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Psychology Grad School in Germany

mikeyguynnmikeyguynn 3 replies3 threads New Member
I am considering going to grad school in Germany because of the great tuition and international experience. I have a few questions for anyone that has experience or knows about international study (especially in Europe).
1. Is tuition in Germany for grad students free at public universities?
2. Does a masters or PhD earned in Germany transfer back to America? Like could I get my PhD in clinical psychology or Masters in MFT in Germany and then practice in the United States?
3. Does getting a masters degree look good when applying to PhD programs? More specifically, would a masters in Germany look good for American PhD programs, or would they prefer a degree earned in America?

Thanks for your help!
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Replies to: Psychology Grad School in Germany

  • juilletjuillet 12828 replies164 threads Super Moderator
    edited June 28
    1. Perhaps someone more familiar with Germany will come along and answer this for you. My response is based only on a short Internet search trying to look into it. It appears that at most German public universities, there are no out-of-pocket costs for students for tuition and fees.

    However, it appears that some states/regions of Germany may have suspended that within their region, and also there are students who are excluded from that - including non-EU students and/or students who did not do their bachelor's degree in Germany.

    For example, it looks like Humboldt University of Berlin charges nothing. Heidelberg University does not charge tuition for EU and EEA students, but outside of that you do have to pay a small tuition charge (1500 euros a semester). The University of Cologne doesn't charge tuition, but does charge a "social fee."

    Your safest bet would be to look at the individual schools you are considering.

    2. Well, yes and no. A master's degree earned at a university still *exists*, but it may not be regarded the same as one earned in the U.S. And your case is more complicated because both marriage & family therapists and clinical psychologists require licensure, and licensure usually has strict educational requirements.

    If you want to practice in the U.S., your best bet is going to a U.S.-based program. For clinical psychology, most states require that the program be APA-accredited, so I'd look at the list of APA-accredited PhD programs. (https://apps.apa.org/accredsearch/) They are all in the U.S. and Canada. For an MA in MFT, you *might* have more leeway, but I would look at your state's licensure board and very carefully determine whether a German program would meet your needs.

    3. Not necessarily. It can help, but you don't need one. PhD programs look for evidence that you can succeed in the program - research (and, for clinical programs, clinical) experience, research interests that align with the program's, recommendations from other scientists who can testify to your potential, excellent performance in previous academic work, etc. You can get all of this without getting a master's degree, and many successful applicants to clinical psychology PhD programs do not have a prior master's. A master's program can help you get those things, though, if you have a hard time getting them elsewhere.

    Whether the master's is from a German or American university matters less than the actual university it comes from. There are many German universities that are well-regarded in general or in psychology that would fare better than many American universities with lower-quality programs.
    edited June 28
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  • TigerleTigerle 699 replies6 threads Member
    edited July 5
    Do you speak and read German at all? Many masters programs only offer *some* classes in English, it does not mean that you can fulfil all degree requirements in English. This website has a list of masters programs where you can click on the program and it will either say “Vorlesungen vollständig englischsprachig” or “Vorlesungen teilweise englischsprachig”. If it’s the latter, you may have to contact the school to find out whether there are German language requirements you have to fulfil.


    I find the list rather short, to be honest.

    All universities will charge an enrolment fee (usually under 100 Euros per semester. As to whether they charge tuition fees for their program, you can check this website for the “tuition” symbol (green banknote). Again, you need to research the individual program to find out how much.
    Edited to add that I know that at least Freiburg charges 1500 EUR tuition per semester for non EU internationals, though this is not shown.

    If you feel researching this partly in German is too much of a language barrier already, I wouldn’t recommend going to Germany at all. The level of self sufficiency required of students in Germany is much higher than what you would be used to competing from the US - there are reasons costs are much lower, and this is one of it. Unless you can embrace the differences and challenges with an adventurous spirit, and are not merely hoping to get a similar experience to the US at much lower cost, you will be very disappointed.
    edited July 5
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