How do I become a clinical neuropsychologist?

Information about qualifications, experience and the typical career path
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Borrowed Cone
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How do I become a clinical neuropsychologist?

Post by Borrowed Cone » Fri Apr 06, 2012 2:30 am

I have a general interest in neuropsychology and for that reason I am often asked how one goes about becoming a "clinical neuropsychologist". Although this is not a protected title, clinical neuropsychologists are generally regarded as those people who hold "Practitioner Full Membership" of the Division of Neuropsychology, of the British Psychological Society, and are on the DoN's Specialist Register of Clinical Neuropsychologists.

To obtain "Practitioner Full Membership" of the DoN (and be eligible to be put on the Specialist Register) you must complete the BPS Qualification in Clinical Neuropsychology (QiCN).

It is quite possible that in the near future, only Practitioner Full Members of the DoN (and maybe those registered on the QiCN) will be legally allowed to use the title "Clinical Neuropsychologist". With politics in mind, but also because I think this would be a useful resource for those people interested in pursuing a career in clinical neuropsychology; I have outlined the process below.

A quick caveat - it is not necessary to pursue the QiCN to get a job in neuropsychology. However, from experience, employers (particularly in neuropsychology departments) tend to want you to enrol on this program if you are sticking around and want to progress.

What is the QiCN and am I eligible?

The QiCN is an advanced professional qualification that requires you to already be trained as a clinical or educational psychologist. So if you're not already trained, you need to complete a doctorate in clinical or education psychology first.

Once you've done this, you must also become chartered with the BPS, and register with the Health Professions Council as an applied psychologist. You must uphold both these prerequisites throughout the QiCN, which is 2 years full time (during your normal work).

There are two strands: Adult or Paediatric. You must choose one of these strands. It is possible to do both at once, but this takes 3 years and should be discussed with the BPS (it is extremely rare).

Ok, I'm an HPC registered Clinical or Educational Psychologist. Now what?

Now, or at least prior to registering for the QiCN, you need to get a job in a suitable place of work that will give you access to appropriate clients/patients. This isn't a 100% absolute necessity, but bear in mind that if you don't have access to different clients with a range of neuropsychological presentations you won't be able to complete your clinical portfolio (more on this later).

YES! I've got a job in a neuropsychology or other appropriate service! Sign me up!

Well, nearly. You need to convince a supervisor, who is already a Full Practitioner Member of the DoN to agree to provide supervision throughout the QiCN. If they are not already approved by the DoN, they will need to gain approval within 12 months of your acceptance onto the programme.

OK, I've got a supervisor. What next?

You need to submit all the relevant documents to the QiCN administrators (details available on the BPS website). This includes a plan of training and supervision.

OK, I'm registered, what does the programme look like?

Basically, you have to do everything yourself. The QiCN is not a taught programme, it is essentially a set of criteria and competencies that you need to fullfil whilst you work.

The QiCN consists of three "dimensions" that you must fulfil:

This includes background, assessment, disorders, and management. This is assessed by two essays and four exams. It is your own responsibility to learn all of this, and some people choose to enrol on external post-graduate programmes such as the PGDip/MSc in Clinical Neuropsychology at Glasgow University (which provides the knowledge-base needed).

It is important to note that the completion of post-graduate taught programmes in clinical neuropsychology, such as the Glasgow course, does not in itself confer eligibility for Practitioner Full Membership of the DoN.

If you already hold a BPS accredited post-graduate degree in clinical neuropsychology, you may be eligible for exemption from this dimension.

You will need to conduct relevant research, or present previous neuropsychological research (e.g. if your doctoral thesis was relevant, or if you have recently published as a first author on one paper, or a series of papers on the same topic). You also need to submit a research log and attend a viva voce.

If you have a substantial history of neuropsychological research and publication, or a PhD in neuropsychology, you may be eligible for exemption from this dimension.

This dimension is comprised of a clinical portfolio: a record of all the cases you have seen over a two year period (or part-time equivalent). You also need to submit a supervision log and six case studies (3x 3000 words; and 3x 5000 words). This dimension is also examined by viva voce.

The clinical portfolio should cover a range of neuropsychological presentations and so it may be necessary to seek clients from outside of your main service by arrangement with secondary supervisors as necessary. It is not expected that you'll see every presentation under the sun, but you do need to demonstrate competencies in the assessment and management of a wide variety of clients.

If you have a substantial history of practice in neuropsychology, you may be eligible for exemption from this dimension (this is rarer).

As mentioned above, fulfilling all of these dimensions requires 2 years full time practice (or part-time equivalent).

How much does this all cost?

