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MSc Clinical & Developmental Neuropsychology

  • Delivery:
    Full time according to Funding Council definitions

This course focuses on the normal and abnormal changes that occur in the human brain from childhood through to adulthood through to old age. Key topics include rare cognitive neuropsychological disorders and relatively common clinical and neurodegenerative disorders. The course is taught by staff members who conduct cutting-edge research in these fields and by professionals in educational psychology, clinical psychology and neuropsychology. 

You'll have the opportunity to apply for a placement at one of two long established progressive specialist neurological care and rehabilitation facilities, where you'll gain valuable clinical experience. If you're more interested in research, internal placements working with a member of staff in the Psychology Research Group will be offered as part of the course.

Through the study of normal and abnormal patterns of development across the lifespan, this course provides a fascinating programme of study if you're wishing to become a researcher in this area and/or are seeking further professional development by gaining a unique and relevant qualification in an increasingly difficult job market.

This course was reviewed in February 2016.

Key information

Next start date:

September 2016, September 2017

Location:

Bournemouth University, Talbot Campus

Duration:

1 year, delivered 2 days per week

Required subjects:

Psychology

Entry requirements:

A Bachelors Honours degree, 2:1 or above or equivalent in psychology. Those with less standard/traditional qualifications and relevant experience will be considered on a case-by-case basis. If English is not your first language you'll need IELTS 6.5 (Academic) or above. For more information check out our full entry requirements.

Course details

Year 1

Core units

  • Ageing & Neurodegenerative Disorders: Cognitive abilities rise steeply from infancy to young adulthood and then are either maintained or decline in old age, depending on ability. This unit will focus on the mechanisms that underpin these changes, and will explore illnesses that usually develop in later life (e.g. dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and Huntington’s disease).

  • Advanced Research Methods: This unit aims to provide you with advanced knowledge of issues in cognitive psychological and neuropsychological research.

  • Clinical & Cognitive Neuropsychology: The diagnostic assessment and treatment of patients with brain injury or neurocognitive deficits will be explored on this unit. You will gain an in-depth understanding of areas such as mental illness or neurological injury, the use of neuropsychological tests to accurately assess cognitive deficits and the management, treatment and rehabilitation of brain injured and neurocognitive impaired patients. By the end of the unit, you'll have an advanced knowledge of how our understanding of cognition can be informed by patient studies.

  • Neurodevelopmental Disorders: We take a case study approach during this unit, exploring typical neural and cognitive development in childhood and take an in-depth look at several cases of atypical development (e.g. dyslexia, ADHD, autism, Williams syndrome and schizophrenia). You will have the opportunity to learn more about careers in educational psychology from a professional working in this field.

  • Advanced Statistics: An introduction the major quantitative and qualitative statistical techniques used in cognitive psychology and cognitive neuropsychology.

  • Key Transferable Skills - Presentation & Scientific Writing: You'll gain key skills for interpreting, presenting and writing research. Topics will include writing research and grant proposals, presentation skills and the development of advanced writing skills.

  • Research Project: You'll get to choose from a set of research projects provided by our teaching staff. You will then be responsible for providing an in-depth literature review and designing an experiment to address the research question. You will be expected to collect and analyse data and will be asked to provide a submission-ready write up of the project. Supervision for the research project will be provided in weekly meetings.

Taught units are currently timetabled for Wednesdays and Thursdays to enable effective, practical learning. Please take this into account when you pre-plan and schedule other activities (eg varsity sports) and commitments such as work placements. 

Programme specification

Programme specifications provide definitive records of the University's taught degrees in line with Quality Assurance Agency requirements. Every taught course leading to a BU Award has a programme specification which describes its aims, structure, content and learning outcomes, plus the teaching, learning and assessment methods used.

Download the programme specification for MSc Clinical and Developmental Neuropsychology.

Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the programme specification, the information is liable to change to take advantage of exciting new approaches to teaching and learning as well as developments in industry. If you have been unable to locate the programme specification for the course you are interested in, it will be available as soon as the latest version is ready. Alternatively please contact us for assistance.

Placement opportunities

Through our connections with institutions in Poole and Bournemouth, you will have the opportunity to apply for a placement at one of two long-established progressive specialist neurological care and rehabilitation facilities.

During the placements, you will be given an honorary contract and will have the opportunity to gain experience in a clinical setting on a voluntary basis, 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; placements are not guaranteed but applications have a high success rate. 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.

Below is further information about two of our current placement providers.

Dorset Healthcare Adult Neuropsychology Service

The Neuropsychology Service is part of the Dorset Healthcare University Foundation Trust. Within this organisation, you can work at the Poole Hospital Stroke Unit under the supervision of Dr Birgit Gurr, consultant clinical neuropsychologist. You will learn about neuropsychological aspects of strokes, mainly focusing on cognitive, emotional and behavioural changes. Following an introduction to the Stroke Unit, the patients and the procedures, you'll shadow the supervisor 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. You will learn to independently administer baseline neuropsychological assessments; and to undertake clinical psychology interviews and mood assessments. You'll be extensively involved in cognitive stimulation work, reminiscence intervention, supportive counselling, and administering basic relaxation and coping strategies.

