One of the wealthiest countries in the world based on GDP, Austria is home to about 87,000 international students who choose to do an undergraduate or graduate programme abroad.
If you’re hoping to be one of them, then you probably want to know what you have to do to start studying there. This guide will shed some light on how to apply to a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Austria.
Know the admission requirements
Now comes the tricky part. Because Austria has different types of universities, there are also different admission requirements and criteria. Here are a few aspects you should keep in mind:
- Most Austrian universities require that you know German, as many study programmes (especially Bachelors) are – at least partially— taught in German.
- For English-taught degrees, you must be a proficient English speaker.
- You have to prove that you would be entitled to apply for your chosen degree programme in the country where you earned your last diploma (high school or Bachelor’s diploma).
- Non-EU/EEA students with a degree from a non-EU/EEA country may only study the same discipline or something closely related to it. For example, if you did your Bachelor’s in Humanities, you cannot go for a Master’s in Business.
- You need relevant professional experience if you apply for a graduate degree at a university of applied sciences.
These are some common requirements you’ll need to meet to be eligible to apply for a university degree in Austria. However, it is always a wise thing to contact the institution that offers the study programme and inquire about the exact admission requirements.
Get your papers ready and start applying
If you meet the admission requirements, it’s time to gather all the necessary documents, which – of course – vary according to degree level, programme, type of university, your nationality, etc.
Students from the EU/EEA:
- Photocopy of your passport or ID Card
- Your last diploma: high school diploma for Bachelor’s studies, Bachelor’s diploma for Master’s studies
- German language proficiency: high school leaving certificate confirming German lessons of at least 4 years or a German language diploma
- English language proficiency: IELTS, TOEFL, Cambridge certificates
Students from outside the EU/EEA:
- Photocopy of your passport or ID Card
- Your last diploma: high school diploma for Bachelor’s studies, Bachelor’s diploma for Master’s studies
- German language proficiency: high school certificate confirming German lessons for at least 4 years or a German language diploma
- English language proficiency: IELTS, TOEFL
- A certificate of special qualification for university studies (Nachweis der besonderen Universitätsreife). You must prove that you’re entitled to follow university studies in your chosen discipline.
Important aspects of the application process
Note that some universities also have an entrance examination (especially at Bachelor’s level). The examination typically takes place 6 months before the programme starts.
Most of the Universities of Applied Sciences (UAS) in Austria also require relevant professional experience related to the programme, as well as passing a written or oral test and an admission interview.
Check deadlines for applying
In Austria, there are two typical application deadlines according to where you come from. Make sure all your documents arrive before these dates, as no extensions are accepted (everything has to be on time in Austria).
If you are from outside EU/EEA, the application deadlines are:
- For the Winter semester: start of September
- For the Summer semester: start of February
If you are an Austrian resident, or an EU/EEA/Switzerland citizen:
- For the Winter semester: mid-October
- For the Summer semester: mid-March
An additional application period is available only if some places remain free/open:
- For the Winter semester: end of November
- For the Summer semester: end of April
To make sure you don’t miss the deadline, always check the exact dates on the official university website.
Know the steps you have to take after applying
Wait for the acceptance letter
You’ll receive it by e-mail or post and it will also include a few guidelines about the next steps you have to take to enrol at your university.
Follow the enrolment procedure
Typically includes submitting the application documents in original to confirm your spot, paying the tuition, and getting your student ID.
Pay the tuition fees/students’ union fees
If you are from the EU/EEA, you won’t have to pay any tuition fees at public universities, provided you finish your degree in the scheduled time plus 1 or 2 semesters. If your studies take longer than scheduled, you will have to pay for the extra semesters.
If you go to a private university or you are from outside the EU/EEA, you will have to pay for your studies. The average tuition fees at Austrian universities are:
- 727 EUR/semester at public universities
- 6,000 – 23,000 EUR/year at private universities
- Student union fees: 20-30 EUR/semester
Apply for visa
If you need a visa to study in Austria, you should start gathering the application documents, which typically include:
- Proof of enrolment
- Proof of necessary funds to support yourself
- Police clearance
- Proof of accommodation
- Proof of health insurance
- Receipt for paying the residence permit fee (120 EUR)
Note that if your chosen study programme requires an entry examination or an admission interview, you’ll have to travel to Austria during the admission process. If you need a visa to enter Austria, you have to apply for a residence permit in person at the Austrian embassy or consulate in your country with the provisional confirmation of admission from the university.
What is studying in Austria like?
So, you’ve enrolled in a Bachelor’s or Master’s from Austria that’s at the top of your wishlist, you got your student visa and you are now ready to fly high. But what can you expect from studying in Austria?
First, consider that Austria is situated close to many interesting countries. A short train, plane, or car ride and you can be in the Czech Republic, Italy, Slovenia, Slovakia, Hungary, Lichtenstein, or Switzerland.
Secondly, you will find the art, music, literature and architectural style simply captivating. Just imagine this: you might actually have classes in a palace if you study in Vienna.
Thirdly, you might receive a scholarship as the country offers a considerable number of grants to international students. You can also check out the Studyportals Scholarship to get some help on financing your studies in Austria.
Last but not least, you’ll be able to live a comfy student life with living costs of about 800-1,000 EUR/month. Additionally, as a student, you are allowed to work part-time, which enables you to both gain experience and some pocket money.
