UAS or uni: What suits me better?

Good question. Many young people are uncertain after leaving school whether they should study at a university of applied sciences (UAS) or at university. There are good reasons for either type of university, and you need to weigh the pros and cons carefully before you decide. In order to make this decision easier for you, we would like to explain the differences between a university of applied sciences and a university.

Are there differences between what’s on offer at a university of applied sciences and at university?

The offer of universities of applied sciences pertains to technical, economic and social studies. In economic studies in particular, there is a wide selection of degree programmes: at University of Applied Sciences BFI Vienna you can choose among ten bachelor programmes and six master programmes. Law studies, medicine, pharmacy, or economics are only offered by universities, however.

Which studies are more difficult – at UAS or university?

This depends on the chosen degree programme and your personal skills. Starting at university is generally easier as there is usually no admission procedure. To restrict the number of students later on, however, there are “knock-out exams“ in quite a few degree programmes. Universities of applied sciences restrict study places from the start through admission procedures, which results in smaller groups, which in turn lead to a greater sense of community within the degree programme and a better lecturer-student ratio.

UAS or university degree: which is better for my job prospects?

There is no definitive answer to this question as career options and salaries vary considerably from one sector to another. Formally, a UAS degree and a university degree are equivalent to each other. Due to their high practice orientation, however, universities of applied sciences have a high standing with enterprises. UAS lecturers often have a practice-oriented approach (in contrast to universities). Close co-operation with business and industry also allows students to network already during their studies –for instance in their mandatory traineeships – which may prove very useful for their future careers. In addition, it is much easier to juggle jobs and studies at a university of applied sciences.

Is a UAS just another school, then?

It is true that at a university of applied sciences you have set timetables, students are organised in cohorts, and they very often work on projects in small groups. Attendance is mandatory in most courses, which is rather rare at universities. You may be less flexible at a UAS as a consequence, but on the other hand you can finish your degree in the minimum programme duration. This may be rather difficult at university due to crowded lecture halls, and due to the high frequency of exams. While a university of applied sciences takes care of most of organisational matters for you, studying at university requires independence and discipline.

We hope to have been able to offer you some reference points. The question of whether it is a university of applied sciences or a university for you finally hinges on your personal needs and expectations and therefore there can be no general answer to it.

For further questions please refer to the UAS Infopoint.


UAS studies may be right for you if you...

  • appreciate practice orientation
  • want to acquire knowledge that can be immediately applied to your job
  • require organisational support and structure in your studies
  • want to study in small cohesive groups
  • want to work and study
  • want to study without school-leaving certificate

University studies may be right for you if you if you...

  • like theoretical studies, research and scientific work
  • are self-organised and an autonomous learner
  • like larger study groups
  • want to choose when and how you take your courses

Costs, funding, and study grants

UAS: €363.36 student fees per semester, Austrian Students Union fee of €20.70 excluded

Uni: Austrian Students Union fee of €20.70; after minimum duration of studies: €363.36 student fees per semester

There are various forms of financial support for students:

  • Study grant
  • Self-supporter‘s scholarship
  • Academic achievement scholarship, scholarship, and grant for language courses
  • Travel grant
  • Travel allowance

Information available at:

Austrian Students Union

Austrian Study Grant Authority