Moves to establish a standardised European Higher Education Area have led to the introduction of a two-cycle degree system across Europe. Bachelor’s degree programmes generally comprise 180 to 240 ECTS points and Master’s degree programmes 90 to 120 ECTS points – regardless of whether the course is at a university or a university of applied sciences.
This standardised degree system benefits the students above anyone else: anyone completing a Bachelor’s degree at a university of applied sciences is entitled to enrol on a Master’s programme at a university – and vice versa. However, additional examinations may be required in both cases. The Master’s degree programme can be practical or research-oriented.
Graduates of a Master’s degree programme at a university of applied sciences can pursue a further academic career at a university: regardless of any additional examinations required, Master’s graduates from a university of applied sciences meet the admission requirements for taking a relevant doctoral programme at a university.
Teaching, research and further education at universities of applied sciences, in particular FH JOANNEUM, can be described by the following six characteristics:
Theory and practice
The practical relevance and professional orientation at universities of applied sciences is generally greater than at universities. Internships, project-oriented teaching, lecturers with professional experience and close collaboration with companies and organisations provide an optimal combination of theory and practice. The graduates are ideally equipped to enter the professional world straight after graduation.
Multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary
The FH JOANNEUM Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programmes place great importance on social skills as well as methodological and specialist expertise: English, intercultural competence, project management and communication are all part of the course. Many degree programmes such as eHealth are organised along interdisciplinary lines. Interdisciplinary approaches also form a focal point of the applied research projects in which students participate.
Internationalisation is taking off in all fields. In addition to learning languages and acquiring intercultural skills, students can also undertake a semester or internship abroad. Many students spend a semester at a partner university abroad.
Studying in small groups
The admission process and the limited number of places – 15 to max. 60 – guarantees students at universities of applied sciences a seat in all classes, seminars and labs. This makes contact with other students and lecturers more personal. The students in each year group complete all the classes together – and so a sense of community develops.
Fixed study period
Universities of applied sciences have a fixed curriculum: attendance of lectures and seminars is compulsory. It is therefore possible to complete a Bachelor’s degree programme in 6 semesters and a Master’s in 3 or 4 semesters.
Good job opportunities
Internships, courses geared to the job market and a practical focus make it easier for graduates to enter the professional world. Only an average of 2% of the approx. 10,000 graduates of FH JOANNEUM are registered as unemployed. Universities of applied sciences offer a wide range of continuing education courses for people in employment seeking further specialist or personal training.
The criteria governing the choice between a university of applied sciences and a university are down to the individual and where the required education can be completed. Professional training in the healthcare sector (midwifery, physiotherapy or speech therapy) is offered only by universities of applied sciences, which also provide specially tailored courses and part-time courses for people in employment.
Doctor or lawyer: these and some other academic programmes can only be completed at a university. Teacher training programmes are offered by universities and university colleges of teacher education.