Fee information is available via the BPS website. At the time of writing, it works out around £2000-3000 per year, assuming you don't have to resubmit anything, which will cost you more. Some people get full or partial funding from their employers.

I've done it! Have I passed?

Possible outcomes are: Distinction, Pass, Conditional Pass (minor corrections), or Fail (with or without another viva voce). All resubmissions are subject to further fees.

Failure of any third submission constitutes failure of the QiCN. As fees are non-refundable, you should probably try to avoid this.

I've passed! Am I a Neuropsychologist?

Once you've gained the QiCN you are eligible for Practitioner Full Membership of the DoN, and entry onto the DoN's Specialist Register of Clinical Neuropsychologists. After a bit more experience, you can seek approval as a QiCN supervisor (and attend a relevant training course).

Although the title is not protected, it would seem this is the most appropriate time to refer to yourself as a clinical neuropsychologist, if that's what you want.

More detailed information, including fees and past papers, can be obtained from the QiCN Downloads Page on the BPS website

I do hope this introductory guide to becoming a clinical neuropsychologist is helpful to those interested parties.

The Cone
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Re: How do I become a clinical neuropsychologist?

Post by maven » Mon Jan 29, 2018 4:59 am

Does anyone know the current status of clinical neuropsychology to update this wiki?

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The fool thinks himself to be wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool - Shakespeare

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Re: How do I become a clinical neuropsychologist?

Post by hollyhock » Fri Feb 02, 2018 9:06 pm

Hello all,

All of the information in The Cone's post all still looks up to date, so I just thought I'd add the paediatric route (extremely similar!) and some info if anyone is foolhardy/skint enough to want info on the independent route.

I'm currently treading the treacle like path to training as a paediatric neuropsychologist. There are currently two routes to training, for both of which you will need the doctorate to be able to practice clinically as a neuropsychologist. I'm just going to tackle the paediatric route here, but might add the adult options, which are soon to be slightly more varied, later.

You need to meet three criteria to gain the QiCN (Qualification in Paediatric Neuropsychology) - Paediatric route:

1. Knowledge dimension: You need to EITHER - attend UCL (the only UK course to offer the PG Diploma and MSc in Paediatric Neuropsychology) OR enter with the BPS to sit their independent essays and exams. The first route is well trodden. The second route significantly less so (only one qualified by this route in paeds to date). UCL is expensive (MUCH more so than the adult route), and comes in at about £7800 plus travel and accommodation for the PG Dip or about £11000 plus travel and accommodation for the MSc. The independent route is currently about £450 for the essays and £670 for the exams (you sit them at the BPS). Pass either the PG Dip OR BPS essays and exams to get a tick in the knowledge box.

2. Research: If you do the UCL MSc, the research bit you do as the thesis counts as an exemption for this part. Ditto if you do something paeds neuro-y enough for your doctoral thesis (mine was ASD, and it was fine). Alternatively, you have to complete and write up a piece of research which meets similar standards and criteria as the above, and the BPS will assess it. I don't know the cost for this part.

3. Practical component: 2 years full time or P/T equivalent of paeds neuro cases, all supervised by a BPS QiCN approved paeds neuro supervisor. Min 60 hours supervision log of your supervision over the two years. 6 case studies. All assessed by portfolio submission of a short write up of EVERY SINGLE CASE, the 6 case studies, and your supervision log and a viva about neuropsychology knowledge and clinical experience. Having not sat the viva yet, I can't commrnt more on this. The portfolio is more onerous time wise than you could possibly imagine :roll: . Do not underestimate this part. About 50% of the people I know failed this first time, the other half passed at first go. This is not a full survey, just the folks I know. Assessment costs £4165 to the BPS.

You will need a good range of cases to fill your portfolio, so you will need a neuro job, or one with very substantial access to neuro cases. Also, it needs to not just be one 'type' of case (e.g. all neurodevelopmental, all neuro oncology) etc. The case studies come with guidance as to the range expected, and this porbably gives a good tip as to the range that the examiners expect to see in your full portfolio. If you are not in a neuro-ish job with good links to neurodevelopmental and health/neuro departments, I would strongly recommend thinking about how you will gain access to the necessary number of case hours. I am exceptionally fortunate to have a phenomenally great clinical supervisor who finds me a good range of work to make sure I'm staying wide enough. I think I'd struggle a lot without that help, so you need to ask around and go and find yourself the right supervisor, and then try very hard indeed to go work with them! :D

Before I forget, you MUST be a paid up member of the BPS for every month that you count towards your QiCN practice hours.

