How to Apply to a University in Austria in 2021

One of the wealthiest countries in the world based on GDP (gross domestic product), Austria is home to around 87,000 international students who choose to study an undergraduate or graduate programme abroad.

If you’re hoping to be one of them, then you probably want to know what you have to do to start studying there. This guide will shed some light on how to apply for a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Austria.

1. Decide on a university from Austria

Austria has 14 ranked universities in global rankings and many other higher education institutions that provide great student satisfaction and top-quality study programmes. For example, you could check out institutions like:

2. Check the admission requirements at Austrian universities

Now comes the tricky part. Because Austria has different types of universities, there are also different admission requirements and criteria. Here are a few aspects you should keep in mind:

  • Most Austrian universities require that you know German, as many study programmes (especially Bachelors) are — at least partially — taught in German.
  • For English-taught degrees, you must be a proficient English speaker.
  • You have to prove that you would be entitled to apply for your chosen degree programme in the country where you earned your last diploma (high school or Bachelor’s diploma).
  • Non-EU/EEA students with a degree from a non-EU/EEA country may only study the same discipline or something closely related to it. For example, if you did your Bachelor’s in Humanities, you cannot go for a Master’s in Business.
  • You need relevant professional experience if you apply for a graduate degree at a university of applied sciences.

These are some common admission requirements you’ll need to meet to apply for a university degree in Austria. However, it is always a wise thing to check the official website or contact the institution that offers the study programme to discover the exact criteria and necessary documents.

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3. Get your papers ready and start applying

If you meet the admission requirements, it’s time to gather all the necessary documents, which vary based on degree level, programme, type of university, your nationality, etc.

Students from the EU/EEA:

  • Photocopy of your passport or ID Card
  • Your last diploma: high school diploma or Bachelor’s diploma
  • German language proficiency: high school leaving certificate confirming German lessons of at least 4 years or a German language diploma
  • English language proficiency: IELTS, TOEFL, PTE Academic, Cambridge certificates

Students from outside the EU/EEA:

  • Photocopy of your passport or ID Card
  • Your last diploma: high school diploma or Bachelor’s diploma
  • German language proficiency: high school certificate confirming German lessons for at least 4 years or a German language diploma
  • English language proficiency: IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, Cambridge certificates
  • A certificate of special qualification for university studies (Nachweis der besonderen Universitätsreife). You must prove that you're entitled to follow university studies in your chosen discipline.

4. Important aspects of the university application process

Note that some universities also have an entrance examination (especially at Bachelor’s level). The examination typically takes place 6 months before the academic programme starts.

Most of the Universities of Applied Sciences (UAS) in Austria also require relevant professional experience related to the programme, as well as passing a written or oral test and an admission interview.

apply to a university in Austria

5. Check the university application deadlines

In Austria, there are two typical application deadlines according to where you come from. Make sure all your documents arrive before these dates, as no extensions are accepted (everything has to be on time in Austria).

If you are from outside EU/EEA, the application deadlines are:

  • For the winter semester: start of September
  • For the summer semester:  start of February

If you are an Austrian resident, or an EU/EEA/Switzerland citizen:

  • For the winter semester: mid-October 
  • For the summer semester: mid-March

An additional application period is available only if some places remain free/open:

  • For the winter semester: end of November
  • For the summer semester: end of April

To make sure you don't miss the deadline, always check the exact dates on the official university website.

6. Know the steps you have to take after applying

Wait for the acceptance letter

You’ll receive it by e-mail or post and it will also include a few guidelines about the next steps you have to take to enrol at your university.

Follow the enrolment procedure

Typically includes submitting the application documents in original to confirm your place, paying the tuition, and getting your student ID.

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Pay the tuition fees/students’ union fees

If you are from the EU/EEA, you won’t have to pay any tuition fees at public universities, provided you finish your degree in the scheduled time plus 1 or 2 semesters. If your studies take longer than scheduled, you will have to pay for the extra semesters.

If you go to a private university or you are from outside the EU/EEA, you will have to pay for your studies. The average tuition fees at Austrian universities are:

  • 727 EUR/semester at public universities
  • 6,000 – 23,000 EUR/year at private universities
  • Student union fees: 20-30 EUR/semester         

Apply for visa

If you need a visa to study in Austria, you should start gathering the application documents, which typically include:

  • Proof of enrolment
  • Proof of necessary funds to support yourself
  • Police clearance
  • Proof of accommodation
  • Proof of health insurance
  • Receipt for paying the residence permit fee (120 EUR)

Note that if your chosen study programme requires an entry examination or an admission interview, you’ll have to travel to Austria during the admission process.

If you need a visa to enter Austria, you have to apply for a residence permit in person at the Austrian embassy or consulate in your country with the provisional confirmation of admission from the university.

You can check if you need an Austrian visa here.

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