Master of Psychology (Clinical Neuropsychology)
- CRICOS Code: 009681G
What will I study?
Graduates should demonstrate the skills and knowledge needed to work as clinical neuropsychologists.
- Graduates will acquire advanced knowledge of the clinical neurosciences that apply to the practice of clinical neuropsychology and an understanding of how these apply to the investigation of cerebral disease and injury.
- Graduates will be able to evaluate and diagnose neuropsychological disorders with reference to internationally accepted consensus criteria and taxonomies.
- Graduates will be able to employ advanced communication skills in reporting to and consulting with referral sources.
- Graduates will be able to implement psychological interventions tailored to the needs of the individual and evaluate the effectiveness and efficacy of interventions.
- Graduates will be able to utilise appropriate referral pathways to further clinical care.
- Graduates will be able to investigate substantive scientific questions relevant to the field of clinical neuropsychology.
Application of skills
Graduates should demonstrate knowledge of the range of settings in which clinical neuropsychologists work and will have skills and knowledge that enables them to engage in competent and reflective practice in a variety of neuropsychological settings. They will demonstrate the ability to consult and collaborate with colleagues, including those from other professions. They should also demonstrate an understanding of ethical principles and reasoning in psychological research and practice, particularly with reference to the Australian Psychological Society Code of Ethics and NHMRC National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research.
Explore this course
Explore the subjects you could choose as part of this degree.
- Research Proposal 25 pts
To guide students in the development of an applied research project cognate to their area of professional training, in accordance with the current APAC standard that "the project must be designed so that each student is required to undertake all of the steps involved in conducting an empirical investigation or enquiry". The project can take a number of forms, including an experimental single case study, critical review and meta-analysis, critical review and secondary data analysis, a laboratory-based empirical research study, prospective clinical research, or, in the case of PhD graduates enrolled in the Master of Psychology, an article suitable for submission to a peer-reviewed scientific journal of international standing. Students must have at least one research supervisor within the Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences.
- Clinical Neuropsychology Placement 1 12.5 pts
This field placement and clinical skills subject, extending over forty-three days, introduces students to clinical neuropsychology services in a variety of settings, which might include adult and paediatric care in neurological, neurosurgical, psychiatric, and rehabilitation settings. It also incorporates clinical skills workshops. All principal field supervisors are registered supervisors with AHPRA, and Members (or eligible for Membership) of the College of Clinical Neuropsychologists of the Australian Psychological Society.
It is a requirement of the Australian Accreditation Council and the Australian Psychological Society College of Clinical Neuropsychologists that students complete a minimum of 1000 hours of placement training during the two-year Master of Psychology (Clinical Neuropsychology) course. This first year placement subject provides 25 days of the patient-related placement requirement, 6 days of student case conference, and 9 days of clinical skills and assessment workshops.
Clinical Neuropsychology Placement 1 consists of the following components:
- Direct observation of patients referred to neuropsychology services at teaching hospitals and the University of Melbourne Psychology Clinic.
- Attendance at hospital-based group supervision sessions and clinical meetings, involving intensive discussion of cases directly observed during component 1.
Student case conference. These two-hour conferences are held weekly during semester 1 and 2 on the Parkville campus.
Assessment seminars: The equivalent of four and one half days (34 hours) of seminars on neuropsychological assessment techniques. Clinical skills workshops: The equivalent of four and one half days (33 hours) of workshops on specific clinical skills. These seminars and workshops are designed to enhance the development of practical professional-level skills. The time difference between Contact Hours and Total Time Commitment for the subject will be spent in out-of-classroom assessment technique familiarisation and rehearsal.
- Adult Neuropsychological Disorders 12.5 pts
A year long lecture-based subject focussed on the neuropsychological effects of neurodegeneration, cerebrovascular disease, epilepsy, traumatic brain injury, alcohol-related brain damage, psychogenic disorders, multiple sclerosis, brain tumours, and paraneoplastic disorders of the brain. Detailed consideration will be given to issues such as nosology, formal diagnostic criteria, neuropathology and pathogenetic mechanisms, epidemiology, clinical spectrum, psychological co-morbidities, and current treatment including pharmacological approaches (where applicable).
