Austria

Austria is a landlocked East Alpine country in the southern part of Central Europe. Academic and scientific knowledge as well as research are vital pillars of Austria’s overall development and their potential needs to be secured in the long term. The challenge in the coming years is to design framework conditions and structural prerequisites with a view to competitiveness and future requirements. This also includes a strengthening of the tertiary sector and of research – the target is to make 2% of the GDP available for tertiary education establishments by 2020 (Work Programme of the Austrian Federal Government for 2013-2018).

RegionCentral Europe
CapitalVienna
LanguageGerman
Population8,902,600
Expenditure on higher education3,2 %
Unemployment4,71 %
EuroUniversities in top 1001
EuroUniversities in top 2504
EuroUniversities in top 50010
EuroUniversities in top 100023
Students380,000
Foreigner students11,4 %
Enrollment rate in higher education86,5 %

All higher educational institutions are summarised and colorized in the table below:

General higher education policy objectives and governance

Academic and scientific knowledge as well as research are vital pillars of Austria’s overall development and their potential needs to be secured in the long term. The challenge in the coming years is to design framework conditions and structural prerequisites with a view to competitiveness and future requirements. This also includes a strengthening of the tertiary sector and of research – the target is to make 2% of the GDP available for tertiary education establishments by 2020 (Work Programme of the Austrian Federal Government for 2013-2018).

Austria boasts a diversified range of higher education programmes, most of which are offered by the universities. In the past few years, a large number of coordinating measures have been introduced in terms of strategy, including:

Mapping Process for the Austrian Higher Education System (Hochschulplan)

This Mapping Process – finalized in December 2011 – was a dialogue-based strategy process of public university co-ordination, including research infrastructure and building, human resources, internationalisation and a new model of public funding of universities based on capacities. The main focuses of the process were:

  • enhanced cooperation and coordination
  • improved use of available resources
  • coordinated specification of profiles and special focuses
  • coordinated further development of the range of subjects

The mapping process was operationalised in four partial projects:  

  • large research infrastructure,
  • infrastructure road map,
  • new university funding scheme
  • and coordination measures.

Those were implemented successfully.  The main focuses also became goals in succeeding policy instruments, such as the Austrian National Development Plan for Public Universities (especially objectives 1-3) (available in English language) and the project “Shaping HEIs for the Future”.

Austrian Higher Education Conference (Österreichische Hochschulkonferenz, HSK)

The Austrian Higher Education Conference (“Hochschulkonferenz”) was set up as a standing committee in 2012 in order to improve coordination in tertiary education. It consists of the main stakeholders, who act as an advisory board for the Minister of Education, Science and Research. Chaired by the Federal Minister the core group comprises the following members:

The Austrian Higher Education Conference handles topics mostly in working groups; the topics deal with areas that require cross-sectoral coordination, such as improving the social protection of students, permeability in the tertiary sector, strengthening the quality of HE-based teaching, developing profiles for the HE course contents, promoting non-traditional access pathways to the entire HE sector, and further developing the whole HE sector.

Performance agreements for the period 2019-2021

Performance agreements constitute the central control mechanism for public universities. At the end of April 2018, the universities submitted the draft versions of the performance agreements for the period 2019–2021. By the end of 2018, negotiations on the performance agreements between the universities and the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research shall be concluded.

The objectives of the Austrian National Development Plan also act as guidelines for action for the performance agreement period 2019-2021. The Federal Ministry formulates its expectations towards universities in a document, “Model performance agreement and auxiliary document”.

The focuses of the Austrian National Development Plan are:

  • to improve the use of resources in research and teaching,
  • to further coordinate the development of profiles and the specification of focuses;
  • to enhance the visibility of the universities for society (“third mission”) such as academic communication, entrepreneurship or lifelong learning.
  • to improve the quality of academic teaching
  • to expand knowledge and technology transfer

Other strategically important areas include: digitalisation, studyability, further development of doctoral programmes, career models, tenure track; research focus or profile building.

With the upcoming period of performance agreements a new financing model has been introduced which is a capacity-oriented approach to finance universities and is based on a variety of indicators.

Recent reforms in higher education

Structure and Role of Higher Education Institutions

Universities

Following on from general and vocational education and training courses, the Austrian universities offer degree programmes in the

  • humanities, engineering and artistic studies,
  • programmes leading to qualified teaching credentials in upper secondary schools, as well as
  • medical, natural science, legal, social, economic, and theological studies.

Currently, three different types of degree programmes exist in Austria, but the diploma studies will be discontinued.

  • Diploma studies (Diplomstudien): Usually, these studies take 8 to 12 semesters (240 to 300 ECTS), they consist of two or three study sections, each of which is concluded with a degree examination. Those who successfully complete the programme are awarded a degree, such as:
    • master’s degree
    • a diploma, i.e. master’s degree in engineering (Diplom-Ingenieur/in)
    • exception: in medical studies, the degree Doctor of General Medicine (Doktor/in der gesamten Heilkunde) or the degree Doctor of Dentistry (Doktor/in der Zahnheilkunde) is awarded.
  • Bachelor’s and master’s degree programmes: According to the Bologna Declaration, the Austrian universities have already organised most of their study programmes in the form of bachelor’s degree programmes (3 to 4 years, 180 to 240 ECTS) and master’s degree programmes that build on the bachelor’s degree programmes (1 to 2 years, 60 to 120 ECTS).
    • The bachelor’s degree programmes provide scientific or artistic vocational education and training and a qualification in the corresponding specialist area and lead to the awarding of a bachelor’s degree.
    • Depending on the specialist area involved, master’s degree programmes lead to the awarding of a master’s degree (Master … or Diplom-Ingenieur/in).
  • Doctoral and PhD programmes: Doctoral programmes and PhD programmes (Doctor of Philosophy) build on diploma degree and master’s degree programmes at universities or universities of applied sciences and mainly provide further development of a student’s ability to carry out independent research.
    • Completion of the study programme (after 3 years) goes along with the awarding of the doctoral degree in the relevant field (Doctor or PhD).

Universities of Applied Sciences

Universities of applied sciences (Fachhochschulen) provide scientifically-based vocational education and training with strong occupational orientation (e.g. the bachelor’s degree programme includes at least one practical training semester). At present, degree programmes at universities of applied sciences are offered in:

  • engineering,
  • economics,
  • health sciences,
  • social sciences,
  • natural sciences,
  • design/arts and
  • military/security sciences.

The following types of programmes are offered: Bachelor’s and master’s degree programmes: Based on the Bologna Declaration, universities of applied sciences offer programmes in the form of bachelor’s degree programmes (3 years, 180 ECTS) and master’s degree programmes (1 to 2 years, 60 to 120 ECTS). The bachelor’s degree programmes provide  a practice-oriented education at university level with a qualification in the corresponding specialist area and lead to the awarding of a bachelor’s degree (Bachelor of…). In certain subjects, mainly in the field of social work and healthcare, those who successfully complete the programmes are also authorised to practise in the corresponding profession (e.g. social worker, physiotherapist). Master’s degree programmes build on the bachelor’s degree programmes and, depending on the field involved, lead to the awarding of a master’s degree (Master of… or Diplom-Ingenieur/in). Successful completion of a university of applied sciences master’s degree programme aims to qualify graduates to pursue a subject-related doctoral degree programme at a university.

University Colleges of Teacher Education

University colleges of teacher education are legal entities under public law with restricted autonomy.

The following study programmes have to be offered and provided at university colleges of teacher education as part of initial teacher training:

  • bachelor’s and master’s degree programmes to obtain teaching credentials for the primary sector,
  • bachelor’s and master’s degree programmes to obtain teaching credentials for the secondary sector (general education as well as vocational education and training).

Continuing training programmes have to be offered for all occupational fields related to pedagogy.

The budget for public university colleges of teacher education is allocated by the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research.

For details please see Chapter 9 Teachers and Education Staff.

Since the academic year of 2016 joint teacher training programmes of universities and university colleges of teacher training were offered. The new teacher training scheme (“Pädagoginnen-und Pädagogenbildung NEU”) was followed by an amendment of study law in the Universities Act and the Act on the Organisation of University Colleges of Teacher Education in the year 2017.

Organisation of the Academic Year

At universities, the academic year starts on 1 October and ends on 30 September. It consists of a winter semester and a summer semester. Detailed arrangements are laid down by the university senate. Also at universities of applied sciences, the academic year starts around 1 October. Again, detailed regulations are laid down by the individual providers.

Relevant higher education laws

Universities Act 2002 (Universitätsgesetz 2002)

Redefinition of the relationship between universities and the State; universities are state institutions, autonomous in terms of their statutes, internal affairs and curricula.

  • Amendment of the Universities Act in 2009: Implementation of the Bologna structure by measures such as:
    • the implementation of the bachelor’s and master’s degree structure in all study programmes (including teacher accreditation programmes and medicine),
    • the promotion of student mobility,
    • the provision of an introductory and orientation phase in the first and second semesters,  which started in the winter semester of 2011/12,
    • to set measures that will reduce the number of students dropping out, improve the student-teacher ratio, increase social permeability, and increase the ratio of women in executive positions,
    • the possibility to use selective admission procedures for programmes that go along with the German numerus clausus system (medical disciplines and psychology).

This amendment entered into force in the winter semester of 2012/13 and contains new regulations that govern the admission periods for diploma and bachelor’s programmes which are not subject to particular admission or entry procedures. The admission periods end on the 5th of September for the winter semester, and on 5th of February for the summer semester. The amendment also provides for a speedier nostrification (recognition) of foreign certificates; Decisions on applications for nostrification must be made and issued within three months of receipt of the respective application.


