THE AUSTRIAN SYSTEM OF HIGHER EDUCATION

The Austrian post-secondary and tertiary University Level Sector (Hochschulsektor) consists of:

  • Universities (Universitäten), maintained by the state;
  • Providers of University of Applied Sciences Degree Programs (Fachhochschul-Studiengänge or FH-Studiengänge) incorporated upon the basis of private or public law and subsidized by the state, with state accreditation;
  • Private Universities (Privatuniversitäten), operated by private organizations with state accreditation;
  • University Colleges of Teacher Education (Pädagogische Hochschulen) maintained by the state or operated by private organisations with state accreditation;
  • Higher Education for Health Professions (Akademien für Gesundheitsberufe), maintained by the state or operated by private organisations with state accreditation;

The following text addresses exclusively the University of Applied Sciences sector.

 

Overall Structure of University Level Higher Education
Since the inception of the Bologna Process in 1999, all the efforts of the Bologna Process members were targeted to creating the European Higher Education Area to ensure more comparable, compatible and coherent systems of higher education in Europe. Nowadays almost all study programs at tertiary level are based on the distinction between undergraduate and graduate studies.

Upon successful completion of an Undergraduate Program (Bachelor Studies at Universities; Fachhochschul-Bachelorstudiengang; Studiengang at university colleges of education; 180 ECTS credits), a Bachelor’s Degree (designation: “Bachelor of/in …” ) is awarded.

Upon completion of a Graduate Program (Master Studies at Universities comprising 120 ECTS credits or, respectively, Fachhochschul-Masterstudiengang comprising 60 to 120 ECTS credits), a Master’s Degree (designation: “Master of/in …” ) is awarded.

Graduates who are awarded a diploma degree from the old system or a master’s degree from the new system (including the ones awarded in both cases by the Universities of Applied Sciences) are entitled to enrol in Doctoral Degree Programs (Doktoratsstudium) at Universities. A Doctoral Degree (Doktorgrad with the designation Doktor/in”) is awarded after a course of study consisting of 120 ECTS credits; while the academic title of “Doctor of Philosophy”, abbreviated as “PhD,” is awarded after a research intensive course of study consisting of 180 to 240 ECTS credits.

In addition to the degree programs (ordentliche Studien) described above, non-degree programs (außerordentliche Studien) exist consisting of Certificate University programs for further education (Universitätslehrgänge) and individual courses in scientific subjects, both at Universities, Certificate University of Applied Sciences programs for further education (Lehrgänge zur Weiterbildung) at Universities of Applied Sciences, and Certificate University College programs for further education (Hochschullehrgänge) at University Colleges of Education.

 

Bachelor Degree Program (Bachelorstudium)
Admission to a Bachelor Degree Program is granted upon the basis of the Austrian higher secondary school leaving certificate (Reifezeugnis)/its foreign equivalent, or the successful completion of a special university entrance qualification examination (Studienberechtigungsprüfung). Students of compulsory lower schools who have completed additional schooling in the form of apprenticeships as skilled workers may take a vocationally based examination acknowledged as equivalent to the higher secondary school leaving certificate (Berufsreifeprüfung). Admission to Bachelor Degree Programs in the arts is based on aptitude ascertained by admission examinations.

Admission to the University of Applied Sciences Bachelor Degree Programs may also take place upon the basis of previous vocational or technical experience and qualifications of applicants. In some fields of study (in particular University of Applied sciences Bachelor Degree Programs and study programs at university colleges of teacher education) admission is based on a selective admission process.

Areas/modules of study (Fächer/Module) are listed in the curricula. As a rule, two substantial bachelor’s papers or projects (Bachelorarbeiten) must be completed in the process of completing the degree program requirements. University of Applied Sciences bachelor degree programs and some bachelor degree programs at Universities include an internship or practical training. The program concludes with a bachelor’s examination (Bachelorprüfung).

 

Master Degree Programs (Masterstudium)
Admission to a Master Degree Programs is granted on the basis of the successful completion of an Austrian Bachelor Degree Program (Bachelorstudium), or a comparable post-secondary degree acknowledged as being its equivalent. Areas/modules of study (Fächer/Module) are listed in the curricula. A main component of the program is the composition of a master thesis (Masterarbeit). This degree program concludes with a master examination (Masterprüfung). The approval of the master thesis (Masterarbeit) is a prerequisite for admission to this examination.
No Master Degree Programs are offered at University Colleges of Teacher Education and Higher Education for Health Professions .

