Course Structure and Organisation

General Programme

This M.A. programme explores one of the most differentiated and contemporary perspectives of the human psyche, as indeed for one of the most modern of the human sciences. As a science of the unconscious, psychoanalysis is not just a therapeutic method. It also represents a theory of science and knowledge, one that is located between the natural sciences and the humanities, cultural studies and social sciences, and which connects these lines of tradition in an innovative, forward-thinking manner.

With our Master programme, a unique, multi-layered study course is waiting for you that will prepare you for an equally diverse professional life and career. The study course’s clinical direction, which focuses on psychodynamic-psychoanalytical approaches, provides solid education and training in research methods. At the same time, this is broadened on a fundamental level with in-depth knowledge from non-clinical application areas of psychological and psychoanalytical thinking.

While its curriculum is based on the recommendations of the German Psychological Society (DGPs), one focus of the studies is on learning to apply fundamental diagnostic, counselling and therapeutic competencies. The course's psychoanalytical direction is reflected in the fact that, in addition to behavioural therapy, Gestalt therapy, systemic and other methods, the psychoanalytical methods represent the focus here.

Furthermore, the conveying of empirical and statistical methods is intended to also include those methods which are especially suited to record and map the processes and the results of any psychoanalytical treatment. Ultimately, the psychoanalytical direction is also reflected in the fact that the students not only become familiar with psychoanalysis as a psychotherapeutic method, but also as a cultural theory and applied social science. The study course has been approved and officially accredited by the Berlin Senate.

Study Aims

Our aim at the IPU Berlin is to make you familiar with the whole spectrum of the discourse, so that the greatest possible range of professional options and perspectives are open to you afterwards. Regardless of the career direction, you intend to take: With your Master of Arts Psychology degree from the IPU Berlin, you will be excellently prepared and equipped for your professional future. The intention of the Master of Arts Psychology course is to enable you to work independently as a clinical psychologist, to further your scientific or academic studies and to pursue a university or higher education career as the case may be. As a graduate, you can select a psychotherapeutic direction of your own choice (behavioural therapy, depth psychology, psychoanalysis).

If you, as an international student, plan on working in the psychotherapeutic field after graduation from IPU Berlin, we kindly advise you to look at the requirements for the recognition as a therapist in your home country before applying at IPU Berlin.

Course Structure and Organisation

The course comprises 120 ECTS credits, which can be earned in four full-time study semesters. The ECTS credits are spread to a similar extent across the semesters, with the Master thesis to be written in the final semester.

The course is arranged in five areas of study. In addition, there is a compulsory elective subject which is intended to give the students the opportunity to focus on a scientific or academic field in line with their own interests (e.g. Clinical Neuropsychology or Social Trauma or Selective Areas of Work and Organizational Psychology or Other Fields). Furthermore, the students should gain work experience by completing practical, work-placement professional training of at least 330 hours.

By designing its modules conceptually, the IPU is striving to enhance the transparency of both the content and aims of the studies, facilitate the planning of mobility options – also between study courses for instance – together with the workload for the students, and space this out uniformly over the study course to the greatest extent possible. Furthermore, the IPU regards itself as being committed to its goal of supporting the development of critically reflective professional skills which centre on the human, matched by specialist practical, problem-solving abilities. Thus, wherever possible, the modules should reflect and map typical tasks and areas of work – in terms of practical applications or in research and teaching – and prepare the students for these responsibilities.

As a rule, the modules are taught in a timeframe extending over two semesters at the most. They are provided in annual or six monthly cycles.

The modules for all the study courses are integrated into a representative study schedule which provides an intelligent chronological sequence for the modules. However, fundamentally there are no formal course admission restrictions generally. Accordingly, no specific prior competencies or knowledge are required in order to attend modules in a study course. The modules in the MA Educational Studies and/or the Applied Psychoanalysis and Psychoanalytical Cultural Studies courses can fundamentally be studied as compulsory elective subjects in the MA Psychology.

View a sample course plan (subject to change)

Areas of Study and Modules

The MA Psychology programme is divided into five areas of study:

  • Reflexive Psychology and Theoretical Psychoanalysis (Modules 1 and 8)
  • Social Psychology Studies (Module 2)
  • Developmental Psychology, Developmental Psychopathology and Studies of Disorder (Modules 3 and 4)
  • Diagnosis and Intervention (Modules 5, 6, 9 and 10)
  • Methods of Practice-Orientated Research (Module 7)

The content is spread across the following 10 modules:
1. History of Psychoanalysis in the Context of the Establishment of Psychology as a Science (6 ECTS)
Cognitive Interest and Methods in Psychoanalysis, Seminal approaches to the Conceptualisation of the Psyche
The module assumes psychoanalytical-depth psychology approaches embedded in the object formation and knowledge route history of science and ideas to the psychological and philosophical bodies of knowledge. The specifics of the psychoanalytical knowledge situation forms the reference. The theory history development of these approaches in relation to their discursive conditions and circumstances is conveyed.

2. Social Psychological Studies (6 ECTS)
Drive and Affect, Thought and Speech, Microsociology of Human Interaction
The module consolidates the students' knowledge about the theories and methods of social psychology, the reciprocity of bodily perception and the formation of language, and provides an introduction to the microsociology of conversation.

3. Developmental Psychology (6 ECTS)
Theories of Development / Developmental Psychopathology
The module provides an overview of theories and methods in developmental psychology, developmental psychopathology, as well as psychoanalytical development theories and methods.

4. General and Specific Studies of Disorder (9 ECTS)
Psychopathology and its Classification
The module conveys knowledge about the clinical psychological and neurobiological classifications and diagnoses, together with the concepts and findings from mental disorders, while permitting a comparison with the concepts of general and special psychoanalytical disorder studies.

5. Psychological Diagnostics (9 ECTS)
Theories and Practice of Psychological and Psychoanalytical Diagnostics
The module conveys knowledge and skills in psychological diagnostics and a comparison with psychodynamic methods.

6. Psychotherapeutic Intervention (9 ECTS)
Theory and Practice of Psychotherapeutic Intervention
The module conveys fundamental knowledge and basic competencies in psychotherapeutic intervention.

7. Research Methods (18 ECTS)
The module conveys research methodology knowledge and skills in diagnostics, developmental psychology on a cross-sectional and longitudinal basis, in health care epidemiology, comparative result and process research, in experimental designs, as well as in pure psychology research in the lab.

8. Science and Epistemology / Theories of the Subject (6 ECTS)
Processes of theory formation, non-clinical fields of psychoanalysis and psychodynamics
Psychoanalysis as epistemology and subject theory: Transdisciplinary readings of psychoanalytical theories, their formation of knowledge and their bodies of knowledge. Interfaces with psychological, social studies, humanities, cultural studies and/or human sciences epistemes.

9. Prevention and Advice (6 ECTS)
Illness prevention, Health promotion, psychodynamic counselling concepts
The module conveys knowledge about prevention, health promotion and counselling methods together with their respective theoretical bases. The intention is to provide an oversight of the various fields of application (in both the world we live in and the working world) and especially to convey the "basic skills" required in the various settings for prevention work and counselling.

10. Elective (5 ECTS)
Clinical Neuropsychology or Social Trauma or Selective Areas of Work and Organizational Psychology or Other Fields (to be named)
The subjects of the module are functional deficits in experiences and behaviour arising from damage to, diseases of or age-related changes to the central nervous system.