This amendment implemented two reforms of university funding: On the one hand, the original funding concept for universities was modified, which stipulated that a university budget consisted of a basic budget and a formula-based budget. By replacing the formula-based budget, the higher education area structural funds were introduced, thus ensuring the competitive distribution of funds based on a few, easily understandable indicators. In the performance agreement period 2013-2015, 60% of the higher education area structural funds were assessed based on the student-related indicator “number of regular students admitted to bachelor’s, diploma and master’s degree courses with weighting based on subject groups”, in this way the future funding in the field of teaching was partly introduced. On the other hand, the Universities Act now states that access regulations according to § 14h of the Universities Act are included in fields of study which are in great demand (Federal Law Gazette BGBl. I No. 52/2013). The objective of the access regulation according to § 14h was to counteract the unsatisfactory study conditions in the programmes that are within these fields of study. At the same time, another objective –which was the improvement of student-teacher ratios – was achieved by raising the number of staff active in these programmes as part of the performance agreements. § 14h of the Universities Act legally stipulated the number of study places nationwide for study beginners in first degree studies (bachelor’s and diploma studies) in the ISCED study fields of architecture and town planning, biology and biochemistry, computer science, management and administration, business and administration, business, economics and statistics and pharmacy. In these programmes, the university has been authorised to arrange a multi-stage admission or selection procedure.


The amendment of the 2002 Universities Act in 2014 came into force at the beginning of the year 2015. It included, among other measures, the adjustment from the 40% to the 50% women’s quota of the Equal Treatment Act (Gleichbehandlungsgesetz, B-GlBG), an improved mechanism to penalise plagiarism and other academic misconduct, the establishment of compatibility of study programmes or professions for all university members with care responsibilities for children and other dependent persons, clarifications regarding the introductory and orientation period, and the assignation to the scientific staff of doctors who are undergoing training to become medical specialists.


This amendment has led to changes in terms of organisational regulations, such as the further development of regulatory contents in the development plan as a strategic planning document for developing the individual university and as the basis for a performance agreement. In addition, existing access regulations (see also the 2013 Amendment to the Universities Act) and the introductory and orientation period (which is now regulated more clearly, among other things concerning the minimum and maximum number of ECTS credits awarded for it) have been prolonged until 2021 based on evaluations and recommendations of the Austrian Court of Audit. In the field of personnel legislation, the career paths for associate and associated professors based on international standards have been developed further to ensure that a tenure track system is implemented gradually. Existing regulations on the limited duration of contracts of employees who change to a new employment group (especially third party-funded personnel) have been defined more clearly. 


  • 2017 Amendment to the Universities Act:
  • With an amendement to the university act in the year 2013, a core project of the previous years, the new techer training scheme “Pädagoginnen-und Pädagogenbildung NEU” was embedded in the law. One of the main points of this amendment concerns the cooperation between university colleges  of teacher education and universities. Teacher training programmes (secondary school) could from this point on only be offered in cooperation between university colleges of teacher education and universities.
  • With the amendment to the university act in 2017 a common study law for universities and university colleges of teacher education was implemented. The different study law regulations of the two types of post-secondary education institutions were adapted accordingly to further facilitate and improve cooperation.
  • The aim was to provide consistency for students and institutions offering teacher education, as well as clear regulations for study programmes offered in cooperation, consistent legal conditions as well as clarity in the decisions of responsible study law institutions.
  • For this reason, regulation content of the university act and the higher education act were adapted and a consistent terminology was developed. This resulted in a necessary adaptation of organisational structures of university colleges of teacher education.

The new model for university financing

The new university financing model is based on a long preparation process, that started in 2010 by defining a finance model through a task force consisting of representatives of the ministries of science and finance and the universities. The final report of the task force led to an amendment of the Universities Act 2002 in 2013. This amendment never became effective due to political reasons. The next attempt to implement the new financing model started in 2017. In the summer of 2017 parliament decided, that the universities will receive an additional budget of € 1.3 billion for the performance agreement period 2019-2021. This act of the parliament ensured the implementation of the new financing model. Another amendment of the Universities Act 2002 was prepared on the basis of the former amendment in 2013.

This amendment was submitted to parliament in January 2018. The new regulations were proclaimed by the Federal Law Gazette BGBl. I Nr. 8/2018 and came into force on the 1st of February 2018. According to this the new funding model for public universities shall be implemented in the performance agreement period 2019-2021.

The new model for university financing is based on the implementation of a capacity-orientedstudent-based funding of universities. The respective amendment of the Universities Act 2002 contains the necessary regulations for implementing this funding model for all universities as well as regulations to allow access regulations in additional fields of study.

The universities will continue to receive a global budget for the three-year period of the performance agreement. “Global budget” means that the universities are free to allocate their resources within the performance agreement.

The central objectives of the new model for university financing are:

  • Improving the quality of research/advancement and appreciation of the arts and teaching, in particular through the improvement of teacher-student ratios.
  • Increasing transparency through separate funding of teaching and research/ advancement and appreciation of the arts, supplemented by strategic incentives.
  • Increasing the number of active students.

The new model of university financing is called the three-pillar-model, because the global budget of each university will be composed of three partial ”pillars”:

  • The amount for “teaching”,
  • The amount for “research/advancement and appreciation of the arts” and
  • The amount for “infrastructure and strategic development” areas

The calculation of the partial amounts for the first two areas is based on specific indicators and seven weighted groups of subjects: the number of students who actively take examinations corresponding to a certain number of ECTS-credits in the area “teaching”, and the number of scientific or artistic staff (“basic performance research/ advancement and appreciation of the arts”) in the area of “research/advancement and appreciation of the arts”. There are also competitive indicators as an additional incentive (e.g. number of graduates, studying fast, third-party funds and structured doctoral programmes).

This is made possible by a significant increase in the budget for the universities: + € 1.3 billion for the performance agreement period 2019-2021.

In 2018 further amendments of the University Act 2002 have taken place thus far:

  • amendment to ensure that the Universities Act was reformed according to the General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679 and
  • implementation of the dental clinical internship
  • amendment concerning members of non EU-countries which regulates the admission to preparatory courses in German in order to achieve admission to bachelor- and diploma- programmes.

Federal Act on the University for Continuing Education Danube University Krems (Bundesgesetz über die Universität für Weiterbildung Krems)

This act entered into force on the 1st of April 2004. Based on relevant provisions, the Danube University Krems adapted its structures to the Universities Act 2002, focusing on post-graduate education.

Private University Act (Privatuniversitätengesetz, PUG)

Based on this act, which entered into force in 2012, private institutions can obtain accreditation as a private university by the Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation Austria; study programmes can be offered either in accordance with state programmes and degrees or without reference to them.

University of Applied Sciences Studies Act (Fachhochschul-Studiengesetz, FHStG)

Based on this act which was adopted in 1993, public and private institutions can obtain accreditation as a university of applied sciences (“Fachhochschule”, FH) by the Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation Austria.

Act on the Organisation of University Colleges of Teacher Education (Organisation der Pädagogischen Hochschulen und ihre Studien (HG 2005)

Based on this act the establishment of public and private university colleges of teacher education (“Pädagogische Hochschulen”, PHs)takes place.

Act on Quality Assurance in Higher Education (Hochschul-Qualitätssicherungsgesetz, HS-QSG 2011)

Provision of the following elements (by this act):

  • a cross-sectoral law on external quality assurance; establishment of the Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation Austria, integrating the former agencies (AQA, FH Council, Accreditation Council) in 2012,
  • framework for quality assurance procedures across sectors (e.g. obligation to publish outcome of procedures, possibility of certification or accreditation, etc.),
  • audit areas outlined by law, details defined by the Agency,
  • quality assurance procedures for audit or accreditation,
  • installation of a student ombudsman office as an information and service centre for all students at higher education institutions,
  • registration regulations for programmes provided by foreign higher education establishments in Austria.

According to the Act on Quality Assurance in Higher Education, universities must be evaluated through external audits, whether by an agency listed in the European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education (EQAR) or another internationally recognised and independent quality assurance agency.

Bachelor

Branches of Study

Public Universities

Bachelor’s degree programmes at universities are offered in the following groups of studies:

  • arts
  • economic sciences
  • engineering sciences
  • humanities
  • law
  • medicine and health sciences
  • natural sciences
  • social sciences
  • teacher training
  • theology
  • veterinary medicine

Generally, every degree programme belongs to one of the study groups, which determines the academic degree. Students can also follow an individual study programme (combination of different study programmes) with the approval of the institution.

Universities of Applied Sciences

There is no definition of bachelor’s degree programmes by statute; programmes are offered in the following fields:

  • engineering
  • economics
  • health sciences
  • social sciences
  • natural sciences
  • design/arts
  • military/security

Private Universities

Also here there exists no definition of bachelor’s degree programmes by statute; programmes are offered in fields such as:

  • design/arts and music
  • medicine and public health
  • psychotherapy
  • economics
  • catholic theology
  • law

University Colleges of Teacher Education

As part of initial teacher training University Colleges of Teacher Education offer bachelor’s and master’s degree programmes to obtain teaching credentials for the primary sector as well as bachelor’s and master’s degree programmes to obtain teaching credentials for the secondary sector (general education as well as vocational education and training). For details please see here.

