Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg


Organizational Behavior and Adaptive Cognition (OBAC) 

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Master's outline

Study Program

At the University of Heidelberg you obtain a Master of Science (MSc) for Psychology regularly at the end of four semesters (two years). Beginning with your application, you choose a study focus you would like to specialize in, either OBAC (Organizational Behavior and Adaptive Cognition) or DCP (Developmental and Clinical Psychology). OBAC combines the riches of excellent research with applied social sciences. At OBAC, you immerse yourself into recent developments in society, industry, politics and trends in the professional world. Several work groups await to assist you in overcoming the scientist-practitioner divide.


To prevent a misunderstanding right from the beginning: If you would like to work as a clinical psychologist or psychotherapist, of course you can choose OBAC, too. All the necessary requirements at the entry level for training as a clinical professional will be met, because lectures and courses are shared with the DCP track to a sizeable extent. With OBAC, the development of your skills will focus stronger on fundamental and applied research related to non-clinical problems. At the same time, if you choose to focus on DCP, you will nonetheless receive basic training in OBAC disciplines, to a lesser extent though.


The course of studies foresees two years of intensive training. In the first year, several lectures and seminars will train your basic skills. However, right from the beginning, and deviating from previous Bachelor studies, fundamental and applied aspects are more interwoven. Moreover, OBAC will provide you with access to national and international research projects as well as collaborations with companies ranging from consultancies to industrial sites. Finally, in the second year of your studies, you will have the opportunity to apply your knowledge in a 8-week internship. A Master thesis documenting your own expertise will complete your studies, supplemented by courses on advanced research topics, methods, and transfer to real-world-settings.



Competencies, Qualifications, and Perspectives

We offer you proficient critical thinking, deep-level research skills, and hand-on training on fundamental research across the fields of Work and Organizational Psychology, Personnel Psychology, Health Psychology, General Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, and Social Psychology. You will learn how to apply your skills across the fields of Work and Oganizational Psychology, Health Psychology, and Social Research. Learn how humans utilize information to find their way through an increasingly complex world, how they communicate, how individuals and groups arrive at decisions, how dyads, groups, and organizations interact and how they change over time, depending on their mutual influences as leaders and followers. Irrespective whether you are interested in psychological science, human resource management, organizational change management, leadership, consumer psychology, and public health, or whether you would like to improve on diagnostic decision making, survey research, delivering expert opinion in judicial cases - OBAC is a firm basis to build individual careers on.


Depending on your interests, as an OBAC student you will not only acquire expertise in the psychological domains outlined before. The Heidelberg MSc in Psychology provides you with sound qualifications to receive further education and training - regardless whether you would like to later start a career as an employee, consultant, or psychotherapist. By choosing OBAC, you simply focus on a less clinically oriented and broader perspective. We aid you in applying your expertise to Cognitive and Social Sciences, Work and Organizational Psychology and Health Psychology. Aside from your expert qualifications, we help you gain insight into companies and consultancies. It goes without saying that basic skills such as conversation and clinical decision making will be trained, too.


You may want to notice that Heidelberg has an international reputation to build up excellent careers. In the past, many teachers have received rewards for the excellent research or training they provide. We are interested in advancing our students, and many have succeeded in starting a scientific carreer at other universities, while others have become consultants in leading positions in the industry. For gifted students, obtaining a Master degree from Heidelberg at OBAC can be a promising start to further pursue studies that lead to entry in a PhD program.



International Studies

At Heidelberg University, most of the seminars and lectures are held in German, though any member of the faculty can be addressed in English, too. Occasionally, renowned international guests give talks, lectures, or courses either at the Psychological Institute or any other campus location. Many if not most of the articles and text books you will read are written in English. Being the leading language for international scientific and professional exchange, your studies will profit greatly from a firm standing in English.


We encourage your to connect with international reesarch groups, either as part of your studies or in preparation for your MSc studies at Heidelberg. A look at the page that lists current cooperation projects will convince you of the wealth and plenty interconnections between the OBAC work groups and companies and scientists from all over the world.


As a platform for international exchange, Heidelberg welcomes any students from abroad. If you apply as an international student for the Master Program in Psychology (OBAC), please make sure - in your own interest - that your German language skills ar not only sufficient, but of good quality. Depending on the number of applications we receive, admission will be competitive. For further information on requirements for the application, take a look at the application page.