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About the Austrian Private Universities Conference (ÖPUK)

The first private universities in Austria were founded approximately 20 years ago. Today, with 16 private universities, the sector complements the Austrian higher education sector and contributes significantly to its diversification. It offers market and demand-oriented training in innovative fields. Continuous internal and external evaluation of teaching and research by the Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation Austria (AQ Austria) ensures a quality of education that meets international standards. This provides graduates with plenty of opportunities on the (international) job market.

Important information at a glance

  • Austria’s 16 private universities offer a broad spectrum of academic options in more than 200 degree programmes, particularly in social and economic sciences, law, medicine, theology, philosophy as well as arts and music studies.
  • In recent years, Austrian private universities have recorded the highest growth rates within the four higher education sectors. With about 15 000 students, the private university sector has a market share of 4%.
  • With a share of 44%, the percentage of international students is higher than that of universities of applied sciences or public universities.
  • The ÖPUK is a founding member of the European Union of Private Higher Education (EUPHE), an association of European private universities that advocates for more decision-making powers and standardised access criteria for private universities in Europe and presents these issues to the European Parliament.

General information about the ÖPUK

Private universities are the third pillar of the tertiary education system in Austria and, at the same time, the sector of higher education with the fastest growth rates in Austria. With growth rates between 5% and 11%, almost 15 000 students and more than 200 degree programmes at 16 private universities, the sector boasts increasing demand. Private universities contribute significantly to the Austrian export of education with 39% of students being international students (as compared to 27% at public universities and 16% at universities of applied sciences). Moreover, the number of students registered at private universities has increased by 50% within the last five years.