As part of a multidisciplinary team, you'll 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, you'll not only be introduced to knowledge of the neurological aspects of stroke and brain injury, but also neuropsychological theory, test theory and psychotherapy theory and strategies. You will be 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.

The placement on the stroke unit follows a gradual programme of teaching and applied practice. Commonly, you will have acquired substantial skills and knowledge by January-February during the placement year. This can enable you to work fairly autonomously at the level of assistant neuropsychologist. This experience is often very valuable for those candidates who intend to apply for assistant jobs in view of clinical psychology training. Additionally, you'll be confronted with the pressures and professional requirements of working in the NHS, which will add substantially to your 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. Recently, our students have also become involved in activities such as cognitive-behavioural, relaxation, health management and life skills groups within Poole Hospital. Depending on availability, you could also be offered involvement in the Community Brain Injury Service across Dorset, for instance working with other psychologists on the team, facilitating assessments, groups or the peer support group. Participation in free courses by Dorset Healthcare is also possible.

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. It is 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 you'll 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 you 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 youcan expect to be involved in during your placement, please explore the centre's website.

How long is my placement?

You must complete a minimum of 12 weeks, though placements can be longer (subject to agreement between yourself and the placement provider). You wi'll 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.

Research placements

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.

Selection criteria

Selection methods

We’ll be selecting the candidates for this course by looking at their applications – there are no interviews or additional selection activities. For that reason, make sure your application really stands out from the crowd, and leave us in no doubt as to why you should be joining BU.

For more information, take a look at our post graduate how to apply pages. 

Full entry requirements

The normal requirements for embarking upon this degree are:

  • A good Bachelors Honours degree, 2:1 or above or equivalent in Psychology.

​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 askBU Enquiry Service 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 minimum 5.5 in each component 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.

Careers

This course emphasises core practical skills, which will give you extra marketability in a competitive professional arena, and provide you with a route into a successful and rewarding career.

As an MSc Clinical & Developmental Neuropsychology graduate, you will be prepared to undertake further training for roles such as:

  • Mental health assessor
  • Clinical psychologist
  • Educational psychologist
  • Lecturer
  • Academic researcher.

Industries worked in

  • NHS (hospital and community)
  • Private/independent health care sector (nursing homes and private hospitals)
  • Education
  • Academic research.

Further study

If you want to continue your studies after achieving your Master's, you can look into our range of doctoral programmes.

No hidden extras

As a student at BU we will provide many things to support you and there will also be additional costs you may encounter whilst studying at BU. The information below will help you understand our provision and what you need to budget for.

What you can expect from us

All of your teaching and assessments are included in your tuition fees, including, lectures/guest lectures and tutorials, seminars, laboratory sessions and specialist teaching facilities. You will also have access to a wide range of support and services, many of these are included on the Next Steps insert enclosed with your offer letter.

  • One set of study-related consumables such as a memory stick/ DVD
  • Materials for laboratory and field-based teaching activity
  • Support for placements (UK or abroad) and fieldwork
  • A range of student services – advisors, help desks, counsellors, placement support and careers service
  • The Library – access to a wide range of electronic resources (databases, e-journals and e-books), print and multimedia collections, subject librarians and study spaces
  • IT labs (some open 24/7), wireless network, AV equipment to borrow
  • Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) scheme
  • Disability and additional learning support
  • The BU Language Centre to help you develop/improve foreign or English language skills
  • 24 hours a day, 365 days a year security team.

Costs of living and other expenses you need to consider

  • Accommodation and living costs: view our price guide
  • Text books: remember that our award-winning library is stocked with a large range of text books for all courses, as well as online resources such as industry journals, free of charge
  • General stationery and other supplies such as print and presentation materials: the Students’ Union shops stock a wide range of stationery supplies on both campuses
  • Travel to, from and between BU campuses: our bus service operates in the local areas offering a subsidised travel rate; we also have a large number of secure bike storage compounds
  • SportBU membership: check out our student membership packages, sports events, varsity teams, information about our new facilities and more on the SportBU webpages
  • Fieldwork travel, outdoor wear and footwear (where applicable)
  • Telephone and travel costs incurred when undertaking interviews for coursework/securing placements.
  • A fee will be payable towards the cost of an Educational Psychology Assessment if this is required in connection with additional learning support. BU pays for approximately two-thirds of the cost of this assessment for UK students. For more details and current pricing please visit the Students section of the website.

Repeat Units

If you need to repeat one or more units during the course of your studies, you may be required to pay additional fees equivalent to one ninth of the tuition fee per 20 credit unit.

Financial help available from BU

We offer a range of scholarships and bursaries to students who are beginning their studies at BU. Our website also provides details on living costs, budgeting and paying your tuition fees.

Facilities & opportunities

clinical psychology therapy

Psychology research centre

Read about how we're contributing to two main areas of research - face processing, and attention and memory.

Additional information

Your career and development

Your career and development

Read about career and development opportunities and discover how gaining industry experience could help you.

International students

International students

We have a strong international student community. Find all the practical advice and information you need here.