In the midst of my quest for potential countries to find a funded Ph.D position in computer science, I came across Austria. However, my initial impression was there is no big chances for international student there for the following reasons:

  1. Most of the universities websites are not fully available in English (In contrast to German universities websites, Austrian's one have many brochures and sub-links related to postgraduate studies in German only)
  2. I have sent few emails inquiring the admission and I received responses apologizing for not accepting international students
  3. Every time I google (Ph.D computer science Austria) I get results about Australia instead. (I know the way I used to search here is trivial but isn't this an indicator?)

So my question here, do you agree with my impression or not? If yes, do you have more information that Austria has no many chances for international students? If no, would you explain why. Generally, do you advise to go ahead with my search in Austria or it is waste of time. All answers and comments are appreciated.

  • 2
    To improve search results, put Austria in quotation marks, use the verbatim search, or exclude Australia using -australia. Anecdotally, when I was searching for a PhD position I had a rejection from an Austrian university saying that I was ranked third for the position, but I wasn't even given a Skype interview. Struck me as a little odd given that the position was funded. My impressions from the search were that the Scandinavian countries, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Belgium seemed the most accepting of international students.
    – Moriarty
    Feb 19, 2014 at 6:15

1 Answer 1


Doing a PhD in the German-speaking part of the world works a bit differently. Typically, you would find an advisor that has project funding or the like and is willing to hire you as a "scientific employee". Being admitted to the PhD studies itself is most often not that difficult once you have an advisor - there are formal requirements, for sure. But with a Master degree from a "proper university", this is likely not to be the problem.

The employment part is also very relevant when it comes to visa questions, health insurances, and the like. It may easily be that the reason why you have been told that no international students are taken is that without the prospect of getting employed in a Professor's research group, there is little hope for getting a student visa for PhD studies (that's just a guess, though).

A notable exception to the above guidelines are graduate schools. A well-known example is the one of the IST Austria (http://ist.ac.at/), which has internationalization as one of its explicit goals. You might want to have a look at their web page. But even the text on that page talks about "employment as a PhD student".

  • Yes, I checked IST, it was the only one I found explicitly offering PhD positions for international students. I missed their deadline for the upcoming academic year though.
    – Hawk
    Feb 19, 2014 at 12:55

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