Doctoral Degree Programs (Doktoratsstudium)
Admission to a Doctoral Degree Program at a University is granted on the basis of the successful completion of an Austrian diploma or Master degree program, or a comparable post-secondary degree acknowledged as being their equivalent. Contents and requirements of study are listed in the curricula. The focus lies with the drafting of a dissertation as the result of self-guided research performance. This degree program concludes with the approval of the dissertation and with a comprehensive doctoral examination (Rigorosum) or a defensio.
No Doctoral Degree programs are offered at Universities of Applied Sciences and at University Colleges of Education.

Evaluation of Performance and Grading System
According to the modalities for examinations outlined in the curricula, achievement may be evaluated upon the basis of oral and written exams or project related work. In principle oral examinations are open to the public.

Grades for examinations taken in individual courses: positive: 1 = sehr gut / excellent
2 = gut / good
3 = befriedigend /satisfactory
4 = genügend /sufficient
mit Erfolg teilgenommen

negative:
5 = nicht genügend / insufficient
ohne Erfolg teilgenommen

Grades for comprehensive examinations covering materials from various subjects: positive:
mit Auszeichnung bestanden
mit gutem Erfolg bestanden
bestanden

negative: nicht bestanden

LBS Academic Programs

Full Address of the Lauder Business School
Lauder Business School (LBS), University of Applied Sciences
Hofzeile 18-20
1190 Vienna
Austria
Tel: +43 (0) 1 369 18 18
Fax: +43 (0) 1 369 18 17
e-mail: office@lbs.ac.at
web: www.lbs.ac.at

Since October 2007, the Lauder Business School (University of Applied Sciences) has offered two Study Programs, an Undergraduate Bachelor Program in International Business Administration, and a Graduate Master Program in International Management & Leadership.

As of spring term 2014, LBS offers an additional Graduate Master Program in Banking, Finance and Compliance.

LBS (University of Applied Sciences) is a public education institution, accredited and subsidized by the Austrian government. The structure and organization of study programs at Austrian Fachhochschulen/Universities of applied sciences are laid down in the Fachhochschul Studies Act (Fachhochschul-Studiengesetz, FHStG).

The Lauder Business School is not a Private University.

Undergraduate Program: Bachelor in International Business Administration
The academic program provides an international, competitive education in the field of business administration with a strong focus on practical application.
Together with a solid intercultural education (including one foreign language other than English) graduates are specifically prepared for employment in organizations and enterprises with an international focus where cultural diversity is an important issue.
Graduates of this program are qualified to continue their studies at graduate level.

Key Features:
• Full-time Course of Study, attendance is mandatory
• 6 Semesters, 180 ECTS
• One Practical Training Semester (16-22 Weeks, Semester 5)
• Academic Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Business
• Language of Instruction: English

Graduate Program: Master in International Management and Leadership
This study program strives both to broaden student knowledge in applied business administration and to develop management and leadership skills. Graduates will be qualified for upper management positions in international companies. Basics of executive management such as decision-making and strategizing within complex organizational structures form the program’s focus and LBS’s training is shaped by the most advanced contemporary learning and teaching methods (e.g. project-based learning). Moreover, applied research skills are taught and practised.
Key features:
• Full-time Course of Study, attendance is mandatory,
• 4 Semesters, 120 ECTS
• Academic Degree: Master of Arts
• Language of Instruction: English

Graduate Program: Master in Banking, Finance and Compliance
This innovative master program Banking, Finance and Compliance (BFC) combines contemporary knowledge and concepts in the field of international banking and finance with the relevant topics of law and policy and the tools and techniques of compliance management. The drastic changes to the regulative frameworks international organizations operate in (Basel III, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, Corporate Governance Codes, valuation and accounting regulations, etc.) means that contemporary business professionals need a new and very special profile. The principal topics dealt with in this course are risk management, regulation of financial markets and institutions, and regulation compliance and management in the light of current financial, economic, regulative and banking developments.

Students will acquire expert knowledge in the field of Banking and Finance and in managing institutions within this industry as well as in consulting and auditing organizations regarding compliance with a complex framework of regulations, standards and codes.
Key features:
• Full-time Course of Study, attendance is mandatory,
• 4 Semesters, 120 ECTS
• Academic Degree: Master of Arts
• Language of Instruction: English
• Study year starts in March!

