance their chances of obtaining a position.
It should be remembered at all times that students on placements will be fully committed members of a real clinical or educational team. The highest standards of professional conduct must be upheld at all times, and students are expected to be dedicated, conscientious and considerate of their role in the lives of vulnerable people.
We’re always on the look out for new and exciting placement opportunities for students, so the full range we can offer will be revealed to you when you arrive. Below, however, you can see further information about some of our current placement providers.
Placements with older adults
Dorset Healthcare Adult Neuropsychology Service
The Neuropsychology Service is part of the Dorset Healthcare University Foundation Trust. Within this organization, students will work in one of several positions under the overall supervision of Dr Birgit Gurr, consultant clinical neuropsychologist.
Students may be placed at Poole Hospital’s Stroke Unit, where they will learn about neuropsychological aspects of stroke mainly focusing on cognitive, emotional and behavioural changes in the acute period after stroke. Following introduction to the Stroke Unit, the patients and the procedures, student will observe Dr Gurr initially to learn about the administration of baseline assessments, how to establish rapport with stroke patients and how to engage them in basic psychological support. The placement is an excellent opportunity to learn and practice clinical skills whilst under the guidance of a highly experienced clinician. Students will learn to independently administer baseline neuropsychological assessments; undertake clinical psychology interviews and mood assessments. They will be extensively involved in cognitive stimulation work, reminiscence intervention, supportive counselling, administering basic relaxation and coping strategies.
As part of a multidisciplinary team at the Stroke Unit, students will participate in the morning handover meetings, case meeting with doctors and most of all will collaborate with other therapists to coordinate their assessments and interventions with the holistic neuro-rehabilitation programmes. During weekly lunchtime seminars, students will be introduced to knowledge about neurological aspects of stroke, brain injury, but also neuropsychological theory, test theory and psychotherapy theory and strategies. Students are given the opportunity to orally present and discuss a mini-case study during the month of January, a skill which is directly applicable to assignments in the course.
As an alternative to the Stroke Unit, students may be placed in the Community Brain Injury (CBI) Team. Students working in this role would initially shadow Dr Gurr as described above, in order to learn basic skills related to working with patients with brain damage. They would then be recommended to work with the CBI team. In this role, students can work with other psychologists on the team, facilitating assessments, group activities or the peer support group.
There may be further opportunities to work with in-patients at the Neurological Assessment and Rehabilitation unit at Poole Hospital. All of the placements with the Neuropsychology Service follow a gradual programme of teaching and applied practice. Commonly, students have acquired substantial skills and knowledge by January-February during the placement year. This can enable them to work fairly autonomously on the level of assistant neuropsychologists. This experience is often very valuable for those candidates who intend to apply for assistant jobs in view of clinical psychology training. Additionally, students will be confronted with the pressures and professional requirements of working in the NHS, which will add substantially to their work experience.
Students who have gained the confidence, skill and knowledge to work professionally with patients often welcome the opportunity to enroll in other activities offered within the Neuropsychology Service, such as such as cognitive-behavioural, relaxation, health management and life skills groups within Poole Hospital. Also, participation in free courses by Dorset Healthcare is possible.
A previous student commented: “This has been a positively stretching experience for me. I have learnt so much. Birgit has really invested her time and energy in the students. She has been flexible and receptive to our learning goals.” Another said: “I think it’s important to have self-confidence, to be independent and to be comfortable initiating.” Indeed, as all opportunities with the Neuropsychology Service are year-long placements, it is absolutely critical that students are committed and highly enthusiastic to learn and participate in a real world clinical and working environment.
Shelley Park Neuro Care Centre
Shelley Park Neuro Care Centre is one destination for people who have passed through Poole Hospital's Stroke Service, and provides specialist support for its residents through a holistic, person-centred approach to care and rehabilitation planning. While striving to always maintain a growing reputation as a centre of excellence, the policy of the centre is that residents are cared for in a warm and homely environment while having access to the best medical, nursing and rehabilitation professionals available. As Shelley Park works jointly with Southampton University and Bournemouth University to offer specialist placements and research opportunities, the centre is at the forefront of evidence-based practice. Located within a thriving community which allows the promotion of independence and return to community where possible, Shelley Park aims to offer daily community access to all our residents. Their successful milieu approach results in shorter admission periods for residents on the transitional pathway.
