It is possible to enroll at Austrian universities after the 11th grade, despite the fact that education in the country lasts 12 years. However, if your knowledge does not meet the requirements of the chosen university, you may be asked to take supplementary exams or sent to preparatory courses. You will also have to confirm your language proficiency and pass entrance exams.

Keep reading for more information on admission requirements.

We discuss the features of the Austrian higher education system and universities in our separate articles.

Cost of education in Austria

ProgramAgeDurationMin. cost per semesterAvg. cost per semester
University preparation17+1-2 years1,375 USD3,898 USD/year
Bachelor's17+3-4 years787 USD4,331 USD
Master's20+1-2 years787 USD5,414 USD
MBA20+1-2 years9,204 USD/year27,070 USD/year
PhD20+3-4 years787 USD2,978 USD
Additional expenses

ExpenseAverage cost
Student fee23 USD/semester
Registration fee54 USD
Visa162 USD
Residence permit173 USD
Rent650 USD/month
Hostel325 USD/month
Insurance70 USD/month
Meals271 USD/month
Public transportation54 USD/month

Check the exact prices and requirements on the websites of universities.

Admission to Austrian universities

Options for admission to Austrian universities

How to choose a university

When choosing a university, you should pay attention to several factors: the type of institution, quality of education, admission requirements, and tuition costs.

Type of higher education institution

It is best to choose a university based on your goals and chosen field of study. Austria has:

  • 13 public and 16 private universities. They offer bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD programs.
  • 6 universities of the arts. Mostly music is taught here, but there are other available programs: film production, architecture, fashion, design, and photography. PhD programs are almost non-existent.
  • 3 medical universities. Most programs last 6 years. Separate bachelor’s and master’s programs are rare.
  • 21 universities of applied sciences. There are no PhD programs here, and the education is focused on practical applications of knowledge.
  • 14 university colleges for teacher education. They offer bachelor's and master's programs that train primary and secondary school teachers, along with vocational college teachers.


World rankings help build a general picture of education in a country. However, this is not the most objective criterion when choosing a university. University rankings vary from case to case given that they consider different criteria.

For example, QS primarily assesses the reputation of a university in the academic environment. According to it, the top three universities in Austria are:

THE looks at the quality of education and research output of the university. The top places were taken by:

ARWU (Shanghai Ranking) evaluates only the research potential of the university. The presence of Nobel or Fields Prize winners and quality of scientific publications are important. If we consider the Shanghai ranking, then the first three places are taken by:

More about rankings

Subject rankings

After you have read the world rankings, check out the subject rankings. This is a more important criterion. It shows where the university stands in a particular field. For example, the University of Vienna ranks 43rd in the arts and humanities[3]. The Vienna University of Technology is ranked 86th in engineering and technology[4]. In terms of medical education, the Medical University of Vienna (105 in the world) is the leader among Austrian universities[5].


At public universities, education for all programs costs 787 USD per month for students from outside the EU. At private universities, tuition is much higher — from 3,248 USD to 27,070 USD per year. And at universities of applied sciences, you will have to pay about 4,331-5,414 USD per semester.


Bachelor’s programs in Austria are entirely in German. There are very few universities in the country that offer programs in English. If you are definitely not going to learn German, you will have to choose another country for a bachelor's degree. Regarding master’s programs, half are in German, and the other half are in English.

Austrian universities

Admission assistance

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Admission requirements in Austria

Despite the fact that secondary education in Austria lasts 12 years, you can enter any university after the 11th grade.

Austria does not have a uniform student admission system. Therefore, applicants apply directly to the chosen university. Each university may have its own requirements for applicants — verify them on their official websites.


The main language of instruction at Austrian universities is German. For admission to most universities, you should have a C1 level of proficiency (less often — B2). Universities of the arts accept Intermediate (B1) level students. You can confirm your language proficiency with the ÖSD Zertifikat, Goethe Zertifikat, or TestDaF.

At some universities, you can even enroll with an A2 level. This is possible if the university has a Vorstudienlehrgänge from OeAD. In these courses, students work towards the required C1 level.

There are also English-language programs, but not for bachelor's study. English is common in master's and PhD programs, especially in business, management, marketing, and information technology. The minimum required level of English proficiency is IELTS 6.0 (for some fields — 6.5).

Entrance examinations

Since 2019, Austrian universities have begun to introduce entrance examinations. They are more common at medical and applied universities in the form of tests, and at art universities in the form of portfolio assessments and auditions. But at ordinary institutions, you need to pass entrance tests for some specialties.