If you can tick each of the three parts, you're pretty much there. I'm doing the independent route, and have passed the essays so far, and am about 70% through my 'hours'. Haven't written up any case studies yet, and am horribly behind on the portfolio, because the actual clinical caseload takes priority over a page of write up (admittedly very brief) of EVERY CASE.


It will have cost me (going the cheap route) about £6000 if I passed first go. I am also applying for funding to try to go to UCL as the impending exams having self-studied are making me fraught with anxiety. If I get the funding, then the costs of BPS membership, UCL attendance for fees, travel and accommodation, plus QiCN assessment will come to around £17400.

Useful links:

BPS QiCN guidance, fees, and handbook: ... psychology
UCL course page: ... psychology
BPS Division of Neuropsychology page: ... psychology

I'm happy to elaborate on the independent route if anyone wants to ask anything specific. Hope this helps.

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Re: How do I become a clinical neuropsychologist?

Post by Pixie » Sat Feb 03, 2018 12:33 am

Thanks, hollyhock, this is all really helpful information.

The only thing I'd add (from resent research I’ve done to try and find the most affordable way to train) is the new BPS approved training at Bristol University. The offer a certificate in clinical neuropsychology practice (either paediatric or adult), which costs £2,100 and is for those who already have the QiCN Knowledge dimension/completed diploma.They also offer a MSc (£10,700) that covers the knowledge and practice dimensions (but glancing at the module content it looks adult-focused). The website says successful completion of their training confers eligibility for registration with the BPS Specialist Register of Neuropsychologists and the course starts in Sept and Jan each year.

I also recently discovered that there is a fast-track route for specific DClinPsy courses that covers the required neuro curriculum. For example, trainees at Bath can choose to complete 50 credits during training as the neuro teaching maps on to the BPS curriculum but this also requires choosing neuro electives (12 months) and completing part of the portfolio, i.e.2 case studies, clinical supervision log and case log during training). I am not sure if other universities have similar arrangements. This route involves an exam and viva and successful completion allows access to the rest of the training (i.e. remaining 130 credits at Bristol), which involves an advanced practice portfolio of the remaining case reports, supervision log and case log, including 12 months of experience followed by a viva exam.

It's good to know there are different options but all look pricey but, hopefully, worth it!

PgCert in Neuropsychology practice: ... pdate.html
MSc in Clinical Neuropsychology: ... sychology/

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Re: How do I become a clinical neuropsychologist?

Post by hollyhock » Mon Feb 05, 2018 8:58 pm

Hi Pixie,

The Bristol course is currently seeking accreditation, but will not be accredited until after the next cohort (if successful). It is adult only, unfortunately. It doesn't offer a cheaper alternative to qualifying than the UCL or self study routes sadly (although if it did, I'd be the first to apply!). The accredited module route may be an appealing way for potential adult trainees to potentially cut out up to a year of the post-doc training though, but again, only for adult candidates. Roll on the roll out of a similar idea across the UK, and for child candidates! :-)

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Re: How do I become a clinical neuropsychologist?

Post by BenJMan » Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:22 pm

How do you figure it doesn't offer a cheaper alternative hollyhock?

The Bristol practical route is £2000 vs currently £5500 to take that component on via the BPS independent route?

The Glasgow course for the Knowledge component is currently significantly cheaper than the Bristol Knowledge course due to national funding arrangements, so combining Glasgow with Bristol courses can save several thousand pounds on other options.
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Re: How do I become a clinical neuropsychologist?

Post by hollyhock » Sat May 12, 2018 1:18 pm

I can only reiterate: Bristol is not a cheaper alternative to the Paeds university route (via UCL) because the Bristol MSc is adult only. Unless I've missed something huge having already spoken to Bristol? Even if they are offering a way to sidestep the portfolio and viva aspect for paediatric route clinicians (£4165 via BPS), it's not accredited yet to my knowledge. Please do update if you have further knowledge.

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Re: How do I become a clinical neuropsychologist?

Post by mungle » Wed Aug 01, 2018 11:10 am

Just wanted to say this has been a really useful post and a few questions....

- are there any books, resources etc. people would recommend up teach oneself on neuropsychology - the knowledge element?
- I've struggled to find a link to the Glasgow certificate, only the MSc. Does anyone have any links?
- does anyone know of ways to build the neuro practical side slowly e.g. through one day a week with a service or through ad hoc private work
- a friend is interested in neuropsychology but is not a CP. She has a PhD in cognitive/neuro and considerable research and teaching experience. For a while, it seems there were discussions about a route for non-CPs. I haven't got far with google. Does anyone have any insight about this please?

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Re: How do I become a clinical neuropsychologist?