- Basic Interventions 6.25 pts
This subject focusses on the development of knowledge and skills related to basic evidence-based behavioural and cognitive interventions. A range of learning experiences are included: lectures, large group discussions, clinical demonstrations, clinical case material, role-plays, and small workgroup experience. Emphasis is on shared experience and cooperative learning based around the students' shared expertise and the total resources available to the larger group. At the end of semester students will attend a full-day workshop aimed at providing them with further opportunities to practice the skills taught throughout the semester. In addition, students undertake homework tasks which they report and discuss via the subject blogging tool. Finally, there are also large class discussions and the opportunity to share information across workgroups.
- Principles of Psychological Assessment 6.25 pts
This subject introduces students who are studying clinical psychology or clinical neuropsychology at the graduate level to the principles and practice of psychological and neuropsychological assessment, covering childhood and adulthood. Current trends in the theoretical understanding of personality, psychopathology and cognitive ability will provide the conceptual basis assessment practice. It will be shown that psychological and neuropsychological assessment is best understood to include all aspects of the clinical encounter which lead to diagnostic case formulation. In particular, the subject content will address the application of techniques derived from psychological science to enhance correct classification of psychological conditions.
- Neuroanatomy for Neuropsychologists 6.25 pts
A semester-long subject on human neuroanatomy, with particular emphasis on clinical and radiographic correlation. The content will be delivered through 12 lectures, accompanied by virtual brain dissection.
The primary objective of the subject is to provide a neuroanatomical framework that is relevant to an understanding of basic neurology, and clinical neurological examination, and neuropsychological disorders. Neurological, neuropathological, and neuroimaging issues will be considered wherever relevant throughout the subject. Students will come to understand (1) anatomical relations through an appreciation of their developmental origins, (2) the multiple ways in which developmental and acquired brain impairments manifest themselves neuroanatomically, (3) how major anatomical landmarks can be identified on virtual dissection and structural magnetic resonance imaging, (4) the neuroanatomical rationale underpinning the basic neurological examination, and (5) the derivation of neuroanatomical terminology and nomenclature.
- Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy 6.25 pts
This subject provides an opportunity for didactic, case-based and experiential learning in cognitive-behavioural treatment models and techniques. Although the prime focus will be on cognitive-behavioural treatments for adult psychological disorders, attention will be paid to other treatment modalities (eg. pharmacological, psychosocial, etc.) where appropriate. Teaching may be composed of a combination of didactic input, class discussions, role plays and observation.
- Adult Psychopathology 6.25 pts
This subject aims to present major approaches to psychological disorders, in which psychopathology is contrasted with "normal" functioning. Reference is made to various theoretical approaches to the aetiologies of disorders/problems, with a focus on recognising the clinical pictures of common psychological disorders/problems that occur in a variety of settings, including, depression, the anxiety disorders, substance abuse/dependence and neurocognitive disorders.
- Ethics and Professional Issues 6.25 pts
This subject is organised around four major areas:
- risk assessment and management;
- theoretical foundations of ethics;
- ethical problems and the application of ethical principles to practice, and legal and institutional regulations; and
- codes of practice and guidelines.
The exploration, clarification and possible resolution of selected ethical dilemmas commonly faced by psychologists will be covered and may include:
- assessing and managing client risk;
- psychologist/client relationships (for example, confidentiality,
- boundary violations,
- assessment of dangerousness,
- patient and client rights,
- professional responsibility,
- special groups (such as children, employer-psychologist ethical differences);
- psychologist/institutional relationships (such as state regulation of professional practice, legal requirements, certification, mandatory reporting, guardianship, unprofessional conduct);
- research ethics; and
- personal ethical development.
Specific emphasis will be placed on awareness of cultural diversity and the role of culture in defining and influencing ethical practice.
- Graduate Research Methods 6.25 pts
This subject focuses on research skills for students undertaking professional training in psychology. Emphasis is placed on the skills and methods that will assist students in the development and completion of their research thesis. Topics may include: major design and measurement decisions; survey approaches; sampling issues; practical management of research; the development of research proposals and theses; and data analysis options.
- Clinical Skills in Neuropsychology 6.25 pts
A semester long, lecture and workshop-based subject focussed on (1) advanced issues in neuropsychological testing in professional settings; (2) principles of clinical interaction, including interviewing and history-taking; (3) diagnostic formulation; and (4) report writing. The administration and interpretation of current tests of mood and personality will be considered in detail.
