Faculty of Psychology
Duration / ECTS - Credits
6 semesters / 180 ECTS
Academic Degree
PhD in Psychologie
Qualification Level
ISCED–2011: Level 8 and EQR/NQR: Level 8
Information on the Curriculum*
Mode of Study
Language of Instruction
Location of Implementation

Please note that the PhD study programme in Psychology at SFU Vienna is currently only offered in German

The PhD Psychology programme leads towards a scientific career. The curriculum is divided into two study phases: In the first study phase, which is ideally completed in the first year of study, the focus is on acquiring key competences for organising and independently conducting scientific research or designing research-guided teaching. Transfer to the second study phase requires the approval of a project proposal following international research funding practices. The second study phase (minimum duration two years) is reserved for further elaborating this individual research project which is approved by a jury consisting of the study programme head and external experts.

Admission Requirements

Application & admission period

for the winter semester 2023/24: 1st March 2023 – 30th June 2023
Please note that late applications are accepted until 20th of August, 2023. However, they will take longer to process.

The formal prerequisite for admission to the PhD Psychology programme is a completed full degree in psychology (300 ECTS credits). In addition, degrees from Master’s degree programmes at recognised domestic or foreign post-secondary educational institutions with a social science, cultural studies, humanities or economics orientation can also be recognised. In order to be admitted to the PhD programme, however, courses relevant to the subject with at least 60 ECTS credits, but especially courses on social and cultural science research methods, are required in such cases. Within the framework of admission requirements, two thirds of the missing ECTS credits (i.e. a maximum of 40 ECTS credits) can be made up in the Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programmes at the Faculty of Psychology at SFU Vienna before entering the second study phase.
In addition, an exposé on the planned research project must be prepared for admission to the PhD programme. The exposé contains a brief description of the topic, the methodological approach and the planned work processes.

Supervision of PhD theses

A confirmation of supervision is not a compulsory admission requirement for the PhD Psychology programme, but we advise you to plan the exposé for the application with a possible supervisor early enough in advance.

All habilitated staff members of the Faculty of Psychology are eligible to supervise PhD theses at the Faculty of Psychology. A list of available supervisors is linked below. Postdoctoral researchers who do not belong to the Faculty of Psychology can be approved by the head of the degree programme in justified exceptional cases; as a rule, supervision then takes place in tandem with a member of the Faculty of Psychology. Doctoral non-professorial staff members of the Faculty of Psychology can be integrated into supervision tandems in tandem with professorial colleagues at the faculty.

Available supervisors for PhD theses:
Betreuer_innen PhD Thesis (PDF, in German)

Admission Procedure

Please note that the PhD study programme in Psychology at SFU Vienna is currently only offered in German

The admission procedure consists of the online application and the selection procedure. If the admission procedure is passed, a study place will be allocated subject to available study places.
Important: If you are already studying / have studied at SFU, please contact the Study Service Center before creating a new account on the online application platform.

Online application
The following documents must be uploaded via the application tool as part of the online application:

  • Proof of Bachelor’s and Master’s degree according to § 20
  • CV
  • Copy of passport or identity card
  • Copy of e-card (if available)
  • Exposé (template short exposé)
  • Letter of motivation
  • Portrait picture

Selection procedure
The selection procedure consists of a review of the competences required for the study programme on the basis of the submitted documents, in particular the exposé, by the head of the PhD programme at the Faculty of Psychology and, optionally, an admission interview. It is recommended to plan the exposé together with a possible PhD thesis supervisor.

Available supervisors of PhD theses:
Betreuer_innen PhD Thesis (PDF, in German)

Course Structure, incl. Curriculum

Please note that the PhD study programme in Psychology at SFU Vienna is currently only offered in German

Qualification Profile and Skills

After completing the first study phase, the students have didactic knowledge and practical experience with regard to the independent preparation, implementation and evaluation of university courses and are familiar with the requirements and tasks of supervising student theses (Bachelor’s and Master’s theses). They know about the structure and function of the European higher education system as well as about national and international systems or programmes of (public) research funding and are able to independently prepare corresponding project proposals. In particular, this introductory phase should also qualify graduates for a later professional activity in the context of the management of scientific education and research processes.
After completing the PhD thesis, students have cutting-edge knowledge in the field of research where they have qualified for entering a scientific career.

Occupational Profiles and Career Opportunities

Students have the professional authority to work independently on developing their science and contributing to the innovative development of their fields of work in organisations at all levels of the tertiary education sector (administration, research and teaching) – independently and with sustained commitment in leadership positions.

Tuition Fees

€ 4.850,- per semester 
+ one-time processing fee: € 180,-
For SFU graduates: € 4.100,- per semester

Contact Finance and Controlling
Mail: psy-accounting@sfu.ac.at
Phone: +43 1 798 40 98 304
Opening 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 every year.

Dates and Deadlines

Application & admission period
for the winter semester 2023/24: 1st March 2023 – 30th June 2023


The German PhD Programme in Psychology was accredited by the Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation Austria (AQ Austria) in 2019. All SFU Accreditation Reports are available in German.


Programme Head
Ass.-Prof. Dr. Nora Ruck

Studies Service Centre 
Mail: psychologie@sfu.ac.at
Tel: +43 1 798 40 98 500

Office hours:
Tue: 10:00–12:30 and 13:30–15:30 
Wed: 10:00–12:30 
Thur: 10:00–12:30 and 13:30–15:30 

Questions regarding admission and administration:

General questions about the content and organisation of the PhD programme:
Dean Univ.-Prof. Mag. Dr. Gerhard Benetka: gerhard.benetka@sfu.ac.at
Ass.Prof. Dr. Nora Ruck: nora.ruck@sfu.ac.at