Second Cycle Programmes


Austria - Master's studies

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Country: Austria
Population (mln): 8,4
Official language/s: German
Time zone: UTC+1 Winter, UTC+2 Summer
Internet TLD: .at
Calling code: +43
Member of the EU from: 1st January 1995
Unemployment rate Sep 2011 (%): 4,0
Unemployment rate under 25 years Sep 2011 (%): 7,5
Unemployment rate Sep 2012 (%): 4,4
Unemployment rate under 25 years Sep 2012 (%): 9,9
Population statistics 20-29 age group 2011 (%): 12,9
Country codes in education system: AT
Expected duration of education (years): 16,8

Branches of Study

The following groups of studies are offered:

  • Art and Humanities
  • Arts
  • Economic Sciences
  • Engineering Sciences Law
  • Medical and Health Sciences
  • Natural Sciences
  • Social Sciences
  • Teacher Training
  • Theology
  • Veterinary Medicine

Every degree programme must be clearly attributable to one of the afore mentioned groups, since this determines the academic degree.

Whenever necessary, a student may follow an individual study programme – with the approval of the institution, though – which will be a combination of examination subjects from different study programmes. 

Admission Requirements

Admission to a master degree programme is granted on the basis of the successful completion of a relevant bachelor degree programme, University of Applied Sciences bachelor degree programme or other equivalent programme at a recognized domestic or foreign post-secondary educational institution. The curriculum of a master degree programme at Public Universities may determine specific qualitative conditions for admission to the respective programme.

As a matter of principle, compliance with the general University entrance qualification for master's degree programmes is provided by the respective Bachelor’s degree or equivalent.

Whenever an applicant has obtained a foreign admission title, its equivalency to one of the aforementioned Austrian admission titles must be reviewed. In many cases, equivalency has been determined by multilateral and/or bilateral agreements. In all other cases, equivalency must be decided on a case by case basis; if necessary, supplementary examinations may be required as an admission condition.

Specific University qualification means that at Public Universities in addition to the general University entrance qualification, proof must be given that the study-specific admission requirements are met, including the right to immediate admission to a master’s programme, as they exist in the country issuing the document that is proof of the general University entrance qualification. 

Universities of Applied Sciences

The educational requirement for admission to a University of AQpplied Sciences master programme is a completed subject-relevant University of Applied Sciences bachelor programme or the completion of an equivalent programme at a recognised Austrian or foreign post-secondary educational institution. This shall be an educational institution which offers study programmes lasting for at least six semesters for which admission requires the general University entrance qualification in terms of the present Federal Act and which is recognised as a post-secondary educational institution according to the legal rules of the country in which it is domiciled. If the scientific and didactic concept of a University of Applied Sciences degree programme is based on professional experience, admission to such a University of Applied Sciences degree programme may be limited to an appropriate target group.

Subject to availability of study places, University of Applied Sciences master programmes are general accessible to those meeting the entrance requirements. The number of study places is established by the Universities of Applied Sciences Council in the accreditation decree. 

Private Universities

Private universities are governed by the same minimum admission requirements as Public Universities; however, they may apply additional selection procedures. 


Public Universities

A curriculum must be drawn up and announced for each degree programme which is offered. It is the central document of every degree programme. It governs, in particular, the qualification profile and the structure of the programme, as well as the examination subjects and the courses required prior to taking an examination, other achievements (always defining the scope of the achievement in ECTS credits) and the way in which examinations must be taken.

The scope of a degree programme must be indicated exclusively in terms of the credits established under the European Course Credit Transfer System (ECTS). This system is an important mobility-promoting instrument. The workload for a master’s programme must be 120 ECTS, in exceptional cases 60 or 90 credits.

Several Master-programmes at Austrian Universities are offered in English. 

Universities of Applied Sciences

The curricula for Universities of Applied Sciences are prepared independently by the provider of the University of Applied Sciences – usually by a body of experts – and accredited by the Universities of Applied Sciences Council. The share of the workload of the students related to the individual studies is determined with ECTS credits according to the University of Applied Sciences Studies Act - as amended (Fachhochschul-Studiengesetz). University of Applied Sciences master progammes are assigned 60 to 120 ECTS. Applications for accreditation of a University of Applied Sciences master programme have to contain details on the following items:

  • orientation profiles
  • a survey of demand and acceptance
  • information on the group of persons entrusted with the development of the curriculum (development teams)
  • evaluations of programmes
  • occupational fields and profile of professional qualifications
  • curriculum and examination regulations
  • teaching concept
  • entrance requirements
  • admission regulations
  • information on teaching and research staff
  • fields of research
  • information on facilities and equipment
  • cost estimate and financial programme 

Private Universities

The curricula of programmes at Private Universities are prepared independently by the respective institution. During the process of accreditation by the Accreditation Council, the curricula are checked by international specialists as to quality, international comparability and conformity with the Bologna objectives.

Most master programmes provided by Private Universities are assigned 120 ECTS credits; however, exceptions are possible (e.g. in the field of music and arts).

A few Private Universities provide master programmes in English or French.


Public Universities

Upon successful completion of all achievements required by a particular curriculum, the relevant academic degree is awarded by way of a written official notification promptly, at the latest, though, within one month after satisfaction of the requirements. The official notification must indicate, in particular, the completed study programme and the academic degree and the legal basis (e.g. the Universities Act 2002 - as amended and the relevant curriculum).

The following Master's degrees are awarded:

  • Master of Art (MArt)
  • Master of Arts (MA)
  • Master of Engineering (MEng)
  • Master of Law (ML)
  • Master of Science (MSc)
  • Master of Social Science (MSocSc)
  • Master of Theology (MTh)
  • Master (for individual studies) (MA)

If a degree programme is completed on the basis of a joint degree programme, it is admissible under certain conditions that the academic degree is awarded in one joint document, together with the partner institution.

For the purpose of supporting international mobility of graduates, students are entitled to be issued a Diploma Supplement pursuant to Article IX.3 of the Lisbon Recognition Convention, in connection with the official notification of being awarded the academic degree.

If an Austrian academic degree is urgently needed for the exercise of a certain professional activity – i.e. if the activity falls under an area with statutory regulations and the professional recognition pursuant to EU law does not apply – holders may apply to an institution with subject-matter competence for nostrification of their foreign academic degree. The nostrification procedure is not a degree programme but an administrative procedure. In a few exceptional cases (e.g. regarding many students from Italy or Croatia) bilateral agreements, instead of nostrification, allow equivalency to be established by the Federal Ministry for Science and Research. 

Universities of Applied Sciences

After completion of the studies and examinations required for a University of Applied Sciences programme, students are awarded a degree. If the degree is conferred at an institution which is not a University of Applied Sciences, the conferral is effected by the University of Applied Sciences collegiate board or the University of Applied Sciences Council. The academic degree for University of Applied Sciences master programmes is “Master” or “Diplom-Ingenieur(in)“ with a suffix describing the discipline. Admissible degrees, suffixes and abbrevations of degrees are established by the University of Applied Sciences Council, subject to approval by the Federal Minister. For individual Universities of Applied Sciences programmes the respective degrees together with the additional designations are to be established by the University of Applied Sciences Council in the accredition decree. 

Private Universities

By virtue of their accreditation by the Austrian Accreditation Council, Private Universities are entitled to confer recognised Austrian academic degrees on their students.


Source: Eurydice,
Eurypedia - The European Encyclopedia on National Education Systems , Eurosta,, Agency for Science and Higher Education Croatia, Department of Education and Skills Irelan,  Ministry of Education and Culture - FINLAND

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