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Course Description

Business Psychology

Studying Business Psychology in Germany

An article by Maria Retter

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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 prognoses, they give the players in the economy something to help them make good decisions," says Christian Dries, professor of Business Psychology at Fresenius University of Applied Sciences in Cologne and president of the Society for Applied Business Psychology. Thanks to Business Psychology, companies can recruit the ideal applicants, the best trade deals can be closed and the respective economies can be promoted as best as possible.

This is how the course runs

In the first semesters, students deal with Business and Psychology in roughly equal measures. The first three to four semesters focus on the methodological foundations from both areas. Subjects such as Accounting, Statistics, Foundations of Psychology and Psychological Diagnostics are on the timetable. In the fourth and fifth semesters, students can usually choose their own focus. However, the offer differs greatly from university to university. The subjects that are offered more frequently include Market and Advertising Psychology, Media Psychology as well as Organisational, Developmental and Occupational Psychology, Intercultural Management and Personnel Psychology. 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

  • How does a company find enough staff?
  • Which methods can be used to address applicants and select them in the best possible way?
  • How do you measure the share of individual employees in the success of a company?
  • How do decision-making processes work in the company and how can they be improved?
  • What motivates people to perform?
  • How do employees experience work?
  • What are the psychological hazards at work and what can you do to avoid them?
  • Why do people spend money and for what?
  • How do purchase recommendations on the Internet work and how can they be optimised?

The subject suits you,...

... you are interested in how human behaviour affects the economy and vice versa. "You have to deal with theoretical models and be able to explain them," says Christian Dries. As digital communication becomes more and more important, interest in media is also helpful. With Business Psychology you have a broad professional base: You can work in many companies and organisations and support processes there, have a say in the strategic direction or take on organisational and communicative activities and work for example in market research. About half of the business psychologists work in the area of human resources, few business psychologists are self-employed. But be careful: You cannot become a psychotherapist with a degree in Business Psychology. You have to study Psychology or Psychotherapy. Business Psychology is mostly offered by universities of applied sciences, with the exception of the University of Bochum.

Is there a numerus clausus?

The state universities usually have an NC, it is often between a one or a two. Private universities have their own selection process.