Austria is a mountainous, landlocked country in Central Europe. It is a scenic country with culture-rich towns and a breathtaking view of the Alps. Austria has developed a high standard of living and is generally a safe and clean country.

Universities in Austria provide rich learning experiences for international students. They are high-quality institutions, general as well as specialized. Technical and medical universities are among the finest in the world. In addition, progressive interdisciplinary research is a common goal of most institutions. In this article, we will be looking at the best universities in Austria for international students.

Top Universities in Austria for International Students

1. University of Vienna

The University of Vienna is a time-honored institution with nearly 800 years of academic excellence. It is the home of 20th-century philosophy and The Vienna Circle. Presently, there are more than 175 programs in science, humanities, and engineering. The institution focuses on doctoral training, teacher education, and the advancement of women’s careers. The University of Vienna is the best university in Austria for international students due to its awesome academic programs.

The university has a big role in the internationalization of Austria’s tertiary education especially since it belongs to the top Austrian university in T.H.E. World University Rankings 2021. One-quarter of the student body are foreigners. 33% of professors come from abroad too. With a diverse community, their language center has programs to learn a language for free.

2. University of Innsbruck (Universität Innsbruck)

The University of Innsbruck is one of the top universities in Austria for international students. It is renowned internationally in research with almost 4000 publications in 2016. It is a proud home to award-winning alumni and scientists. The major areas of research focus are physics, cultural encounters, and molecular biosciences. Moreover, its 16 faculties have a broad range of programs from Geography to Mechatronics to Sports Science.

40% of the University of Innsbruck community are from abroad. It is the top Austrian university in “International Outlook” in the Times Higher Education ranking. Its scenic location at the heart of the Alps contributes to its conducive learning environment. Also, Innsbruck is a regular venue for international sports events. This culture is popular with local and international students alike.

3. University of Klagenfurt (AAU)

The University of Klagenfurt is an innovative university known for its progressive programs and sense of liveliness. It offers 56-degree programs in disciplines like technical science, humanities, and management & economics.

AAU is in the Austrian state of Carinthia, a meeting point of three cultures. That’s why it is no stranger to the diversity of international students, which is 20% of its student body. It also boasts a 100,000 square meter campus with half of it being pristine green space that students will surely enjoy. Furthermore, Austria’s most modern University Sports Institute is located on its campus.

4. Vienna University of Technology (TU Wien)

Technology for people is the slogan of the Vienna University of Technology. A leading university when it comes to sci-tech research, it encourages open collaboration between an interdisciplinary team of experts. This vision can be seen through the eight faculties specializing in natural sciences, engineering, and technology.

TU Wien is a consistent top placer among Austrian universities in the International Student Satisfaction Awards. It also belongs to the top 200 of the QS World University Rankings 2021. Quality education is supported by its efficient student services in IT, communication, and building technology. Their multi-awarded Plus-Energy Building is a testament to this.

5. Medical University of Innsbruck (Med-Uni)

The Medical University of Innsbruck provides world-class research in medicine. This top university in Austria offers excellent teaching and training focused on medical theory, clinical practice, and service. Its research institutes are centered on university clinics, which in turn, are closely integrated with the provincial hospital. Therefore, practical applications inspire theoretical discussions and vice versa.

Med-Uni offers training to international students and graduates. These “observerships” allow medical students immersion to a particular department. Moreover, its location in the Alps provides the best learning environment.

6. Graz University of Technology (TU Graz)

The Graz University of Technology brings a contemporary knowledge-sharing culture to the historical town of Graz. Among its 7 faculties, the top programs are Computer Science, Engineering & Technology, and Material Science. The university’s research focus is also worth staying for.

TU Graz boasts state-of-the-art laboratories and equipment. Students also have free access to licensed study software and programs. It also has a dedicated platform and international student ambassadors for more personal support. Graz is known as a student city and TU Graz has programs to help students with accommodations.

7. Johannes Kepler University Linz (JKU)

Next on our list of best Austrian universities for international students is the Johannes Kepler University, which is famous for pioneering programs plus state-of-the-art teaching facilities. Its top programs are Business, Law, Sociology, and Social Economy. JKU is strategically located in Linz in Upper Austria, one of the strongest economies in the country. Thus, the university is active with research projects partnered with local industries. This provides the students with the authentic application of their learnings.

JKU is a top choice for international students because it offers several programs in English. They have dual-language programs wherein customary German programs can be held in English.

