Sigmund Freud University (SFU) Vienna

  • Description
  • 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.

    For the first time world­wide, SFU com­bines three basic prin­ci­ples of psy­chother­apy train­ing: self-​awareness, prac­ti­cal train­ing under super­vi­sion and the­o­ret­i­cal input. It sets an exam­ple in demon­strat­ing that a university’s respon­si­bil­i­ties are not lim­ited to teach­ing the­ory, some­times paired with action-​oriented know-​how, but also involve giv­ing stu­dents a wide range of options for per­sonal development.

    SFU adopts the same approach with regard to psy­chother­apy research, as it not only aims to col­lect objec­tive data but relate sci­en­tific infor­ma­tion to the indi­vid­ual in their par­tic­u­lar sit­u­a­tion in life. In view of the fact that sig­nif­i­cant progress has been made in the field of evidenced-​based psy­chother­apy research over the past few decades it is of utmost impor­tance to us to link research activ­i­ties with the daily prac­tice of psy­chother­a­pists. We are con­vinced that the mutual ben­e­fits derived from such a two-​way learn­ing model serve to increase the qual­ity of research and, as a con­se­quence, lead to more effec­tive psy­chother­a­peu­tic treatment.


    At present, the Uni­ver­sity offers method-​specific train­ing in eight dif­fer­ent schools of psy­chother­apy. Courses are taught by renowned inter­na­tional teach­ing staff. SFU offers both day-​time and part-​time study courses.

    In line with its pio­neer­ing role in the field of human sci­ences, SFU is con­stantly striv­ing to broaden its spec­trum of degree courses and fur­ther edu­ca­tion programmes.

    Core Curriculum

    The practice-​oriented course pro­grammes famil­iar­ize stu­dents with the prin­ci­ples of psycho-​biology, the lat­est find­ings in brain research, the prin­ci­ples of psy­chi­a­try and psy­chol­ogy, clas­si­fi­ca­tion mod­els, com­par­a­tive psy­chother­a­peu­tic research, the prin­ci­ples of sci­en­tific prac­tice, rel­e­vant legal aspects, diag­nos­tic assess­ments and more.


    • Renowned inter­na­tional aca­d­e­mic staff pro­vide high-​quality training
    • High num­ber of teach­ing staff helps stu­dents opti­mize their aca­d­e­mic achievements
    • SFU pio­neers in com­bin­ing sys­tem­atic research with teaching
    • Teach­ing of var­i­ous psy­chother­apy meth­ods under one roof pro­vides room for aca­d­e­mic exchange and com­par­i­son of approaches
    • Uni­ver­sity Out­pa­tient Clinic pro­vides stu­dents with direct access to patients
    • SFU pro­vides a teach­ing hos­pi­tal and co-​operates with a num­ber of hos­pi­tal wards
    • State-​of-​the art teach­ing meth­ods (parts of the the­o­ret­i­cal course con­tents are offered via e-​learning) ensure time-​efficient learning
    • Degree pro­grammes are open to day-​time and part-​time students
    • Course con­tents ful­fil train­ing require­ments for licensed psychotherapists

    Research at Sig­mund Freud University

    The Sig­mund Freud Uni­ver­sity is ded­i­cated to a rig­or­ous research pro­gramme at the level of both its fac­ulty and stu­dents. Research oppor­tu­ni­ties are numer­ous and allow for both qual­i­ta­tive method­ol­ogy, quan­ti­ta­tive method­ol­ogy and sec­ondary, his­tor­i­cal or meta-​analyses. Fac­ulty research inter­ests are diverse and include such top­ics as Hoard­ing, Ethnopsy­cho­an­a­lytic stud­ies in China and Africa, the Devel­op­ment of Psy­chother­apy Trainees, His­tor­i­cal and Bio­graph­i­cal Research on Psy­chother­apy Devel­op­ment in Europe, the Hermeneu­tic Study of dif­fer­ent Ther­apy Schools, Fine Arts, Spousal Adjust­ment Research and Help­ful and Hin­der­ing Fac­tors in the Psy­chother­a­peu­tic Process.

    If you want to know more about our exclu­sive train­ing in qual­i­ta­tive research meth­ods at SFU, visit the qual­i­ta­tive research lab pages.

    Stu­dents at Sig­mund Freud Uni­ver­sity con­duct inde­pen­dent, super­vised research projects at every stage of their edu­ca­tion. Stu­dents work­ing on their BA, MA and PHD the­ses can join an exist­ing research group (see the list below) or hand in an exposé for a unique research project. Indi­vid­u­alised sup­port is pro­vided to accom­mo­date a wide range of stu­dent inter­ests. Research method­ol­ogy, qual­i­ta­tive research work­shops and sta­tis­tics courses are a manda­tory part of the aca­d­e­mic cur­ricu­lum. We also offer these courses dur­ing the Sum­mer School.

    Down­load a com­pre­hen­sive list of active research groupsin the Inter­na­tional Pro­grammes at SFU.


    Phone +43.1.798.40.98
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