Admission Requirements

General admission requirements for bachelor’s degree programmes:

  • general university entrance qualification
  • specific university entrance qualification for the chosen study programme at public universities
  • proof of specific skills for artistic programmes
  • proof of physical/motor skills for teacher training programmes in physical education and for degree programmes in sports sciences
  • admission procedure for degree programmes at universities of applied sciences
  • proof of specific skills for teacher training programmes at the university colleges of teacher education

Admission to bachelor’s degree programmes is granted by the matriculation certificate acquired at academic secondary schools, the matriculation certificate and diploma acquired at colleges for higher vocational education, or upon successful completion of a limited higher education entrance qualification. Graduates of lower secondary schools who have acquired an apprenticeship-leave diploma may take an examination for external students which provides the general higher education entrance qualification.

Admission to university of applied sciences bachelor’s degree programmes is also possible with previous vocational experience and qualification of applicants. In some fields of study there is a selective admission process, this is the case for

  • degree programmes at universities of applied sciences
  • study programmes at the university colleges of teacher education
  • bachelor’s degree programmes at universities, such as human medicine, dental medicine, veterinary medicine, and psychology; since the winter semester of 2013 it has also been possible to lay down access restrictions for fields of study which are in great demand such as architecture, biology, computer science, pharmacy and business; the respective university is responsible for deciding whether the access restriction is applied (based on § 14h of the Universities Act). An amendment to the Universities Act in late 2015 specifies new access regulations. The fields of study to which access regulations apply have remained largely unchanged.

Admission to University colleges of teacher education bachelor’s degree programmes see here.

Introductory and orientation period (STEOP)

Implemented in 2011/12, the STEOP allows universities to include an introductory and orientation period in study programmes. It depends on the university and department how the STEOP is organised. The main features are:

  • Students are obliged to obtain a certain number of ECTS points in one semester: since the 2015 Amendment to the Universities Act, a minimum number of 8 ECTS up to a maximum of 20 ECTS applies to all curricula.
  • Students must successfully complete the introductory and orientation period in order to continue their study programme. If the curriculum allows it, the university is entitled to raise this figure to 22 ECTS points.
  • In the winter semester 2012/13 new admission periods were introduced: the rector’s office at each university determines the admission period for each semester. For winter semesters, these periods must last for at least 8 weeks for bachelor’s (and diploma) programmes and must end on 5 September; for summer semesters they must last for at least four weeks and end on 5 February.

Finally, the general university entrance qualification can also be obtained by completing studies at a post-secondary educational institution, for which the required work output amounts to a minimum of 180 ECTS credits (this corresponds to a minimum duration of three years of studies).

If an applicant has a foreign HE entrance qualification, it has to be equivalent to an Austrian HE entrance qualification and therefore reviewed. If a specific university qualification is needed, proof must be furnished that study-specific admission requirements are met, including the right to immediate admission to a degree programme, as exist in the country issuing the document that provides proof of the general university entrance qualification. As far as Austrian secondary school-leaving certificates are concerned, supplementary examinations may have to be taken for specific subjects in degree programmes based on the University Entrance Qualification Ordinance (Universitätsberechtigungsverordnung).

At public universities, however, the senate can establish and announce restrictions on the admission of foreign and stateless applicants. In this case, EU and EEA citizens and certain other groups of persons (e.g. refugees or applicants funded by mobility programmes) are exempt from such regulations.

Guidance on the choice of study courses

The Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF) is responsible for a large part of the guidance activities for the tertiary education sector. Here it cooperates closely with the Austrian National Union of Students (ÖH). Public Employment Service (AMS) also publishes information material and offers guidance on a regular basis for individuals and school classes at the Career Guidance Centres (BIZ). The individual universities also carry out a large number of measures for prospective students. These measures include

  • specific information events,
  • information days or information weeks where pupils have the opportunity to be counselled on study options and HE programme contents.

Measures:

  1. Universities are increasingly offering self-assessment tests as instruments for reasoned study career decisions. Such tests are compulsory in some study programmes which can only be attended after an admission procedure.
  2. Based on its legal mandate, ÖH offers comprehensive guidance and advisory services on studies for prospective students and on enrolment for study beginners. In addition, beginners’ tutorials are offered at the universities jointly with ÖH.
  3. Based on plans laid down in the current government programme, the BMBWF programme “Study Checker” (“Studienchecker”) has been extended. Since 2014/15 this programme has been called “18plus. Career and Study Checker” (“18plus. Berufs- und Studienchecker”) and aims to enhance preparation for the study and career choice.

These initiatives aim to help people make an informed study choice and therefore also contribute to a better distribution of student flows.

Curriculum

Each degree programme must have a curriculum that governs the qualification profile and programme structure, as well as the subjects and courses required for examinations or other study results (always defining the scope of the achievement in ECTS credits) and the way in which examinations must be taken.

Public Universities

It is one of the duties of the senate to specify the academic degrees and titles awarded to graduates of certificate university programmes for further education (Universitätslehrgänge).

The scope of a degree programme is defined in terms of the credits established under the European Course Credit Transfer System (ECTS).

Universities of Applied Sciences

A board of experts prepares the curricula which then have to be accredited by the Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation Austria. The workload of students is defined in terms of ECTS credits. Bachelor’s degree programmes at universities of applied sciences have 180 ECTS. For accreditation the programmes have to contain the following items:

  • orientation profiles
  • a survey of demand and acceptance
  • information on the group of persons entrusted with the development of the curriculum (development teams)
  • evaluations of programmes
  • occupational fields and profile of professional qualifications
  • curriculum and examination regulations
  • teaching concept
  • entrance requirements
  • admission regulations
  • information on teaching and research staff
  • fields of practice-related research and development
  • information on facilities and equipment
  • cost estimate and financial programme

Private Universities

The curricula are prepared independently by the university. In the accreditation process conducted by AQ Austria, the curricula are examined by international experts to fulfil aims such as quality, international comparability and conformity with the Bologna objectives.

Most bachelor’s degree programmes that are offered at private universities have 180 ECTS credits; however, exceptions are possible (e.g. in the field of music and arts).

University colleges of teacher education see here

Teaching Methods

The teaching staff may freely choose the contents and methods of their courses. Basically, the types of courses have not changed in the past few decades. There are

  • lectures,
  • seminars,
  • introductory seminars,
  • exercises,
  • practical workshops,
  • field trips,
  • tutorials, etc.
  • (increasingly offered in English).

Long-distance study units are explicitly permitted. In arts and music programmes, one-to-one courses are common, not least to support artistic training.

Use of new media

The applied forms of technology-supported teaching vary widely and range from

  • online self-assessments,
  • the streaming of courses, and
  • the preparation of digitised material, on to
  • multiple-choice feedback and
  • multiple-choice exam questions,
  • discussion forums and the
  • targeted use of social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

E-learning Site:

overview of the field of technology-enhanced teaching and learning, the centres of technology-enhanced teaching and an overview of initial and continuing education and training regarding teaching competences at Austrian universities.

To make courses flexible in terms of space and time for employed students, handicapped students, and students with care obligations, some are offered online and in other cases e-learning elements are integrated into studies. This has been implemented by Linz University, for example, in the field of social sciences, business and economics and in the field of law (mulitimedia diploma programme in law).

One specific development in the field of online courses is massive open online courses or MOOCs. In general, MOOCs are not yet widespread at Austrian universities, but the Graz University of Technology and Graz University have worked together to develop the first Austrian platform for MOOCs under the name iMooX. This platform aims to provide free-of-charge courses with multimedia contents for the broadest possible sector of the population.

For University colleges of teacher education see here.

Progression of Students

Public Universities

There is no time limit for students at public universities to finish their degree programmes as long as they are registered for the continuation of their studies.

Repetitions of examinations:
Students are entitled to resit any failed examinations three times. All examinations taken in the same subject (in the relevant study programmes at the same university) count towards the permissible number of resits. The statute of each university may state whether further resits are permitted and, if so, how many may be taken. The third repetition of an examination must be supervised by an examination board if the examination takes the form of a single procedure.

The examination regulations for the individual curricula must be laid down by the responsible body. This includes, in particular, regulations concerning the method and purpose of examinations and the way in which they are organised. Before candidates can take the bachelor’s examination, they need to write bachelor’s theses.

Grades of examinations and scientific/artistic theses:

  • very good (sehr gut)
  • good (gut)
  • satisfactory (befriedigend)
  • passed (genügend)
  • failed (nicht genügend)

Intermediate assessments are not admissible. Whenever this type of grading as specified above cannot be made or is inappropriate, the positive grade must be “attended successfully” (mit Erfolg teilgenommen) and the negative grade must read “attended without success” (ohne Erfolg teilgenommen). Examinations that consist of several subjects or parts may only be given a positive grade if every subject or part has been marked with a positive grade.

Examinations that have been taken in the course of other studies or at another recognised Austrian or foreign post-secondary educational institution, a training college for educational professions, another recognised Austrian educational institution, where admission requires the general university entrance qualification, or which were taken at the end of a university-level course, must be recognised by means of an official decision to the extent that they are equivalent to the examinations required by the curriculum. The examinations taken for a subject in a programme at an Austrian university or at a university in the European Union or the European Economic Area must be recognised as equivalent to examinations for the same subject in the respective programme of another Austrian university in any case if the ECTS credits are different or even the same.

In addition, there are several multilateral and bilateral agreements on the recognition of examinations.

Universities of Applied Sciences

At universities of applied sciencesbachelor’s degree programmes are scheduled as courses that have to be attended by students in a certain order. A specific number of tolerance semesters (or a maximum tolerated duration of studies) has been laid down. Regarding the repetition of examinations, students are entitled to resit failed examinations twice; a year of study may be repeated once. Many universities of applied sciences provide full-time (in the daytime) as well as extra-occupational study programmes, the latter especially for working students.

Private Universities

As the programmes offered at private universities follow international standards (with an on-site expert review during the accreditation procedure), (nearly) all study programmes have a modular structure and use the ECTS credit system. The definition of the duration of study and the tolerance semesters, etc. lies within the sphere of responsibility of the university.

