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Online Master’s Degree in Neuropsychology

The field of psychology is like a giant tree with many branches. One of these branches is neuropsychology. Neuropsychology is the study of the relation between the brain and behavior. Neuropsychologists aim to understand how the brain functions by observing people and conducting research, and in clinical practice often work with patients who have sustained a brain injury. Because this is such a specialized area, neuropsychologists need at least a master’s degree, if not higher, to go into the field. An online masters degree in neuropsychology can take two to three years to complete, depending on the program, how many classes are taken, if it’s full time or part time, and what kind of clinical experience is required.

Classes for an Online Masters Degree in Neuropsychology

There are some masters degree programs in neuropsychology offered through graduate schools, though more likely students will take a master’s degree in psychology and focus on neuropsychology in their research or work. Online masters degrees in this area will train students in clinical, experimental, and developmental neuropsychology, emphasizing brain anatomy, brain function, and brain injury or disease. They’ll also help students gain the research and clinical skills necessary to apply for licenses or certification. Some classes you may take in neuropsychology program include:

  • Introduction to Neuropsychology
  • Biopsychology
  • Psychology of Learning and Memory
  • Psychoneuroimmunology
  • Stress and Coping

In addition to classes, key parts of any master degree in neuropsychology are clinical experience and research. If you’re on a more clinical path, with the end goal to treat patients, you likely will have to complete an internship under the supervision of a neuropsychologist during your graduate study. If you’re looking to pursue more academic work, you may need to conduct research in an independent laboratory project and write and present a thesis to graduate.

A Career as a Graduate with an Online Masters Degree in Neuropsychology

Upon earning a masters degree in neuropsychology, career options can include medicine, industry, or academic research. Though more likely than not, you’ll have to continue your study at the doctorate level to work as a neuropsychologist. Most neuropsychologists are in clinical practice ó evaluating and treating patients in a hospital or clinic ó but to work as a clinical neuropsychologist, you need a license, and to apply for a license, you need a doctorate degree. This degree could be in psychology, with additional years of post-doctoral training in clinical neuropsychology. Other neuropsychology students may not practice psychology at all and go on to study medicine, as a master’s in psychology or neuropsychology can be good preparation for an M.D. or M.D./Ph.D. program.

Psychology as a whole is a growing field. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of psychologists is expected to grow 22% through 2020, faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is anticipated as more psychologists will be needed to help people deal with issues such as depression and mental disorders and to provide services to an aging population. The BLS notes that job prospects will be best for those with a doctoral degree in an applied specialty, with greater demand in schools, hospitals, mental health centers, and social services agencies also driving growth.

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