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Course Description

Psychology

Studying Psychology in Germany

An article by Florian Schumann. Cooperation from: Gabriele Meister

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That is what it's about

Why does someone act the way they do? What is the impact of the Corona pandemic on mental health? Psychology, the science of human experience and behaviour, deals with such questions. It stands at the interface between natural and social science and therefore works with different methods, such as personality tests or intelligence tests, but also with behavioural observations or interviews. Sometimes psychology also uses physiological methods, such as electroencephalograms (EEGs) or the measurement of body values via smart watches.

This is how the course runs

A Bachelor’s degree usually takes six semesters. At the beginning the students get an overview: General psychology is just as much a part of the programme as social psychology or differential psychology, which deals with differences between people. Other topics include developmental psychology, clinical psychology, educational psychology, and industrial and organisational psychology.

Students learn to develop tests, for example as related to self-esteem. That is not possible without methodological knowledge: In statistics they deal with how to collect data, evaluate it and which criteria scientific studies have to fulfil. Compulsory internships are also included: in a clinic, at a counselling centre, in the personnel department of a company or at a research centre.

Important: If you want to work as a psychotherapist, you must choose a bachelor's degree that qualifies you for a master's degree with a focus on clinical psychology and psychotherapy. Most courses leading to the degree "Psychology B.Sc" at universities do, but you should check in each case whether the desired course fulfils the prerequisite. After this master's degree, there is a state examination, and then one can qualify even further and specialise, for example, in the therapy of children and adolescents.

Typical questions raised within the subject

  • How are drives and behaviour related?
  • What does our smart phone use say about our personality?
  • When is a person a good leader?
  • How do refugees overcome trauma?
  • What impact does early education have on equal opportunity?
  • What are the psychological consequences of isolation?
  • How does a person's intelligence change over a lifetime?
  • How do hormones affect our well-being?
  • How does prosocial behaviour emerge in children?

The subject suits you,...

... you are interested in how people experience the world and why they behave the way they do. That alone isn't enough though, you must also be good at mathematics. "You need a solid foundation in statistics. After all, students need to understand studies and be able to assess how different therapies work, for example," says Markus Bühner, professor at LMU Munich and president of the German Psychological Society. Good English is also needed to understand the technical literature. You should not choose a Psychology degree because you want to solve your own problems. Rather, students must be psychologically stable and able to question themselves. Approximately three quarters of the students are women.

Is there a numerus clausus?

At state universities, psychology courses usually have an entrance restriction close to a grade level of 1.0. The Fern-Uni Hagen is an exception. Because of the rush, many courses are offered at private universities. However, they sometimes charge high fees and do not always qualify students to train as psychotherapists.