University colleges of teacher education see here

Employability

To support students for their entry into professional careers, the universities’ representatives keep contact with the social partners and respective companies. In fact, the social partners, i.e. the employees’ representatives (chambers of labour, trade unions) and employers’ representatives (the Austrian Economic Chamber, the Association of Austrian Industries) as well as experts from higher education institutions (universities, universities of applied sciences, research institutions) participate in the decision-making and are involved in developments, which aim to ease access of graduates to the labour market. Representatives of professional fields are also involved in the development of curricula. The universities’ steering bodies (the university councils) comprise representatives from industry and public life.

At universities of applied sciences, representatives of professional fields are involved in the process of study programme accreditation. At the governance level the Austrian Council for Research and Technology Development (Rat für Forschungs- und Technologieentwicklung) and the Austrian Science Board (Österreichischer Wissenschaftsrat) make suggestions on how to improve the higher education system, with recommendations to enhance support for entry to the labour market in science and industry.

For University colleges of teacher education see here.

Interface between study and the world of work

In line with the performance agreements, the universities are responsible for imparting to students not only specialist competences but also those which enable them to apply academic knowledge and skills outside the academic system. Therefore, graduates have to be prepared appropriately for the labour market and it is necessary to check if the imparted competences meet the requirements of the labour market. In this connection, the universities have set up a system for exchanging their views on contents with their graduates as well as with employers, professional representatives and representatives of associations, particularly to improve the relevance of bachelor’s degrees for the world of work. These processes have been stimulated and institutionalised on a broad basis due to the inclusion of qualification profiles in curricula. Some universities take additional measures in the field of employability which aim to ease the students’ later access to the labour market, for example with extension curricula or supplementary curricula, which enable students to acquire supplementary competences and qualifications, or with internships. Many universities use graduate surveys with the goal of obtaining information on the employment situation, competences and labour market experiences of their graduates. The results of these surveys provide a contribution to quality management and, in turn, are incorporated into teaching and curricula to enhance their relevance for the world of work. In addition, all universities provide a wide range of services to support their graduates in their entry to the world of work. This is mainly done as part of their alumni/alumnae networks, in their career guidance institutions or via outsourced organisations. These include the following:

  • career fairs
  • job portals
  • career centres
  • information events
  • continuing education and training courses which support the acquisition of specialist additional qualifications and promote the strengthening of personal skills.

Measures to improve knowledge and technology transfer

Measures such as patenting, developing transfer capacities, skills and intellectual property strategies form part of the performance agreements with the universities.

The regional knowledge transfer centres shall promote technology transfer between universities and industry and systematically exploit knowledge as a basic innovation resource and key factor for success. Closer cooperation between the universities within the framework of the knowledge transfer centres should help to recognise exploitation opportunities more effectively.

The new funding program “Spin-off Fellowships” supports scientists and students with innovative ideas in their efforts to establish their own companies.

  • Industry-science collaboration

Austria has initiated some long-term research funding programmes (e.g. COMET, CDG, Josef Ressel Centers, FHplus) to support industry-science collaboration in order to promote knowledge and technology transfer. Public universities and universities of applied sciences are important players in these programmes.


  • Internships

The participation of higher education establishments in the ERASMUS+ programme enables the funding of joint international projects and internships completed at companies, leading to added value for students, higher education establishments and for the economy.Attracting female students is a strategic objective particularly for universities of technology; therefore, some universities enable and support subject-related internships particularly for young women.At universities of applied sciences, internships are mandatory in all bachelor’s degree programmes. These mandatory internships are a relevant part of the study course and give students an opportunity to have contact with prospective employers, in addition to gaining practical experience.When designing the curricula, private universities explicitly have to consider aspects of employability. This means that qualification objectives need to be defined for the entire programme as well as for individual modules and courses.After all, internships are often seen as a prerequisite for a future employment relationship, especially at the transition from HE studies to the labour market (“graduates’ internships”). A study conducted in 2011 (FORBA-Forschungsbericht [FORBA Research Report] (2011): “Praktika und Praktikanten/Praktikantinnen in Österreich. Empirische Analyse von Praktika sowie der Situation von Praktikanten/ Praktikantinnen” [“Internships and Interns in Austria. An Empirical Analysis of Internships and the Situation of Interns”], study commissioned by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Health and Consumers Protection reveals that the share of graduates who have completed at least one internship after obtaining their degree was 15% for Austrian universities and universities of applied sciences.


  • Entrepreneurship

Several universities have specific departments for entrepreneurship whereas other universities offer individual courses. These courses cover topics such as business planning, intellectual property rights and idea generation and are usually set up as project or field work.Furthermore it is an objective of future performance agreements to develop the topic of entrepreneurship and its importance for the universities’ activities, to integrate it more strongly into teaching, and to raise the entrepreneurship competence at universities. This aims to contribute towards implementing the knowledge triangle of education-research-innovation with lasting effect. Another goal is to further develop the entrepreneurship culture at universities. Austria is taking part at the Higher Education Innovation Country Review organised in Cooperation of European Commission and OECD.

Student Assessment

Public Universities

Whether individual courses have been attended successfully is evaluated by the respective course teacher. Students complete the bachelor’s degree programme at university with bachelor’s examinations.

The examination regulations must be published by the responsible collegiate bodies. These regulations include regulations concerning the method and objectives of examinations and the way in which they are organised. Consequently, the responsible body has adequate leeway in designing examinations.

In addition to the bachelor’s examination, a minimum of two bachelor’s theses must be written. The results of examinations and scientific/artistic theses are defined by grades:

  • very good (sehr gut)
  • good (gut)
  • satisfactory (befriedigend)
  • passed (genügend)
  • failed (nicht genügend)

Universities of Applied Sciences

For universities of applied sciences some general examination regulations are prescribed by law. The specific examination regulations are to be defined from the universities of applied sciences and are a subject of the accreditation by AQ Austria. Bachelor’s degree programmes at universities of applied sciences include the obligation to write theses in the context of courses (bachelor theses); the final bachelor’s exam is an examination supervised by a committee. The results of examinations and theses are marked using the following grades:

  • passed with highest distinction: for an outstanding performance at the examination
  • passed with distinction: for a performance at the examination that is considerable above average
  • passed for a positive assessment
  • failed

Private Universities

There is no central statutory provision that governs examination regulations at private universities; examination regulations are verified by international experts in the framework of accreditation by AQ Austria. Private universities design their examination methods and schedules autonomously.

University colleges of teacher education see here

Certification

Public Universities

After passing the curriculum, the academic degree is awarded by a written official notification, at the latest one month after completion. The official notification indicates: the study programme, the academic degree, and the legal basis.

There are the following bachelor’s degrees:

  • Bachelor (individually designed degree programme): BA
  • Bachelor of Nursing Science (der Pflegewissenschaft)BScN
  • Bachelor of Philosophy (der Philosophie)B.phil.
  • Bachelor of Law, Business and Economics (der Rechts- und Wirtschaftswissenschaften)LLB. oec.
  • Bachelor of Statistics (der Statistik)BStat
  • Bachelor of Architecture: BArch
  • Bachelor of Arts: BA or B.A.
  • Bachelor of Arts and Education: BAEd
  • Bachelor of Arts in Economics: B.A.(Econ.)
  • Bachelor of Business Law: LL.B.
  • Bachelor of Education: BEd
  • Bachelor of Education – University: B.Ed.Univ.
  • Bachelor of Engineering: B.Eng.
  • Bachelor of Laws: LL.B.
  • Bachelor of Religious Education – University: B.Rel.Ed.Univ.
  • Bachelor of Science: BSc or B.Sc.
  • Bachelor of Science in Medical Sciences: BScMed
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: BScN
  • Bachelor of Tax Law: LL.B.
  • Bachelor of Theology: BTh
  • Bakkalaureus / Bakkalaurea der Künste (Bachelor of arts):Bakk. art.
  • Bakkalaureus / Bakkalaurea der Naturwissenschaften (Bachelor of Natural Sciences): Bakk. rer. nat.
  • Bakkalaureus / Bakkalaurea der Philosophie (Bachelor of Philosophy): Bakk. phil.
  • Bakkalaureus / Bakkalaurea der Rechtswissenschaften (Bachelor of Law): Bakk. iur.
  • Bakkalaureus / Bakkalaurea der technischen Wissenschaften (Bachelor of Technical Sciences): Bakk. techn.

If a degree programme is completed within the framework of a joint degree programme, the academic degree can be awarded in one joint document, together with the partner institution.

For the purpose of supporting the graduates’ international mobility, students are entitled to be issued a Diploma Supplement pursuant to Article IX.3 of the Lisbon Recognition Convention, in connection with the official nostrification of the academic degree.

If an Austrian academic degree is urgently needed for a certain professional activity – i.e. the activity falls under an area with statutory regulations and the professional recognition pursuant to EU law does not apply – holders may apply to an institution with subject-matter competence for nostrification of their foreign academic degree. The nostrification procedure is an administrative procedure. In a few exceptional cases (e.g. regarding students from Italy or Croatia), bilateral agreements, instead of nostrification, allow equivalency to be established by the Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy.

Universities of Applied Sciences

After passing the courses and examinations required for a university of applied sciences programme, students are awarded a degree. The academic degree for university of applied sciences bachelor’s degree programmes is “Bachelor” with a suffix designating the discipline. Admissible degrees, suffixes and abbreviations of degrees are laid down by the Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation Austria (AQ) and approved by the Federal Minister. For individual university of applied sciences programmes, the respective degrees together with the additional designations are to be established by AQ Austria in the accreditation decree.

