ABOUT STUDYING IN AUSTRIA
General Information on Studying in Austria
The following resources provide information on Austrian education—in particular higher education—and an overview on general aspects of living in Austria for anyone who is planning on studying, teaching, or conducting research in the country. Most of the information is directed at students who hope to enroll directly at Austrian institutions, with the exception of the "Study Abroad" section, which is aimed at students currently enrolled at US institutions who plan to complete a portion of their studies in Austria through a study abroad or exchange program.
Studying in Austria
The OeAD manages this website, which provides extensive information on higher education institutions, scholarships, and living and studying in Austria.
This website, maintained by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research provides detailed information on various programs of study offered at Austrian universities.
The Austrian Educational System
OeAD gives a basic overview of the system of higher education in Austria and is linked to bildungssystem.at (also in English), which provides an interactive, in-depth look at the Austrian educational system.
EURAXESS is a European researcher mobility initiative. Its guides to living and researching provide you and your family with the information that you need to get off to a good start in Austria. They provide general information about Austria and also give you a general idea of the legal basis of entry and residence regulations, taxation, and social security.
This website is Austria’s biggest online database for scholarships and research grants for all academic areas. Financial support options for students, graduates, and researchers range from classical grants and scholarships, allowances, and prizes to extensive national, European, and international research support programs. Grants.at is an initiative of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research and OeAD with additional support from EURAXESS.
The IIE Passport study abroad directory enables students to search for opportunities in Austria and around the world based on a variety of criteria, including cost, level, and subject.
USA StudyAbroad is a new initiative of the US State Department to increase and diversify US study abroad opportunities and to prepare students for 21st-century jobs and global challenges. Its website provides general information about studying abroad, US and foreign scholarships, and more.
The Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research is the federal government agency responsible for higher education in Austria. This website serves as a good starting point if you are looking for in-depth information (e.g., full texts of federal laws establishing university programs).
The OeAD (Österreichischer Austauschdienst/Austrian Exchange Service) is the Austrian agency for international mobility and cooperation in education, science, and research and a major clearinghouse for study abroad information in Austria, both for incoming and outgoing students.
"Uni-Wegweiser" is another guide to Austrian universities in English; it provides links to fields of study and respective curricula.
Austrian Summer Schools+
Campus Austria (German language courses in Austria)
The University of Vienna Sommerhochschule (SHS) offers an international summer program, which provides a multidimensional survey of the present development of Europe and the European Union (EU). Participants will study both the decision-making processes within the EU institutions as well as various aspects of European political culture. The program aims at contributing to an increased understanding of the EU and its possible future shape.
Graz University Summer School (GUSS) is designed for internationally oriented, highly motivated students from all disciplines, who wish to deepen their understanding of current European and international affairs by studying and discussing global developments and challenges within the context of transformation processes and demographic change reflecting aspects of individual, social, political, religious, cultural, literary, regional, economic, cohort and national identities.
Management Center Innsbruck Summer Session offers undergraduate courses with a focus on international business. In addition, summer program students can sign up for an activity package and participate in the course "Vienna Around 1900," which includes a two-day trip to Vienna.
ISUWU International Summer University WU is a short, intensive program. Students from all around the globe go to WU, bringing with them their unique backgrounds and a passion for intercultural learning. The unique ISUWU program structure includes both bachelor and master students.
Universität Wien Sprachenzentrum Summer Intensive Courses offer four-week German language courses in July and August as well as three-week courses in September. The summer course program is complemented by a wide range of optional excursions and leisure activities. The organizers are also happy to arrange accommodation for you in conveniently located student dormitories.
The Bologna Process is an instrument for the implementation of the European Higher Education Area.
The Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research describes the development of the Bologna process with current updates on their web page.
Another useful link about the Bologna process by the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs summarizes the Bologna Process.
The European Commission's website offers a helpful overview of the Bologna Process, its goals, structure, and relevance.
The Bologna Declaration on the European space of higher education – An Explanation is a document (10 pp.) prepared by the Confederation of EU Rectors’ Conferences and the Association of European Universities (CRE).
Austrian Degrees and School Leaving Certificates+
A short explanation on the Austrian grading system is available on the University of Vienna website.
Europass has certificate supplements that provide additional information concerning vocational training certificates and/or transcripts. Refernet also facilitates the comparison of vocational education across Europe.
