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‘’I am not in this world to live up to other people's expectations, nor do I feel that the world must live up to mine.’’ Fritz Perls

Sigmund Freud University Vienna

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Sigmund Freud University Vienna

Sigmund Freud University (SFU) is a unique institution that pioneered Psychotherapy Science as an academic programme. We seek to set new standards for research and teaching in psychotherapy by emphasizing research activities, practical training, and academic exchange among the different psychotherapy schools.

Over the past 20 years, worldwide efforts have focused on establishing psychotherapy as a research discipline and profession in its own right. In this endeavour, the developments in Austria have played an important role, considering the fact that the Austrian Parliament passed the first Psychotherapy Law in 1990. This law establishes psychotherapy as an independent profession in its own right and regulates standardised scientific-based psychotherapy training. What has been missing so far, however, is its incorporation into an academic setting, in terms of training as well as in terms of research.

SFU has recognized the necessity of providing psychotherapeutic training within the scope of a university education. It offers a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in psychotherapy science as well as an extensive conceptualisation of research activities.

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This programme lays the groundwork for the science of psychotherapy. It provides students with the basic scientific principles and diagnostics related to normal and pathological development. It explores the framework of evidence-based treatment of pathological phenomena as a response to life-experiences by taking psychological, medical, sociological and anthropological aspects into consideration.

During the Bachelor’s Degree Programme, students develop basic competencies in research methodologies and are introduced to the legal, economic and social framework.

The Bachelor’s Degree Course is a six-semester (three year) programme, including the time required to write the Bachelor’s thesis.


The Master Degree Programme builds on the experiences gained from the Baccalaureate Programme and deepens students’ knowledge of theory, methodology and the historical development of psychotherapy. Students gain an in-depth understanding of general and method-specific psychopathology, diagnostic methods, the clinical course of disorders and appropriate treatment strategies. The programme places emphasis on the basic sciences of psychobiology, neuroimmunology and socio-scientific and socio-philosophical issues. It continues to widen students’ knowledge of theoretical principles and clinical theories in their chosen school of psychotherapy, the basic principles of which have been covered in the Bachelor’s Degree Programme.

The Master Degree Course is a four semester programme including the time required to write the Master’s thesis.


The SFU English doctoral programme

The SFU English doctoral programme guides its international students in the acquisition and development of scientific skills in the field of psychotherapy.
It aims at bridging clinical practice with theoretical and empirical investigation, in order to form a holistic understanding of how psychotherapy works. Following pluralistic stands it is open to several methods of inquiry (theoretical, qualitative and quantitative) and of clinical practice (psychoanalysis, cognitive-behavioural therapy, humanistic approaches etc.).
Studying at the Doctoral Programme of Sigmund Freud University has many advantages:

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  • intensive personal supervision;
  • individual consultancy, which addresses the single students;
  • specific and manifold project development;
  • possibility of writing the dissertation in each participant’s mother tongue (through the support of a SFU local supervisor);
  • contact with students from different countries;
  • flexible arrangements
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