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Life Planning Information Website - Education Bureau

The Education System

Austria is situated in the heart of Europe and offers an ideal place to live and study for Hong Kong students. Its capital Vienna has been ranked as the city with the highest quality of living worldwide for 10 consecutive years and has been awarded with the title of greenest city worldwide in 2020. Not only is Vienna known as the world’s music capital full of traditions and culture, but it is also an important hub within Europe. Due to its location, Vienna has the ideal connection between Western and Eastern Europe and therefore is an interesting city for students from all over the world. The universities located in other cities within Austria (such as Innsbruck, Salzburg, Linz, Graz or Klagenfurt) have rich history and offer interesting study programmes for internationals. Although the official language of Austria is German, many public and private universities have started to offer English-assisted courses in recent years, and even courses conducted mainly in English, providing another good platform for students who only know English. 

Due to the full funding of the Austrian government for education, the tuition fees of public and private universities are very economical and affordable, which cost less than HK$9,000 and HK$100,000 per year respectively. The costs of living expenses (including meals, accommodation, transportation, medical insurance, etc.) on average are about HK$6,000 to HK$7,000 per month. College students can also work part-time jobs for not more than 20 hours per week in their spare time. Given that Austria is a member of the European Union, all offered programmes are internationally acknowledged. This is why Austria is an ideal place for studying and living.


Kindergarten / Pre-School Education

Kindergartens provide supplementary non-family childcare to children from the age of 3 years up to school age. The objective of the education provided in a kindergarten is to promote the physical, intellectual and emotional development of the children through suitable forms of play and the educational effect of the group. The kindergarten is generally accepted as the form of pre-school education on offer.

After completing their pre-school education, children will start to attend primary school, where they will remain for 4 years. Children who are not yet ready to attend primary school will be able to attend a pre-school year. Children with special educational needs will be provided with primary school teaching incorporating specialist help in the context of integrated classes. Alternatively, they may be given the option of attending a special school that is in keeping with the disability involved.


Primary Education (Volksschule)

Primary School (Volksschule) is a 4-year school. All children residing in Austria for a sustained period of time are required to attend school. They are required to attend school from the first day of September following their 6th birthday. Compulsory education lasts 9 years.


Secondary Education

Secondary Level I (4 years):

Upon successful completion of Year 4 of the primary school, pupils must attend one of the following types of school for 4 years:

  • Lower Level of the Academic Secondary School
  • The New Secondary School 
  • Academic Secondary School
  • A Special School
  • Inclusive Education

Secondary level II(4 - 5 years):

Followed by secondary level II for another 4-5 years, with the following options: 

  • “polytechnical” schools (= schools preparing pupils for an apprenticeship or job)
  • vocational schools and apprenticeships (dual system)
  • vocational secondary schools
  • vocational colleges (excluding the 4th and 5th forms)
  • upper level of grammar schools (higher secondary schools of general education)
  • the vocational preparatory year and integrative vocational education

Higher Education

Postsecondary and Tertiary Level

There are numerous higher education institutions in Austria, including integrated universities, universities of the arts, universities of applied sciences, and normal universities.

Austria combines a long tradition of higher education with state-of-the-art research – its higher education institutions have accomplished outstanding achievements on an international level and gained a high reputation. Austrian higher education institutions offer an ever-growing number of degree programmes: you can choose between first-class research-based courses, a world-famous education at any of the universities of the arts, high-quality practice-oriented degree courses at the universities of applied sciences, and sound, up-to-date teacher education and innovative courses at private universities.

In the last few years, the Austrian university system has introduced the European 3-tier system of degrees according to the Bologna process. Besides, the old 2-tier system still exists in some subject areas and universities.

Bachelor and master study programmes

Most degree programmes are divided into:  

Bachelor studies: Conclude with the degree of Bachelor (ECTS credits: 180, in special cases: 240).

Master studies: Require the successful completion of a bachelor study programme and conclude with the academic degree of Master (ECTS credits: at least 120).

Doctoral studies (Dr. / PhD): Doctoral studies are based on the successful completion of diploma or master degree programmes. Successful candidates demonstrate their capacity to create an original piece of research work. They conclude with the degree of Doctor/in or PhD.  The duration is at least 3 continuous years without the award of ECTS credits.

Traditional diploma programmes

These programmes conclude with the award of a diploma: 
Magistra or Magister in most disciplines or Diplomingenieur(in) for engineers. Duration: 4 – 6 years.

There are 22 public universities ( in Austria. Among them, 6 universities of the arts offer programmes in music, dramas, performing and fine arts as well as in the visual arts and design. 21 universities of Applied Sciences offer up to 246 degree programmes. In addition, there are also 16 private universities and 14 teacher training colleges and institutes in Austria.

Apart from the traditional comprehensive universities, which offer a wide variety of disciplines, there are a number of technical and medical specialist universities as well as a university centre for postgraduate education. The total number of students is approximately 282,500 (of whom international students 70,000: data collected in winter term 2013). Please visit (“Downloads”) for study programmes offered in Austria, as well as a leaflet with listed Austrian universities, the structure of the Austrian education system and all relevant details concerning tuition fees, accommodation, residency & visa etc.


International Study Programmes conducted in English

Though the common language of instruction remains German, an increasing number of programmes is offered in English. There are no universal language requirements valid for all universities in Austria. For the specific required language level, please refer to the respective university. For more details on English-taught programmes, please visit the relevant website (

As Austria is a German-speaking country, students might wish to attend a study programme in German. They should start learning German early enough to ensure that their German level is high enough in order to follow an academic class. 


Tuition fees and other expenses

Tuition Fees


Public University (less than HK$9,000 per year)

Private University (less than HK$100,000 per year)

Secondary school:

Free of Charge (mainly taught in German)

The above chart is solely for reference. Please contact the Austrian institution for the latest information.


Living Expenses

One academic year comprises 2 semesters, each of around 4 to 5 months. Taking into account the living costs, the living expenses is between HK$ 6,000 - 7,000 per month. For information on various grants and scholarships, please visit the website  (


Application Procedures

Please send the application and necessary documents to the universities directly.  

Visa Application Procedures

Study Visa, Residence Permits

As to study in Austria, students need to apply for a residence permit for study purposes. They should apply for this at least 3 months before entering into Austria with the receipt of the notification of admission attached. In addition, they should have proof of sufficient financial means. For details, please visit:








Austrian Trade Commission


Telephone: (+852) 2522 2388 

Fax.:  (+852) 2810 6493 


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Austrian Education Brochure with English-taught Bachelor and Master Programmes

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