Private universities create their own curriculum

Study plan and choice of courses

The curriculum as an overview of all course content

So that you know what to expect during your studies, you should definitely take a look at the curriculum when choosing a degree. This contains all the details you should know about the course. For example, how many semester hours are planned per module, how many ECTS points you have to achieve during your studies.

Depending on the university or college you will find in the curriculum - also under the term Curriculum to find - more or less detailed descriptions of when which subjects are taught during the course of studies and what the content is. This allows you to determine whether the content corresponds to what you imagine the degree to be. Above all, the study plan is the best tool for comparing universities and technical colleges with one another.

All universities and technical colleges in Austria at a glance

Example 1: Bachelor in Psychology at the University of Salzburg

The University of Salzburg provides a study plan for the Bachelor in Psychology on its website. First you will find out that the Bachelor is designed for six semesters, contains 180 ECTS and ends with the "Bachelor of Science". These are important facts so that you also know that you are studying an accredited and state-recognized course of study. A brief introduction is followed by an overview of the course content:

So here you can see which subject areas are addressed in the course. Because the points listed are the generic terms for a wide variety of lectures and seminars, as can be seen below (excerpt):

The subject area “methodology” includes subjects such as “introduction to methodology” or “methodology & statistics”. Behind this you can see the semester hours (SSt.), The type of course (e.g. VO for a lecture) and in which semester the respective course is next. In this way you will find out when you can expect which course content.

But what exactly is "Methodology & Statistics"? Unfortunately, the study plan of the University of Salzburg says nothing about this. A Google search, however, brings up search results for other universities. Even if these are other universities, you can at least roughly see from the documents what exactly you will learn in this subject. Another method, if you can't find anything in a search engine, for example, is to call the University of Salzburg directly and get advice over the phone or have a more detailed curriculum sent to you.

Example 2: Bachelor of Business Administration at the University of Vienna

The University of Vienna also offers you an insight into the content and the course of study. On the subpage of the Bachelor in Business Administration you can find information on the duration of the course, the degree and the respective subjects. The curriculum including the study plan is also available as a PDF download. Here too, similar to the University of Salzburg, the study objectives and ECTS points are first discussed before the individual study modules are explained. Here is an excerpt from the compulsory subjects, amounting to 102 ECTS points:

This gives you an overview of which course contents are compulsory components of the course, with how many ECTS they are assessed and how many hours they are taught. One SSt (semester hour, also called SWS = weekly semester hour) means that you have 45 minutes of lessons.

And does the University of Vienna explain what is taught in the subject “General Business Administration: Marketing”, for example? Yes! A little further down in the document it is explained exactly which topics are covered in the lecture and which books are recommended. So you really know exactly what to expect in your studies.

The curriculum always looks different - fight your way through!

The study plan or curriculum is unfortunately structured differently at every university, technical college or college of education. So you will always have to fight your way through some texts to find out which course content is being taught exactly. But the effort is worth it, because only if you know what to expect in your studies can you be sure that you are interested in it.

I wish you success!

Choice of courses: differences between university and university of applied sciences

When, until a few years ago, there were only master’s and diploma programs, students still had the freedom to choose and enter the courses each semester exactly as it suited them best. Due to the Bologna process and the introduction of the Bachelor-Master system, this area has changed radically and the system has become more academic.

Although the differences between universities and universities of applied sciences are no longer that great, there are still some. But also between different universities there can be different requirements for the preparation or the specifications for the curriculum design.

Example: Bachelor of Business Administration at the University of Vienna

The University of Vienna does not provide a fixed curriculum for the Bachelor of Business Administration. Accordingly, each student can schedule the various lectures quite individually. So that you can still make it in the standard study period of six semesters, there is a recommendation from the course director. The course is divided into three phases:

  • Introductory and Orientation Phase (STEOP)
  • Core phase
  • Consolidation phase

If you do not successfully complete the three subjects that are taught in STEOP, you are not allowed to start the other phases. It is therefore important to observe certain “chains of prerequisites”. Accordingly, you may not be allowed to take an examination in subject X in the second semester if you have not yet successfully passed subject A in the first semester.

Create a timetable: this is how it works!

Example: Bachelor of Business Management at the Carinthia University of Applied Sciences

The preparation of the curriculum or the choice of courses at the Carinthia University of Applied Sciences looks different. Here, the respective subjects are assigned to the semesters for the various studies, so that you do not have to choose yourself. The curriculum is already fixed at the beginning of each semester, as this excerpt from the curriculum shows.

Depending on the study contract, you also have to attend all lectures. If you fail an exam or don't even start, you can usually take the lectures again in the following semester. However, there may be time conflicts with your new study / lecture plan.

Find out early

If you study at a university that specifies the courses every semester, you do not need to worry about the curriculum. However, if you are enrolled at a university like the University of Vienna, for example, which gives you free choice in the design, then you should contact the student advisory service early on and find out how best to organize your studies. This guarantees that you will study quickly and that is again important for the study allowance, for example.

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