Institutes of Higher Education


"Fachhochschul"-courses provide for high-quality professional and academic training for specific occupations. Minimum length of studies is six semesters, but usually studies at "Fachhochschul"-courses last eight semesters, work placement periods included. The structure of the curricula is to guarantee that students may complete their studies within minimum time.

Admission Requirements/Graduation

Standard admission requirements are the "Reifeprüfung"-Certificate, the respective Higher Education Entrance Exam, the TVE-Diploma or relevant professional qualifications.

Applicants who have received training in the dual system or in secondary technical and vocational schools need to hold additional qualifications which may be acquired in preparation courses.

"Fachhochschul"-graduates are awarded the academic degree of a "Mag...(FH)"or a "Dipl.-Ing...(FH)", which gives access to doctoral programmes which, however, will last two semesters longer than for university graduates.

Structure and Organization

"Fachhochschul"-courses differ considerably from universities, especially as far as organization is concerned.

"Fachhochschul"-courses may be provided by the state or by other "corporate bodies of public and private law" such as interest groups, local authorities or associations.

The most important body for this new type of courses is the "Fachhochschulrat" (an independent council). This council has to approve the "Fachhochschul"-courses proposed by the various providers. They may be accredited for five years. After this 5-year period the courses are subject to re-approval.

The accreditation of "Fachhochschul"-courses has to be approved by the Federal Minister of Science and Transport after consultation of the Federal Minister of Education, Science and Culture. For accreditation of a course, a number of requirements have to be fulfilled.

Needs analysis and feasibility studies have to be submitted, just as regulations on admission and examination procedures. Furthermore, enough staff, appropriate premises and other equipment have to be available for the period of time for which approval is required.

Classes have to be held by teaching staff holding adequate academic, professional work-related and pedagogical qualifications.

In the fall semester of 1997/98 43 "Fachhochschul"-courses were offered for approx. 6,200 students – mainly in the fields of technology, followed by courses in the field of business and tourism. Moreover, courses for people under employment have been organized.

Universities and Art Colleges

There are twelve universities and six colleges for art and music in Austria, all of them are state-run.

Study Programmes

Austria's universities and art colleges offer 184 different study programmes, most of them offer the possibility for further specialization which increases their number to 287.

And since many programmes are installed at various universities, the overall number of study programmes offered at Austrian universities and art colleges amounts to some 640.

These regular study programmes are complemented by post-graduate ones like doctoral programmes [Doktoratsstudien], non-degree study programmes [Kurzstudien], career-related courses [Lehrgänge] and some other short study programmes.

The College for Music and Performing Arts [Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst] in Vienna is the world's largest college for music, the College for Applied Arts [Hochschule für angewandte Kunst] in Vienna is one of the most important art colleges all over Europe. Academic standards and the structure of higher education in Austria are characterized by tradition, at the same time, however, Austria's scientific scene has been transformed into a centre of studies and research by recent developments of the modern information society

Access to University Studies

Access to regular study programmes is granted to all persons holding a "Reifeprüfung"-Certificate, a TVE-Diploma or the respective Higher Education Entrance Exam who have adequate command of German and who have met the admission requirements for the respective course in their country of origin.

As far as students from outside the European Economic Community are concerned, there is a "numerous clausus" for certain programmes. In addition to that, admission to art colleges requires the passing of an aptitude test.

Tuition Fees

Information on Tuition Fees at Universities


At the beginning of the academic year 1997/98 the overall number of students enrolled at all twelve Austrian universities surpassed 210,000. The number of students enrolled at the art colleges amounted to almost 7,000. The number of new students enrolled at a university or an art college amounted to some 22,000.

Regular Degree Programmes

The most important type of studies at universities and art colleges are the regular degree programmes [Diplomstudien] which are designed to provide students with the academic and artistic basics for their prospective profession.

Regular degree programmes last for 8 to 12 (universities) or 8 to 16 (art colleges) semesters and are mostly divided into two sections. Very few students, however, manage to complete their studies within minimum time.

Graduates of regular degree programmes are conferred the academic degree "Magister/Magistra" or "Diplom-Ingenieur"/"Diplom-Ingenieurin", degree programmes of medicine leading directly to a doctor's degree.

Post-graduate Education

Post-graduate education in Austria has only recently started to expand, thus it is still lacking some kind of organizational structure. Regulations as to providers, admission requirements, fields of study and degrees differ widely.

An important step towards the development of and meeting the demands for post-graduate education has been taken with the establishment of the "Danube University Krems" in 1994.

In the fall semester of 1997 12 courses were offered in the fields of European law, journalism, telecommunications, publishing, architecture and environment.

The Austrian law governing university studies defines post-graduate studies as courses which may be taken up only by people holding an academic degree ("Magister", Doctor of Medicine or any equivalent foreign degree). Post-graduate studies comprise:

Doctoral Programmes

Apart from studies of medicine, which lead directly to a doctor's degree, doctoral programmes may only be taken up after completion of degree programmes.

Depending on the course of studies, doctoral programmes take two or four semesters and are completed by a dissertation and an oral exam in various subjects.

Special Courses

Special courses comprise "Universitätslehrgänge" and "Hochschullehrgänge" which are provided on an independent basis by art colleges and universities.

These courses which are career-related and financed by means of fees usually last two to four semesters. Taking into account the whole range of courses, the length of the courses varies between some weeks and ten semesters.


"Universitätslehrgänge" which are organized on a post-graduate basis and which provide for at least 70 hours per semester may confer a Master's degree (Master of Advanced Studies, Master of Business Administration).

Other "Universitätslehrgänge" which provide for at least 40 hours per semester may confer the title "Academic…" (followed by a term referring to the relevant course).

University-like Courses

Upon authorization by the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, non-university institutions of education which also provide for study programmes may for a stipulated period of time refer to these programmes as "university-like courses".

The criteria upon which the university-like character of these courses is to be evaluated are laid down in the Federal Law for University Studies [Universitäts-Studiengesetz].

Prior to this authorization, universities offering courses in the same field and university committees have to be consulted. The right to confer the academic title "Magister" or the title "Academic…" is conditional upon the same prerequisites as required of "Universitätslehrgänge" and "Hochschullehrgänge".

Geändert am: 06.04.2018

Nach oben