Be sure to specify the exact dates for submitting applications and passing exams. Because of the entrance tests, admission to such programs may take place earlier, and not in the general application wave.

Documents for admission

Please note
Previously, a Nachweis der besonderen Universitätsreife certificate — confirmation that you have the right to study in your home country — was required for admission to Austrian universities. But in the 2022/2023 academic year, some universities, such as the University of Vienna, removed this document from the requirements. At universities like the University of Innsbruck, for example, it is still needed.

Diploma legalization

Austria adopted the 1961 Hague Convention on Simplified Legalization of Documents. If your country is in the list, an apostille is required. After apostilling, the document must be translated into German and notarized.

Preparatory programs

In Austria, university preparatory programs are organized by the OeAD. These courses prepare foreign applicants for supplementary examinations at universities in Vienna, Graz, and Leoben. They prepare incoming students who need to close gaps in academic knowledge or improve their language proficiency.

Applications are accepted twice a year:

  • August to October for the winter semester
  • January to March for the summer semester

To enroll in courses, you need to:

  • Receive an invitation from a university with a preparatory program
  • Speak German at the A2 level
  • Register on this website if you are applying to universities in Graz
  • Or send a request by email if you are applying to universities in Vienna or Leoben
  • Attach the invitation and passport copies
  • Wait for confirmation
  • Come to the organization’s office and bring the invitation and passport originals

Some universities, such as the University of Innsbruck or FH Burgenland, offer students their own courses to prepare for supplementary exams. Admission may differ from OeAD programs.

Enter a university abroad

How to enroll in a bachelor’s program

In Austria, there is no centralized admission system. Therefore, each university has its own requirements for applicants.

To enroll in a bachelor’s program at an Austrian university, you must first register on its website or application portal. Fill out an application, submit documents, and pay the registration fee.

However, some universities, such as the Technical University of Vienna and University of Klagenfurt, require you to fill out a questionnaire and send it along with notarized copies of documents through the post or in person to the admissions office.

For admission to some programs, you need to pass entrance exams. In this case, application deadlines come around earlier. To take the exam, you need to register and come to Austria — exams are usually taken in person.

After that, you will receive an invitation letter from the university. Enrollment can be conditional or unconditional.

  • Unconditional invitation. In this case, you schedule a meeting with the admissions committee and come to the office in person. You need to bring your passport and invitation letter with you. Your documents will be checked again and the final enrollment decision will be made. At this stage, all that is left is to pay for tuition. Some universities hold this meeting online.
  • Conditional invitation. If your level of education does not meet Austrian standards or your language proficiency is below the requirements, you will receive a conditional invitation. You will be asked to take supplementary exams, after which you will either enter the chosen program or attend preparatory courses. They can last from 1 to 4 semesters. Upon completion, you once again take the exams.

Documents for admission

Not at all universities:

  • Academic resume
  • Motivation letter
  • Standardized test results for university admission in your home country
  • Confirmation that you can study a specific field in your home country — Nachweis der besonderen Universitätsreife

All documents must be translated and notarized, and an apostille must be affixed to the certificate.

Application deadlines

Application deadlines should always be clarified on the website of the university or admissions office. Universities have general application deadlines, but some programs may differ.

Application deadlines at select universities (2023/2024 academic year)
UniversityApplication deadlines
Johannes Kepler University Linz
  • Summer semester — September 6th to November 30th
  • Winter semester — February 6th to April 30th
University of Klagenfurt
  • Summer semester — until February 5th
  • Winter semester — until September 5th
University of Vienna
  • Summer semester — January 9th to February 5th
  • Winter semester — July 11th to September 5th
University of Innsbruck
  • Summer semester — until December 15th
  • Winter semester — until June 15th

How to enroll in a master’s program

Admission to an Austrian master's program is similar to the process for bachelor's programs. Register on the website or application portal of the chosen university and submit an application and documents.

Some universities, such as the University of Innsbruck or University of Salzburg, require the personal presence of the applicant. In this case, you need to bring your original documents to the admissions office. At other universities, such as the University of Klagenfurt, you can send originals or notarized copies by post.

Entrance examinations are also a frequent requirement at Austrian universities. Most often, they take the form of a test. As a rule, the application period for programs with entrance examinations occurs earlier.

If your German level is below the B2-C1 level, or if your academic knowledge is not sufficient for the chosen program, you may be required to take supplementary exams. Based on their results, you either enter the intended program or take preparatory courses for one to four semesters.

Documents for admission

  • Bachelor degree in a related field
  • Grade transcript
  • German / English proficiency — C1 / B2, respectively
  • Passport copy
  • Entrance examinations (depending on the program)

Not at all universities:

Documents must be translated and notarized. Admission deadlines and criteria can be found on the official websites of programs and universities.

