Private universities form one of the three pillars of Austria’s tertiary education system alongside public universities and universities of applied sciences, and are the country’s fastest growing university sector.
With a growth rate of over 15%, some 10,000 students and 150 different courses offered by a total of 13 institutions, private universities have become increasingly popular since their introduction in 2000. 39% of students at private universities are from outside Austria – compared to 27% at public universities and 16% at universities of applied sciences – and student numbers have increased by roughly 50% in the last five years. This means that private universities make a larger contribution to education exports in Austria than any other higher-education sector.
There are currently 13 private universities in Austria, which offer a diverse range of academic courses, mainly in the areas of social science, business, law, medicine, theology, philosophy as well as the arts and music.
Regular internal assessment of teaching and learning as well as external evaluation by the Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation Austria (AQ Austria) guarantees that the education they provide meets international quality standards. This ensures that graduates enjoy excellent career prospects.
The Österreichische Privatuniversitäten Konferenz (ÖPUK) is an association representing all of the accredited private universities in Austria. In the interests of promoting the positive development of the Austrian university system, one of the ÖPUK’s objectives is to inform the public about the benefits of private universities and their courses, as well as the problems which they encounter.