The aim of the Doctoral Program at Sigmund Freud University Vienna is to provide students with the experience and resources to pursue individual scientific research in the field of Psychotherapy Science.

Graduation is considered proof of ability. The doctoral program aims to support and equip the next generation of scientists in the field of Psychotherapy Science. Completion of the doctoral program does not automatically provide the authorization for practicing as a psychotherapist.

SFU Doctoral Program: Profile
(1) Being the first university to offer study programs in Psychotherapy Science, the SFU developed a methodology profile. Emphasis will be placed on:

  • empirical research using qualitative methods;
  • theoretical research aimed at providing answers to questions related to theory formation in Psychotherapy Science;
  • historical research examining developments in the field of Psychotherapy Science;
  • critical discussions of various fields of research, research methods and schools of psychotherapy;
  • interdisciplinary research in relation to the humanities, i.e. literary studies, ethnology, sociology, history, philosophy.

(2) Of  course  this  methodological  profile  does  not  exclude  graduation  in  the  fields  of quantitative and experimental research or in the field of epidemiological healthcare research.

This includes:
computer-assisted text analysis
system theoretical and mathematical modeling of the psychotherapeutic process quantitative analysis of the therapeutic process (understanding, resistance, therapeutic interventions, etc.)
efficacy studies of psychotherapeutic methods comparative therapy research
examination of factors from various psychotherapeutic schools relevant for the
efficacy of psychotherapy methods
relations and interplay of psychopathological phenomena etc.

(3) The above-mentioned methods (especially    the   qualitative   ones) represent the methodological „pillars“ of the SFU. However, other qualitative or quantitative methods may be applied, too; the SFU is open to suggestions on principle. As a matter of principle, the applicant may choose their own thesis topic, though it is also possible to select a topic from existing research projects.

Academic Title

(1) On successful completion  of the SFU doctoral program,  students will be awarded a doctoral degree in Psychotherapy Science (“Doktorin der Psychotherapiewissenschaft” bzw. “Doktor der Psychotherapiewissenschaft”, Dr.sci.pth., – Latin: “doctor scientiae psychotherapiae”). This degree is equivalent to an international Ph.D.

(2) On satisfactory completion of the doctoral thesis, students will be awarded a certificate.

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