Why a minor in Psychology? Computer scientists report (Video, MP4, 224MB)

Interested in usability, web design or cognitive modelling - or Psychology in general?

If the answer is “yes”, then Psychology is a suitable minor subject for you. This is because Psychology provides expertise and demonstrates methods related to a better understanding of human perception, thinking and behaviour.  Subsequently, this leads to an improved interaction between humans and computers. As a very scientific subject with an empirical focus, Psychology ideally complements Computer Science.

Questions of Psychology and Computer Science overlap, for example, in human-machine interaction, web design or the investigation of intelligent systems. You will learn to approach problems and issues psychologically and this will lead to an ability in finding better solutions in subsidiary subjects, especially in the of the advanced module courses in Cognitive Science. In the Master (and also partially in the Bachelor) research-related courses (partly English) are taken together with professors from Computer Science.

Psychological competencies are also important for professional life - for example, self-motivation, self-organized learning, leadership and teamwork. You will learn the necessary specialist knowledge in the advanced modules courses; Industrial and Organizational Psychology and Cognitive Psychology as well as in the basic module. Such skills are also promoted in practice in various seminars, lectures and presentations.


(Start of MS studies from WS 09/10)

Status: 12.05.2009

Semester Description Exam Type ECTS
3rd and 4th Semester Basic module Cognitive Psychology and Psychological Methods    
  Introduction to Psychology with tutorial POP 4
  Course on Developmental Psychology or introduction to Cognitive Psychology COA 2
  Empirical (practical) Methods (seminar) POP, SE 4
5th and 6th Semester Advanced module Industrial and Organisational Psychology    
  Industrial and Personnel Psychology or Organisational Psychology COA 2
  Industrial and Organizational Psychology POP 4
  Portfolio examination   2
5th and 6th Semester Advanced module Cognitive Psychology    
  Cognitive Psychology seminar COA 2
  Experimental psychological or empirical field placement POP 4
  Portfolio examination   2
    TOTAL 18

When choosing this minor subject, 7 ECTS points must be completed in the Interfaculty Lectures

COA = Certificate of Attendance
SE = Subject Exam
POP = Proof of Performance


Status: 20.03.2014

Semester Description Exam Type ECTS
1st, 2nd and 3rd semester Student’s research colloquium: Cognitive Psychology SE 2

Seminars from the curriculum for the subfields
Kognitionspsychologie und Arbeits- und Organisationspsychologie


    TOTAL 10

Spe­cial notes on the minor sub­ject psy­cho­logy

The subject Psychology can be chosen as a standard minor subject. For capacity reasons, however, the number of students is limited. Therefore, a formal application is necessary. This must be sent directly to the subject Psychology for the next winter semester (for details see Applications).  However please note that so far, all applicants have been considered.

Exam registrations

Examinations are registered in PAUL!

Transitional regulation

Credits can still be handed in via the portfolio folder.


For the standard minor subject Psychology, an application is necessary. We are particularly interested in your motivation for choosing Psychology as a minor subject and your study interests.

Send your applications to ingrid.scharlau[at] (Subject: Application for the minor subject Psychology in Computer Science Studies) by 15 September.

The application should consist of, approximately, a one-page description and reflection of your motivation for studying. Please explain the reasons that lead you to choose Psychology as a minor subject. We are particularly interested in your questions on Psychology, your specific subject interests and expectations you have in relation to the development of competencies through the study of Psychology. Please also state what you yourself can bring to this field of study and how you will involve yourself.

Please note: The application letter is the first part of the portfolio you will create in your minor studies.

De­scrip­tion of com­pet­ences and train­ing ob­ject­ives

Students should acquire the following competences:

  • recognize psychologically, especially empirically, answerable questions in Computer Science, especially in the areas of usability, web design, modelling, and be able to outline ways to answer them
  • Recognize the application of psychology, understand the practical significance of psychological knowledge (as well as where not appropriate), recognize problems in everyday life that can be solved by psychology
  • extrapolate relevant information from specialist psychological literature, in particular original research papers, and present it to outsiders
  • have the basic principles of experimental and statistical methods and are able to use these to form appropriate questions and develop an experimental study
  • have basic and selected expertise in the fields of Cognitive Psychology and Industrial and Organisational Psychology
  • be able to research psychological databases and read psychological literature in a critical and reflective manner

In addition to these specialist skills, the minor subject of Psychology offers intensive training in key competencies such as scientific writing and presentation skills.

Port­fo­lio and port­fo­lio eval­u­ation

If you are accepted into the minor subject of Psychology, you will take an oral, portfolio examination at the end of both the bachelor's and master's degree programmes, which will give you the opportunity to devote yourself to topics that are of particular interest to you and which you would like to deepen.

Students create a portfolio based on their studies. The portfolio documents the progress of their studies. The main focus of this documentation is:

  • motivation to study and personal interests the development thereof
  • learning and gaining knowledge in Psychology
  • special achievements of the student (term papers, examinations, presentations, position papers, documented software, experiments, practical projects, etc.)

Contents of the portfolio:

  • Bachelor: (For information on Products “pieces of work / projects”* see above)

3 achievements here. These will usually be performance certificates from the courses, but can also be work produced that go beyond this. In the case of group work, each individual’s contribution must be clearly marked. Each of these “products” will be reflected upon with regard to its goals, working methods and steps taken and what has been achieved (so-called cover sheet)

  • Master: Two products from the Master's programme complement the portfolio

Portfolio examination in the Bachelor

  • 2 products are selected for the test.
  • For the exam, the candidate will prepare an essay on the factual aspects of the two selected products. References to the academic goals should also be established. The essay should contain a list of questions, theses and topics for a scientific discussion as well as literature suggestions for the examination (at least 3 papers).
  • Experimental subject hours: For the portfolio examination in Psychology, 3 hours (180 minutes) of participation in experiments are required. These can be fulfilled by participation in experimental studies (e.g. in the psychology of perception) and by participation in questionnaire studies, interviews, etc. You can find current information about the various possibilities and contact persons here.

Portfolio examination in the Master

  • An essay based on a product must be written. The candidate describes learning and knowledge growth in the Master's programme. References to educational goals should also be established. The essay contains a list of questions, theses and topics for a scientific discussion as well as a bibliography of at least 3 papers.
  • Experimental subject hours: For the portfolio examination in the minor subject Psychology of the M.Sc. program, 2 hours (120 minutes) of participation in experiments are required.  These can be fulfilled by participation in experimental studies (e.g. in the psychology of perception) and by participation in questionnaire studies, interviews, etc. You can find current information about the various possibilities and contact persons here.

Procedures of portfolio evaluation

  • On the basis of the selected products and the essay, a preliminary discussion is held in which one of the works is determined as a starting point for the examination. It will be discussed as to which direction the examination interview should move. The following points should be discussed:

                     - psychological reference theories
                     - strategies of gaining knowledge in Psychology
                     - the importance of Psychology for Computer Science
                     - perspectives of comparison regarding the sciences; Psychology and Computer Science

  • In the exam itself, the candidate presents his/her essay and some related deliberations. This is followed by a review of the project and the literature. The exam lasts 25 minutes; in addition to the examiner, an assessor will take part.

The rules previously applicable to the non-standard minor subject of Psychology for both Bachelor/Master and DPO4 continue to apply accordingly to students who are already advanced. Names of courses and types of examinations etc. may change if necessary - in case of any doubt, please contact the responsible contact person for the minor subject Psychology.