Types of Higher Education Institutions in Austria
The higher education in Austria consists of different types of institutions: Universities, Universities of Arts, Universities of applied sciences, private universities and University College of Teacher Education.
The Federal Minister of Science and Research and the university councils administers the public universities in Austria. Austrian universities have a vast diversity whether it is about size or educational structure. The courses of study at the traditional comprehensive universities cover a wide scope of academic disciplines. While the Austria’s medical and technical universities focus on applied and theoretical studies.
- Degree Programs Offered: Universities provide bachelor's programs, master's programs and doctoral programs and also diploma programs.
- Range of Studies: Universities offer study programs in the arts and humanities, engineering sciences and technology, teacher training programs, medical studies, veterinary medicine, natural sciences, applied life sciences, law, social and economic sciences, and theological studies.
University Training Course and University Level Courses
University training or level courses are further education courses at universities. There are various levels of study, such as undergraduates, postgraduates and often last two to four semesters. The course structure, content and duration of these courses are fixed by the universities. Upon the completion of postgraduate university courses academic titles such as Master of Advanced Studies (MAS) or Master of Business Administration (MBA), among others, are awarded.
Universities of Applied Sciences
The Universities of Applied Sciences are administered by Fachhochschule Council (FH Council) which in turn is under the direction of the Federal Minister of Science and Research. The universities of applied sciences and their degree programs are administered by the UAS providers in accordance with the rules provided by the FH Council. Universities of Applied Sciences offer students professional-oriented higher education.
UAS provide full-time and part-time study courses. Part-time programs are meant for working students. A relevant thesis and an examination are required for the successful completion of all UAS programs.
- Degree Programs Offered: The degrees awarded are Bachelor and Master. In the technical areas of study, Master of Science (M.Sc ) is awarded. Graduates of UAS Master’s programs can join in the doctoral programs at universities. A UAS bachelor study program is of 3 years and UAS master study program is of 1 to 2 years. The first degree programs were established in the year 1994-95. In the 2013-14 academic year, 406 UAS degree programs in fields such as Engineering and Information Technology, Social Sciences, Business, Law, Media and Design, Health Sciences and Cultural Sciences were offered by 21 institutions.
- Range of Studies: UAS offers studies in following areas: information science and technologies, engineering sciences, media and design, social work and the health sector, tourism and economics.
Austrian Private Universities
The private universities fall under the supervision of the Accreditation Council (OAR) which in turn council works under the direction of the Federal Minister of Science and Research. All legal provisions are governed by the University Accreditation Act. Austrian private universities offer advanced and excellent education, thereby concentrating on every student. There is a constant internal and external valuation of teaching and research. The course of study of the Austrian private universities as well as the academic degrees awarded by them differs from university to university.
Universities of Arts
Austria’s six universities of the arts offer programs in music, applied arts, performing and fine arts, visual arts and design. Universities of Arts offer very specialized courses of study.
University Colleges of Teacher Education
The Austrian University Colleges of Teacher Education offer a three-year Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) degree together with a teaching qualification for elementary/primary, secondary schools or special needs schools. It includes six semesters. There are nine state-run University Colleges – in Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Tyrol, Salzburg, Styria, Carinthia, Vorarlberg and two in Vienna and five private University Colleges are maintained by the dioceses of Innsbruck, Linz and Vienna, Graz and by a foundation in Burgenland.
The Teacher Education Act 2005 forms the fundament for the conversion of the university colleges of teacher education in Austria into academic institutions for teaching professionals.