There are a total of 83 universities in Austria. Of those universities, 22 are public, 13 are universities and 21 are universities of applied sciences. In addition to these universities, there are 17 colleges of teacher education (pädagogische Hochschulen) which were created to educate schoolteachers. Public universities obtain some financial support from the state and have a general focus on humanities, economics and law. In contrast, private universities do not receive any funding and are regulated by the accreditation council. Usually, those universities provide a strong emphasis on the arts. Universities of applied sciences offer scientifically founded, vocationally oriented degrees and are more practice oriented than universities. For more information refer to the federal ministry republic of Austria education, science and research (Bundesministerium Bilding, Wissenschaft und Forschung; https://www.bmbwf.gv.at/public.html).
Most degrees offered in Austria are Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD degrees. Bachelor’s degrees usually require 180 ECTS points which are usually obtained within six semesters (three years). Master’s degrees require a minimum of 120 ECTS requiring four semesters (two years). Master’s degrees can be done long distance and Austrian universities offer more English courses for Master’s degrees than for Bachelor’s degrees. Doctorates can only be obtained at universities and usually last three years depending in the subject area. In addition to those degrees, Austrian universities offer diplomas (Diplomstudien) which result in a Magister. While Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees can be obtained at all institutions, only public and private universities can award doctorates. Universities in Austria do accept international students, however, most degrees, especially Bachelor’s degrees are offered in German which means that students will need to learn German in order to study in Austria.
Admission to Austrian universities is given by a school leaving certificate (Reifezeugnis) or by successful completion of a university entrance exam. If students did not achieve the highest school qualification, they may still obtain the qualification to enter university by completing apprenticeships resulting in a certificate known as the Berufsreifeprufung. Universities of teacher education and universities of applied sciences may have special admission requirements and universities of applied sciences may take previous vocational training into consideration. To apply at an Austrian university, students will need to send applications to the higher education institute of choice. Applications require a proof of nationality and necessary educational certificate. For many universities, international students will need to provide proof of the German language ability. If documents are not in German, those documents will need to be legally translated to German.
Austria offers free education to EU citizens. Students only pay a token membership fee to the student union which costs approximately 18 Euro per semester. International students from outside the EU must pay 726.27 Euros per semester. Students coming from partner universities as part of an exchange, as well as students from less developed countries usually do not need to pay this fee.
Information for International Students
There are a range of housing options for international students such as flat shares or dormitories. Dormitories offer different options such as single apartments and separate two-storeyed living communities with private bathrooms and toilet. Dormitories should be booked well in advance (at least 6 months).