Bachelor’s degrees:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Arts and Design: BA or B.A.
  • Bachelor of Arts in Business: BA or B.A
  • Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Studies: BA or B.A
  • Bachelor of Arts in Military Leadership: BA or B.A
  • Bachelor of Arts in Police Leadership: BA or B.A.
  • Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences: BA or B.A
  • Bachelor of Laws: LLB or LL.B.
  • Bachelor of Science in Engineering: BSc or B.Sc.
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Studies: BSc or B.Sc.
  • Bachelor of Science in Natural Sciences: BSc or B.Sc.

Private Universities

After accreditation by AQ Austriaprivate universities are entitled to award Austrian academic degrees.

Austrian Bachelor’s and Bakkalaureat degrees

  • Bachelor Dental Hygiene: BA
  • Bachelor of Arts: BA or B.A.
  • Bachelor of Arts in Music: BA-M
  • Bachelor of Arts in Music Education: BA-ME
  • Bachelor of Business Administration: BBA or B.B.A.
  • Bachelor of Engineering: BEng
  • Bachelor of Science: BSc or B.Sc.
  • Bachelor of Nursing Science (Pflegewissenschaft): BSc
  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration: BSc
  • Bachelor of Science in Engineering: B.Sc.
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: BScN
  • Bachelor of Science in Psychology: B.Sc.
  • Bakkalaureus / Bakkalaurea der Pflegewissenschaft (Bachelor of Nursing Science): Bakk.
  • Bakkalaureus / Bakkalaurea der Psychotherapiewissenschaft (Bachelor of Psychotherapy): Bakk. pth.
  • Bakkalaurea/Bakkalaureus der Religionspädagogik (Bachelor of Religious Education): Bacc. rel. paed.

Second Cycle Programmes

Workload of second-cycle/master’s degree programmes: 60/120 ECTS (2-4 semesters), in the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) the master’s degree programmes correspond to Level 7.

Branches of Study

Master’s degree programmes at universities are offered in the following groups of studies:

  • arts
  • economic sciences
  • engineering sciences
  • humanities
  • law
  • medicine and health sciences
  • natural sciences
  • social sciences
  • teacher training
  • theology
  • veterinary medicine

In general, every degree programme belongs to one of the study groups, which determines the academic degree. Students can also follow an individually designed degree programme (i.e. a combination of different study programmes) with the approval of the institution.

As part of initial teacher training University Colleges of Teacher Education offer bachelor’s and master’s degree programmes to obtain teaching credentials for the primary sector as well as bachelor’s and master’s degree programmes to obtain teaching credentials for the secondary sector (general education as well as vocational education and training). For details please see here.

Admission Requirements

Public Universities

Successful completion of a subject-specific bachelor’s degree programme (a bachelor’s degree of a public university/university of applied sciences or a degree of another equivalent programme at a recognised Austrian or foreign post-secondary educational institution) is required for admission to a master’s degree programme. Also the curriculum can define specific quality-related requirements. For programmes in a foreign language, the respective rectorate decides on the number of students enrolled and the admission procedure.

In addition, universities are entitled to lay down specific admission requirements for master’s degree programmes in the curriculum, which already need to be fulfilled before admission. There is also the possibility of admitting students to master’s degree programmes on certain conditions (where they need to additionally acquire an individually defined exam result in the course of programmes). If the applicant has a foreign HE entrance qualification, its equivalency to the Austrian system must be reviewed. In many cases, equivalency is determined by bilateral/multilateral agreements. Otherwise, equivalency is decided on a case-by-case basis; sometimes supplementary examinations are required for admission.

Universities of Applied Sciences

For admission to a master’s degree programme, completion of a subject-specific bachelor’s degree programme or completion of an equivalent programme at a recognised Austrian or foreign post-secondary educational institution is required.

Study places are generally accessible to those meeting the entrance requirements. The number of study places is defined by AQ Austria in the accreditation decree.  An admission procedure shall be conducted at least in those cases, where the number of applicants for a degree programme exceeds the number of available places.

Private Universities

Private universities apply the same general admission requirements as public universities; however, as study places are limited, they apply additional selection procedures.

University colleges of teacher education

see here

Curriculum

Public Universities

A curriculum must be announced for each degree programme offered. It governs, in particular, the qualification profile and the structure of the programme, as well as the examination subjects and the courses required for examinations or exam results (always defined in ECTS credits) and the way examinations have to be taken.

The scope must be defined in terms of ECTS credits. The workload for a master’s degree programme usually has 120 ECTS, in exceptional cases 60 or 90 credits. In order to enforce internationalisation, more and more master’s degree programmes are being offered in English.

Universities of Applied Sciences

The curricula for programmes at universities of applied sciences are laid down by the providers (usually by a board of experts) and accredited by AQ Austria. The study workload is defined by the University of Applied Sciences Studies ActMaster’s degree programmes are designed to have 60-120 ECTS. For accreditation the curricula have to include the following items:

  • orientation profiles
  • a survey of demand and acceptance
  • information on the group of persons entrusted with the development of the curriculum (development teams)
  • evaluations of programmes
  • occupational fields and profile of professional qualifications
  • curriculum and examination regulations
  • teaching concept
  • entrance requirements
  • admission regulations
  • information on teaching and research staff
  • fields of practise-related research and development
  • information on facilities and equipment
  • a cost estimate and financial programme

Some master’s degree programmes are also offered in English.

Private Universities

The curricula of programmes at private universities are laid down by the respective institution. For accreditation by AQ Austria, the curricula are examined by international experts to fulfil aims such as quality, international comparability and conformity with the Bologna structure.

The majority of master’s degree programmes at private universities have 120 ECTS; however, there are also exceptions (e.g. in music and arts). Some master’s degree programmes are also offered in English or even French.

University colleges of teacher education

see here

Teaching Methods

Public Universities

The teaching staff at universities and universities of applied sciences may freely choose the contents and methods of their courses. Basically, the types of courses have not changed in the past few decades. There are

  • lectures,
  • seminars,
  • introductory seminars,
  • exercises,
  • practical workshops,
  • field trips,
  • tutorials, etc.

Long-distance study courses have to be explicitly permitted. In addition, one-to-one courses to promote artistic training are offered in arts and music. Several universities provide blended learning in courses, particularly for working students. In programmes with large numbers of students enrolled, the introductory and orientation period is organised almost exclusively online. Universities are also increasingly offering foreign language (mainly English) programmes/courses, especially at master’s and PhD level.

Universities of Applied Sciences

Freedom in teaching refers to the organisation of courses within the framework of teaching responsibilities, methods and contents. There are no further regulations for university of applied sciences master’s degree programmes, except the the general examination regulations mentioned in the University of Applied Sciences Studies Act.

Education and training takes place in the form of courses, seminars, project papers and exercises. Courses are also offered by using e-learning and computer-assisted learning methods.

Private Universities

Teaching methods are chosen autonomously by the private university and/or its teaching staff. For accreditation, study programmes are examined by international experts regarding structure, study workload, contents, etc. It is also examined whether teaching methods are suitable for reaching the learning targets and outcomes.

As private universities have smaller student cohorts, they also provide more project-based forms of teaching and smaller study groups. In some programmes, e-learning and blended learning are also provided.

University colleges of teacher education

see here

Progression of Students

Public Universities

There is no time limit for students to finish their degree programmes, as long as they are registered for the continuation of their studies.

Generally, students are allowed to resit examinations three times. All examinations taken in the same subject (in all relevant study programmes at the same university) count towards the number of resits. The statute of each university may state whether further resits are possible and, if so, how many may be taken. The third repetition must be taken under the supervision of an examination board if it is an individual examination.

Universities of Applied Sciences

University of applied sciences programmes are scheduled in a way that the students enrolled have to attend the courses in a defined order. A specific number of tolerance semesters (or a maximum tolerated duration of studies) has been laid down. Regarding the repetition of examinations, students are entitled to resit failed examinations twice; a year of study may be repeated once. Many universities of applied sciences provide full-time (in the daytime) as well as extra-occupational study programmes, the latter especially for working students.

Private Universities

At private universities the definition of the duration of studies, tolerance semesters, etc. is the responsibility of the respective institution. As private university programmes are based on international standards (on-site-expert-review during the accreditation procedure), almost all studies have a modular structure.

University colleges of teacher education

see here

Employability

Public Universities

As part of the performance agreements, the universities provide for measures to enhance employability and support graduates in their entry to the labour market. Related projects that are implemented by universities include in particular graduate surveys, the inclusion of qualification profiles in curricula as well as supporting and advisory measures at the interface to the world of work, such as career fairs, job and career centres, and guidance services on the way towards self-employment.

Universities of Applied Sciences

According to the University of Applied Sciences Studies Act, degree programmes pursue the following objectives:

  • ensuring that master’s degree programmes provide a scientifically founded professional education,
  • ensuring practice-oriented education at university level, and
  • training the ability to solve problems in the respective profession according to the state of the art and practical requirements.

Matching skills with labour market requirements is most important.

Private Universities

When designing their curricula, private universities explicitly consider aspects of employability. This means the qualification objectives are defined for the whole programme as well as for individual modules/courses. The course contents, the knowledge, skills and competences to be acquired are part of the audit by AQ Austria.

University colleges of teacher education

see here

Student Assessment

Public Universities

The examination regulations for the curricula are defined by a board. This includes, in particular, regulations concerning the method and purpose of examinations and the way in which they are organised. The final examination is the master’s examination. Moreover, candidates are required to write a master’s thesis.