The interdisciplinary team that students will work with includes specialists in neuro-nursing, neuro-physiotherapy, clinical neuropsychology, speech and language therapy, music therapy, neuro-occupational therapy, and therapeutic art and neuro-rehabilitation assistants..
The Shelley Park model consists of a Complex pathway, an Enduring care pathway and a Transitional pathway, and students may work within any one of these. There are also step down units based in the community at various locations within Dorset which are subject to a resident’s needs. Finally, there is an independent living flat based on the main campus which allows a thorough assessment to tailor a person-centred discharge plan, to ensure long-term success. To read more about Shelley Park and the activities that placement students can expect to be involved in, please explore our website.
Placements with children, adolescents and adults with neurodevelopmental conditions
Amberwood Lodge and Nightingale House
Amberwood Lodge (Poole) and Nightingale Care Home (Bournemouth) are specialist residential facilities for young people and adults with autism spectrum conditions (ASC) and other neurodevelopmental conditions. They cater for individuals with a wide range of abilities: autistic people with learning disabilities who may be non-verbal are catered for at Amberwood Lodge, whilst more able individuals with autism, Down syndrome and Q37 chromosome deletion syndrome attend Nightingale House. Many of these individuals have complex mental health needs and comorbidities alongside their neurodevelopmental condition. Amberwood Lodge and Nightingale Care Home aim to provide a stable, safe and supportive environment whilst helping people develop life and vocational skills.
Students who undertake this placement will have the opportunity to experience both settings as they shadow clinical psychologist Dr Katika Varadi. Under Dr Varadi’s supervision, students will assist in the everyday activities supporting the residents at both units, which could include: conducting assessments (observations, interviews and psychometric tests), taking part in individual or group cognitive-behavioural therapy interventions, positive behavior support training, behavior modification programmes, and conducting risk assessments and Functional Analyses of behavior. They will be part of a multidisciplinary team including a Speech and Language Therapist, Occupational Therapist, Psychiatrist and Clinical Nurse alongside Dr Varadi, and will have the opportunity to attend group meetings. Ideally, two students will work together in this placement: one day will be spent shadowing Dr Varadi and another, subject to negotiation, will involve assisting Dr Varadi in formatting and writing up notes on clients, answering referrals, reviewing data from therapies to see if clients are progressing, and helping with the tasks that keep these services running successfully.
This placement will afford students the opportunity to learn how services for individuals with developmental conditions work ‘from the inside’, and will allow them to learn essential clinical skills that will be invaluable for future work with autistic individuals or other populations with learning disabilities. The placement, and the experience of shadowing a clinical psychologist, is also highly relevant for students with a general interest in a clinical career not necessarily focused on this population.
Tregonwell Academy offers a safe and nurturing learning environment for children and adolescents who have struggled at mainstream school. These children can experience emotional, social, attentional and behavioural difficulties. Many of them have been diagnosed with neurodevelopmental conditions like ADHD, and the school also works with young people who present with autism. Because these children and teenagers have struggled at mainstream school, Tregonwell Academy devises individualized learning plans for each student in order to increase their confidence and help them achieve their learning and developmental potential. The Academy achieved a grade of ‘outstanding’ on its 2013 Ofsted report, a national assessment to confirm quality control in education.
Tregonwell Academy is located on two sites, and students are invited to undertake a placement at the Nigel Bowes campus, which serves children of primary school age. The school has six classes: three serve children who are diagnosed with an autism spectrum condition (ASC) and the other classes serve more children with social, emotional and mental health needs. On site, students will work alongside staff with training in Special Educational Needs (SEN) and pastoral support workers.
Students on placement will assist in one-to-one lesson and learning support and also help the school develop group sessions on social and emotional mental health. These group sessions will focus on helping children develop the Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL) that are often problematic for them. Students may also work in personal development group sessions, where they would work with staff to help assess children’s social and emotional difficulties, identify targets for development, and create individualiszed plans.
As the staff at Tregonwell Academy are undergoing training in ‘emotion coaching’, focusing on Attachment and particular neurological aspects. Students may be able to take advantage of this training at the time. It includes both on-site days and an e-learning module, at the end of which a certificate can be obtained.
