Clinical Neuropsychology (MSc)
In the specialisation Clinical Neuropsychology, part of the Master in Psychology, you will focus on fostering clinical and scientific skills based on a solid theoretical background as well as practical training in neuropsychology and (clinical) neuropsychological research.
Mental Health Care psychology
This specialisation qualifies students for the Dutch post-master training programme in Mental Health Care (MHC) psychology (GZ-opleiding).
"This master specialisation equipped me with skills that can be applied in multiple disciplines. From dealing with patients to working with brain imaging, the broad range of courses and options offered in this programme have prepared me for the challenging first steps into my career.
As an international master's student in Clinical Neuropsychology, I had the opportunity to learn from lecturers with solid practical experience, both in research as well as in clinical practice. What I enjoyed and valued most was the flexibility of my master’s programme. I had my sights set on doing a doctorate after my studies and I was free to focus more on my thesis and research internship and a bit less on theory. The experience that I gained rendered me a strong candidate when I started applying for PhD positions, towards the end of my master’s.
I now work as a PhD candidate between Leiden University and the LU Medical Centre, on an ambitious and fascinating neuroimaging project. I am part of a great team of junior and senior scientists and I am always excited about going to work, travelling to conferences, and collaborating with exceptional scientists in my field."
What does this master's programme entail?
Neuropsychologists assess and treat the cognitive, emotional and behavioural consequences of brain dysfunction. Brain dysfunction can be a result of various neurological and psychiatric conditions, which can occur across the lifespan, such as stroke, traumatic brain injury, ADHD, autism spectrum disorders, locked-in syndrome, multiple sclerosis, migraine and epilepsy.
Neuropsychologists play an important role in the management of brain diseases. The demand for their services is becoming greater as the population ages and medical (neuro)technology advances. In Leiden, we aim to prepare students for a job market that encompasses clinical work and research, but also focuses on innovation and technological advances.
The course is grounded in the neurosciences relevant to neuropsychology with a strong focus on evidence-based practice. This means that you are taught to focus on the use of current best scientific evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients or patient groups; in terms of diagnostics, prognostics and the creation and evaluation of interventions (the ‘scientist-practitioner’ model).
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Reasons to choose Clinical Neuropsychology at Leiden University
This master specialisation combines fascinating neuroscience and its clinical application. The research and practical aspects are strongly clinically oriented and scientifically based.
You will be trained to offer good care to individual clients with brain damage. Moreover, you will learn to think as a neuropsychological researcher and understand what happens in the brain of these patients. An important focus lays on the severe consequences these problems can have in the daily lives of these patients.
Within this master specialisation, there are many opportunities to specialize and determine your own focus, depending on your interests in particular patient groups, their life stage (child, adult or old age) or specific aspects of the illness, diagnostics or treatment.
Innovative research topics and methods are used in our department, offering students the opportunity to keep up with the newest developments and anticipate future progress in the field.
Clinical Neuropsychology: the right programme for you?
This master specialisation is the right program for you:
if you wish to become professionally active in the field of clinical neuropsychology (for instance as a Health Care psychologist/Gezondheidszorgpsycholoog BIG, Clinical Neuropsychologist/Klinisch Neuropsycholoog or Clinical Psychologist/Klinisch Psycholoog).
if you are interested in a scientific career that focuses on clinical issues in neuroscience and patients with brain disease.
if you like to be involved in neuropsychological assessment, treatment and guidance of patients with brain damage.
if you are interested in the development of clinical tools and methods that focus on new directions in neuropsychology, such as e-health, virtual reality, brain-computer interfaces and serious gaming.
Mental Health Care psychology in the Netherlands
In the Dutch health care system, only MHC psychologists (GZ-psychologen) are licensed to practice psychology unsupervised. ‘GZ-psycholoog’ is a legally protected professional title in Dutch health care, registered in the BIG-register. MHC psychologists are generalists who can work in several different settings, for example private practices, somatic health care (medical psychology), psychiatry, institutions for disabled people, forensic psychology, nursing homes, and rehabilitation centres.
To become a licensed MHC psychologist in The Netherlands, you need to complete a 2-year post-master training programme (GZ-opleiding). The programme consists of a theoretical part (20%) and a practical part (80%). The latter requires a job position under supervision of a licenced MHC psychologist-teacher. Vacancies for this programme are scarce and only a minority of master graduates manages to get into the programme. Although it is hard, it is not impossible.
After graduating from one of our five clinical specialisations including a 20 EC clinical internship, you meet the entry requirements of the post-master MHC training programme. Each specialisation ensures you have the required theoretical background and basic diagnostic skills. Within each specialisation, students need to opt for the 560-hour (20 EC) clinical internship in order to meet the entry requirements regarding practical training. Please note that these internship positions are scarce and there is a lot of competition between students applying for these positions.
Students who are not fluent in Dutch are unlikely to find a clinical internship position in The Netherlands. An alternative option is to find a clinical internship abroad. For international students who wish to pursue a career in MHC in their home country, it is recommended to find an internship where they can speak their native language. International students who wish to do an internship in The Netherlands are advised to apply for a 10 EC internship, for example in research, or apply for the Internal Practical Internship. For more information, please contact the internship coordinator of your preferred specialisation.
How current students can prepare for the post-master MHC training
When applying for the GZ-opleiding, you need to prove that you fulfil all entry requirements by showing the LOGO-verklaring. Please see the website for the application process and all requirements. One of them is having a certificate stating that you have sufficient skills in diagnostics, the Verklaring Psychodiagnostiek. You can acquire this certificate after a clinical (20 EC) internship covering diagnostic cases. Qualified internship supervisors (as specified on the form) can sign the certificate. Another requirement is a declaration of your theoretical knowledge, the Verklaring Vooropleiding. If you graduate from one of our MCH specialisations and have completed a 20 EC clinical internship, all theoretical requirements are covered. You can have the certificate signed by study adviser Jack Wiltjer.