Because of its rich cultural past and present Austria is cherished by people all over the world. The Austrian educational system offers you a broad spectrum of educational opportunities. This is why Austria is an ideal place for studying and living.
Kindergartens provide supplementary non-family childcare to children from the age of three years up to school age. The objective of the education provided in a kindergarten is to promote the physical, intellectual and emotional development of the children through suitable forms of play and the educational effect of the group. The kindergarten is generally accepted as the form of pre-school education on offer.
After completing their pre-school education, children will start to attend primary school, where they will remain for four years. Children who are not yet ready to attend primary school will be able to attend a pre-school year. Children with special educational needs will be provided with primary school teaching incorporating specialist help in the context of integrated classes. Alternatively, they may be given the option of attending a special school that is in keeping with the disability involved.
Primary School (Volksschule) is a four-year school. All children resident in Austria for a sustained period of time are required to attend school. They are required to attend school from the first day of September following their sixth birthday. Compulsory education lasts nine years.
Secondary Level I (4 years):
Upon successful completion of Year 4 of the primary school, pupils must attend one of the following types of school:
- Lower Level of the Academic Secondary School
- The New Secondary School
- Academic Secondary School
- A special school
- Inclusive education
Secondary level II(4 - 5 years):
Followed by secondary level II for another 4-5 years, with the following options: “polytechnical” schools (= schools preparing pupils for an apprenticeship or job), vocational schools and apprenticeships (dual system), vocational secondary schools, vocational colleges (excluding the 4th and 5th forms), upper level of grammar schools (higher secondary schools of general education) as well as the vocational preparatory year and integrative vocational education.
Postsecondary and Tertiary Level
Austria combines a long tradition of higher education with state-of-the-art research – it’s higher education institutions have accomplished outstanding achievements on an international level and gained a high reputation. Austrian higher education institutions offer an ever-growing number of degree programmes: you can choose between first-class research-based courses, a world-famous education at any of the universities of the arts, high-quality practice-oriented degree courses at the universities of applied sciences, and sound, up-to-date teacher education and innovative courses at private universities.
In the last few years the Austrian university system has introduced the European three-tier system of degrees according to the Bologna process. Besides, the old two-tier system still exists in some subject areas and universities.
Bachelor and master study programmes
Most degree programmes are divided into
- Bachelor studies, which conclude with the degree of Bachelor (ECTS credits: 180, in special cases: 240)
- Master studies, which require the successful completion of a bachelor study programme and conclude with the academic degree of Master (ECTS credits: at least 120)
- Doctoral studies (Dr. / PhD): Doctoral studies are based on the successful completion of diploma or master degree programmes. Successful candidates demonstrate their capacity to create an original piece of research work. They conclude with the degree of Doctor/in or PhD. Duration: at least 3 continuous years without the award of ECTS credits.
Traditional diploma programmes
These programmes conclude with the award of a diploma:
- Magistra or Magister in most disciplines or Diplomingenieur(in) for engineers. Duration: 4 – 6 years.
There are 22 Public Universities in Austria. Among them, six universities of the arts offer programmes in music, applied, performing and fine arts as well as in the visual arts and design. 12 Private Universities, 21 Universities of Applied Sciences and 16 Teacher Training Colleges and Institutes in Austria offering several hundred degree programmes. Apart from the traditional comprehensive universities, which offer a wide variety of disciplines, there are a number of technical and medical specialist universities as well as a university centre for postgraduate education. The total number of students is approximately 282,500 (of whom international students 70,000 = ~25%, uni:data, winter term 2013). Please visit https://oead.at/en (“Downloads”) for study programmes offered in Austria, as well as a leaflet with listed Austrian Universities, the structure of the Austrian education system and all relevant details concerning tuition fees, accommodation, residency & visa etc.
Though the common language of instruction remains German, an increasing number of programmes is offered in English. There are no universal language requirements valid for all universities in Austria. For the specific required language level please refer to the respective university. For more details on English-taught progammes can be found on www.studienwahl.at/en
As Austria is a German-speaking country, student might wish to attend a study programme in German. They should start learning German early enough to ensure that their German level is high enough in order to follow an academic class.