department of psychology

Chafee Hall, 142 Flagg Road, Kingston, RI 02881

uripsymajor@gmail.com – 401.874.2193 (p); 401.874.2157 (f)

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Neuropsychology Focus Area

Overview

Students who are admitted into doctoral-level programs in Clinical Psychology, School Psychology, and Behavioral Science at the University of Rhode Island earn a Ph.D. degree in Psychology. Within the context of these programs, students can elect to pursue a focus in neuropsychology. Graduates have earned competitive internships, postdoctoral fellowships, university faculty positions, and applied practice appointments in the field of neuropsychology throughout the United States. Students and faculty have published in several major neuropsychology-related journals.

Goals

URI does not offer a graduate degree in Neuropsychology; instead, this area may be selected as a focus within the doctoral programs in Clinical Psychology, School Psychology, and Behavioral Science, all of which lead to a Ph.D. in Psychology. The major goal of the neuropsychology focus is to formalize a collective strength and emphasis in order to recognize the quality doctoral training that is available in this area.

Course Content

Faculty interested in affiliating with and students interested in participating the Neuropsychology Focus Area typically have interests in neuroscience, psychological research, clinical psychology, and school psychology such as:

  • Assessment
  • Clinical Decision Making
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Psychometrics
  • Physiological Psychology
  • Psychopathology and Exceptionalities
  • Research and Quantitative Methods

Possible Career Tracks

Graduates from the Neuropsychology Focus Area are prepared to pursue internships and postdoctoral fellowships that lead to careers in a variety of capacities and settings, including: academia, medical and psychiatric clinics, forensics, hospital settings, inpatient psychiatric facilities, rehabilitation programs, research settings, and schools, among others.

Student Preparation

The typical doctoral student who focuses in neuropsychology is be expected to have the following courses prior to graduate school: Physiological Psychology, Psychometrics, and Statistics and Research Methods.

It also is helpful for students to have background in some or all of the following topics through previous or concurrent coursework: Animal Physiology, Biology, Developmental Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Exceptionalities, Functional Neuroanatomy, Sensation and Perception, and Psychopathology.

Finally, students who focus in neuropsychology are expected to have several research and applied experiences prior to and subsequent to enrolling in a graduate program. These could include:

  • Collaborating on a research publication
  • Honors or other student-directed research
  • Participation in practicum or internship experiences
  • Presenting papers at conferences
  • Working on a research grant
  • Working with faculty on their research
  • Other related research and applied involvement

Program of Study

All students must fulfill requirements of URI’s Graduate School, Psychology Department, and Program Area. A graduate course in Cognitive Psychology (e. g., URI’s PSY 604) also is recommended as a part of the graduate program of study. In addition, the Neuropsychology Focus Area includes four aspects:

A. Coursework
B. Practicum/internship experience
C. Comprehensive examinations
D. Dissertation requirements

All of these requirements are fulfilled within the context of URI’s programs of study in Clinical Psychology, School Psychology, or Behavioral Science, leading to the Ph.D. degree in Psychology.

A. Coursework
A minimum of the following four courses:

(1) PSY 601: Physiological Psychology

EITHER
(2) BIO/NEU 547: Vertebrate Brain and Mammalian CNS Neuroscience
and
(3)
PSY 690: Applied Cognitive Neuroscience/Neuropsychology: Basic

OR

(2) PSY 690: Applied Cognitive Neuroscience/Neuropsychology: Basic
and
(3) PSY 690: Applied Cognitive Neuroscience/Neuropsychology: Advanced

(4) PSY/EDC 544: Reading Acquisition and Reading Disability: Research and Implications for Practice
or
PSY 607: Advanced Psychopathology
or
PSY 665: Developmental Psychopathology
or
PSY/EDC 687: Topics in the Psychology of the Exceptional Individual (relevant to neuropsychology)
or
CMD 583: Acquired Cognitive Communication Disorders
or
CMD 585: Language Disorders in Adults
or
Other approved course in an area of neuropsychologial disability

B. Practicum/Internship Experience
Participation in neuropsychology focused practica and (for applied students) neuro-psychology focused internships:

  1. PSY 670: Field Experience in Psychological Services: Neuropsychology Rotation (applied students)
    or
    PSY 672: Individual Clinical Practicum: Neuropsychology Rotation (applied students)
    or
    PSY 692, 693: Directed Readings and Research: Neuropsychology Focus (Behavioral Science students)
  2. Internship including a neuropsychology rotation (applied students) [For applied students (i.e., Clinical and School Psychology), completion of PSY 690: Applied Cognitive Neuroscience/Neuropsychology: Advanced, or permission of neuropsychology faculty, must be completed prior to participating in a practicum experience.]

C. Comprehensive Examinations
At least one (of four) written comprehensive examinations on a topic primarily relevant to neuropsychology

D. Dissertation Requirements
Dissertation in an area relevant to neuropsychology

Non-Psychology and PSY 690 Courses

CMD 583: Acquired Cognitive Communication Disorders
Study of acquired cognitive problems resulting from neurological disorders and diseases; differential diagnoses; assessment of the domains of cognition; and therapeutic strategies for cognitive rehabilitation.

CMD 585: Language Disorders in Adults
Provides basic information on the characteristics, assessment, and treatment of adults with acquired language disorders secondary to stroke, head injury, and progressive neu-rological diseases.

BIO/NEU 547: Vertebrate Brain and Mammalian CNS Neuroscience
Second semester of year-long, team-taught seminar for INP students that focuses on ver-tebrate brain and mammalian CNS neuroscience. Proposed topics include the following (a) Introductory Neuroanatomy, (b) Neural Development, including embryology, plastic-ity and regeneration, (c) Movement, (d) Sensory Systems, (e) Language, Cognition, and Attention, (f) Neuropharmacology and Disease, (g) Neuroengineering, and (h) Neuropsy-chology and Behavior.

PSY 690: Applied Cognitive Neuroscience/Neuropsychology: Basic
Covers basics of applied clinical neuropsychology, such as range of applications, varying general approaches to assessment, tests and methods used across areas, and interpretive strategies. Cognitive neurosciences and brain function and are emphasized. Intake and interview procedures are also covered. Assessment of not only cognition but also affect and behavior are emphasized. Major conditions are covered (e.g., head injury, seizure disorder, etc.). Both adult and child assessment are covered, and about 35% of the read-ings are adjusted on a student-by-student basis depending on populations of interest. Additionally, mental status/bedside exams, assessment of effort, and neuropsychological screening are covered. Throughout, a major emphasis is placed on methodological issues in assessment and review of literature, all with a very strong applied emphasis. Throughout the class, cases are analyzed and illustrated.

PSY 690: Applied Cognitive Neuroscience/Neuropsychology: Advanced
Case work and interpretation are emphasized. Cases of increasing complexity are pre-sented, and students must analyze these cases in detail, identify strengths and weaknesses in the evaluations, and practice interpretive approaches and strategies. Of course, all of this is tied in intimately to the decision literature and the literature in neuropsychology, psychology, and the neurosciences.

Affiliated Psychology Faculty

Lisa L. Weyandt, Ph.D. (Coordinator)
David Faust, Ph.D.
Susan Brady, Ph.D.
W. Grant Willis, Ph.D.

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