8. University of Graz (Karl-Franzens-Universitaet Graz)

When it comes to sustainability, the University of Graz is the leading institution in Austria. It is known for research, joint programs, and degrees in natural science, sustainable development, and anything about the environment. Other top programs include Psychology, Chemistry, and Business.

The second oldest university, it is also one of the largest in Austria. Its location encourages a cultural exchange with South-Eastern Europe and this has been a main interdisciplinary focus of the university. This interest in diversity carries on to international students which more than 4000 enroll in a year.

9. University of Salzburg (Paris Lodron University of Salzburg)

The Paris Lodron University of Salzburg has time-honored faculties in humanities and natural sciences. It is also advancing in technical disciplines. In 2017, the university opened its Science and Technology Hub. It is presently involved in social endeavors such as women’s inclusion, health promotion, and environmental protection.

The University of Salzburg, a top university in Austria, has most of its buildings around Salzburg’s historic center – a quiet town, and a conducive learning environment. It is one of the 10 most popular institutions for the Erasmus Program. 38% of students and 50% of the staff are international.

10. Medical University of Vienna (MedUni Wien / MUW)

The Medical University of Vienna is Austria’s largest medical institution, and one of the best in Europe. It firmly believes in research, teaching, and patient care. The institution has made breakthroughs in transplantation medicine. Presently, its five programs are Medicine, Dentistry, Medical informatics, Applied medical science, and Ph.D. program. The Vienna General Hospital, Europe’s largest hospital, has most of its medical staff from this university.

MedUni Vienna supports student and staff exchange, graduate training, and cooperation with other international universities. Overall, it’s a progressive community that is supportive of student parents and encourages a barrier-free environment.

11. University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU)

The University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU) started as a university known for studying Soil Science in 1872. Centuries passed, and now, BOKU is recognized as a model Life Science university in Europe. Its areas of study focus on conservation, preservation, and life and health security. BOKU is also proud of its consistency in sustainability—from production to disposal.

BOKU makes it a point that all international students feel safe and at home. They provide services to help the new students practice German through language learning buddies and cope with the unfamiliar culture and environment using the help of the school-organized buddy networks.

12. University of Leoben

“Modern” is only one way to describe the quality of education the University of Leoben produces. The 801st best university in the Times Higher Education World Ranking, this modern university offers 13 Bachelor’s degree programs and 22 Master’s degree programs. This leading university in Austria offers various degrees with the aim of defining the importance of sustainability and the citizen’s accountability toward responsible consumption and production.

Students at the university are molded to play a part in protecting and advancing the natural and social environment. Among the tenets of education at the University of Leoben include Energy Efficiency, Climate Neutrality, Sustainability, Zero Waste, and Circular Design.

13. University for Continuing Education Krems

The University for Continuing Education Krems is the sole public university that offers continuing education in Austria. Being an institution of continuing education, an incoming student must first complete a Bachelor’s degree before being allowed to apply to the university. Academic disciplines in the university are centered on identifying current social issues and formulating mitigations or solutions. This pedagogy paved the way for the university to acquire the seal of quality of the Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation Austria (AQ Austria).

Another thing that could add to the university’s appeal is its unconditional consideration for its students. The Service Center for International Relations of the university is known to be approachable to international students when support is needed. The office can help out with the student’s residential registration, banking, and even German language courses.

14. Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU)

Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU) is a highly renowned university accredited by the three most notable accreditation organizations for business and economics universities. One of WU’s objectives is to spearhead the nation’s rising economic capacity and social affluence. The will to change the nation for the better and become the change the society needs is deeply ingrained in the minds of the faculty, staff, students, and alumni.

WU’s aspirations and values are mirrored in the campus’ architecture. Students can comfortably dine, unwind, and study in the award-winning campus facilities. International students can also benefit from the Business Language Center and Tandem Learning Program. In this program, international students are paired with German-speaking peers who can practice German with them.

15. Medical University of Graz (Med Uni Graz)

The Medical University of Graz was initially a theological and philosophical university located in the south of Austria. Two centuries after, in 1872, the Med Uni Graz transformed itself to be a pillar of medicine. Med Uni Graz served as an exemplar of a university for prospective doctors. The areas of study include Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing Science, Interprofessional Health Care Studies, and Doctoral Programs.

However, it is important to note that, Med Uni Graz requires a higher level of German proficiency. International students who will apply should be of the C1 level. To ease the burdens of studying, Med Uni Graz holds “Peer2Peer counseling” volunteer students are trained to respond to help-seeking students in academic or personal crisis.

