Margret Wintermantel studied psychology and media studies at the Universities of Mainz and Heidelberg. After gaining her doctorate in 1972 and research periods at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and at the University of California in Berkeley, she was research assistant and lecturer at the Institute of Psychology at the University of Heidelberg.
She held several DFG research grants, and in 1986 she earned her Habilitation in psychology. In 1992 she was appointed university professor of social psychology at Saarland University, where she served as Vice-President for Study and Teaching from 1994 to 1997. In 2000 she was elected University President. From 2001 she was Vice-President of the German Rectors’ Conference responsible for research and served as president from 2006 to 2012. From January 2012, she is president of the German Academic Exchange Service.
She is also member of the Board of the European University Association (EUA) and a member of the Austrian Science Council.