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Intro to studying in Austria

Vienna definitely is a very good place to spend your student days!
With a heap of state and private universities and other academic institutions, the city is by far the largest student hub in the German speaking region, accomodating approx. 130.000 students.

Austrian University System

Universities traditionally have been public institutions in Austria with only recently introduced private universities and colleges.
Technically, all graduates from an Austrian high school (or comparable institution within the European Union) have the prerequisites to enrol at the university. Several institutions adopted some form of entry regulation (entrance examination or other forms of tests) some time ago in order to limit the sky-rocketing student numbers and thus ensure continuing academic quality.

Degree Programs in Austria

Austrian Universities are more and more introducing the three tier system (Bachelor, Master, Doctor) which gradually replaces the "traditional" system (Magister, Diplom, Doktorat).
Degree Programs in Austria generally take between three and five years (six to ten semesters) to conclude - with (theoretically) no time limit given for actually finish ones studies.

Lectures and Exams

Lecture Hall Vienna

For finishing an Austrian degree program, the university generally just demands a certain number of exams to be taken (counted in ECTS-Credits or Wochenstunden) and gives a raw outline of the order in which the courses are to be taken. Within that framework, students generally decide for themselves in which order and timeframe to complete the required lectures and exams. This provides large degrees of freedom for students and allows for part-time-working - which a lot of students actually does! - or other extra-curricular activities (such as providing webpages like this one ;)

Austrian grading system

The grades awarded on Austrian universities are as follows:

 1   sehr gut   90% - 100%   A   excellent 
 2   gut   80% - <90%   B   good 
 3   befriedigend   70% - <80%   C   satisfactory 
 4   genügend   50% - <70%   D/E   pass 
 5   nicht genügend   <50%   F   fail 

Note: The %-values should just give a rough estimate of the grading framework and should be expected to vary from instituation to institution. More info on the ECTS-Systeme here.

Academic Year

The academic year in Austria is divided into two terms (Semester) of around four months each, namely the winter term (Wintersemester), usually starting in the first week of October and lasting until end of January the following year, and the summer term (Sommersemester), which stretches from beginning of March till end of June.
Between these terms, the following (popular ;) holidays are placed: Semesterferien (comparable to spring break) every February and Sommerferien (summer holidays) from July to September.
Registration periods (more info) last usually some weeks before the start of each term into the first month.



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We hope you enjoy the visit on this site and your time in Vienna!