Online Application and Admission – Doctoral Programme in Psychotherapy Science

Each year a growing number of students apply to the SFU’s English PhD Programme in Psychotherapy Science. They come from all over the world, and have diverse backgrounds, including educational, professional and personal experience. Therefore the time needed for the respective applications varies from case to case.

You can find all the information on our applilcation and admission process below. Please read the sections carefully, and also check the Frequently Asked Questions, as you might find them helpful. Should you need any further information, feel free to contact us at

Online Application

As a first step, please register on our online application platform: 

Online Application – SFU

We will then send you an access code to your registered e-mail address (please also check your spam folder). You can then log in any time, make changes to your data or upload additional documents.

How to apply:

Step 1: Please select the desired study programme

Step 2: Fill in the form and upload the required documents

Step 3: Check all your entered data and click on “send application”

We will then contact you and inform you on the next steps (admission interviews etc.).

We are looking forward to your application!

→ Please note that a a one-time enrollment fee of € 500 is charged.

General application requirements and admission procedure

The process of applying to SFU takes approximately a month, and consists of the following steps:

  • Register on our Online Application Platform (see above) and provide all requested data, including your comprehensive research proposal. Please note that we cannot accept hand-written documents.
  • Provide all supporting documents, including your full academic record (certified translation, if your diplomas are in languages other than German or English), passport copy, 2 passport photos, and certificates of therapy training.
  • Your application is then reviewed by the Doctorate Team.
  • In the event of a positive review, a personal interview will be scheduled. If the applicant resides in Austria, the interview will take place at Sigmund Freud University Vienna. Applicants from other countries will be interviewed by phone or Skype.
  • Within a few weeks after the application, we will inform you whether you are admitted to study at SFU.
  • Once a student accepts the admission, he/she will receive additional information from the Doctoral Office.

International Diploma requirements

Applicants of all nationalities are invited to apply to SFU. Nevertheless, applicants from countries outside EEA or EU might have a little more (paper)work when applying to our PhD programme. Therefore, the Doctoral Office strongly encourages every prospect student to get certified English translations of their diplomas and certificates.

Language requirements

The PhD programme is held in English, therefore applicants are highly encouraged to develop sufficient language skills in order to properly follow lectures, participate in coursework and discussion and to produce high-level written work in academic English. Therefore, we strongly recommend every candidate to pass an internationally recognised English language exam (TOEFL, IELTS, CAE or CPE test), and submit a proof of English language competency with the application. Please note that all students are tested on their English language proficiency upon their arrival at SFU. In case of serious language problems they will be required to ’stop the clock’ of their PhD education in order to improve their language skills.

Requirement of self-experience

In accordance with the general aims of the English PhD programme of SFU to bridge clinical practice with theoretical and empirical investigation, in order to form a holistic understanding of how psychotherapy works, Applicants need to demonstrate 60 hours of self-experience.

Visa and residence permits

Whether you need an entry visa and/or a residence permit depends on your citizenship. An entry visa is a sticker in your passport, issued by the Austrian Embassy or Consulate in your home country (or the country in which you legally reside), which you might need to enter Austria. A residence permit is a card, which allows students to legally reside in Austria. In addition, students are required to register at the Municipality of Vienna, if Vienna is their temporary or permanent place of residence. For more information please contact the Doctoral Office.

When to apply/Deadlines

It is possible to apply to our English PhD programme any time during the year. Given past experience, we anticipate that many candidates will submit their online application materials very close to the submission deadline. To avoid potential delays, we encourage candidates to submit application materials as early as possible.

Tuition fee

The tuition fee for the Doctoral Programme amounts to € 4,400 per semester.
The standard programme duration is 6 semesters.
Monthly payment by installments start from € 350; please contact our accounting for details:

Enrollment fee:
A non-refundable payment of € 500 (not included in the tuition fee) is required to secure the enrollment procedure in the Doctoral Programme.

Tax deductions:
In line with the Austrian income tax law, students may deduct the total expenses of their study courses from their taxes if the degree programmes are rated as professional reorientation (Umschulungsmaßnahme) or continuing education (Weiterbildungsmaßnahme).
Federal Ministry of Finance (information in German)

Head of Admission

Mag. Emma McNally MSc.

Contact PhD Office

Ms. Ulrike Fenz
Tel: +43 1 798 40 98 451
Room 4004 / 4th floor

Office hours:
Mon, Tue, Thur, Fri: 9am–1:30pm