Study in Austria

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With a reputation for educational excellence, low tuition fees and an extensive range of study opportunities, studying at an Austrian university could be a very smart move...

To say Austria is one of the richest countries in the world the general cost of living is low compared to other European Union (EU) countries, which is useful for students who want some spare cash to spend on discovering their new home.

Austria is recognised for its cultural history, particularly in the arts. As a result art exhibitions, concerts, theatre performances and festivals are all entertainments students can enjoy with a student discount. Alternatively, for the sporting type, available outdoor activities include skiing, hiking and climbing.

Before you head back to lectures don't forget to pay a visit to one of Austria's famous coffee houses.

The Austrian education system

There are five types of higher education institutions in Austria:

  • Universities offer a broad spectrum of study options for students.
  • Universities of the arts are for those students who want to study music, drama, film, fine arts or applied arts.
  • Private universities offer innovative and high quality education.
  • Universities of applied sciences (Fachhochschulen) offer their students profession-oriented higher education through practical work and internships in areas such as technology, health, media, tourism and design.
  • University colleges of teacher education train teachers, with extra emphasis placed on practical training in schools.

In Austria the academic year usually starts at the beginning of October and draws to a close at the end of September the following year. It is split into two semesters: winter and summer.

Entry requirements

The majority of courses at Austrian universities are taught in German so you will need knowledge of the language to be able to study there.

Entry requirements vary for each university, so make sure you contact your chosen institution directly to ensure that your application is correct. Your point of contact is the admissions office (Studienabteilung) or international office at the institution.

Universities of the arts, universities of applied sciences and university colleges of teacher education require students to pass an entrance exam or produce proof of a relevant professional qualification, such as an undergraduate degree.

For the majority of courses taught at universities of applied sciences and university colleges of teacher education students will need to apply online.

Course fees

Citizens of the EU are entitled to attend university in Austria or any EU country. The same conditions apply to all EU citizens, whether a national of the country or not. This means that you are not required to pay higher course fees than Austrian students and may be able to get help with tuition fees.

If you are an EU student studying at a public university in Austria you are exempted from paying tuition fees unless you have exceeded the period of study defined in the curriculum in two semesters, then a fee of €363.36 is payable per semester.

For non EU students a fee of €726.72 is payable each semester.

Private universities, universities of applied sciences and university colleges for teacher education are all entitled to charge fees, which will differ from institution to institution. Check with individual universities for what fees may apply to you.

All students in Austria are required to pay a €18 student union membership fee.

For more information about tuition fees, visit the website of your chosen institution directly.

Funding to study in Austria

There are a number of grants and scholarships available to study in Austria, although there are hardly any that cover an entire study programme.

For a full list of awards for both Austrian and international students, visit OEAD Grants.

Austrian exchanges and placements

Students attending UK universities can take part in the EU's education, training and youth support programme Erasmus+. The scheme replaces its predecessor 'Erasmus' and aims to offer study, training, work experience and voluntary placements to millions of students, young people and adults. Opportunities last from three months to one academic year in EU countries.

Financial support is available through the Erasmus+ initiative to any UK public, private or not-for-profit organisation actively involved in education and training.

Your university must have a formal agreement with a partner university in Austria. Check that your university is involved in the programme and offers the Erasmus+ scheme in your subject.

It isn't necessary to speak the German language, but if you want to, you can arrange intensive language courses before you go. Speak to the Erasmus+ coordinator at your university about available opportunities.

Student visas

As an EU citizen, you are permitted to live in any EU country while studying as long as you:

  • are studying for more than three months;
  • are enrolled at an approved university/other educational institution;
  • have sufficient income (from any source) to live without needing income support;
  • have comprehensive health insurance cover.