The National Agency Erasmus+ Education provides an overview of the Austrian Education System and schools (curriculum, principles of learning, etc.).
Credential Evaluation: Evaluation of Austrian Certificates+
The National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) is an association of private foreign educational credential evaluation services committed to formulating and maintaining ethical standards in the field of foreign educational evaluation. NACES members serve foreign-educated persons who are seeking further education in the United States. Evaluation reports prepared by NACES members are judgments based on appropriate reference material, including current research, and are generally accepted by employees and universities.
Direct Application and Enrollment at Austrian Universities+
The following information does not apply to US Fulbright students because participants in certain exchange programs (such as the Fulbright Program) are exempt from many of the application procedures outlined below. However, this information does apply to US teaching assistants (USTAs) who participate in the program that Fulbright Austria administers on behalf of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research and want to study during their time in Austria. USTAs are technically not Fulbright grantees, which is why they have to go through the regular application procedure should they wish to enroll at a university.
Please note that an American high school diploma is not considered equivalent to the Austrian Matura ('maturity exam'). To be considered for admission to an Austrian university, graduates of US high schools either need to have completed two years of college education or passed at least four Advanced Placement (AP) exams in addition to their high school diploma. Please refer to the official AP recommendations of the National Academic Recognition Information Centre - ENIC NARIC Austria.
Applying to an Austrian university as an international student outside of an exchange program is a complex and time-consuming process that involves a great deal of bureaucracy; it therefore necessitates some planning and patience on the part of applicants. The following is intended as a rough guide:
Familiarize yourself with the process, read through the information provided by the OeAD.
Contact the admission office (Studienabteilung) of the university where you wish to study well in advance, keeping in mind that application deadlines for US students may be well before the general application deadline for Austrians, EU citizens, and EEA citizens, which is different at each university (if you have dual or EU citizenship, please contact the admission office).
Check the website of the university in question and familiarize yourself with their requirements (application form, online pre-registration, etc.). As a rule, the following documents will be required:
- High school diploma
- Proof of German-language proficiency
- This will vary somewhat depending on the university and program to which you apply; however, as a rule, you will need to reach the B2 level according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).
- University diploma and transcript
For further information, please consult the following website.
Be sure to complete the steps necessary for the apostille in time for the deadline. In the context of applying to an Austrian university, the Hague Convention means that diplomas issued by US colleges and universities have to be authenticated by apostille before they can be accepted by an Austrian institution.
Follow the instructions given by the university and make sure that your application is complete and reaches the university admission office in time for the deadline.
Document Certification: Apostille+
The apostille is a validation stamp ensuring that a certain document is recognized in certain foreign countries (countries that signed the Hague Convention treaty).
Basically, a document is only valid in the country in which it was issued. Validation for recognition in another country used to be a very complicated and time-consuming matter. In order to facilitate recognition of a document abroad, an international treaty regarding mutual recognition of documents was signed by many countries, including the US and Austria.
This treaty is called the Hague Convention on Legalization of Foreign Public Documents. For more information on the Convention, please see the collection of links provided by the US State Department or consult the website of the Hague Conference on Private International Law directly.
According to this treaty, a document originating in one Convention country is recognized in all other Convention countries if it bears the so-called apostille stamp, which is a validation performed by the superior office in the country and state (province) where it was issued. In the United States, the secretaries of state and the deputy secretaries of state of the individual US states provide the apostille.
In the context of applying to an Austrian university, the Hague Convention means that diplomas issued by US colleges and universities have to be authenticated by apostille before they can be accepted by an Austrian institution. In order to receive an apostille for your diploma, you need to contact the responsible state authority that has been designated to issue these certifications.
Note: You need to contact the authority in the state in which your diploma was issued, not in your home state (unless, of course, you attended college/university in your home state).
Living and Traveling in Austria+
Important Offices in Austria and the United States
- Austrian offices in the US
- Austria is famous for its bureaucracy, which is hard to understand even for Austrians. However, if you are nice and polite, you can get almost anything you need. If you need help (especially on matters related to your legal stay in Austria), please visit http://www.help.gv.at/.
- The Embassy of the United States in Austria
- The Office of Science & Technology Austria (OSTA) at the Austrian embassy in Washington, DC, is a strategic interface for science, research, and science policy between Austria and North America.