Important Things to Know When Studying Psychology in Germany

by Rebecca Uhlich

Interested in studying a Psychology Master’s degree in Europe and being part of a constantly growing number of international students? Consider Germany on your list of top possible Psychology degree study destinations. Apart from the well-known advantages of free or low tuition fees and affordable living costs, several German universities and colleges are present in leading world rankings when it comes to Psychology degrees.

Most Master’s degrees are research-oriented, cover a highly international atmosphere and they are taught in English as well. By all means, you can follow a German-taught Psychology degree if you please. After all, Freud published his fundamental ideas of the human psychology in German.

If you’ve become curious, here is what you should know about studying a Psychology degree in Germany.

What you’ll study during a Psychology Master’s in Germany

In terms of content, the courses in Germany are oriented to Behavioural Psychology but the main emphasis is determined by the university individually.

During the Master's programme, you usually major in one of the three big fields of Applied Psychology:

  • Clinical Psychology and Psychopathology
  • Human Resources and Organisational Psychology
  • Pedagogic Psychology

Depending on the university, some offer subjects like Health Psychology or Economic Psychology, while others also offer the possibility to take interdisciplinary elective modules and combine Psychology with an additional subject like:

  • Business Administration
  • Educational Sciences
  • Gender Studies
  • Philosophy
  • Law

Additionally, within many universities and colleges you will have the chance to experience psychoanalysis therapy exercises just like you’ve seen in the movies, sitting on the famous “couch”.

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You might also undertake international exchange programs with leading universities and colleges in the USA or in European countries and explore different research practices and themes. Students are also encouraged to apply to internships or work as research assistants in fields like Cognitive Psychology, Experimental Psychopathology or Psychophysiology.

All lectures, workshops, research are meant to advance your understanding of physiological, emotional, cognitive and social determinants of behaviour and further your knowledge of psychologic theories.

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Some of the best universities in Germany for a Psychology Master’s degree

According to reputed university rankings, these are some of the best universities in Germany where you can pursue a Psychology degree:

The daily student life of a Psychology student in Germany

Usually, professors use powerpoint presentations to support their lectures. The latest research results are often presented and discussed in class.

The courses are divided into classical lectures (called “Vorlesungen”) and seminars (“Seminare”). During the lectures, the professor presents a certain topic and the students listen, maybe ask some questions; for the seminars the students themselves have to prepare the topics and present them to the other students using powerpoint presentations, too.

In addition to your presentation, you often have to prepare a handout for your fellow students (about 1 page) and write a composition of five to fifteen pages.

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Psychology internships in Germany

During your Master's studies, it is common to have a work placement of three to six months. The basic conditions for these periods of practical training often differ from university to university but the main requirement is to be supervised by a psychologist.

Most of the students pass their work placements in hospitals or psychiatric wards but you can work in companies (human resources), social services or prisons for example. Normally you can only spend half of the time in research projects.

The Master's degree graduation thesis of Psychology

The Master's thesis in Germany is like all psychological research in general, empirical and similar to the latest research in the U.S., Great Britain or the Netherlands.

For the Master's thesis, students have the chance to gain practical experience while undertaking scientific research and they will also learn to work independently. Just like for any Master's thesis, students should develop and answer their own research questions, and also include a report in the form of a publishable journal article.

Further information about the Psychology study, occupational fields, and career prospects is published on the official website of the professional association of German psychologists, the BDP.

Where can you work after you graduate?

Where can psychologists in Germany find work opportunities after having finished their studies? Most of them work as scientists, in the field of human resources or as psychotherapists; quite rare are jobs like traffic psychologists or psychologists at schools.

To achieve the licence to practice as a psychotherapist you have to undertake a training at one of the numerous private psychotherapy schools in Germany. The training takes between three and five years (additional to the studies!).

Having done this additional training and passed the final state exam you work just like a doctor, but without prescribing medicine.

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Become a behavioural expert with a Psychology Master’s in Germany

Now that you’ve done your homework, you’ll feel better prepared for your Psychology studies in Germany! Go abroad and widen your horizon – this is a recommendation for all Psychology students. The human soul is too full of variations to just stay home and not look for further experiences.

Start looking for Master’s degree in Psychology and have a great study experience in Germany.

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