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Course Description

Business Psychology

Studying Business Psychology in Germany

An article by Maria Retter. Cooperation from: Christian Heinrich

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That is what it's about

Why do viewers view one commercial longer than another? Why does someone buy a certain brand in the supermarket? Why does a company choose one particular candidate from a large number of applicants? Why is the European Central Bank changing its key interest rate?

Business psychologists try to understand which psychological mechanisms are behind economic decisions and which principles can be derived from them. "With their models and forecasts, they give the players in the economy something to help them make good decisions," says Christian Dries, professor at Fresenius University of Applied Sciences in Cologne and president of the Society for Applied Business Psychology. With the help of Business Psychology, companies can recruit suitable applicants, the best trade deals can be concluded and the respective economies can be promoted as best as possible.

This is how the course runs

The first three to four semesters focus on the methodological foundations from business and psychology. Subjects such as Accounting, Statistics, Basics of Psychology and Psychological Diagnostics are part of the curriculum. Diagnostics is about, describing human behaviour, and classifying and measuring it: For example, to what extent do user ratings and information on price comparison portals influence purchasing behaviour?

In the fourth and fifth semesters, students can usually choose focal points. The programmes of the individual universities differ greatly, so it is best to find out about them before you start your degree. Subjects such as Market and Advertising Psychology, Media Psychology as well as Organisational, Developmental and Occupational Psychology, Intercultural Management and Personnel Psychology are frequently offered. The last semester of the Bachelor's degree is usually reserved for the final thesis. Many students write it in cooperation with a company.

Typical questions raised within the subject

  • What motivates people to perform?
  • How do purchase recommendations work on the net?
  • How does a company find good personnel?
  • Which methods can be used to approach and select applicants?
  • How do you measure the share of individual employees in the success of a company?
  • How are decisions made in companies and how can this be improved?
  • Why do people spend money?
  • How can new forms of work such as home office be used to increase efficiency?
  • What psychological stresses are there at the workplace and how can they be avoided?

The subject suits you,...

... you are interested in human behaviour and economics, are not fearful of mathematics and statistics and can think abstractly. Economic psychologists need to put information from different observations and sources into a measurable, comparable form: "You have to deal with theoretical models and apply them in practice," says Dries. In professional life, organisational talent and communication skills are in demand when it comes to communicating new ideas to employees from the management level.

As a business psychologist, you must often deal with conflicting interests, for example those of management and employees. Self-confidence and empathy paired with persuasiveness is helpful. Important: You cannot become a psychotherapist with a degree in business psychology. To do this, you must have a degree in clinical psychology and clinical psychotherapy or a medical degree with a corresponding specialist qualification.

Is there a numerus clausus?

Business Psychology is mostly offered by universities of applied sciences, with the exception of the University of Bochum. The state universities usually have an entrance restriction, it is often between a one or a two grade range. Private universities - they offer the majority of courses - have their own admission requirements.