16. University of Applied Sciences Technikum Wien (UAS Technikum Wien)

The University of Applied Sciences Technikum Wien (UAS Technikum Wien) is a leading technical university of applied sciences in Austria. It’s one of the best universities in Austria as it specializes in the application of science in the fields of digitization and technology. Still, UAS Technikum Wien does not veer away from respecting the ethics of using science to improve the economy and society. A collaborative environment is fostered within the walls of UAS Technikum Wien.

Their research focus is on automation and robotics, embedded and cyber-physical systems, renewable energy systems, data-driven, smart and secured systems, and tissue engineering and molecular life science.

17. Institute of Science and Technology Austria (ISTA)

Institute of Science and Technology Austria (ISTA) is an exclusive university for mostly Ph.D. students. Accepted students will be under the employment of ISTA while they complete their studies. This university doesn’t charge tuition fees to both local and international students, and the students can even benefit from social security coverage aside from the employee salary.

German proficiency is not mandatory to begin an application. Classes are conducted in English. Because of this, the majority of the university’s student population are international students.

18. Management Center Innsbruck (MCI)

A business and engineering-centered institution, the Management Center Innsbruck (MCI) is a university with the complete package. Its prized facilities include spacious rooms for group work, research and computer labs, and student hostels. MCI is also accessible to both private and public transportation.

English is the main medium used in academic requirements and for casual communication. Students are assisted via the MyMCI application throughout their stay on campus. In addition, international students can attend seminars and training hosted by the MCI Student & Career Center. They can also be involved in student communities such as the Austrian Student Union and social entrepreneurship projects.

19. Salzburg University of Applied Sciences

The Salzburg University of Applied Sciences is characterized by its picturesque location and excellence in education. This top university in Austria gives a pleasing environment for its local and international students. The two campuses – Urstein and Kuchl, are close to two captivating sights: the Golling waterfall and Königsseeache lake.

Due to the university’s proximity to these natural landscapes, the Department of Sports has programs aligned with this type of environment. Incoming international students can also improve their knowledge of various languages and cultures (such as German, Thai, and Hungarian) in an informal language course with the Tandem Learning Café. The Buddy Student Programme is also an ideal place to start when getting to know the university.

20. University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria

Governed by the principle of “teaching and learning with pleasure – researching with curiosity,” the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria has academic disciplines that cater to modern problems. Each campus is dedicated to one department.

The international conference management center welcomes international students. To further support the student’s needs, the university also established a Gender & Diversity Management Conference (GDM-K), which is built to address the issues related to diversity.

FAQs about Studying in Austria

Is Austria Good for International Students to Study In?

Austria has over 70 high-quality universities in all its federal provinces. Most places are considered student cities like Vienna, Innsbruck, Salzburg, and Linz. The landscape in every one of them is conducive to learning. Overall, it is a safe and culturally rich country.

Austria is among the top 10 countries that have generous fees for international students. Universities, various institutions, and Austrian agencies offer a lot of scholarships and grants. And for students coming from developing countries, free education is provided.

Many universities offer their programs in English. For other German courses, international students usually need a level of “B2” German knowledge. That’s why most institutions have supportive language programs.

To study in Austria, nationals of EU/EEA countries need a Confirmation of Registration. Nationals of third countries need a “Residence Permit – Student.” Students arrive in Austria in September and February for the winter and summer semesters respectively.

Check Also: Programs in Europe for International Students

Can International Students Work in Austria While Studying?

International students can work as long as it does not compromise their studies.

EU/EEA nationals are allowed to work without permits. Holders of a “Residence Permit – Student” can get a work permit that allows 20 hours/week. This also includes students in doctoral or Ph.D. programs.

A work permit is not needed for academic internships and reciprocal exchange programs. Activities within the scope of educational and research programs of the EU, like Erasmus+, need no permit too.

Can International Students Stay in Austria After Graduation?

EU/EEA students have free movement of labor and may take any job after graduation.

Students holding “Residence Permit – Student” that have graduated can renew their permit for up to 12 months. They can look for a job or set up a business during this period. Once hired, they can renew it to a “Red-White-Red Card” (RWR Card) which allows residence and employment with a specific employer for 24 months.

Upon expiry of the RWR Card, they can apply for a “Red-White-Red Card Plus.” RWR Card Plus allows fixed-term residence and unlimited labor market access.


We hope that this article on the best universities in Austria for international students was helpful. If you are interested in knowing more about studying abroad, check out the Programs in Europe for International Students!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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