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Online PhD Degree Programs: Accreditation of Universities in Austria

Online PhD and Universities in Austria

While higher education in Austria has traditionally been dominated by state-run institutions, in 2001 private universities began to be accredited by the government. Accreditation involves evaluating the institution and its academic programs to see if they meet minimum quality benchmarks that are aligned with international standards. This ensures that students who have earned their degrees through online PhD programs will see their qualifications recognized by employers and academic institutions abroad. Even HEIs that have been accredited by foreign accreditation bodies still have to seek state recognition, or risk being penalized. The Austrian Accreditation Council is the body tasked with implementing the accreditation process.

Online PhD and Accreditation Process

HEIs must apply for accreditation if they are establishing a new private university or new academic programs. They must also periodically apply for extension of their accreditation, which can be withdrawn in cases of repeated misconduct or other legal violations. While accredited Austrian universities are required to use Privatuniversität (private university) in their German names, no such requirement exists for formal English names. Thus, even if a private institution calls itself a university in English, it may not be accredited; students enrolling in Distance PhD programs should keep this in mind.

Online PhD and Austrian Accreditation Council

Institutions applying for accreditation must offer at least two academic programs, which will result in the granting of an academic degree that takes at least three years to earn, and is offered in one or more disciplines or is a postgraduate program. HEIs must also have a wide range of course offerings, and must undertake research. Research degrees, including those given through online PhD programs must also be accredited by the Austrian Accreditation Council.

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