The University of Kentucky Clinical Psychology Doctoral Training Program offers a concentration in Clinical Neuropsychology.
What is Clinical Neuropsychology?
Clinical Neuropsychology is a specialty within Clinical Psychology. It involves specific training that begins during doctoral training and ends with the completion of a two-year postdoctoral fellowship. Clinical Neuropsychology is a type of practice, involving the evaluation of psychological and cognitive functioning (e.g., attention, memory, problem solving) in patients with neurological, psychiatric, and medical conditions.
Are Clinical Neuropsychology and Clinical Neuroscience the same thing?
No, they are related, but they are not the same thing. Clinical Neuroscience is a research field. It can include any type of neuroscience research focused on clinical conditions. For example, a researcher studying the effects of anxiety on the brain would be a clinical neuroscientist, even if they did not have any training to be a Clinical Psychologist.
Clinical Neuropsychology is a specialty in psychological practice. For example, a Clinical Neuropsychologist may see patients with Alzheimer’s disease or traumatic brain injuries, evaluating them in a hospital to determine how their mental health and cognitive functioning is affected by their condition. Clinical Neuropsychologists are licensed through their state/provincial/territorial board of psychology, with doctoral degrees in Clinical Psychology that often include additional coursework, training experiences, and research in neuropsychology.
Clinical Neuropsychologists can also be clinical neuroscientists if their research involves neuroscientific techniques, such as neuroimaging, and focuses on a clinical condition (e.g., depression, schizophrenia, brain injury, dementia, etc.). After graduation from their doctoral programs, many Clinical Neuropsychologists do not conduct research in their careers, working solely in clinical practice seeing patients with an array of conditions. Applicants for the Clinical Neuropsychology Concentration at UK should have interest in a career that balances research and practice. Those interested in solely practice careers would not be a good fit for the training at UK.
What is involved in the Clinical Neuropsychology Concentration?
The Clinical Neuropsychology Concentration is organized to meet the Houston Conference guidelines for doctoral training in clinical neuropsychology, aligning with a Major Area of Study under the taxonomy for education and training in clinical neuropsychology (per the Clinical Neuropsychology Synarchy). This means students within this concentration will (1) complete a minimum of three neuropsychology courses, (2) complete two clinical neuropsychology practica, (3) engage in additional coursework, practica, or didactics in neuropsychology, and (4) complete a dissertation in neuropsychology. This concentration is designed to prepare graduate students for doctoral internship and postdoctoral fellowship training in clinical neuropsychology. For example internship training sites, please see the Association for Internship Training in Clinical Neuropsychology (AITCN) or the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers directory (APPIC); and, for example postdoctoral training sites, please see the Association of Postdoctoral Programs in Clinical Neuropsychology (APPCN). Neuropsychology training involves a pathway toward competency to enter the discipline, preparing trainees to pursue Board-Certification in Clinical Neuropsychology under the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP-CN).
The clinical neuropsychology concentration is a specialty area within the clinical psychology doctoral program. Students must first be admitted to the clinical program in order to do this concentration, and these students must complete all the normal requirements necessary for graduation from the clinical program.
The following provides an overview of the additional requirements and experiences necessary to complete the neuropsychology concentration:
- Academic Coursework: Introduction to Clinical Neuropsychology, Advanced Clinical Neuropsychology, Neuroanatomy
- Research: At minimum, a dissertation on a neuropsychological topic; however, students are expected to engage with their mentor in co-authored or first-authored publications during their training.
- Other Experiences: Neurology Rounds, Additional Seminars, Bluegrass Area Neuropsychology Group (BANG), programming sponsored by the Association of Neuropsychology Students and Trainees (ANST)
Practica: At least two practica involving primarily supervised neuropsychological assessment or intervention experience
- Kentucky Neuroscience Institute: Inpatient and outpatient neurological and neurosurgical populations, covering complex neurocognitive evaluation consults by 24 hospital service lines at UK HealthCare and 55 quadristate regional hospitals and clinical practices. (This is an advanced placement and requires a minimum of one year prior assessment practicum experience).
- Veteran's Administration Medical Center: Neuropsychological assessment with inpatient and outpatient Veteran populations
- Eastern State Hospital: Chronic and acute severely mentally ill population
- Harris Psychological Services Center: Diverse psychological assessments (e.g., psychological diagnosis, learning disabilities, ADHD, employment screenings) serving the Lexington community
- Norton Neuroscience Institute (Norton Brownsboro Hospital, Louisville): Neuropsychological assessment with diverse patient population (e.g., epilepsy, movement disorders, brain tumors, dementia) in a private hospital setting. This practicum site specializes in neurosurgical evaluations.
Students training within the Clinical Neuropsychology Concentration will complete the concentration requirements in addition to all general requirements of the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Training Program. The training program typically requires at least five years of graduate training prior to the one-year internship. Thereafter, graduates will, with rare exception, pursue a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in Clinical Neuropsychology. This training timeline translates to a minimum of eight years from the start of the graduate program to the completion of all requirements to become a board-certified Clinical Neuropsychologist.
For students who are considering the Neuropsychology Concentration, we encourage you to review the research programs of our faculty to determine the best fit. Note that although Dr. Karr is the Clinical Neuropsychology Coordinator, he is not the sole faculty person available to mentor clinical psychology students who do this concentration; in fact, if when you apply for admission you identify Dr. Karr as your potential mentor and your research interests do not align with his research interests, you will not be a competitive applicant to our program. UK Clinical Psychology faculty who mentor students in our Neuropsychology Concentration are Drs. Tom Adams, Jessica Burris, Justin Karr, Michelle Martel, and Suzanne Segerstrom. Faculty members outside of the clinical faculty may also have interest in mentoring a Clinical Neuropsychology trainee; and, if students wish to conduct research under a faculty in a different area (e.g., Cognitive Neuroscience; Developmental, Social, and Health), they should reach out to that faculty to gauge their interest in mentoring a student in the clinical program.
For More Info
Neuropsychology Concentration Coordinator
Department of Psychology
012-D Kastle Hall
Lexington, KY 40506-0044