Application deadlines

Application deadlines at select universities (2023/2024 academic year)
UniversityApplication deadlines
University of Graz
  • Summer semester — December to May 31st
  • Winter semester — May to November 30th
University of Salzburg
  • Summer semester — until March 31st
  • Winter semester — until October 31st
University of Klagenfurt
  • Summer semester — until February 5th
  • Winter semester — until September 5th
Johannes Kepler University Linz
  • Summer semester — February 6th to April 30th
  • Winter semester — September 6th to November 30th
University of Vienna
  • Summer semester — January 9th to February 5th
  • Winter semester — July 11th to September 5th

Application deadlines may vary depending on the institution and program. Specify the exact dates on the website of the university or admissions office.

MBA programs

Private universities in Austria offer MBA programs. For admission, you need to fill out an application on the university website and submit all of the necessary documents.

The basic admission requirements depend on the university. The list of documents may include:

How to enroll in a PhD program

To enroll in a PhD program, you first need to find a faculty member who is willing to supervise your scientific work and receive his written consent.

Then, fill out an application on the university website and attach translated and notarized documents.

Enrollment can be conditional or unconditional. If you receive a conditional invitation, you will need to pass supplementary exams. The admissions committee will make a final decision based on their results.

Sometimes, the admissions committee may send candidates to additional courses to supplement missing knowledge and improve language proficiency.

Most universities also require the student to bring the original documents in person to the admissions office after receiving an invitation.

Documents for admission

Check the university website for the exact list of requirements.

Application deadlines

Please note that the application deadlines for some programs may differ.

Application deadlines at select universities (2023/2024 academic year)
UniversityApplication deadlines
University of ViennaAll year
Vienna University of Economics and BusinessNovember 1st to January 22nd
University of Innsbruck
  • Summer semester — until December 15th
  • Winter semester — until June 15th
University of Graz
  • Summer semester — until November 30th
  • Winter semester — until May 31st
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Scholarships and grants in Austria

While education in Austria is inexpensive, living costs are fairly expensive. You need about 975 USD per month, excluding the cost of rent[6]. Therefore, additional funding will not be superfluous.

You can receive a scholarship or grant from various organizations or universities. However, there are few of them and they are mainly aimed at master's and PhD students. At the same time, they are very highly specialized and mainly support students of STEM specialties, less often for programs in sociology, political science, and economics.

There are few grants that fully cover tuition costs. Scholarships usually cover part of the costs or are paid as a lump sum.

You can find funding from private organizations in the Austria Scholarships and Research Grants database. A separate list of programs can be found on the OeAD website.

One of the most popular options is the Erasmus Mundus master’s scholarship. It allows you to study in one field at several universities in Europe. There are 18 programs available in Austria. You can apply for participation if you have completed a bachelor's degree or receive a diploma before starting a master's program. As part of the scholarship, you are paid from 500 to 2,166 USD.

You can also receive funding from your university. Options can be found in the same database, on the university website, or directly at the financial aid department.

For example, the private Central European University has generous offers for master's and PhD students. The grant covers up to 100% of tuition costs. You can also receive payments from 300 to 1,732 USD per month.

Austrian student visa

To study in Austria for at least 6 months, you need to apply for a temporary residence permit.

Application process:

  • Apply for a residence permit at the Austrian consulate or embassy in your home country. Find a center on this website.
  • Wait for a positive decision on your request.
  • Obtain a type D student visa to enter Austria. It is issued for 4 months.
  • Get a residence permit at the authorities upon arrival in Austria. The application is usually considered within 90 days.

The total cost for obtaining a residence permit is 173 USD[7].

The list of documents for a residence permit depends on your citizenship. Standard requirements include:

  • Signed residence permit application
  • Explanation for the application form
  • 3.5x4.5 color photograph
  • Passport
  • Proof of financial solvency — 616 USD/month or 1,115 USD/month
  • Statement of regular expenses
  • Housing reservation for at least 3 months
  • Medical insurance
  • Birth certificate
  • Certificate of non-conviction not older than 3 months
  • Invitation letter from an Austrian university

All foreign documents must be legalized and translated into German.

Documents for a national type D visa

  • Visa application form
  • 3.5x4.5 color photograph
  • Passport
  • Copy of active passport pages
  • Copy of previous Schengen visas
  • Medical insurance
  • Flight booking confirmation
  • Invitation letter from an Austrian university
  • Proof of financial solvency

You will also need to submit biometric data — fingerprints. The visa application fee is 162 USD.

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