Results of examinations and scientific/artistic theses are graded as:

  • very good (sehr gut)
  • good (gut)
  • satisfactory (befriedigend)
  • passed (genügend)
  • failed (nicht genügend)

Intermediate assessments are not allowed. Whenever this type of grading as specified above cannot be made or is inappropriate, the positive grade must be “successfully completed” (mit Erfolg teilgenommen) and the negative grade must read “unsuccessfully completed” (ohne Erfolg teilgenommen). Examinations including several subjects/parts may have a positive grade only when each subject/part is positive.

Examinations taken at other recognised Austrian or foreign post-secondary educational institutions must be recognised by means of decision, to the extent that they are equivalent to the examinations required by the curriculum. The examinations taken for a subject at an Austrian university or at a university in the European Union/European Economic Area must be recognised as equivalent to examinations for the same subject in the respective programme if the ECTS credits are the same or differ just slightly.

There are several multilateral and bilateral agreements on the recognition of examinations.

Universities of Applied Sciences

For universities of applied sciences some general examination regulations are prescribed by law. The specific examination regulations are to be defined from the universities of applied sciences and are a subject of the accreditation by AQ Austria. University of applied sciences master’s programmes are completed by a master examination which is supervised by a committee. The positive assessment of a master’s thesis is a condition for the admission to this examination before the committee. The results of the examination are defined in terms of grades:

  • passed with highest distinction: for an outstanding performance at the examination
  • passed with distinction: for a performance at the examination that is considerably above average
  • passed: for a positive assessment
  • failed

Private Universities

There is no statute that governs examination regulations at private universities; the universities design the examination methods and schedules autonomously. Examination regulations are verified within the scope of accreditation (by international experts).

University colleges of teacher education

see here

Certification

Public Universities

After meeting all requirements as laid down in the curriculum, the respective academic degree is awarded by an official notification at the latest one month after completing the study programme. The official notification indicates the completed study programme, the academic degree and the legal basis.

In Austria, the following master’s degrees are awarded:

  • Master [individually designed degree programme]: MA
  • Master of Philosophy (der Philosophie): M.phil.
  • Master of Law, Business and Economics (der Rechts- und Wirtschaftswissenschaften): LLM. oec.
  • Master of Statistics (der Statistik): MStat
  • Master of Theology (der Theologie): M.Theol.
  • Master in Critical Studies: M.A.
  • Master of Architecture: MArch
  • Master of Arts: MA or M.A.
  • Master of Arts and Education: MAEd
  • Master of Arts in Arts and Design: MA
  • Master of Arts in Economics: M.A.(Econ.)
  • Master of Education: MEd
  • Master of Education – University : M.Ed.Univ.
  • Master of Environmental Science: MSc
  • Master of International Business Informatics: MIBI
  • Master of Laws: LL.M.
  • Master of Legal and Business Aspects in Technics: MLBT
  • Master of Science: MSc or M.Sc.
  • Master of Science in Mountain Forestry: MScMF
  • Master of Social Sciences: MSSc
  • Master of Theology: MTh

If a degree programme is done within a joint degree programme, the academic degree can be awarded together with the partner institution.

For the purpose of supporting the graduates’ international mobility, students are entitled to be issued a Diploma Supplement pursuant to Article IX.3 of the Lisbon Recognition Convention, in connection with the official notification of the academic degree.

If an (Austrian) academic degree is indispensable in Austria for the practice of the profession or the continuation of the education of the applicant (e.g. for a professional activity if the activity belongs to an area with statutory regulations and the professional recognition does not comply with EU law), degree holders may apply for nostrification of their foreign academic degree. The nostrification is an administrative procedure. In a few cases (e.g. regarding many students from Italy or Croatia), bilateral agreements allow equivalency to be established by the Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy.

Universities of Applied Sciences

After completion of a study programme at universities of applied sciences, students are awarded a degree. For an application for nostrification of an academic degree earned at a foreign university of applied sciences, proof shall be furnished that the nostrification is indispensable for the practice of the profession or for the continuation of the applicant’s education in Austria.

The academic degree for university of applied sciences master’s degree programmes is Master or Diplom-Ingenieur/in with a suffix describing the discipline. Admissible degrees, suffixes and abbreviations of degrees are determined by the Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation Austria (AQ Austria), being subject to approval by the Federal Minister. For individual university of applied sciences programmes, the respective degrees together with the additional designations must be laid down by AQ Austria in the accreditation decree:

  • Master of Engineering for Technical and Scientific Professions (Diplom-Ingenieur / Diplom-Ingenieurin für technisch-wissenschaftliche Berufe): Dipl.-Ing. or DI
  • Master of Arts in Arts and Design: MA or M.A.
  • Master of Arts in Business: MA or M.A.
  • Master of Arts in Military Leadership: MA or M.A.
  • Master of Arts in Police Leadership: MA or M.A.
  • Master of Arts in Social Sciences: MA or M.A.
  • Master of Science in Engineering: MSc or M.Sc.
  • Master of Science in Health Studies: MSc or M.Sc.
  • Master of Science in Natural Sciences: MSc or M.Sc.

Private Universities

After accreditation by AQ Austriaprivate universities are entitled to award academic degrees (which are recognised in Austria) to their students:

  • Master of Engineering in Biomedical Informatics (Diplomingenieur/in der Biomedizinischen Informatik): Dipl.-Ing.
  • Master of Engineering (Diplom-Ingenieur): Dipl.-Ing.
  • Doctor of General Medicine (Doktor / Doktorin der gesamten Heilkunde): Dr. med. univ.
  • Doctor of Dental Medicine (Doktor / Doktorin der Zahnheilkunde): Dr. med. dent.
  • Master of Health Sciences (Magister / Magistra der Gesundheitswissenschaften): Mag. sc. hum.
  • Master of Psychology (Magister / Magistra der Psychologie): Mag. Psych.
  • Master of Psychotherapy (Magister / Magistra der Psychotherapiewissenschaft): Mag. pth.
  • Master of Religious Education (Magister / Magistra der Religionspädagogik): Mag. rel. paed.
  • Master of Theology (Magister / Magistra der Theologie): Mag. theol.
  • Master of Arts : MA orM.A.
  • Master of Arts and Education: MA
  • Master of Arts in Music: MA-M
  • Master of Arts in Music Education: MA-ME
  • Master of Arts in Psychology with an Emphasis on Counseling: M.A.
  • Master of Business Administration: MBA or M.B.A.
  • Master of Business Administration in Sustainable Development and Management: MBA
  • Master of Philosophy: M.Phil.
  • Master of Science: MSc or M.Sc.
  • Master of Science (Master of Science der Pflegewissenschaft): MSc
  • Master of Science in Nursing: MSc
  • Master of Science in Gerontology (Master of Science der Gerontologie): MSc
  • Master of Science in Psychology (Master of Science der Psychologie): MSc.

Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

Doctorate programmes and PhD programmes (Doctor of Philosophy) build on the diploma degree and master’s degree programmes at universities or universities of applied sciences and take 6 semesters; in the National Qualifications Framework (NQF), the third-cycle programmes correspond to Level 8.

Organisation of Doctoral Studies

Doctoral degree programmes are offered by public universities and private universities which are entitled to award a doctoral degree. For each doctoral programme, universities have to develop and publish a curriculum that governs

  • the qualification profile of the programme,
  • the kind of doctoral degree awarded,
  • and the structure of the programme,
    • specifying courses and other requirements,
    • examinations and examination subjects,
    • and the submission of the thesis.

At many universities, doctoral candidates, supervisor(s) and the university sign an agreement on the thesis project. This agreement comprises all participants’ rights and obligations, a detailed description of the doctoral thesis project, the time schedule, the extent of supervision (e.g. frequency of feedback meetings) and requirements that have to be fulfilled by the doctoral candidate (e.g. individual course work, articles to be published).

Public universities have set up doctoral programmes in all the main fields of study. According to the Universities Act, the universities are autonomous in designing the curricula of doctoral degree programmes. The duration of a doctoral programme has to be at least 3 years. The preparation of a doctoral thesis constitutes the main part of doctoral degree programmes. Regulations for supervision and for the assessment of doctoral theses are defined by the respective university’s statutes.

Generally, doctoral training is organised in disciplines. However, in recent years an interdisciplinary approach has become more important. In addition, several universities have implemented organisational structures at faculty or university level in order to support doctoral candidates and provide specific courses.

Another trend is that an increasing amount of doctoral training at public universities is organised in the form of structured doctoral programmes. Therefore, universities have set up structured doctoral programmes that are organised as doctoral schools (the so-called Doktoratskollegs). Here some doctoral candidates do research on a predetermined topic, sometimes in a cross-disciplinary research area. Candidates in structured doctoral programmes are also employed by the university. To receive a place in such a programme, candidates have to pass a competitive application procedure successfully.

Doctoral programmes at private universities are accredited by AQ Austria. In general, the duration of doctoral programmes at private universities is 3 years. At the moment, private universities offer doctoral programmes in the fields of “healthcare and medical science” and “arts and humanities”, but to date these are not organised in doctoral schools.

Universities of applied sciences are not entitled to award a doctoral degree.

The further development of the quality of doctoral programmes in Austria

The further development of doctoral training is based on international standards:
Principles for Innovative Doctoral Training (cf. European Commission (2011): “Principles for Innovative Doctoral Training”, Brussels and and Salzburg II Recommendations 2010):
The above mentioned standards form criteria which innovative or innovation-oriented doctoral training needs to follow:

  1. research excellence, taking internationally valid standards such as peer review procedures into account,
  2. an attractive institutional environment, which also includes working conditions and career development opportunities, in line with the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers,
  3. interdisciplinary research options, with doctoral training being embedded in an open research environment and culture,
  4. exposure to industry and other relevant employment sectors,
  5. international networking, e.g. through collaborative research, co-tutelle, dual and joint degrees, mobility,
  6. transferable skills training,
  7. quality assurance for admission and supervision constitutes a major goal of the Austrian academic landscape.

