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Study Neuropsychology at Otago

Combining international best-practice in the field of neuropsychology with the unique knowledge and needs of the people of Aotearoa.

The University of Otago is proud to offer the first neuropsychology training programme of its type in New Zealand.

The Postgraduate Diploma in Neuropsychology (PGDipNeuropsych) programme is a vocational training, designed to equip practicing psychologists with the competencies to work as a neuropsychologist. It is offered on a part-time basis over two academic years and involves both academic and practice-based study.

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Why study Neuropsychology?

Our comprehensive neuropsychology training is designed to meet the needs of New Zealand's psychologists and the communities they serve. We have a strong commitment to building bicultural approaches with Māori and to co-designing teaching with users of health services.

Otago University has been a leader in medical education and research in New Zealand for over 140 years. Our programme offers the opportunity to draw on the knowledge of other disciplines that work alongside neuropsychologists- including many eminent neurologists, neurosurgeons, neuroradiologists, and rehabilitation clinicians.

Neuropsychology at Otago

What is neuropsychology?

Neuropsychologists are psychologists who specialise in the assessment and treatment of neurological conditions. Neurological conditions are thought to account for the largest proportion of medical disability in the developed world and many, such as dementia, are thought to be increasing as our population ages.

Neuropsychologists apply scientific understanding of the relationship between the brain and how a person is functioning and are usually based within an 'applied' or 'clinical' context, including hospitals and ACC services. They are typically involved in the assessment, treatment and rehabilitation of people who have sustained brain injuries or have other neurological conditions, including stroke, epilepsy, toxic and metabolic disorders, brain tumours, dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases.

In New Zealand, psychologists are registered practitioners and are a regulated profession as part of the Health Practitioners Competency Assurance Act (2003).

About the teaching programme

The PGDipNeuropsych programme training is led by Dr Paul Skirrow, a UK-trained clinical and neuropsychologist. Paul has lived and worked in New Zealand since 2012 and has extensive experience working as a neuropsychologist in both health and ACC-funded services. Dr Christine Canty joins the team as a senior professional practice fellow. Christine is an Australian trained clinical neuropsychologist who has experience across a broad range of hospital and community settings. Christine has lived and worked in New Zealand since 2020 in both inpatient rehabiltation and community ACC-funded settings.

The teaching team will also include experienced neuropsychologists and special guest lecturers from within the University of Otago and around New Zealand.

Teaching will include online lectures and tutorials, plus two 3-day block courses per year, based in Wellington. As well as academic training, the course will support you to undertake 1,500 hours of supervised practice in applied neuropsychology across the two years.

Postgraduate Diploma in Neuropsychology (PGDipNeuropsych)

Who can apply?

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.

Requirements

NPSY papers

Paper Code Year Title Points Teaching period
NPSY701 2024 Foundations of Applied Neuropsychology 30 Semester 1
NPSY702 2024 Applied Neuroscience in Neuropsychology 30 Not offered, expected to be offered in 2025
NPSY703 2024 Neuropsychology of Acquired Brain Injuries and Stroke 15 Semester 2
NPSY704 2024 Paediatric/Developmental Neuropsychology 15 Not offered, expected to be offered in 2025
NPSY705 2024 Neuropsychology of Aging and Degenerative Conditions 15 Not offered, expected to be offered in 2025
NPSY706 2024 Clinical Practice in Neuropsychology 1 15 Full Year
NPSY707 2024 Clinical Practice in Neuropsychology 2 15 Not offered in 2024

More information

Contact us

Programme Administrator
Postgraduate Diploma in Neuropsychology
Department of Psychological Medicine
University of Otago, Wellington

Email: neuropsych.uow@otago.ac.nz

Studying at Otago

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Regulations on this page are taken from the 2024 Calendar and supplementary material.

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