March 5, 2019

Master in Psychology: Why private universities are an important alternative

Anyone who wants to study psychology and work as a psychologist or psychotherapist needs a master’s degree. The problem: There are far fewer places than students. In addition, some universities set criteria that often only meet their own Bachelor graduates. We asked a student from the Brandenburg Medical School (MHB) how she experienced the transition from Bachelor to Master and clarify why studying at a private university can be a good alternative.

Studying Psychology: The Challenge of Finding a Place

According to business administration, law or medicine, psychology is one of the most popular courses of study at all. Currently there are around 81,000 students in psychology in Germany. However, the course of study is restricted in admission and has a high NC: Those who have no one in the Abi certificate before the decimal point have to plan a few waiting semesters with high probability. Even those who are admitted to the university and have successfully completed their bachelor’s degree have no guarantee that they will also get a master’s degree. Good to know therefore that there are quite alternatives. After all, a good psychologist or psychotherapist does a lot more than an excellent grade point average.

Master in Psychology: There are alternatives!

For one thing, it is possible to go to Austria or the Netherlands for example for the Master. Here, however, it is advisable to research in advance very carefully whether the degree is also recognized in Germany. It should also be borne in mind that the language of instruction may be the national language in addition to English, which is an additional challenge, especially when studying in the Netherlands.

On the other hand, studying at a private university in Germany is a real alternative – but you should definitely make sure that the university and degree are recognized by the state. Cornelia has also opted for this variant. And even without the worry of not getting a master’s degree after her bachelor’s degree: the 29-year-old Austrian has successfully completed her bachelor’s degree at an Austrian university – in just three semesters! Instead of completing her master’s degree there, she also moves to the Brandenburg Medical School (MHB).

Which reasons have Cornelia moved to a private university? “I was thrilled that the psychology studies at the MHB offer a strong practical relevance, and anyway I had the desire to do my therapy training in Germany after completing my studies, because the system is much more patient-friendly here than in Austria” the student.

Practice-oriented and close to the patient

The proximity to the practice is absolutely given at the MHB and is very different from Cornelia’s experience in the bachelor: “The possibility to work already during your studies in the clinic, you have almost nothing in Austria a seminar that took place in collaboration with the clinic and in which we were actually in contact with patients, “said the psychology student. “Here, on the other hand, one is guided step by step, able to reflect on the work with patients and to exchange views,” says Cornelia. “It makes a big difference whether you’re looking at symptoms in a textbook, or sitting across from a manic patient, experiencing the person in the conversation, and learning how the patient perceives the disease itself.”

“It’s valuable to learn from someone with many years of work experience”

By working in the clinic and the regular handling of patients, according to Cornelia, you put off uncertainties and fear of contact quickly. Just like the fear of doing something wrong. In addition, many of the lecturers themselves are chief and senior physicians, therapists or actively involved in research: “You simply notice whether someone speaks from their own experience or quotes from the textbook,” said the 29-year-old. “It’s hugely valuable to learn from people who are also active in the field and some have years of professional experience.”

Meanwhile, Cornelia is about to hand in her master’s thesis – and here, too, the student benefits from the practical relevance offered by the MHB: “Students are given the opportunity to join research groups as part of their theses, both in the bachelor and in the master’s degree “, says Cornelia. “I myself am also in a research group at the Ruppiner Kliniken – for my master’s thesis I had to recruit the patients and carry out all the necessary steps myself,” she says. “This is a completely different feeling than getting finished datasets and doing your thesis, not only in the complete project planning and implementation, but also with a high degree of personal responsibility.”

The transition from Bachelor to Psychology Master

All in all a completely different work than the psychology student knows from her bachelor’s degree. Did this difference initially lead to problems with the transition from Bachelor to Master? “The small learning groups were definitely a change for me when switching from Bachelor to Master: they have the consequence that you always have to be present in the seminars,” recalls Cornelia. This does mean that you always have to show commitment. At the same time, a small learning group also means having room for discussion and exchange of views: “In this way, the seminars become much more lively, making work more active and therefore more effective.

Psychology Master Alternatives

Tuition fees for the Master in Psychology at MHB

Something that distinguishes the MHB apart from the practice-oriented teaching, the access to the lecturers and the small learning groups undoubtedly also from state universities, are the fees that accrue for the study: These are at the Medical University of Brandenburg, although monthly at 685 €. But MHB’s mission statement is that regardless of this, everyone should be able to study. Therefore, the university offers numerous models, with the help of which the tuition fees can be financed.

One of these models also uses Cornelia, because of course, the cost factor was also something that she dealt with before the beginning of studies: “I knew that if I decide to study at the MHB, I have to finance myself and need a plan,” so the psychology student. Ultimately, she decided on an educational loan: “The bank is very accommodating and you can decide whether you want to take a loan for tuition or one to cover the cost of living and rent,” says Cornelia. When she wanted to start repaying – immediately after graduation or when she has a stable income – she was able to choose her own flexibility.

As a further option for financing, MHB also offers the so-called reverse generational contract, thus opening the doors to young prospective students who are financially on their own.

“For me, the positive aspects have ultimately outweighed,” remembers Cornelia, “and you just notice the lesson: The investment is already paying off.”

Therapy training, clinic work, own practice: everything is possible!

The student also has a concrete plan for the time after the Master’s degree: “In October, I will start my behavioral therapy training at an institute in Berlin.” At the same time, I’m looking for a job because I need a part-time job, “says Cornelia. After completing her education, she can imagine continuing to work in a clinic and doing research in parallel. Perspectively, the 29-year-old also wishes to be able to open her own practice at some point.

About the sponsor:

  • At the Medical University of Brandenburg there is a personal selection process. However, this is not just about the grade point average and a very good Bachelor’s degree, but the selection is based on personal criteria: motivation, practical experience and the personality decide whether an applicant can start a study of psychology at the MHB.
  • The MHB and the degrees, which one can acquire here, are recognized by the state and equated with those of a state university.
  • So that the study does not fail because of the costs, there are numerous models for the financing of the tuition fee.
  • More information about the master’s program psychology is available on the website of the Brandenburg Medical School.