Therefore the responsible Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research

  1. has been holding an intensive awareness-raising discussion process as part of the Austrian Higher Education Conference (see “Higher Education Conference Recommendations, 2015”),
  2. has implemented the following activities which are derived from this
    1. has paid particular attention to doctoral training in the preparatory phase for the negotiations on performance agreements
    2. has defined (measurable) framework criteria for developing the quality of doctoral training
    3. and has elaborated a definition of what “structured doctorate programs” should at least comprise. This definition followed international standards such as the “Principles for Innovative Doctoral Training 2011” and the “Salzburg II Recommendations 2010”. Then the definition was translated into measurable framework criteria. These criteria now are incentivised via the “Higher Education Structural Funds” (BGBl. II Nr. 228/2015) with € 30 Mio for the period 2016 – 2018. From 2019 on the amendment of the universities act will enter into force, then the financing of public universities addresses competitive indicators, such as for example the numbers of students in structured doctorate-programs.

Admission Requirements

Admission to doctoral programmes is provided by successfully completing a relevant diploma or master’s degree programme, university of applied sciences diploma or master’s degree programme or other equivalent programmes at a recognised domestic or foreign post-secondary educational institution. Whenever an applicant has obtained a foreign HE entrance qualification, its equivalency to the corresponding Austrian HE entrance qualification must be approved. In many cases, equivalency is defined by bilateral/multilateral agreements. In other cases, equivalency must be approved on an individual basis; if necessary, supplementary examinations may be required as an admission condition.

specific university qualification requires that – in addition to the general university entrance qualification – proof must be furnished that specific admission requirements for the relevant degree programme have been met, including the right to immediate admission to a doctoral programme, as exist in the country issuing the document that is proof of the general university entrance qualification.

The curriculum of a doctoral programme that leads to the awarding of a PhD degree may lay down qualitative requirements for the admission to the respective programme. For PhD programmes that are offered exclusively in a foreign language, the university can determine the number of students and restrict admission by means of an admission procedure.

In structured doctoral programmes doctoral candidates are usually employed by the university. Therefore, candidates have to pass a competitive admission procedure.

Private universities apply the same standard requirements for admission to doctoral programmes as public universities. However, they can establish additional selection procedures for admission.

Status of Doctoral Students/Candidates

Based on the 2002 Universities Act, doctoral candidates are regarded as students, they are enrolled and entitled to financial aid, grants, family allowance and health insurance, depending on age, income and progress/length of study.

However, according to the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers, doctoral candidates are regarded as young researchers or early-stage researchers. For these researchers, universities need to provide fair working conditions and, if possible, employment contracts with full social security coverage. Usually, candidates in doctoral schools (Doktoratskollegs) are employed on the basis of fixed-term contracts by universities.

The same principles apply for doctoral students/candidates at private universities.

Supervision Arrangements

Each doctoral candidate must have a main supervisor who is a faculty member. In the past, individual supervision was the predominant type of supervision (mainly in non-structured programmes), based on the concept of a bilateral relationship between supervisor and doctoral candidate. In recent years, dissertation committees and supervising teams have become more common, in particular in structured doctoral programmes and doctoral schools. Here doctoral candidates obtain guidance not only from the main supervisor but also from a team of researchers/scholars, with this also following an interdisciplinary, inter-institutional and international approach.

Regulations for supervision are part of the statutes of universities and the curricula. For the individual doctoral candidate, the extent of supervision, evaluation of progress and frequency of feedback meetings are part of the doctoral thesis agreement between the doctoral candidate, supervisor(s) and university. The monitoring of the supervision quality is the responsibility of the institutional quality assurance system.

At private universities, supervision arrangements are part of the curricula. In addition, AQ monitors the quality standards.

Employability

The qualification profile of a specific doctoral programme is part of the curriculum. To increase employability, most curricula of doctoral studies include teaching of transferable skills; i.e. in addition to research and education in their fields of interest, doctoral candidates have the opportunity to acquire additional skills and qualifications. These may be useful both for a research career and for positions outside the academic job market. Attendance of relevant courses can be mandatory or voluntary.

Assessment

The curriculum specifies the examination subjects and the coursework required for examinations, other tasks and achievements (e.g. articles to be published in peer-reviewed journals), and the way in which examinations must be taken.

The grades of examinations and theses are as follows:

  • very good (sehr gut)
  • good (gut)
  • satisfactory (befriedigend)
  • passed (genügend)
  • failed (nicht genügend)

Whenever this type of grading as specified above cannot be made or is inappropriate, the positive grade must be “attended successfully” (mit Erfolg teilgenommen) and the negative grade must read “attended without success” (ohne Erfolg teilgenommen). Examinations that consist of several subjects or parts may only be given a positive grade if each subject or part received a positive grade.

Examinations that have been taken in the course of other studies or at another recognised Austrian or foreign post-secondary educational institution must be recognised by way of nostrification; they have to be equivalent to the examinations required by the curriculum. Recognitions may be laid down in the curriculum or may be granted by way of nostrification in individual cases. This is important in particular for participation in mobility programmes although there are several bilateral/multilateral agreements on the recognition of examinations.

Universities have adequate leeway in designing examinations. Examination regulations for the different curricula must be laid down by the responsible collegial body. This includes, in particular, regulations concerning the method and purpose of examinations and the way in which they are organised.

The final examination, the Rigorosum, is a public examination and focuses on the doctoral thesis. The doctoral thesis is the core element of the doctoral study. It is the result of independent research carried out by the doctoral candidate. The thesis has to demonstrate the doctoral candidate’s ability to carry out original research and to use academic methods in the field of research. There has to be a positive evaluation of the submitted thesis, in general by two academics who are assigned to assess the thesis. The curriculum may also stipulate that the thesis must be composed of a certain number of articles (to be published in a peer-reviewed journal).

Certification

Upon successful completion of all tasks and examinations required by the curriculum of a doctoral programme, the relevant academic degree is awarded by way of a written (official) notification (at the latest within one month after fulfilling the requirements). The notification includes the completed doctoral programme, the academic degree and the legal basis.

The following doctoral degrees are awarded:

  • Doctor medicinae veterinariae et scientiae: Dr. med. vet. et scient.
  • Doctor of Arts (Doktor / Doktorin der Künste): Dr. artium
  • Doctor of Dental Medicine and Medical Science (Doktor / Doktorin der Zahnmedizin und der medizinischen Wissenschaft): Dr. med. dent. et scient. med.
  • Doctor of Economic Sciences (Doktor / Doktorin der Wirtschaftswissenschaften): Dr. rer. oec.
  • Doctor of General Medicine and Medical Science (Doktor / Doktorin der gesamten Heilkunde und der medizinischen Wissenschaft): Dr. med. univ. et scient. med.
  • Doctor of Humanities and Cultural Studies (Doktor / Doktorin der Geistes- und Kulturwissenschaften): Dr. phil.
  • Doctor of Law (Doktor / Doktorin der Rechtswissenschaften): Dr. iur.
  • Doctor of Medical Science (Doktor / Doktorin der medizinischen Wissenschaft): Dr. scient. med.
  • Doctor of Mining Sciences (Doktor / Doktorin der montanistischen Wissenschaften): Dr. mont.
  • Doctor of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (Doktor / Doktorin der Bodenkultur): Dr. nat. techn.
  • Doctor of Natural Sciences (Doktor / Doktorin der Naturwissenschaften): Dr. rer. nat.
  • Doctor of Nursing Science (Doktor / Doktorin der Pflegewissenschaft): Dr. rer. cur.
  • Doctor of Philosophy: PhD
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Doktor / Doktorin der Philosophie): Dr. phil.
  • Doctor of Philosophy at the Faculty of Catholic Theology (Doktor / Doktorin der Philosophie an der Katholisch-Theologischen Fakultät): Dr. phil. fac. theol.
  • Doctor of Psychotherapy Science (Doktor / Doktorin der Psychotherapiewissenschaft): Dr. scient. pth.
  • Doctor of Social and Economic Sciences (Doktor / Doktorin der Sozial- und Wirtschaftswissenschaften): Dr. rer. soc. oec.
  • Doctor of Technical Sciences (Doktor / Doktorin der technischen Wissenschaften): Dr. techn.
  • Doctor of Theology (Doktor / Doktorin der Theologie): Dr. theol.
  • Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (Doktor / Doktorin der Veterinärmedizin): Dr. med. vet.
  • Doctor scientiae veterinariae: Dr. scient. vet.

If a degree programme is completed within a joint degree programme, the academic degree can be awarded together with the partner university.

Organisational Variation

Distance study courses mainly address working people, students with family obligations and people who are interested in studying but live outside the reach of universities. Health-impaired people may also benefit from this form of studies because mobility is not as important as in traditional, attendance-linked study programmes.

Some Austrian universities have already set up distance study courses (such as Linz University, which offered the first multimedia-supported study programme in law in 2001), some study programmes offer distance learning units. In these courses, in particular, the use of new media is important. New teaching methods such as MOOCs implement new ways of organisational learning, too.

Mobility in Higher Education

The Austrian universities are increasingly orienting their strategies and objectives towards European and international developments and benchmarks and have also laid this down in performance agreements they have concluded with the Federal Government. Their internationalisation and mobility strategies comprise the following main points, among others:

  • ensuring a “mobility window” in the curricula (cf. chapter 13.5),
  • transparent recognition practices,
  • measures to facilitate quality in mobility and
  • increasing the number of outgoing and incoming students and teachers.

