Studying in Austria

Universities in Austria

Why study in Austria?

Austria punches above its weight economically. Despite its relatively small size and population it is the 12th richest country in the world in terms of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) per capita, has a well-developed social market economy, and a high standard of living.

With high quality universities and low tuition fees it is an attractive alternative to Germany in which to learn in one of the world’s most important languages – German.

  • Austria has 23 public and 11 private universities.
  • Established in 1365, the University of Vienna is Austria’s oldest and largest university.
  • A dozen or so undergraduate and many more postgraduate courses are taught in English. More are taught in English and German.

Entry and visa regulations

EU students do not need a visa to study in Austria, but will need to apply for a residence permit from the local resident registration office.

  • Applicants for undergraduate or graduate courses must submit their applications to their chosen university or college. Application forms are available from the selected university's Student Admission Office (in some cases, the application form is available online).
  • As the language of instruction at Austrian universities is German, applicants are required to prove their level of command of the German language either by school examination results, if studied at school, or by presenting German language course diplomas, such as the Test Deutsch als Fremdsprache für ausländische Studienbewerber – TestDaF. Most institutions require a minimum level of command corresponding to the B1/B2 level according to the European language passport. Masters and research programmes may not require any knowledge of German since they are usually designed for international students.
  • If the language of instruction of the chosen course is English, a minimum-level command corresponding to the B1/B2 level according to the European language passport is required.

Funding your study

Since 2008, for all EU students, higher education studies have been free of charge, as long as a certain time limit is not exceeded (the expected duration of the course plus usually two terms tolerance).

  • When the time limit is exceeded, a fee of around €363.36 per term is charged. Some further exceptions to the fee apply, e.g. for students with a year's salary of more than about €5,000. In all cases, an obligatory fee of €17 is charged for the student union and insurance.
  • Austria's comprehensive database for scholarships and research grants in German and English language, www.grants.at, has information on grants for international students, graduates and researchers in Austria, and on national grants and universities' individual grants.

While some – but not all – Austrian universities provide some student accommodation, the number of beds provided is very small compared to the student population.

  • International students may use the Austrian Exchange Service (OeAD) database to apply for housing. An early reservation is recommended. Student residences can cost from €300 a month upwards.

Although the country enjoys a high standard of living, UK students will find prices reasonable.

Some typical costs (GBP, March 2015 ) include:

  • Apartment rent, 1 bedroom: £359 - £419 per month
  • Meal, inexpensive restaurant: £5.87
  • Meal at McDonalds: £4.62
  • Domestic beer (0.5 litre draught): £2.49
  • Imported beer (0.33 litre bottle): £2.35
  • Cappuccino: £1.95
  • Coke/Pepsi (0.33 litre bottle): £1.68
  • Water (0.33 litre bottle): £1.18
  • White bread (500g) £1.11
  • Cigarettes: £3.38
  • One-way ticket (local transport): £1.57
  • Cinema ticket: £6.40

Working while studying

  • Students from EU countries can either work a maximum three months full-time in any one year without a limit for the income or part–time (up to 12 hours a week) with an earnings limit of €323 a month. In both cases the employer has to file a permission of employment (Beschäftigungsbewilling) at the local government institution.

Health and safety

  • EU students are entitled to use Austria’s healthcare system in the same way as nationals so long as they have a European Health Insurance Card. However, public health insurance is mandatory for attending university in Austria.  
  • Austria is a safe destination and violent crime is rare. Pickpockets and purse snatchers can be found in the highly populated areas, including areas frequented by tourists, bus and train stations, and on subways. Under Austrian law, you are required to have your passport readily accessible at all times. If you don’t carry your passport with you, your passport must be in the same district as you, and you must be able to access it within one hour. A UK driving licence is not recognised as an official form of ID.

Helpful links