Studying in Austria For Members

EXPLAINED: What are your university options in Austria?

Julia Hjelm Jakobsson
Julia Hjelm Jakobsson - [email protected]
EXPLAINED: What are your university options in Austria?
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Higher education in Austria offers a wider range of possibilities, from practical degrees with a hands-on mentality to more research-focused studies.


Austria is well-known for its high quality when it comes to higher education, with over 390,000 students currently enrolled in the country.

The Austrian higher education system has four sectors: Public Universities, Private Universities, Universities of Applied Science (Fachhochschule), and University Colleges of Teacher Education.

Higher education institutions are spread across the country and offer a wide range of different degree programs. You can easily choose whether you would like a more practical education with a hands-on mentality or a more traditional one where theory and research are in focus. 

Public Universities

The most common higher educational institutions in Austria are the public universities. They are considered prestigious institutions known for their diverse programs and research contributions. There are currently 22 public universities in Austria, mainly in Vienna, Graz, Innsbruck, Salzburg, Linz, and Klagenfurt.

The universities offer various academic programs across multiple disciplines, including humanities, science and arts. Choosing a public university could be great if you aim for an education focusing on academic theory and research.

Austria's most well-ranked public universities are the University of Vienna, Vienna University of Technology, University of Innsbruck, Graz University of Technology, and Johannes Kepler University Linz.


The cost of studying at a public university in Austria varies depending on whether you are an EU/EEA citizen or an international student outside the EU/EEA.

EU/EEA citizens generally do not pay tuition fees when attending a public university. However, they must pay a student union fee and possibly small administrative fees each semester, normally around €20 to €40 per semester.

International students outside the EU/EEA must pay a tuition fee of €726 per semester. In some cases, students can get their fees reimbursed through specific scholarships or other forms of financial aid, information that each university can provide to their students.

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You can apply to a public university through the university's online portal, where it is possible to fill out an application and attach necessary documents such as transcripts, letters of recommendation, and language certificates.

In some cases, such as for Medicine courses, you might need to pass an entry exam as competition for each spot is high.


Private Universities

If you want to study at a private university, Austria offers its students many options. Private universities in Austria are known for providing innovative and high-quality education in an environment that prioritises individualised student attention. Private universities tend to redefine existing degree programs and establish new ones based on current and future educational needs.

They are often more likely to change their structure than public universities, which usually hold on to long-standing traditions and structures.

Some of Austria's most well-known private universities are Sigmund Freud University, the Music and Arts University of the City of Vienna, and Central European University (CEU).

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There is no restriction on the tuition fees charged at private universities. Usually, the costs are the same for both EU/EEA citizens and non-EU/EEA citizens, and private universities charge around €3,000 to €23,000 annually. You can find current fee information directly through each university's home page.

The application process for private universities is similar to that for public universities: you enrol online through the university's website, where you upload the required documents.


Universities of Applied Science (Fachochschule)

There are currently 21 Applied Sciences (UAS) universities in Austria, a number that has been increasing lately. These universities offer their students practically oriented higher education with a “hands-on” mentality. This is reflected in their curricula, which include career-oriented practical training sessions and internships.

When you want to enter a UAS, it is essential to consider that the number of students in each program is limited and to join, students often have to go through an entrance procedure, which can involve specific tests.

Currently, UAS offers both full-time study programs and part-time options designed for students who work. UAS offers education mainly in Business, Engineering and IT, Social Sciences, Media and Design and Cultural Sciences. Some top-ranked ones are the University of Applied Sciences for Management & Communication, UAS Technikum Vienna, and the University of Applied Sciences Wiener Neustadt.

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Studying at a UAS costs students from EU/EEA countries €363.63 per semester. International students from outside the EU/EEA are required to pay a minimum of €762.72. The application process is similar to the one for public universities but often focuses more on practical experience. Students may be asked to show proof of work experience related to their chosen field.


University College of Teacher’s Education

Teacher training in Austria is divided into two parts: teaching qualifications at the primary level (primary school) and teaching qualifications at the secondary level (secondary schools or colleges for higher specialised education).

There are nine public University Colleges in Austria, located in Vienna, Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Salzburg, Tyrol, Vorarlberg, Styria and Carinthia. In addition, Austria also offers five private institutions sustained by the dioceses of Graz, Linz, Innsbruck, and Vienna, as well as a foundation in Burgenland.


The University Colleges of Teacher Education provide a wide range of academic programs at both bachelor's and master's levels. Some of the most well-known institutions for teacher training are the University College of Teacher Education Vienna, the University College of Teacher Education Lower Austria, and the Private University College of Teacher Education Vienna/Krems.

Students from EU/EEA countries must pay €363.63 per semester to study at a University College of Teacher Education. Those outside the EU/EEA region must pay at least €762.72 per semester. Students can apply to their degree program through the institution's online portal, where they are asked to upload the required documents.


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