To support the internationalisation activities of tertiary institutions, international offices have been set up at every university/university of applied sciences location. These offices administer mobility programmes and promote cooperation ventures in the higher education sector. Moreover, the Centre for International Cooperation and Mobility (ICM) was established in 2009 within the Austrian Agency for International Cooperation in Education and Research (OeAD). The ICM is in charge of international cooperation and mobility programmes. The areas of grants and scholarships as well as international cooperation include the grant and scholarship programmes funded by the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF). In addition to individual mobility (incoming and outgoing), bilateral and multilateral cooperation projects are also supported.

The OeAD also hosts the National Agency Erasmus+ Education, which is responsible for implementing the Erasmus+ Education programme. With this programme, students can complete a study course or a work placement abroad while teaching staff can teach or receive in-service training abroad. In-service training periods for general higher education staff are also supported. In addition, projects are promoted which contribute to the internationalisation and intensification of cooperation between higher education establishments. Each year more than 6,000 Austrian students and around 1,300 teachers and other higher education establishment members use the offers of Erasmus+.

BMBWF (Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research), in cooperation with the Bologna Service Point at OeAD-GmbH, offers Austrian higher education establishments with the Erasmus+ project “Pro.Mo.Austria+ // Promoting Mobility. Fostering EHEA Commitments in Austria” (Key Action 3 – Erasmus+ “Support to the implementation of EHEA reforms 2016-18”- Call for proposals EACEA 49/2015) a wide range of advice, training and information. This is in line with the goals and priorities of the European Higher Education Area. This initiative is taking place for the second time; previously the Austrian higher education establishments were offered a series of very well received events and measures as part of Pro.Mo.Austria 2014-16. The project supports the implementation of the “Higher education mobility strategy of BMWFW to promote transnational mobility at Austrian universities, universities of applied sciences and private universities”. With this strategy, the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF) vows to promote academic mobility and underlines its willingness to create corresponding framework conditions.

Student Mobility

In order to achieve the Austrian goal as specified in the higher education mobility strategy of ensuring that at least 30-35% of graduates (the European goal of 20% has already been achieved in Austria) have completed a period abroad relevant to their studies by 2025, Austria has many measures and initiatives to support and promote the mobility of students: the range of these activities extends from participation in the Erasmus+ funding options onto bilateral and multilateral cooperation projects and special doctoral fellowships.

Erasmus+ – mobility stays funded by the EU

As part of the Erasmus+ programme, students have the opportunity to become mobile several times, with stays of up to twelve months per study cycle (bachelor, master, PhD) possible. The periods abroad can be spent in a European programme country or – now since the introduction of the ERASMUS+ programme – in a partner country worldwide (international higher education mobility).

Student Mobility for Studies (SMS)

The minimum duration of Erasmus+ Student Mobility for Studies is three months. Both the home and the host institution must have concluded a bilateral agreement with each other; higher education establishments in European programme countries also need an Erasmus Higher Education Charter.

Student Mobility for Traineeships (SMT)

Students and also graduates can complete a traineeship in the European programme countries (worldwide traineeships are currently not possible). This can be in companies, training and research establishments or other organisations. Traineeships have to last at least two months and must be full-time. It is also possible to complete a traineeship several times per study and also several times per study cycle if the formal criteria are fulfilled.

Online Linguistic Support (OLS)

Online Linguistic Support aims to help participants of Erasmus+ mobility projects obtain language skills. Participants in long-term mobility activities of Key Action 1 use OLS to assess their knowledge of the foreign languages which they use for studying, working or for voluntary activities abroad.

Mobility as part of Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degrees: Full-time scholarships are offered for excellent students – not only from Europe but also from the whole world – who have successfully applied for one of the Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degrees selected beforehand by the European Commission.

Bilateral and multilateral cooperation in education and research – non-European mobility programmes (national funds)

As well as cooperation ventures at EU level, support is also provided for cooperation with other geographic, economic and cultural areas: this includes Central and Eastern Europe (especially the neighbouring countries) with special focuses on Southeast Europe, the Asian region (mainly Southeast Asia, China and Mongolia), the United States and Latin America. The Centre for International Cooperation & Mobility (ICM) also deals with outgoing scholarship programmes on behalf of and with funds from the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF). More information can be obtained on the ministry’s website and on the website of the ÖAD.

Cooperation with Central, Eastern and Southeast Europe

  • The joint work and research areas of Austrian universities with Central and Eastern European universities are very diverse and have been supported financially for many years by the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF).
  • The bilateral action programmes with Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic are awarding scholarships to teachers and students but also to highly qualified researchers in the post-doc sector. In addition, the initiatives provide support for joint projects in the university sector, with the focus on individual funding. All three initiatives have been evaluated successfully and prolonged several times.
  • In the so-called summer lectures, the focus is on communicative language acquisition. These summer lectures are bilateral language courses where Austrian students below the age of 35 years are taught in the language of the host country and, at the same time, students of the host country are taught German.
  • CEEPUS (Central European Exchange Programme for University Studies) covers 16 member countries within this region. Undergraduates, graduates and scholars can apply for CEEPUS scholarships, the duration of the grant is between one and ten months.

Cooperation with Southeast Asia, Central Asia and China

  • The ASEA-UNINET (Asean-European Academic University Network) is the hub for contacts of BMWFW with the countries in Southeast Asia. This network has therefore also been commissioned to cooperate with the Centre for International Cooperation and Mobility (ICM) to administer the Ernst Mach-ASEA-UNINET scholarships, which are funded by BMWFW and enable students from Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, for example, to come to Austria.
  • The Eurasia-Pacific Uninet (EPU) was established in 2000 with the objective of creating an educational network for Austrian universities, universities of applied sciences and other educational institutions in Central Asia, East Asia and the Pacific. For several years summer schools have been organised in China and Austria to facilitate cooperation between higher education teachers and establish contacts between students in the areas of business and economics, law, languages and culture. Besides the support of projects between the partner institutions, the network is also in charge of administrating the Ernst Mach Grants – Eurasia Pacific Uninet (the former technology grants). The EPU administrative office is located at OeAD-GmbH.

Cooperation ventures with the United States

  • The Austrian Fulbright Program (Austrian American Educational Commission) is funded primarily by direct contributions from the governments of the United States of America and the Republic of Austria and provides grants for Austrian graduates and scholars to study, teach or pursue research in the U.S. Stays of U.S. students and teachers as well as scholars at Austrian universities complement the bilateral cooperation venture. Every year the Commission administers between 70 and 80 grants.

Promotion of young talent with postgraduate scholarships of the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research

  • Marietta Blau grants target doctoral students with excellent qualifications from all specialist areas who can spend six to twelve months of their studies abroad. As a complementary measure, BMWFW has also awarded specific postgraduate grants for study projects at selected institutions or in clearly defined specialist areas. More information can be obtained here.

Academic Staff Mobility

Qualified experiences abroad are increasingly recognised and promoted as a positive and desirable step in the professional career of teachers and researchers. Qualification agreements have been concluded with academic staff at a number of universities and provide for a compulsory longer stay at a foreign research establishment. In addition, the universities also promote the mobility of their staff by providing additional financial support (e.g. in the form of mobility grants, mobility allowances, travel cost allowances, etc.). Staff mobility at universities can either be institutionalised through programmes or individually organised.

Erasmus+ – mobility stays funded by the EU

Staff Mobility for Teaching (STA)

Erasmus+ enables higher education teachers to receive grants for periods spent teaching at a partner higher education establishment. In addition, higher education establishments can invite employees from foreign companies to their institution and also fund this stay from the Erasmus+ budget. The stay has to be for at least two days and may be a maximum of two months; at least eight hours of teaching are required.

Staff Mobility for Training (STT)

Teachers and also higher education establishment staff can complete in-service training in another EU country with support from Erasmus+. The minimum duration of the stays is two days, with a maximum duration of two months.

Further European Initiatives

  • The European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers are a set of general principles and requirements which specify the roles, responsibilities and entitlements of researchers as well as of employers and/or funders of researchers. Individual researchers are therefore given the same rights and obligations wherever they may work throughout the European Union.
  • The Europe-wide initiative EURAXESS – Researchers in Motion has been launched in particular to address the needs of mobile researchers. Its services include EURAXESS Jobs (a Europe-wide job database) and EURAXESS Service (a personalised assistance and advice network for researchers). In addition, the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers have been integrated into this initiative (EURAXESS Rights). EURAXESS Austria forms part of the Europe-wide initiative and comprises measures to promote the mobility and career development of researchers.

Austrian Database for Scholarships and Research Grants

The Austrian Database for Scholarships and Research Grants provides comprehensive information about scholarships and research grants in Austria. This database contains more than 1,000 different types of support, which can be systematically searched according to areas of specialisation, target countries, and levels of academic qualification. The websites of OeAD and EURAXESS Austria contain information related to international mobility, such as scholarships, cooperation projects, publications, etc.

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European Higher Education Organization is a public organization carrying out academic, educational and information activities on higher education in Europe.

The EHEO general plan stresses that:

  • Higher education systems require adequate funding and, as an investment in economic growth, public spending in higher education should be protected.
  • The challenges faced by higher education require more flexible governance and funding systems, which balance greater autonomy for education institutions with accountability to stakeholders.

Thus, EHEO plans:

  • improve academic and scientific interaction of universities;
  • protect the interests of universities;
  • interact more closely with public authorities of European countries;
  • popularize European higher education in the world;
  • develop academic mobility;
  • seek funding for European universities.