MA ScS major in Psychology & Education

Master in Social Sciences

All the information about the master in social sciences can be found here

You will find below the information on the psychology and education specialisation. For the different versions of the programme, please see at the end of the page in French.

Master of Arts

It is possible to do a minor ("pilier secondaire") in Social Sciences as part of the Master of Arts. If you are interested in the Master of Arts, you can register for a minor in Psychology and Education.

Master in Social Sciences, Major in Psychology & Education

Our Master proposes a sociocultural psychological perspective for the study of lifelong learning and development. Our goal is to allow students to develop an in-depth understanding of the circulation of people (migration as well as social and cultural mobility) and the circulation of knowledge (formal and informal, religious, scientific, artistic, etc.), along various themes such as:

  • The analysis of life trajectories and of transitions experienced by people (related to school, family, migration, occupation, retirement, etc.);
  • The analysis of dialogues, interactions, and argumentation in learning and working situations;
  • Technology and discoveries - scientific and artistic creativity, especially through materiality;
  • Imagination, memory, as well as the psychological role of arts, theater, music and fiction;
  • Occasions for formal or informal learning, at school, work or in everyday life, and its challenges;
  • The evaluation and design of institutional settings (e.g. vocational, therapeutics, supporting insertion, PISA, etc.), addressed to various publics (e.g., persons with a disability, refugees, etc.);
  • Methodologies of intervention and transformation at work, in, learning situations, and more generally, as part of social innovation.


Why this MA?

The major in psychology and education of the Neuchâtel Master in social sciences is unique in Switzerland and in Europe:

  • It is a unique MA in sociocultural psychology, at the crossing of educational sciences and psychology. Sociocultural psychology examines the dialogical dynamics by which the person and her social and cultural environment are mutually constitutive, and it emphasizes the symbolic nature of these situations;
  • The MA is not attached to a national psychology curriculum; it is not oriented towards clinical psychology, and is open to students from different countries and backgrounds;
  • The MA is interdisciplinary, so as to foster the capacity to study complex sociocultural phenomena. The major is part of a MA in social sciences, attached to the Centre for the Understanding of Social Processes (MAPS), which coordinates research and teaching activities in anthropology, sociology, regional economy, geography, psychology and education, and the Swiss Forum for the study of Migration (SFM). The Centre fosters interdisciplinary collaborations to which students are associated (e.g. in law and psychology to study integration, anthropology and education to study education in refugee camps, etc.)


Who should apply?

The MA welcomes:

  • Students having completed a BA in psychology or educational sciences, who wish to specialize in sociocultural psychology and want to develop a research project on a theme of their interest;
  • Teachers or social workers with a BA or professionals what want to develop conceptual and methodological tools to develop new perspectives on the basis of their experience;
  • Students from other MAs who wish to extend their studies to a discipline that emphasizes personal and interpersonal dynamics in social phenomena.

All requests for admission will be examined, and tailored “bridges” will be proposed.


How are the studies organized?

The studies rest on original pedagogical principles:

  • The MA dissertation, on a topic defined by the student, is at the heart of the studies;
  • Classes have a high professor/student ratio, students are invited to play an active role;
  • A choice of courses in psychology & education and in the social sciences allow for a personalization of the curriculum;
  • Students become members of a community of researchers, and prepared to become reflexive practitioners;
  • The study can include practicums, stays abroad, etc. that facilitate future professional and international insertion;
  • Students can combine the MA in psychology and education of the University of Neuchâtel with partner programs (including the MA in cultural psychology of the University of Aalborg, etc.).
  • The teaching is bilingual French/English, exams can be taken in English.

The MA can be organized in several ways, see here (in French)


Which professional perspectives?

The MA in psychology and education prepares for applied or basic research in emerging domains such as: sociocultural psychology, dialogical perspectives in learning and education; the development of thinking, memory and imagination; innovative pedagogical setting, from nursery to the elderly home, etc.
The MA also prepares students to take leading roles as experts, trainers or managers in diverse cultural, social and educational domains. Depending on the topic of their dissertation and practical experiences acquired during their studies, former students work for instance in:

  • Vocational schools and programs supporting the school-to-work transition;
  • Continuous and adult education;
  • Integration of migrant people;
  • Human resources;
  • Communication, media, museums, etc.
  • Cooperation in NGO, etc.

For instances of students’ professional activities after the MA, see here



  • Interested people should apply here.The holders of a Swiss University BA with at least 60 ECTS in psychology and/or educational sciences are admitted automatically.
  • Holders of a BA from another Swiss Higher Education or from any University outside of Switzerland have to apply for admission; their case will be examined, and some “bridging credits” (30 for a HES or HEP; up to 60 otherwise) can be required.
  • A good passive understanding of French is required; students from abroad are advised to take French courses in advance, and to follow the summer course offered by the University of Neuchâtel (here).
  • The length of studies varies from 3 to 6 semesters, and it can be modulated depending on the participants’ obligation (family, job, etc.). For informal enquiries please contact the person in charge of the MA.


The professors in charge of the MA program in “psychology and education” are:
Tania Zittoun, Professor and coordinator of the MA
Laure Kloetzer, Professor


Coordinator of the MA in social sciences in “psychology & education”

Institute of psychology and education
Espace Tilo-Frey 1, 2000 Neuchâtel (Switzerland)
Phone: +41 32 718 1856 Fax: +41 32 718 1851


Phone: + 41 32 718 1000