Psychology – Field of study catalogue MU
“The great use of a life is to spend it for something that outlasts it.” (W. James)
The purpose of the five-year Master’s degree programme in Psychology is to provide education and basic training qualifying future graduates to enter psychological professions. Throughout the studies, students are expected to master essential theoretical and practical knowledge and skills needed by professional psychologists in various fields (e.g. medical care, education, transportation services, industry, management, military and security institutions, state administration, etc.) so that they can carry on their profession self-reliantly and responsibly in the full range of expertise.
The studies emphasize the development of students’ abilities to integrate information and approaches from different (theoretical, methodological and applied) psychological disciplines and be aware of interdisciplinary overlaps. Students are educated to think as psychologists, develop their sensitivity to psychological issues and hone their social and psychological skills. Therefore, the studies place equal importance on knowledge, direct and vicarious experience, practical training, and self-development.
The students of psychology at the Faculty of Arts, Masaryk University, are expected to learn to understand themselves as well as deal with people and understand how and why they do what they do or why they feel the way they feel in different situations. This understanding, together with the corresponding psychological skills, is crucial for performing effective psychological assessment, therapy, counselling and educational activities with individuals as well as small groups. Another important goal is to teach students how to use the acquired knowledge to increase people’s life satisfaction and quality of their lives and health. In this respect, psychology is seen as an essential part of the helping professions.
After successfully completing his/her studies the graduate is able to:
- Demonstrate specialist knowledge, skills and competencies that define the profession of a psychologist;
- Demonstrate extensive and in-depth state-of-the-art knowledge and understanding of the subject and scope of psychological sciences;
- Demonstrate extensive and in-depth knowledge and understanding of psychological theories, concepts and methodologies, as well as an ability to integrate different information and approaches;
- Demonstrate knowledge and skills acquired in more general theoretical and methodological courses of philosophy, scientific methodology, statistics, etc., as well as areas of natural and social science closely related to psychology (e.g., human biology,
- Independently use specialized knowledge to define and flexibly and creatively address theoretical and practical psychological problems with the help of appropriate theories, concepts and methodology;
- Independently design and perform a psychological scientific study and report the results in a standard written form maintaining the standards of academic writing;
- Communicate psychological findings and own informed viewpoints to other professionals as well as the public in a comprehensible and convincing way;
- Demonstrate proficiency in at least one foreign language (English, German, French, Russian, or Spanish) by passing a language exam at the B2 level (according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages), which entails the ability to wor
Master’s Degree Programme in Psychology serves to produce professional psychologists who will find employment in many different domains of social activity (health care services, detention centres, hospices, educational institutions, counselling services for children, parents, couples or families, organizations, management, industry and transportation, advertising companies, legal institutions, the military, etc.).
The standard duration of the Masters’s degree programme is five years (10 semesters). The programme is divided into two cycles.
The first cycle is designed to last 3 years (6 semesters) and is completed by a Comprehensive Examination. The second cycle is designed to take 2 years (4 semesters) and is completed by the Master’s State Exam, which involves a defence of the Master’s Diploma Thesis.
Courses are divided into two types: compulsory (A credits) and selective (B credits). Where applicable, students have to enrol on the courses in the correct sequence, following the prerequisites for course enrolment as stated in the IS MU. For selective courses, the credit system allows students to select from a wide variety of courses as long as enrolment limits are observed and the number of required credits is achieved, so that the students can focus more narrowly on knowledge related to the professional specialization they might have chosen to follow.
In the first cycle of studies, students have to complete a set of common compulsory faculty courses (philosophy, foreign language for academic purposes, and physical education/sports activities), which are included in the required number of ECTS credits. Another common faculty course (foreign language for academic purposes) – also included in the overall number of ECTS credits – is required in the second cycle (the degree of language proficiency achieved in the first cycle is recognized in the second cycle as well).
To be allowed to participate in the Comprehensive Examination (and thus complete the first cycle), a student must obtain a minimum of 180 ECTS credits from compulsory and selective courses throughout his/her studies. This number includes 140 “A” credits for compulsory courses (including 10 credits for common faculty courses) and 40 “B” credits for selective courses. Out of the 40 “B” credits, only 40% may be obtained from courses offered outside the Master’s degree programme in Psychology, i.e. at other departments of the Faculty or Arts, other faculties of the MU, or other universities.
To be allowed to participate in the Master’s State Exam (and thus complete the second cycle of studies), a student must obtain a minimum of 120 ECTS credits from compulsory and selective courses throughout his/her studies. This number includes 110 “A” credits for compulsory courses (including 4 credits for the compulsory language proficiency exam) and 10 “B” credits for selective courses.
The studies of each student are regulated by a version of the Course Catalogue valid for the student’s matriculation year. Course catalogues for all matriculation years can be found on the Faculty website: http://www.phil.muni.cz/wff/home/studium/informace/katalog/index_html
The study plan of the Master studies of Psychology, which determines the basic profile and competencies of a graduate in Psychology, has been designed with reference to the educational standards in psychology and to the list of competencies required for the profession of a psychologist in the countries of the EU (EuroPSy – The European Diploma in Psychology, EFPA, Brussels). The relative amount of space devoted to the individual compulsory courses in the curriculum has been established in accordance with the Europsychologist system standards.
Basic psychological skills and practical experience needed by future psychologists can be partly acquired through compulsory practical courses involving different types of placements. As experience of this kind is considered inevitable for graduates in order to carry on their profession effectively, practical training is one of the requirements for completion of the study programme.