Organization of Study Programs
All FH degree programs have a clearly defined regular study period, which is regulated in the approved applications for accreditation as a FH degree program. Basically, the study program must be completed in the period stated in the curriculum (Regelstudienzeit).
The curriculum of an FH degree program is designed in accordance with professional requirements. It must be ensured that all qualifications and skills needed in relevant fields of employment are imparted according to the latest academic findings. When designing the curricula, it has to be considered that the workload is manageable. It has been taken into account that the annual workload of a student must not exceed 1,500 hours (cf. section 3 sub-sections 2 no 4 FHStG). The workload of a curriculum is measured based on the European Credit Transfer System.

The European Credit Transfer System (ECTS, 253/2000/EC, Official Gazette no. L28 of 3 February 2000) stipulates that credits are allocated to individual courses (30 credits are given for each semester and 60 for each academic year). In this context, placements and bachelor works or master theses are considered equivalent to courses.
ECTS

What is a credit system?
A credit system is a systematic way of describing a study program by attaching credits to its components. The definition of credits in higher education systems may be based on different parameters, such as student workload, learning outcomes and contact hours.

What does the ECTS stand for?
The European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System is a student-centred system based on the student workload required to achieve the objectives of a program, objectives preferably specified in terms of the learning outcomes and competences to be acquired.

How did ECTS develop?
ECTS was introduced in 1989 and is the only credit system which has been successfully tested and used across Europe. ECTS was set up initially for credit transfer. The system facilitated the recognition of periods of study abroad and thus enhanced the quality and volume of student mobility in Europe. Recently ECTS has been developing into an accumulation system to be implemented at institutional, regional, national and European level. This is one of the key objectives of the Bologna Declaration of June 1999.

What are the key features of ECTS?

  • ECTS is based on the principle that 60 credits measure the workload of a full-time student during one academic year. The student workload of a full-time study program in Europe amounts in most cases to around 1500 hours per year and, in these cases, one credit stands for around 25 to 30 working hours.
  • Credits in ECTS can only be obtained after successful completion of the work required and positive assessment of the learning outcomes achieved. Learning outcomes are sets of competences, expressing what the student will know, understand or be able to do after the completion of a process of learning.
  • Student workload in ECTS consists of the time required to complete all planned learning activities such as attending lectures, seminars, independent and private study, preparation of projects and examinations.
  • Credits are allocated to all educational components of a study program (such as modules, courses, placements, dissertation work, etc.) and reflect the quantity of work each component requires to achieve its specific objectives or learning outcomes in relation to the total quantity of work necessary to successfully complete a full year of study.
  • The performance of the student is documented by a local/national grade.
  • The Transcript of Records documents the performance of a student by showing the list of courses taken, the ECTS credits gained, local or national credits, if any, local grades and possibly ECTS grades awarded. In the case of credit transfer, the Transcript of Records has to be issued by the home institution for outgoing students before departure and by the host institution for incoming students at the end of their period of study.

The schedule for students at Universities of Applied Sciences is very structured but also busy. The following example should be a guideline to calculate the workload for students for a course.

Course – Workload (Example)
Total ECTS: 3
1 ECTS = 25 hours
Total Workload = 75 hours

Contact hours per week: 2
1 contact hour = 0.75 hours
Total hours per week: 1.5 hours
12 teaching units = 18 hours

Remaining hours: 57 hours

Grading scheme:
Classroom participation/quizzes/reading material: 35% –
total workload: 20 hours (i.e. approx. 1.5 hours per session preparation time at home)
Seminar paper: 25% – total workload: 14 hours preparation time
Final exam: 40% – total workload: 23 hours preparation time

Diploma Supplement (DS)
The Diploma Supplement is a document attached to a higher education diploma providing a standardized description of the nature, level, context, content and status of the studies that were successfully completed by the graduate. The Diploma Supplement is issued by the higher education institution awarding the original diploma or degree.
The Diploma Supplement provides transparency and facilitates academic and professional recognition of qualifications (diplomas, degrees, certificates). It provides additional information to that included in the official degrees / diplomas and/or transcript, making it more easily understood, especially by employers or institutions outside the issuing country.