The Master programme in psychotherapy science builds on the Bachelor programme and provides in-depth knowledge of theory, methodology, scientific and research methods and clinical competences. The course duration is four semesters. Upon successful completion, students earn the academic degree Magistra / Magister der Psychotherapiewissenschaft (Mag.pth.).
The admission criteria for the Master’s degree programme in Psychotherapy Science are: choosing a psychotherapeutic school from the 5th semester onwards, together with successfully completing the Bachelor’s degree programme in Psychotherapy Science.
None (see “Admission Requirements”).
Course Structure, incl. Curriculum
The duration of the Master’s programme is 4 semesters. Graduates of the Magister programme are awarded the academic degree Magistra / Magister der Psychotherapiewissenschaft (Mag.pth.).
The Master’s programme in Psychotherapy Science builds on the Bachelor’s programme and deepens the knowledge of theory, methodology and history of psychotherapy, the general and method-specific theory of illness, diagnoses and courses of disorders and their treatment concepts. Detailed knowledge is acquired from basic sciences on psychobiology, social science and social philosophy topics. Theories in the psychotherapy school/elective already chosen by the student in the Bachelor’s degree programme are deepened and covered in detail.
The orientation towards the therapyschools results from the current state of psychotherapy science as well as from the current legal licensing regulations in Austria (Psychotherapy Act, PthG). With the Master’s degree, the final certificate of the training association is also acquired and thus the possibility to be entered in the list of psychotherapists for the independent practice of psychotherapy in Austria (upon reaching the age of 28).
Psychotherapy research is an an essential part of the study programme. In order to interpret and compare empirical research, but also to design and pursue questions independently, differentiated knowledge is required. Therefore, basic theoretical knowledge in quantitative and qualitative methods is deepened and also practised.
Internships and personal development
Independent psychotherapeutic work under supervision is required as part of the elective subject. At the SFU’s psychotherapy outpatient clinic, the ability to relate and apply the acquired knowledge and skills to concrete counselling and therapy situations is developed. This is ensured under the guidance of training therapists, following three steps:
- through observation
- through co-therapy
- through independent work under supervision
In order to evaluate the theoretically acquired knowledge and the practically applied knowledge on the one hand, and to guide and correct the students in their practical work on the other, accompanying reflection sessions and practical seminars take place.
In order to acquire the necessary psychotherapeutic attitude, there are seminars on personality development in groups in the degree programme, and individual training therapy is also completed.
valid as of WS 2016/17:
Master Programme – valid as of WT 2016/17.pdf
valid until SS 2016:
Master Programme – valid as of ST 2012.pdf
Description of Modules
Qualification Profile and Skills
Professional qualification for the independent practice of the psychotherapy profession; theoretical, scientific and clinical competences.
Psychotherapy is positioned as a scientifically based healing profession in the health sector, which in Austria has equal status with medicine and psychology.
Occupational Profiles and Career Opportunities
Employability – Regulation Austria
The psychotherapeutic training is regulated by Austrian law.
Psychotherapeutic Propaedeutic Course (Propädeutikum) & Psychotherapeutic Specialisation (Fachspezifikum)
The Psychotherapeutic Propaedeutic Course (Psychotherapeutisches Propädeutikum) according to § 4 Para. 1 of the Austrian Psychotherapy Act (PthG) is the first step of the legally regulated training for the independent practice of psychotherapy. All courses of the Psychotherapeutic Propaedeutic Course are aligned with the SFU curriculum and can be credited for the Bachelor’s degree programme.
The Psychotherapeutic Specialisation (according to § 6-8 PthG) represents the 2nd part of the psychotherapy training and comprises at least 300 hours of theory and 1600 hours of practical training.
Registration in the list of psychotherapists of the Austrian Ministry of Health
In order to independently practise the psychotherapeutic profession in Austria, registration in the list of psychotherapists of the Austrian Federal Ministry is required. Registration is only possible at the age of 28. Through cooperation agreements between SFU and psychotherapeutic training associations, it is possible to become a candidate of a training association at the same time as entering the elective subject (Wahlpflichtfach). The training requirements of the respective psychotherapeutic method are included in the curriculum. In addition to the Master’s degree, a certificate of the association can also be acquired. With this certificate, it is possible to apply for registration in the psychotherapist list at the Austrian Ministry of Health, if all required conditions are met. SFU cannot influence the official registration procedure.
Detailed information on the psychotherapist profession can be found on the website of the Federal Ministry (in German). Translation from the Ministry’s website:
Job description and field of activity
Psychotherapy is an independent health care procedure for the treatment of psychological, psychosocial or psychosomatic behavioural disorders and conditions.
The purpose of psychotherapy is:
- to heal or alleviate mental suffering
- to help in life crises
- to change disturbed behaviour and attitudes
- to promote personal development and health
- the independent practice of psychotherapy consists in the autonomous performance of the above-mentioned activities, irrespective of whether they are carried out on a freelance basis or within the framework of an employment
Employability – regulation abroad
Foreign students who study psychotherapy science in Austria and want to practice the psychotherapeutic profession in their country of origin are subject to the legal regulations of the respective country. It is crucial to find out beforehand about the regulations governing such professional practice abroad.
In EU and EEA countries, admission to regulated activities is recognised if a corresponding professional right has already been acquired in the country of origin. Once you have obtained a professional licence in Austria, you can apply for recognition in another country. If there is no psychotherapy law in a country or psychotherapy is not regulated by another professional law (e.g. psychologists, doctors), recognition is not necessary.
Tuition fees as of winter semester 2021/22
Master’s Degree Programme: € 7,500 per semester
Tuition fee covers:
1. lectures, seminars, exercises
2. major part of personality development*
3. internship and practice reflection**
4. internship at the university outpatient clinic
5. examination fees
* From the 5th semester onwards (beginning of the method-specific training), the method-specific personality development (MPE), which you attend externally with training therapists of the method (individual training therapy or personality development in a group setting), is excluded. This differs based on the psychotherapeutic method and comprises 100 – 300 hours.
** Group practice reflection and part of the individual practice reflection (supervision) are included.
Tuition fees are charged for the standard programme duration (Master’s degree: 4 semesters). The total costs of studying at SFU will not increase in case a student’s studies are extended by one year.
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).
Austrian Ministry of Finance (information in German)
Contact Finance & Controlling
Phone: +43 1 798 40 98 304
Office and telephone hours: Mo-Thur: 10 am – 3 pm / Fr: 10 am – 3 pm, by telephone only
Address: Freudplatz 1, 3rd floor, room 3002
Scholarships and Financing
Following the applicable criteria, Sigmund Freud University awards scholarships and grants every year.
The English Master Programme in Psychotherapy Science was accredited by the Austrian Accreditation Council in 2005. All SFU Accreditation Reports are available in German.