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    Focuses upon the principles of practice in neuropsychology in New Zealand- including bicultural and partnership approaches, introduction to models of neurocognition and neurodevelopment, and legal and ethical frameworks for practice.

    This course lays the foundation of knowledge and skill for students beginning the Neuropsychology training programme. The focus is on foundational approaches to assessment and intervention in a New Zealand context. This course lays the foundation of knowledge and skill for students beginning the Neuropsychology training programme. The focus is on foundational approaches to assessment and intervention in a New Zealand context.

    About this paper

    Paper title Foundations of Applied Neuropsychology
    Subject Neuropsychology
    EFTS 0.2500
    Points 30 points
    Teaching period Semester 1 (Distance learning)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $2,551.75
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    Limited to

    This course is only open to psychologists registered with the New Zealand Psychologists Board. There is no limitation on what scope of practice you will be registered under, however you will be expected to have prior knowledge of assessment, formulation and intervention, as well as simple brain-behaviour relationships, the application of psychometric tests and knowledge of basic statistics. The training is intensive and will require you to undertake 1,500 hours of supervised practice, in addition to your academic study over the two years.

    To undertake the PGDipNeuropsych you will need to meet all of the following criteria:

    • Hold at least a master's level training in psychology.
    • Be a currently registered practitioner with the NZ Psychologists Board, holding a current practicing certificate without conditions.
    • Be working at least 0.6 full-time equivalent in a neuropsychology setting, or a health setting with a neuropsychology component.
    • Be a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident.
    • Undertake regular supervision by an approved neuropsychologist supervisor, at your own (or your employer's) cost. Programme staff will be able to support you to find a suitable supervisor.
    • If you are employed by an organisation, we will need evidence of prior approval/support of your service manager.

    Course admissions are limited, so admission to the course will be on the basis of academic performance, curriculum vitae, current employment and verification process.


    Teaching staff

    Course Director: Dr Paul Skirrow

    Professional Practice Fellow/Tutor: To be confirmed

    Professional Practice Fellow/Tutor (Māori): To be confirmed

    External and internal guest lecturers.

    Teaching Arrangements

    This paper involves a 3-day on-campus teaching in Wellington, followed by weekly, online teaching for approximately 10 weeks.


    Lezak, M. D., Howieson, D. B., Bigler, E. D., & Tranel, D. (2012). Neuropsychological assessment (5th ed.). Oxford University Press. (6th edition due for release in 2023)

    Graduate Attributes Emphasised

    Global Perspective,Interdisciplinary perspective,Lifelong learning,Scholarship,Communication,Critical thinking,Cultural understanding,Ethics,Environmental Literacy,Information literacy,Research,Self-motivation,Teamwork.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.

    Learning Outcomes

    This paper is designed to reflect the Context and Perspectives and Professional Issues knowledge components of the Curriculum Guidelines for Qualification in Clinical Neuropsychology developed by the NZSIGN professional body, as well as the competencies prescribed by the NZ Psychologists Board. With this in mind, the key learning outcomes for this paper are:

    1. To be able to critically appraise typical Western approaches to neuropsychology in a New Zealand context and to be able to synthesise bicultural and multicultural approaches into their practice.
    2. To be able to critically appraise traditional, reductionist/'medical' approaches to neuropsychology and to synthesise these with more modern recovery-focused and human rights-based approaches.
    3. To be able to synthesise and critically appraise key neurocognitive models of Memory, Reading, Language, Executive Function and Visual Processing.
    4. To be able to describe, in detail, and critically evaluate models of cognitive development throughout the life cycle.
    5. To be able to describe the key principles underlying neuropsychological assessment and formulation, with particular reference to the role of validity testing and the assessment of functional neurological disorders.
    6. To be able to critically appraise the current legislative context of Neuropsychology in Aotearoa New Zealand, and to describe its application to the assessment of clinical risk and mental 'capacity'.
    7. To be able to critically appraise approaches to communicating Neuropsychological test results- including the use of psychometric testing- and to synthesise this knowledge into 'best practice' approaches.


    Semester 1

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught through Distance Learning
    Learning management system
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