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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Short-cycle higher education


7.2.First-cycle programmes

7.2.2Short-cycle higher education

Last update: 27 November 2023


In Austria there are no short-cycle higher education programmes but short-cycle tertiary programmes. The workload of short-cycle VET programmes differs; in the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) short-cycle programmes correspond to level 5.

Branches of study


Colleges of higher VET (years 12 and 13, diploma)

According to the latest ISCED classification 2011, the two final years of colleges of higher VET are now allocated to Level 5 and consequently to short-cycle tertiary education. This ensures that this school type’s special position as an educational track which awards a double qualification (a full professional qualification and the higher education entrance qualification) can be portrayed in a better way for the international comparison and from an outcome perspective.

additional information 

Schools and colleges for people in employment

The most important areas of schools and colleges for adults in Austria are the following:

  • Engineering, arts and crafts,
  • Business administration,
  • Early childhood education,
  • Social education / social care occupations.

Schools and colleges for people in employment address adults who have already entered the labour market or have completed an initial vocational education and training (VET) programme; and have a minimum age of 17 years. By attending these courses they have the opportunity to obtain appropriate educational qualifications. Most courses offer special vocational programmes (in the evening). Usually, the training lasts for 3 to 4 years. At the end of the training, a matriculation and diploma exam is taken (this is the same qualification as at colleges of higher vocational education and training (=colleges of higher VET)), which provides general access to post-secondary and tertiary educational institutions (by awarding the general university entrance qualification which confers the right to be admitted to universities or other higher education institutions) as well as to higher professional positions.

additional information 

Add-on courses

Add-on courses prepare students who have successfully completed schools of intermediate vocational education and training (=schools of intermediate VET) for the matriculation and diploma exam (it is the same educational attainment as at colleges of higher VET). The duration is six semesters.

additional information 

Industrial master colleges, building craftsperson and master craftsperson schools

Industrial master colleges, building craftsperson schools and master craftsperson schools are special types of trade, technical or artistic schools that provide specialist continuing education. For admission an aptitude test is required. The schools address people who have already completed their vocational training in a technical or trade area, have practical experience and aim to expand their theoretical knowledge.

The programmes last from 2 to 4 semesters and are completed by taking a final oral examination that also qualifies to train apprentices.

additional information 

Post-secondary VET courses

Kollegs” are post-secondary VET courses for holders of a higher education entrance qualification. They provide theoretical, subject-related knowledge and practical skills and competence equivalent to colleges of higher VET in 4 to 6 semesters of vocational training and lead to a final diploma examination.

Training programmes are available in a variety of specialist areas corresponding to colleges of higher VET (day and evening programmes).

Graduates of add-on courses, post-secondary VET courses and colleges for adults with a focus on engineering and agriculture can be conferred the professional title Ingenieur/Ingenieurin after 3 years of relevant professional experience.

additional informatiion 

Admission requirements

Please see here.


Please see here.

Teaching methods

Please see here.

Progression of students

Please see here.


Please see here.

Student assessment

Please see here.


Please see here.

Organisational variation

Please see here.