Studying psychology is and remains a coveted goal for many. The rush for study places is correspondingly high. The application procedure is usually based on the numerus clausus (NC), so anyone who wants to study psychology in Germany needs a very good grade point average. However, those who do not have this should not bury their heads in the sand. There are other ways to get a place on a psychology course. For those who have made it, many paths are open after graduation.
Psychology is a broad field. It plays an important role in many areas of life, and that in turn opens up exciting fields of activity and good career prospects for psychologists. So it’s no wonder that demand for places on degree courses is so high. According to the Federal Statistical Office, psychology has been one of the ten most popular subjects in Germany in recent years.
Studying psychology: Bachelor’s and consecutive Master’s degrees
The range of courses offered in psychology is varied and changing. However, this does not change the fact that “a basic scientific study of psychology is still the essential prerequisite for successful independent work in all areas of applied psychology.” The Professional Association of German Psychologists (BdP) points this out on its website. To work as a psychologist, students would have to complete both a bachelor’s degree and a consecutive master’s degree.
The classic is the bachelor’s degree in general psychology. “The focus here is on purely psychological approaches,” the federal agency explains on its site www.abi.de. Thus, basics on various theories as well as statistics would be taught first. In the higher semesters and in the master’s degree, students can also choose focal points in the classic psychology program, such as clinical psychology, industrial and organizational psychology, and educational psychology.
Depending on the university, a grade point average of between 1.0 and 1.7 is currently required for admission to a psychology program. The employment agency warns prospective students not to underestimate the challenges: Just because someone can listen well and solve their friends’ problems does not mean that they are then automatically up to the challenges of studying psychology.
According to the employment agency, there is a special selection process at various universities. In addition to the free online self-test “OSA-Psych”, participation in the subject-specific aptitude test “STAV-Psych” is recommended – this could improve the chances of admission. The aptitude test consists of the areas of reasoning, math, biology and English skills as well as an understanding of psychology.
Mathematics and biology also play a role
The fact that mathematics and biology as well as scientific work and action also play a role in this profession should therefore not be forgotten. It is also advisable to be prepared for the fact that statistics are also involved and that you will often be working with English technical literature. If you don’t have any problems with all this, you should be in good hands in the versatile psychology program.
If the grade point average is not sufficient, there are other paths to the dream job. For example, many private universities and colleges offer psychology bachelor’s degree programs without an NC, because some of them have different admission requirements. What is required, such as a letter of motivation, a personal interview or an aptitude test, is handled differently depending on the university. Other criteria often play a role in the admissions process, for example “soft skills” such as social competencies, communication skills and ethical awareness. It must be taken into account that private universities usually charge higher tuition fees. To ensure that not everything depends on the financial situation of the prospective student when applying without an NC, scholarships and other financial aid are available.
Even abroad, it is often possible to enter a psychology program without NC hurdles. Here, too, personal selection interviews and admission tests are sometimes used. Grades in subjects relevant to the study program are also often taken into account. Those who decide to study abroad should keep in mind that in some countries tuition fees must be paid, and the amount can vary greatly.
Improving the performance of athletes
Those who have completed a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree can work in many fields. One example is sports psychology, which on the one hand deals with health sports as a means of psychological intervention. On the other hand, it deals with competitive sports. There, according to the BdP, the goal is to improve, stabilize and restore the performance prerequisites of athletes and their environment in training and competition. Target groups are athletes, coaches, referees and managers, it says.
Another example is environmental psychologists , who work primarily at universities, in research centers and as independent consultants. Their tasks are to advise individuals, groups, organizations and companies on the psychologically stressful effects of emissions, such as noise impacts. According to the professional association, their tasks also include “pointing out starting points and psychological barriers to an environmentally compatible and resource-conserving lifestyle.”