Do I need German to study in Austria?

Proof of German required by Austrian universities

Do I need German to study in Austria?

The majority of degree programmes in Austria are taught in German so, in most cases, if you want to study in Austria, you need to prove that you have sufficient knowledge of the German language.

The level classified as ‘sufficient knowledge’ varies depending on the institution. For example, some universities will accept a level B2 (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages), while others will require a level C1. Some will also accept your application with a lower level as long as you pass a pre-study German course before your degree programme starts. It’s important to check the specific requirements of individual universities.  

What is accepted as proof?

Like the required level, accepted proof varies depending on the institution. Most universities accept the following forms of proof.

1) German language diploma

A German as a foreign language certificate (DaF) corresponding to the required level will be accepted as adequate proof. In most cases, these certificates can not be more than 2/3 years old. Certificates from the following language schools/institutions are accepted by the majority of universities:

  • Österreuchisches Sprachdiplim Deutsch (ÖSD)
  • Goethe Institute
  • Telc Deutsch

2) School diploma

If you have attended a school where the main language of instruction was German, your leaving diploma will be accepted as proof of your German level.

Pre-study German courses

If your German is not quite up to scratch (level A2/B1), some universities will still accept your application, but they will ask you to take a pre-study German course at the OeAD  in Vienna, Braz or Leoban. You will need to finish the course and pass a supplementary German exam before the start of your university programme.

Can’t speak German?

If you can’t speak German, you can try to find courses that are taught in English. Unfortunately, Austrian universities do not offer many English-taught Bachelor programmes, but there are quite a few Master programmes aimed at international students and taught in English. You can search for English-taught programmes here .

Further reading

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