- Cognitive Neuroscience and Disorders 6.25 pts
The subject provides a cognitive neuroscience perspective on the brain mechanisms underlying cognitive processes that are commonly impaired in conditions confronted by neuropsychologists. The course will describe the basic cognitive neuroscience (e.g., cortical structure, function and psychopharmacology) underpinning critical cognitive processes such as memory, executive function and attention, and application to understanding dysfunction of these processes in clinical conditions.
- Neuropsychology Placement 2A 18.75 pts
A 48 day external field placement concentrating on neuropsychological services in adult neurology/neurosurgery and adult psychiatry. Placement in each setting will extend over 12 weeks. Students will be expected to commit 2 days per week for a total of 24 weeks. Field placement activities include neuropsychological assessment of referred cases, case formulation and diagnosis, development of management strategies where appropriate, attendance at relevant clinical meetings and ward rounds under the supervision of field neuropsychologists who meet the standards of the Australian Psychological Accreditation Council. In addition students are required to attend, and present cases seen on field placement at a weekly case conference in the Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences over the course of their enrolment in Clinical Neuropsychology Placement 2A. Students are also required to attend 3 clinical workshops (18 hours in total) designed to enhance the development of practical professional-level skills.
- Neuropsychology Placement 2B 18.75 pts
A 48 day external field placement concentrating on neuropsychological services in two of the following settings:
- Paediatric neurology/neurosurgery,
- acquired brain injury rehabilitation units, or geriatrics (including psychogeriatric rehabilitation and cognitive, dementia, and memory services).
Placement in each setting will extend over 12 weeks. Students will be expected to commit 2 days per week for a total of 24 weeks. Field placement activities include neuropsychological assessment of referred cases, case formulation and diagnosis, development of management strategies where appropriate, attendance at relevant clinical meetings and ward rounds under the supervision of field neuropsychologists who meet the standards of the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council. In addition, students are required to attend and present cases seen on field placement at a weekly case conference in the Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences over the course of their enrolment in Clinical Neuropsychology Placement 2B.
- Mental Health Issues Across the Lifespan 6.25 pts
This subject focuses on the interplay between developmental factors and psychological functioning across the lifespan. Key developmental tasks and transitions at each developmental stage, spanning from the perinatal period through to the end-of-life period, will be reviewed. Students will practice applying this knowledge to clinical case formulation. Approaches to engagement, assessment, diagnosis, and intervention at each developmental stage will be reviewed, and ways in which interventions need to be tailored in light of maturational and contextual variables will be discussed. Topics covered will include mental health in the perinatal period; the implications of attachment for later psychological functioning; social, emotional and behavioural problems of early and middle childhood; engaging adolescents; developmental tasks and transitions in early adulthood, mid-life and old age; and psychological intervention in the context of dementia.
- Thesis (Masters/coursework) Part 1 18.75 pts
The student will conduct research under appropriate academic supervision and submit the work in the form of a journal article of at least 6,000 but no more than 10,000 words by 31st October in the final semester of enrolment in the subject.
- Child Neuropsychological Disorders 6.25 pts
This subject covers topics such as the process of central nervous system development, and the impact of cerebral insult on the process of development. Theoretical issues, including recovery of function and cerebral plasticity, are addressed with reference to Central Nervous System (CNS) disorders common to children (such as head injury, epilepsy, cerebral infection, attention deficits, learning disabilities, and the autistic spectrum of disorders). Clinical practice in child neuropsychology is also addressed with reference to topics such as neuropsychological assessment procedures, family interventions, and behavioural management.
- Neuropsychological Rehabilitation 6.25 pts
Coverage of the rapidly expanding field of neuropsychological rehabilitation is provided in this subject. The curriculum covers the nature of recovery following focal and diffuse brain injury from neurological, cognitive and psychosocial viewpoints, as well as frameworks for developing appropriate neuropsychological interventions for rehabilitation. Commonly encountered disorders such as stroke and brain injury will be discussed in the context of their cognitive, emotional, and social effects, including neuropsychiatric comorbidities. Approaches to the assessment and management of cognitive and behavioural disorders will be surveyed, with an emphasis on designing and implementing cognitive and behavioural interventions that are patient-centred and culturally responsive. During the semester students may be required to make observations regarding a patient's recovery, practice how to design and implement an intervention, or provide psychoeducation and feedback to patients and families, as they explore the various roles of clinical neuropsychologists in rehabilitation settings.
- Thesis (Masters/coursework) Part 2 18.75 pts