Studying in Austria
In Austria you can enrol in any number of study courses. When it comes to lessons, the term Semesterwochenstunde, which indicates the duration (how many hours) of a given lesson per week and semester, is still used occasionally. But now, also in Austria the term ECTS (in Italian CFU - university credits) has become well established, which is used to measure the workload required by the student. The academic year is divided into a "winter semester" (Wintersemester) and a "summer semester" (Sommersemester).
Higher institutes for vocational qualifications
In addition to universities, there are also the so-called Fachhochschulen (vocational training colleges). While in Italy this type of university institution does not exist, in Germany and Austria the Fachhochschulen have a special status because, although the educational provision is reduced compared to traditional universities, the courses offered are very specialized and practice-oriented. Lessons are held in small groups - a bit like at school. Attendance at Fachhochschulen is advisable if you have already decided which profession you would like to practise after your studies.
The topic of tuition fees has been discussed in Austria for years. In state universities only non-EU citizens and graduate students pay tuition fees (4 years for the triennial, 3 years for the master's degree). The amount of tuition is about 363,36€ per semester - and here too there are exceptions. Everyone else has to pay the ÖH contribution of 21.20 euro/semester (updated for winter semester 2022/23).
In most vocational colleges, fees of around 363,36€/semester are paid. Some institutions, such as the Joanneum in Graz, do not have fees, but at other institutions or private universities they may be higher.
Universities Act Amendment 2021 ("UG-Novelle")
The amendment to the Universities Act introduced a number of innovations:
Minimum academic achievement for Bachelor's and diploma studies: Students who enrol in a Bachelor's or diploma study programme from the academic year 2022/23 onwards must achieve an academic achievement of at least 16 ECTS in the first four semesters in order to continue their studies. These ECTS can be earned in the winter semester until 31 October and in the summer semester until 31 March. The decisive factor for the calculation is the date of completion of the performance. If the required ECTS are not completed, the degree programme cannot be continued. A new admission to this study programme at the same university or university of applied sciences is possible after two years.
Combination of Master's and doctoral studies: Universities may offer a combined Master's and doctoral programme.
Change in admission deadlines/elimination of grace period: the winter semester now begins at all universities and universities of teacher education on 1 October, the summer semester on 1 March; the end of the semester is also uniform (30 September or 28 or 29 February). The previous grace period (until 30 November or 30 April) is thus no longer applicable. Admission to a degree programme must be received by 5 September (winter semester) or 5 February (summer semester).
Payment of ÖH fees: In future, the ÖH/study fees must be paid by 31 October for the winter semester and by 31 March for the summer semester in order to be duly notified of the continuation of studies.
ECTS fairness: the changes in the UG amendment are intended to ensure even greater bindingness for higher education institutions when reporting the workload.
All changes as well as detailed information on the amendment can be found on the website of the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research.