MSc in Psychology - Neuropsychology
About This Masters Degree
Neuropsychology offers a one-year programme in psychology and neuroscience that focuses on normal and deviant behaviour in relation to brain structure and function. Much of the emphasis is on congenital, acquired or degenerative brain dysfunction, and related neuropsychiatric disorders as well as on neuropharmacological mechanisms that underlie behaviour in health and disease. The curriculum combines in-depth courses that provide you with the theoretical knowledge required for attaining advanced methodological and diagnostic skills. Both are necessary to pursue a clinical or research career in the broad domain of neuropsychology.
The programme comprises four compulsory courses:
‘Brain Damage’, which focuses on patients with brain damage whose condition can provide us with insights into how the brain works in relation to behaviour
‘Behavioural Disorders’, which focuses on cognitive dysfunction in neuropsychiatric conditions and explores neuropsychological mechanisms and treatment strategies
‘Arousal and Attention’, which introduces key theories about arousal and attention and integrates these with knowledge from psychopharmacology to understand related diseases as insomnia and ADHD
‘Aging’, which focuses on basic theories and neurobiological processes of age-related cognitive decline as often found in dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
These courses combine basic neurobiological and cognitive affective mechanisms underlying behaviour in healthy subjects and patients with neurological or psychiatric disease. In addition, the programme includes practical training focused on neuropsychological diagnostic skills. During these training courses, you learn the basics of psychological research: from designing and applying diagnostic and experimental instruments, and assessment procedures to analyse, interpret and report the data (e.g. obtained from simulation patients or experiments). During the second semester, you complete a research or clinical internship and write your master’s thesis.
In this specialisation you can select the subject of your research internship from a broad range of topics spanning several areas:
‘Cognitive-behavioural dysfunction’: assessment and treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders such as attention deficits, functional deficits, neurotrauma, schizophrenia and dementia.
‘Cognitive-behavioural effects of drugs and related psychoactive substances’: the study of the effects of drugs of abuse on brain toxicity and cognitive impairment, the effects of various nutrients and foods on brain neurotransmission and cognitive-affective behaviour such as depression and stress, and the effects of drugs and medicines on driving performance.
‘Neurodegenerative or age-related cognitive affective changes’: a study including cognitive aging, testing models of neurodegenerative diseases, and exploring markers for neurocognitive dysfunction.
‘Genes, stress, and behaviour’: the study of genetic brain vulnerability for stress and stress-related cognitive-affective disorders.
In these and many other internship projects not listed above, you can use both behavioural (e.g. observational and experimental psychometric tests, tasks, and questionnaires) and neuroimaging (e.g. EEG/ERP and fMRI) methods and techniques. All of this gives you the opportunity to develop both clinically and scientifically relevant skills.
The specialisation in Neuropsychology provides you with an excellent basis to become a versatile and skilled professional researcher capable of pursuing a successful career at universities and research institutes, in clinical settings such as hospitals and rehabilitation centres, or at schools and other educational institutions. The pharmacological industry may also offer good job opportunities for students who have completed this specialisation.
Is this programme right for me?
The specialisation in Neuropsychology is right for you if you are interested in the intricacies of the brain in order to understand normal and abnormal behaviour. You should have a genuine interest in understanding normal and abnormal behaviour from a cognitive-neuropsychological (brain-behaviour) perspective.