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I did my Bachelor's (STEM) at a German university and I'm considering doing my Master's in Austria. For now, I also want to do a Ph.D. in Germany later.

How are degrees from Austria viewed in Germany - especially concerning PhD applications? I heard most of the German PhD students and professors studied in Germany. Is it a problem that in Austria you receive a Dipl.-Ing. instead of a M.Sc.?

I know the biggest factors for being accepted in a PhD position are the overlaps in research interests of the supervisor and me, grades, and selected courses but if I wanted to maximize my chances, would it be "safer" to stay in Germany for my Master's as well?

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    I'm tempted to say the most significant difference between Austria and Germany regarding degrees probably is that the Austrians have an even stronger fetish about showing off with their degrees than the Germans... ;-) On a more serious note, re "How are degrees from Austria viewed in Germany - especially concerning PhD applications?" I would be very surprised if any potential PhD advisor cared whether you got your degree in Austria or in Germany. (I don't post this as an answer though, since I'm not in engineering and also since I don't know whether the Diplom could cause any formal issues.) Oct 12, 2023 at 15:38
  • "Is it a problem that in Austria you receive a Dipl.-Ing. instead of a M.Sc.?" - This statement is false. As most European countries, Austria follows the Bologna process (BSc/MSc/PhD). Outside of the (performing) arts and/or a time machine, you can't enrol in a Diplom degree. Some Master programs in engineering additionally convey the title of "Dipl.-Ing.", which will be translated as "M.Sc." on English documents. But it is literally the same program. Oct 13, 2023 at 10:41
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    @coffee_into_plots This statement is not entirely correct. In Austria, some places still award a "Dipl.-Ing." degree, even though the course as such is a master's program. See, e.g. tuwien.at/en/studies/studies/master-programmes/… In particular, the corresponding degree certificate states that it conveys the title Dipl.-Ing., and says it is "Equivalent to MSc" - but MSc is not the actual title conveyed.
    – user151413
    Oct 13, 2023 at 18:27
  • @user151413 Huh, fair enough, thought it was the other way round as stated. Oct 16, 2023 at 13:10

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The academic communities in Germany and Austria, and also the German speaking part of Switzerland, are so much intertwined that it will hardly matter whether you get a degree in one country or the other. I think academic mobility between these countries is so high that it's not really distinguishable from academic mobility between say different regions of Germany. When you heard that most researchers or professors in Germany studied in Germany, I think what was meant is that they studied in German-speaking countries.

Degrees from Austria would be seen as in principle equivalent to their German counterparts, but of course professors would to some extent be familiar with whether a specific study program in another country is a good or not so good program, similarly like they would be aware of that for programs at other universities in their own country.

Regarding the MSc vs. Dipl.-Ing., you should be aware that the MSc was introduced in German engineering programs only maybe 10 - 15 years ago, so many professors in engineering will still have a Dipl.-Ing. degree themselves!

Overall, if the particular program that you are interested in is of a similar quality than possible alternatives in Germany, getting a degree in Austria will not impact your career options in Germany.

One point maybe is that irrespective of the country it can generally be a bit easier to get a PhD position in the same university where you are doing your master than somewhere else. If you have particular universities in mind where you'd want to do a PhD, whether German or Austrian, it could pay off to try doing already your master there.

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  • Maybe a small addition is that it might matter what the official subject of the master's/diploma programme is: If it is not considered to cover the "right" contents, you might be required to take some additional courses, depending on the admission rules of the place.
    – user151413
    Oct 13, 2023 at 18:25

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