With the latest research and improvements in technology textbook education has been modified to adapt to modern professional field requirements. With time institutions have started adapting modern teaching techniques that comply with international standards of education. These are regulated by a centralized authority that makes and implements educational policies within the country.

Now talking about an international outlook, yearly thousands of students seek modern degrees from well-reputed foreign institutions that are affordable yet lucrative. Austria stands out in this regard, with a great cultural and academic contribution to the world. With a nominal GDP per capita of $56,802 in 2023, Austria is positioned 12th in Europe.

Over the previous decade, Austrian educational spending increased by 0.8% per year, while enrollment increased by 0.1% per year. The country is famous for offering scholarship programs to foreign students which is a big monetary advantage as compared to other countries.

While inhabitants of the EU/EEA are eligible for free public university education, students from outside these categories(non-EU/EEA) are required to pay for their classes. The yearly tuition price of Austrian institutes ranges from between 3,000 to 23,000 Euros.

To gain further insight into the higher education system in Austria, we have crafted a comprehensive article below for our readers, especially international students.

Types of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in Austria

Austria is equipped with prestigious institutions that have played a major part in global academia. Let’s take a look at the different types of higher education institutes in Austria.

1. Public Universities / Universitäten

We will begin with the most fundamental institution, the public university, which provides students with a solid basis via its extensive undergraduate (three to four years) and graduate (two to six years) degree programs. These are provided in a range of fields, including the medical, engineering, scientific, and humanities fields.

The expense of attending a private university might be many times more than that of a public university. These are accompanied by reputable faculty members and active partnerships on a global scale. The following are a few examples: the University of Vienna, Graz University of Technology, and the Medical University of Innsbruck.

2. Private Universities

The next category is private universities, which are standalone educational establishments. These provide a wide range of degree programs at the bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Subjects like law, business, and the arts are common places for such courses to be offered.

Private colleges and universities sometimes have higher tuition rates than public ones, but they may provide greater attention to each student. Some examples of universities of this level are as follows: Webster Vienna Private University, MODUL Vienna University, and Sigmund Freud University Vienna.

3. Universities of Applied Sciences / Fachhochschulen

Degrees in applied subjects such as healthcare, business, and engineering are offered by these educational institutions, which emphasize practical and job-related education. Better collaboration with business partners and a focus on practical applications are two things they provide. In addition to improving employability, they provide shorter study times and internship possibilities. Here are some examples: Vienna University of Applied Sciences, Johannes Kepler University of Linz, and Salzburg University of Applied Sciences.

4. University Colleges of Teacher Education/ Pädagogische Hochschulen

University Colleges of Teacher Education are the next level, and they focus on secondary and elementary school teacher preparation. Both general and specialized master’s degrees in education are available here. Dedicated mentoring and extensive hands-on classroom experience provide a strong practical emphasis. Some universities as examples are as follows: University College of Teacher Education Vienna, University College of Teacher Education Graz, and University College of Teacher Education Salzburg.

Types of Degree Levels in Austria

There are several differences between the educational systems of other nations and that of Austria. To facilitate comprehension of overseas students, we have included the number of degree levels here.

1. First Cycle / Bachelor’s / Erster Zyklus

This cycle of education lasts 3-4 years. To get a bachelor’s degree, students are required to complete coursework equal to 180–240 ECTS credits. It is equivalent to six semesters of university.

The Bologna Process is the basis for the Italian Bachelor’s degree program. Because of this, the curriculum may be adjusted so that it aligns with the standards of the European Higher Education System. The academic year of a bachelor’s degree program is split into two semesters.

Needs a high school diploma (Matura) and, in certain cases, entrance tests to go into specific programs. There are two options available to graduates, to join the workforce or get a master’s degree. This education cycle is available in the form of B.A., B.Sc., and B.Ed. in several disciplines.

2. Second Cycle / Master’s / Zweiter Zyklus

Next, there’s the master’s degree, an unparalleled opportunity that an Austrian university may provide in only two years. Austria offers two master’s degree programs, one in business administration (MBA) and one in science (M.Sc.), covering a wide range of subjects.

The minimum number of credits required to acquire a master’s degree here is 90–120 ECTS. While certain institutions may have somewhat different requirements, these are the general guidelines.

In most cases, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in the applicable field along with strong academic credentials to apply. Opportunities for advanced degrees, such as doctorate studies or postgraduate certifications, are available as a consequence.

3. Third Cycle / Doctoral Program / Dritter Zyklus

Austria also offers a doctoral degree program that typically takes three or four years to finish. It is a great chance to learn about every aspect of an area of expertise at a high level. Within the context of this degree, the student gets an opportunity to contribute significantly to the field.

To graduate from the Ph.D. program, students must earn 180 ECTS credits. In addition to the 25–30 credits needed for instruction, the remaining credits are for research. Applicants to doctoral programs in Austria must demonstrate excellent grades to be considered.

FAQS About Higher Education in Austria

What Grading System Does Higher Education in Austria Use?

Exams and projects in Austrian higher education follow a clear and uncomplicated five-point grading system.

  • The first is Sehr gut: Excellent. It signifies an exceptional achievement that goes above and beyond goals, and it’s the highest possible grade.
  • The second is Gut: Good. This demonstrates an excellent grasp of the material and a high level of performance that meets all criteria.
  • Third is the Befriedigend: Satisfactory. This indicates that the necessary tasks have been completed to an appropriate degree of comprehension.
  • On the fourth number, we have Genügend: Sufficient. The bare minimum of knowledge and effort needed to pass is indicated by this grade.
  • The final point is Nicht genügend: Failing. This demonstrates a lack of comprehension and an inability to fulfill requirements.

Grades in Austria are easier to understand because, unlike other systems, they do not include decimal points. A pass/fail system, rather than numerical grades, may be used in certain subjects, especially linguistic ones. Even though degrees are shown numerically on transcripts, colleges, and institutions may use different metrics to determine a GPA.


Many international countries have opened their doors to foreign students and Austria is one of them. The Austrian government has provided its students with many educational opportunities, so don’t miss this opportunity to apply to one of their universities!


Hopefully, this article will provide insights into higher education in Austria. For more study options, visit our Available Programs 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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