Post by hollyhock » Mon Jun 17, 2019 12:56 pm

The beginner's reading list for paediatric neuropsychology (someone might kindly come along and do an adult list soon, sorry Mungle, I just realised you want adults because I see you mentioned Glasgow!) - warning: this is based on absolutely nothing other than my own views and you may find that you want entirely other things! I've worked my way along my shelf here at home, I've got a few more at work, but this is the bulk of it. This is 'core' reading (the backbones as it were, in my own limited opinion). On top of this you'll need to build specialist understanding on the areas in which the paediatric neuropsychology syllabus is based (e.g. development and disorder of all the neurological systems such as vision, hearing, movement, language etc, plus assessment and intervention of each of the same, plus the common disorders, plus all the up to date imaging information (DTI,DWI,VBML,FMRI,MRI,SPECT and all the others that I can't remember at all) - I can provide a full list of the assessed syllabus if needed). This (IMO) needs to be based on papers not texts as everything else is out of date as soon as it's printed. If anyone is absolutely panting to have a full list of absolutely everything I'm happy to make sensible recommendations based on each area is anyone is really stuck, but it makes more sense for me to give these as people need them rather than finish myself off doing a comprehensive list that it (you guessed it) immediately out of date. This second part represents about five sixths of the reading, so the texts below are more 'starter for ten'as it were.

The 'Core' Paediatric List: (in no discernable order). Some are adult books, but I've only included these where these have been useful. I'll add to this when I have more time. I can see I've missed some keys ones - will edit this later.

Anderson, V., Northam, E., & Wrennell, J. (2017). Developmental Neuropsychology: A Clinical Approach (Brain, Behaviour and Cognition). Psychology Press.
Reed, J., & Warner-Rogers, J. (2008). Child Neuropsychology: Concepts, Theory and Practice. Wiley-Blackwell.
Crossman, A. Neary, D. (2014). Neuroanatomy: An Illustrated Colour Text, 5th Edition. Churchill Livingstone.
Fowler & Scadding Clinical Neurology
G MacNeil Martin Human Neuropsychology
Kolb, B., & Whishaw, I.Q. (2015). Fundamentals of Human Neuropsychology, 7th Edition. W. H. Freeman & Co Ltd
Reed, J., Byard, K., & Fine, H. (2015). Neuropsychological Rehabilitation of Childhood Brain Injury: A Practical Guide. Palgrave Macmillan
Anderson et al. (2016) Developmental Neuropsychology: A Clinical Approach (Brain, Behaviour and Cognition)
Johnson, M. H., & de-Haan, M. (2015). Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 4th Edition. Wiley-Blackwell.
Goldstein & MacNeil Clinical neuropsychology a practical guide to assessment and management for clinicians
Appendix of A tiny bit of chemistry, physics and pharmacology. In R. Thompson (2000) The Brain: A Neuroscience Primer. 3rd Ed. New York, Worth Publishers.
MRI made easy - Prof. Hans H. Schild (out of print, but PDF easy to find online for free)
Robbie, D.W., Moore, E.A., Graves, M.J. & Prince, M.R. (2006). MRI from Picture to Proton. Cambridge University Press.
Hornak, J.P. The Basics of MRI (pdf available easily online)
Gilmour, J.H., Knickmeyer, R.C. & Gao, W. (2018). Imaging structural and functional brain development in early childhood. Nature Reviews: Neuroscience, 19, 123-137.
Lerner, R. Handbook of Child Psychology and Developmental Science, 7th Edition (2015). *I don't own this one.
Richard M. Lerner (Editor). Chapter 18. Neuroscientific Methods with Children, by Michelle de Haan
Semrud-Klikeman & Teeter Ellison (2009) Developmental Neuropsychology: A Clinical Approach (Brain, Behaviour and Cognition)
K. O. Yeates, M. D. Ris, H. G. Taylor, B. F. Pennington (2009). Pediatric Neuropsychology, Second Edition: Research, Theory, and Practice (Science and Practice of Neuropsychology). Guilford Press.
Sattler, J. M. (2008). Assessment of Children: Cognitive Foundations, 5th Edition. Jerome. M. Sattler Publisher, Inc.
Sattler, J. M. & Hoge, R. D. (2006). Assessment of Children: Behavioral, Social and Clinical Foundations, 5th Edition. Jerome. M. Sattler Publisher, Inc. (These latter two are American, but have good practical information on the assessment process).

I'd look second hand where possible (Abe books were pretty good for me), and I'm happy to loan to people willing to collect from me (and who don't mind my hunting them down in the dead of night for non-returners).

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