Application & Entry Requirements in Austria
To apply to study in Austria, you have to send the application and necessary documents to either the university, the university of applied sciences Fachhochschule / UAS) or the UAS degree program. Applications submitted to the Austrian representative authorities will be forwarded to the educational institution .
Applications must arrive at the university on time. Bear in mind that forwarding may take some time and submission of the application at the representative institution must be done at the earliest. Some universities offer online applications and will then send specific further information to you via e-mail.
Closing dates/Deadlines for applications in Austria
- All documents have to arrive at the Austrian university by September 1st for the winter semester and February 1st for the summer semester. These deadlines are not extendable. Since it takes a while to process the applications it is advisable that you submit the application as early as possible.
- For Austrian residents and nationals of EU/EEA member countries and Swiss nationals, the general application deadlines of each university is approximately mid/end of October for the winter semester and mid/end of March for the summer semester, depending on the chosen university. An additional application period is available (November 30th for the winter semester, April 30th for the summer semester) to apply.
- Some programs need students to complete an entrance examination, for example Medical universities, universities of the arts and UAS degree programs. Please inquire in good time about application deadlines, special requirements and dates for the entrance examinations. Closing date for applications for entrance examinations can be up to 6 months before the beginning of the semester.
Required documents for admission to study in Austria
1. Application for admission– University application form (can be downloaded from the university’s homepage or will be sent by them). The candidate must mention the program he/she wishes to study and relevant personal information.
2. Proof of nationality along with a copy of official ID along with photo or valid travel document(if required).
3. General university entrance requirements(attested copies for International students)
– for bachelor and diploma degree studies: secondary school leaving certificate or equivalent
– for master studies: bachelor or equivalent degree
– for doctoral studies: diploma, master or equivalent degree
4. For many programs proof of proficiency in German: is necessary and should also be included in the application documents, if available (e.g. German examination with the school leaving examination, language course diplomas).
Foreign documents have to be presented along with the original copy and have to be legalized. If documents are drawn up in languages other than German, legalized translations have to be added. Translations done abroad have to also be legalized.
Universities of the arts and UAS degree programs often do not require proof specific university entrance qualification; instead, prospective students have to pass an entrance examination or produce proof of relevant professional qualification. Information about the prerequisites (these differ from one institution to the other) is available from the universities of the arts, the universities of applied sciences and UAS degree programs.
If all prerequisites are met, the educational institution will send the notification of admission or the invitation to sit an entrance examination to the address specified by the applicant. Students may be admitted as degree program students or – if supplementary examinations are required and in the case of university training courses /university level courses Universitätslehrgänge) – as non-degree program students.
On arrival to Austria students have to enroll in person with the university or UAS degree program.
Scholarships for Education in Austria
- Various scholarships are offered by Austrian organizations to aid your education in Austria depending on your country of origin and academic qualifications. OEAD offers a variety of scholarships for bachelors, masters and doctoral students. It is to be noted however that a whole degree program in Austria is hardly ever supported financially.
- Grants is also a comprehensive database that provides a list of funding opportunities for your study in Austria.
- Universities or institutional scholarships are also offered by higher education institutions . To know more, contact the international office of the university where you have chosen to pursue your education.
Education System in Austria
The universities in Austria universities differ greatly from one another both in terms of size and structure. Students who wish to continue their education in Austria with study programs at classical universities in Vienna, Graz, Innsbruck, Klagenfurt, Linz and Salzburg cover a broad spectrum of different academic subjects. Specialized universities for education in Austria, for example the University of Leoben, concentrate on special theoretical and applied disciplines.
Teaching and research are seen as an inseparable unit at universities in Austria.Courses are available in all academic fields (Humanities, Natural Sciences, Law, Social and Economic Sciences, Medicine, Technology, Mining Sciences, Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences and Veterinary Medicine)but more emphasis on interdisciplinary work. Interdisciplinary research work promotes a university education that aims at developing far-sighted concepts and solutions. The permanent dialogue with trade and industry has led to the establishment of a great number of competence centres in which an innovative cooperation between university departments and enterprises takes place.
The Structure of Programs of Study at Universities in Austria
In the last few years, the education system in Austria has introduced the European three-tier system of degrees according to the Bologna process. Besides, the old two-tier system still exists in some subject areas and universities (for example Medicine).
Bachelor programs are usually set up by universities of Applied sciences and University colleges of Teacher education. Studies usually last last for a period of 3 years (180 ECTS credits or 6 to 8 semesters; in some cases, it is 240 credits depending on university or employability requirements. Masters studies on the other hand require the successful completion of the bachelor study program which lasts about 2-4 semesters
PhDs are based on the completion of diploma or master’s degree. Programs last for atleast 6 semestersc (2 years) and are based on the ability of autonomous research.
TRADITIONAL DIPLOMA PROGRAMS
Traditional diploma programs(Magistra or Magister) in most disciplines or Diplomingenieur(in) for engineers last for 4-6 years.
UNIVERSITY TRAINING COURSES
are further education courses at university. Education levels last from undergraduate to postgraduate and often last 2-4 semesters.The contents, goals, structure and duration of these courses are determined by the universities, who are responsible for the individual curriculum and provide information about these opportunities. Upon the completion of postgraduate university courses academic titles such as Master of Advanced Studies (MAS) or Master of Business Administration (MBA), among others, may be conferred.
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