The school has close contact with Educational and Clinical Psychologists, so is an ideal environment to learn about and gain experience relevant to both of these fields.
How long is my placement?
You must complete a minimum of 12 weeks (one day per week), though placements can be longer (subject to agreement between yourself and the placement provider). You will spend 8 hours per week on placement. You will be expected to keep a placement log and undergo a half-way and end of placement review.
For those more interested in research, internal placements working with a member of staff in the Psychology Research Group will be offered. External research placements are also a possibility if you are able to secure an agreement with a chosen researcher at another institution.
Research placements offer invaluable experience for those wanting to go on to do PhD-level research. You will be expected to spend the equivalent of 8 hours per week for a minimum of 12 weeks, keep a placement log, undergo a half-way and end of placement review. Regular meetings with the academic supervisor will be held.
Full entry requirements
The normal requirements for embarking upon this degree are:
If you lack the formal academic qualifications needed to enter a postgraduate or post-experience degree, there are several alternative routes to follow - some based on experience. Contact the Future Students Enquiry team for more information.
International entry requirements
If English is not your first language, you will need to provide evidence that you can understand English to a satisfactory level. English language requirements for this course are normally:
IELTS (Academic) 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each component of writing, speaking, listening and reading, or equivalent.
View further information about our English language requirements.
A number of pre-sessional English and preparatory programmes are offered through our partner institution, Bournemouth University International College, and will get you ready for study at BU at the appropriate level.
You can also find further details of the international qualifications we accept, and what level of study they apply to, on our postgraduate entry requirements page.
Meet our staff
When you study psychology with us, you'll be learning from world-leading researchers in fields such as face blindness, neuropsychology and clinical psychology and you will have the opportunity to get involved in various research projects.
Dr Rachel Moseley is the Programme Leader for this course. She also organises placements and leads the Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Clinical and Cognitive Neuropsychology units. Her research interests centre on autism spectrum conditions (ASC). Within this broad domain, she has used neurometabolic (MRI, DTI) and electrophysiological (EEG, MEG) methods to investigate cognitive processes in people with and without ASC. Rachel is most interested in language and semantic processing, emotion processing, and social neuroscience. Her interests also focus on mental health in autism and the female profile of autism spectrum conditions. Girls and women with ASC are an understudied group and are commonly mis- or undiagnosed as they do not fit the traditional, male conceptualisation of autism.
Dr Julie Kirkby is the Framework Leader who oversees all MSc programmes at Bournemouth University. Her research interests fall within developmental and cognitive psychology, focusing on the development of reading and language processing in typical populations and those with specific difficulties like developmental dyslexia. She lends her expertise in mobile and static eye-tracking to the course.
Dr Peter Hills is currently Head of Department and leads the MSc Research Project unit. His research interests lie in face recognition and perception, where he has studied a broad range of effects using eye-tracking, EEG, tDCS and rTMS. He also studies visual attention as it is relevant to hazard perception whilst driving; attentional control and inhibition in schizophrenia and ADHD; dyslexia and processing speed; and research in Forensic Psychology on acquaintance rape and offender rehabilitation programmes.
Professor Jan Wiener, based in the Department of Psychology, is a co-leader of the Ageing and Dementia Research Centre at Bournemouth University and leads the Key Transferable Skills unit. His research interests focus on navigation and wayfinding in typical and elderly populations and those with degenerative disorders, using behavioural experiments, virtual reality techniques and eye-tracking.
Dr Ellen Seiss leads the unit on Ageing and Neurodegenerative Disorders. Ellen has a strong basis in cognitive neuroscience, in particular EEG, and studies disorders of affect, movement and movement control such as Parkinson’s Disease and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
Dr Bernhard Angele leads the Advanced Statistics unit. His research interests centre on reading, language processing and the allocation of attention during these processes, using eye-tracking to investigate these.
Dr Fiona Ling leads the unit on Advanced Research Methods. Her research is in the field of health and behaviour change, where she investigates psychosocial mechanisms which influence how physically active or sedentary children are. She uses a range of methods to do this, including implementing school-based interventions.
Many of our staff and students are involved in community or charitable trusts in addition to their academic practice or study, and we have close ties with the British Psychological Society. We are committed to developing our field through our research, practice and educating future psychologists.
Read more about the specialist interests of our Department of Psychology staff online, and register now to meet us!