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le_inferno's avatar

If I want to be a neuropsychologist, should I be majoring in biopsychology?

Asked by le_inferno (6189points) September 9th, 2010

Right now I am just a psychology major. If I want to go into neuropsychology, can I stay on this track, or should I be “biopsychology?” The thing is, I’m not 100% positive neuropsychology is for me (I’ve never actually been in the field at all, I’m only a sophomore in college), so I kind of want to be able to do something else in psych if I want. Any thoughts?

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6 Answers

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I just looked up the Wikipedia article about neuropsychology. All I can say is wow. It sounds fascinating.

But it sounds very different than plain psychology. You will be involved in a lot more scientific research in the new field. If you like science, then go for it.

le_inferno's avatar

I just did some research and found this:

Once in college, a person who wants to become a neuropsychologist usually earns a bachelor’s degree in a major such as psychology or biology. Some even pursue pre-medicine majors. An individual in this field may then go on to pursue a master’s degree in psychology, focusing on neuropsychology for this degree. In most cases, however, a person interested in the career seeks a Doctor of Philosophy degree in neuropsychology instead.

This seems to imply people don’t specialize until they get their master’s. But if my school offers biopsych, wouldn’t it make sense to take that now? Guess I’ll try to talk to someone about this.

GeorgeGee's avatar

It’s up to you. Not everyone does the same thing in undergrad and graduate studies. Sometimes mixing it up provides you a useful but different foundation from your peers that can give you a unique edge. I’d consider the reasonable undergrad majors to be: Psychology, biology, cognitive science, computer science/AI, philosophy, linguistics, and theology.
Each of these will give you a different perspective on the mind. I went from an arts undergrad major (with coursework in psych) to cognitive neuroscience in my doctoral studies. The arts background didn’t slow me down at all and gave me some unique insights into creativity and visual processes.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

That would be an excellent route to take if you are considering pursuing your interest in neuropsychology. I did that for a major even though I ultimately went into clinical.

Flavio's avatar

It likely does not matter what you do in undergraduate. To be a clinical neuropsychologist you will need at least a masters in psychology. To have the most professional opportunities, you will need a clinical phd with an externship and then an internship.

Nially_Bob's avatar

Well hello there my future competition :)
Being that it’s a rather new position, the requirements for a Neuropsychologist differ quite drastically between countries and regions. My Neuropsychology lecturer is from Canada and says that there he began with a neuroscience undergraduate and then progressed to a masters followed by a specific course in neuropsychology. In the UK however you’re expected to practice a Psychology undergraduate, followed by a Doctorate in clinical psychology, and then specialist training in Neuropsychology. The necessary training may be more complex in the US due to conflicting state laws so you should consider that when researching the subject.
My strongest suggestion would be to simply contact your local hospital and ask if you could arrange an appointment with their Resident Neuropsychologist to discuss the career. That way you’ll get a better idea of both what neuropsychologists do and what their training entails.
Concerning your colleges biopsychology course, once again your first port of call is contact. Get in touch with the biopsychology lecturers and simply ask whether it would be a fitting course to lead to a career in neuropsychology.
Best of luck my friend.

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