The Austrian Study Abroad Market

In this market report on Austria we will cover socio-economic, educational and mobility trends. Austria has many measures and initiatives to support and promote the mobility of students: the range of these activities extends from participation in the Erasmus+ funding options onto bilateral and multilateral cooperation projects and special doctoral fellowships.

Austria’s higher education mobility strategy stipulates that 30-35% of graduates have completed a period abroad relevant to their studies by 2025. The European goal of 20% has already been achieved in Austria.

The most important driver for student mobility is the Erasmus+ program. Each year around 10,0000 Austrian students spend one or two semesters abroad. Student Mobility for Traineeships are another important study abroad stimulus. Students and also graduates can complete a traineeship in the European program countries.

According to the OECD, Austrians spend 17,500 USD on education on average in their lifetime. This amount is among the highest in Europe, only topped by Finland, Netherlands, Sweden, UK and Luxemburg. All this and more in the Market Report on Austria.

Quick facts

  • Population: 8,9 million (2020)

  • Education: 8 years compulsory

  • Academic year: September – June

Secondary education

  • Starting age: 10

  • Duration: 8 years

  • Enrollment numbers: 687,000 (2019 data)
    Enrollment rate: 100%

Higher education

  • Duration: 5 – 6 years (bachelor 3 – 4, Master 2)

  • Enrollment numbers: 430,500 (2019)

  • Tertiary enrollment rate: 85%

  • Universities/Higher Education Institutions: 73 (22 Public Universities, 13 Private Universities. 21 Polytechnics. 17 Teaching Colleges)

Austrian Education system

Secondary education

The Austrian secondary-school system plays a key role in the preparation of students for further vocational, technical, and academic education. After completion of the four-year general secondary school, students have several options available for further training or education. The various types of upper-level secondary schools reflect differences in length of further study, as well as increasing specialization in the course of study offered.

Admission to the bachelor’s degree is given by the obtaining of a school leaving certificate (Reifezeugnis), or successful completion of a special university entrance exam. (Source:

Higher Education

For a country with a population of just over nine million people, Austria offers a large and diverse range of higher education institutions which vary in size and structure. There are 22 independently-run public universities.
There are also 21 Universities of Applied Sciences (Fachhochschulen), which offer scientifically-founded and vocational-orientated courses.
There are 13 private universities (Privatuniversitäten) which receive no state funding whatsoever. They are regulated by the Accreditation Council (Akkreditierungsrat)
The oldest university is the University of Vienna founded in 1365. It enjoys a fine reputation and in the past produced graduates of the like of Sigmund Freud, Kurt Adler and pope Pius III. (Source:

There is a wide array of different study on offer in Austrian higher education institution. For example, private universities tend to focus on the arts, medical health and social sciences – but this is not defined by statute. A bachelor degree takes 3 – 4 years to finish and amounts to 180 ECTS credits.

After successfully completing a bachelor’s degree, a master’s can be taken to deepen previous studies or explore an additional topic and takes at least four semesters.

After a master’s is obtained, a doctorate can take a further six semesters. Public universities and private universities are entitled to award doctoral degrees. Training is organized according to the academic discipline. The duration is usually three years at both types of institution.

Austria Educational System

Latest Austrian Higher Education study abroad stats

At this point a total number of 23,998 Austrian students were studying for a bachelor, master or other degree program abroad. According to UNESCO, these are the most popular study abroad destinations for Austrian students:

Austrian students studying abroad
UNESCO study abroad data related to Austrian outbound mobility

Latest Outbound Mobility Developments

The mobility of Austrian students is above the EU average. In 2021, 5,2% of all Austrian students enrolled in Higher Education studied abroad. 15.3% of all students in Austria come from abroad, a percentage only surpassed by Switzerland. A large contingent comes from Germany. This is largely due to cultural and proximity reasons. Among outbound Austrian students, Germany is also the most popular study destination.

Although scholarship programs are the main driver, bilateral cooperation between universities also constitute for a serious amount of annual outbound mobility. The CEEPUS program (Central European Exchange Program for University Studies) stimulates cooperation and mobility within the EU, while ASEA-UNITET (Asean-European Academic University Network) focuses on Asian bilateral agreements. Cooperation and mobility to the USA is promoted by means of, the Austrian Fulbright Program. (Source:

IB schools in Austria

Best performing Austrian Universities

Looking to partner with Universities from Austria? These are the best performing universities.

University of Vienna

THE Ranking: 134

Medical University of Graz

THE Ranking: 201 – 250

Medical University of Vienna

THE Ranking: 201 – 250

Upcoming Education Fairs in Austria

Scholarships for Austrian students

Share this market report!

Continue searching for upcoming education fairs by category:

All events