In the first cycle of studies, students have to complete two placement courses:
Practice in the Social Care I, with duration of 5 days (40 hours) is recommended in Semester 2. Purpose of the placement: The placement provides contact with various aspects of social work related to coping with difficult social situations depending on the client’s social functioning in these situations.
A Short-Term Placement with the Focus on Psychopathology with duration of 5 days (40 hours) is recommended in Semester 6. Purpose of the placement: During the placement at a medical facility (such as a mental hospital), students learn to apply their knowledge of psychopathology in observation of psychiatric patients under the supervision of a clinical psychologist or a psychiatrist.
In the course of the first cycle of studies, students can also selectively enrol on Practice in the Social Care II with similar duration. The placement takes place in a facility different from compulsory placements to ensure a wider variety of experience.
In the second cycle of studies, students have to complete the following practical training courses:
Practical Training in Clinical Psychological Assessment (Duration: 7 days, i.e. 56 hours)
Short-Term Placement at Child Counselling Facilities (Duration: 7 days, i.e. 56 hours)
Short-Term Placement at Marital/Family Counselling Facilities (Duration: 7 days, i.e. 56 hours)
Practical Training in Personnel Management (Duration: 7 days, i.e. 56 hours)
Practical Training in Clinical Psychology (Duration: 5 days, i.e. 40 hours)
All of these placements are recommended in Semester 10. The purpose of the placements is to get acquainted with the practice in the corresponding areas of application, everyday functioning and organizational structure of the facilities, as well as methods and procedures used, and use this experience to juxtapose one’s theoretical knowledge and actual reality faced by mental health practitioners. The students will thus learn about topics and practical issues comprising the job content of specific professions representing different types of mental health services.
In the second cycle of studies, students can also enrol on an elective placement course Practice Teaching of Psychology at Secondary Schools (Duration: 10 days). Purpose of the placement: Practice teaching of psychology courses at secondary schools helps to develop teaching skills for psychology courses. At the end of the placement, students should be able to plan, prepare and deliver a lesson of psychology aimed at secondary school students.
Requirements for receiving credits for all the above placement courses are specified in the corresponding course syllabi in the IS MU.
The first cycle of studies is completed by the Comprehensive Examination. As a prerequisite for participation in the examination, the student must submit a seminar paper (research proposal) approved by the paper supervisor and a psychopathological case history composed during a placement, and achieve the required number of credits for the first cycle of studies.
In the research proposal for comprehensive examination, a student should demonstrate an ability to design a research project on a specific topic of his/her own choosing. Students work on their projects independently, consulting their progress with supervisors as necessary.
The Comprehensive Examination includes the following subjects: General psychology; methodology of psychology; developmental psychology; psychopathology; social psychology; personality psychology; and neuroscience. The Comprehensive Examination consists of a written part and an oral part. The written part involves a test that includes sections on all the above subjects and yields a single grade. In the oral part, students are examined in all of the subjects together and receive another single grade. The purpose of the oral part is to test students’ ability to integrate knowledge from the subfields of psychology included in the Comprehensive Examination. The oral exam also involves a discussion about the student’s research proposal. In order to pass the Comprehensive Examination, a student must complete all its parts with a passing grade.
After a successful completion of the first cycle (i.e. passing the Comprehensive Examination), students may enrol on courses falling under the second cycle of studies, which is completed by the Master’s State Exam. In order to participate in the Master’s State Exam, a student must submit the Master’s Diploma Thesis and a case history of a psychiatric patient composed during one of the placements, and achieve the required number of credits for the second cycle of studies. The State Exam is composed of two parts that are graded separately: a defence of the Master’s Thesis and an oral examination.
In the Master’s Diploma Thesis, students demonstrate their ability to formulate theoretical and/or research questions, read critically and work with scientific sources, infer logical arguments and hypotheses and formulate them clearly and accurately, conduct basic scientific research as self-sufficient researchers, and report research findings in a written form following the principles and standards of academic writing. Students work on their theses independently, consulting their progress with their thesis supervisors when necessary. The Master’s Diploma Thesis should present a theoretical or an empirical research study within a minimum of 140,000 characters.
The criteria evaluated during the thesis defence include the level of understanding of the main topic, the student’s ability to respond to the questions of the examinees, and the overall quality of the student’s oral presentation.
The oral part of the Master’s State Exam involves the following subjects: general psychological sciences (general psychology, personality psychology, and social psychology) and methodology; psychological assessment methods; and a specialization subject of the student’s own choosing (clinical psychology, work and organization psychology, or counselling and school psychology).
The oral examination also includes a discussion about the submitted case history. During the oral examination, students should demonstrate an ability to critically evaluate theoretical concepts in different subfields of psychology and compare and contrast different scientific approaches. They should demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of the subject as well as basic skills required for entering psychological professions. In order to pass the Master’s State Exam, a student must complete all its parts with a passing grade.
After completing a complementary teaching course specialization (to obtain a teacher’s qualification) within the lifelong learning framework, students can use their psychological education as teachers of psychology at secondary schools.
Qualified psychologists (i.e. graduates who have obtained a Master’s degree in Psychology) can further develop their scientific expertise in full-time or combined (hybrid) doctoral degree programmes to achieve a PhD. in Psychology. Doctoral degree programmes are especially intended for graduates who wish to pursue a career as researchers and/or professors at universities and research institutions.