The Higher Education Law does not distinguish between the different types of higher educational institutions (universities, universities of applied sciences, universities of teacher training) as it is common in the other German-speaking countries. But the law does include a discretionary provision which allows higher education institutions to give themselves a specific profile by developing strengths in teaching and research. The Higher Education Law specifies the following orientations:
- the provision of research- and theory-oriented content;
- the provision of content that is oriented towards practical applications and/or based on research and theory.
In addition, the law sets out the possible legal forms of institutions of higher education. These are either institutions or foundations based on public law or legal entities in private law. However, regardless of their legal form, all institutions of higher education - including those based in Liechtenstein which offer distance learning - are subjects to approval by the government and are subject to the same legal rules.
Currently, the higher education sector in Liechtenstein comprises two recognised institutions:
|Name of Institution||Legal form||Subject areas||Study programmes||Acceditation status|
|University of Liechtenstein||public||economics, architecture||bachelor, master, doctorate and further education programmes||Accredited since 1960|
|Private University in the Principalty of Liechtenstein (UFL)||private||medicine, law||doctorate and further education programmes||Accredited since 2003|
As a research centre, the Liechtenstein Institute exists as a higher education-like institution governed by the relevant provisions in the Higher Education Law.
The courses of study at the above institutions are divided into a three-year bachelor programme (180 ECTS) and a two-year masters programme (120 ECTS). At the bachelor level students are taught basic knowledge and skills, while deeper, more specialised and more strongly research based knowledge is imparted at the masters level. Successful completion of a bachelor programme allows for an examination-free transition to a masters programme. Successul masters students can then pursue a doctorate.