After reading this question focusing on Austrian titles themselves, I still have a couple of open points that I would like to understand, especially around the relationship between Austrian titles and EU titles.

  1. What is the difference between a magister title (“Mag.”, which would come before the name) and, for example, a master of science (”M.Sc.”, which comes after the name)?
  2. Assuming one received a second-level Bologna degree (300 ECTS) – a master’s degree in mathematics, for example – from a German university, which one of the two titles would they use in Austria?

4 Answers 4


Note: As this post has been moved from the German SE, it contains a lot of German. I can add translations on request, but I'll leave it as is for now.

The title you get is exactly the one official notification (in Austria: Bescheid) you receive from your university, which usually contains some information on using it. I, for example, have one that says literally

[...] verleihe ich Ihnen den akademischen Grad Diplom-Ingenieur (Dipl.-Ing. oder DI). Der akademische Grad Diplom-Ingenieur/in, abgekürzt "Dipl.-Ing.", entspricht international dem "Master of Science", abgekürzt "MSc".

The English variant was introduced by the Bologna unification and is just a different name -- presumably the same holds in other countries. That means I am officially allowed to use any of these variants (but only one at at time, of course -- unless I would have received another degree with the same designation!). Since Austria is trivially part of "international", too, it is equally permissible, and nowadays not uncommon, to use the MSc instead of the Dipl.-Ing. even within the country.

Now, the above holds because I graduated from a Technische Universität, which distinguish themselves by the special degree of Dipl.-Ing. What title you get is in fact just defined by the university regulations and your curriculum. Regular universities before Bologna used to confer Magister, and still do, with the English equivalent of MA (Magister Artium).

These are not necessarily differentiated between subject families -- so one could, in principle, get a Mag. for both physics and law -- but also a specialized form like Mag. iur. or Mag. pharm.. In any case, you will receive a similar Bescheid telling you that you may use the German title, or one of the English equivalents -- which will likely be MSc for a technical subject, but could be MA if the university chooses to.

Similar things hold for doctorates. Typically, technical universities confer Dr. techn., regular ones Dr. rer. nat. or Dr. iur. or Dr. rer. soc. oek. or whatever, but most will nowadays list PhD as an allowed equivalent form on some Bescheid. In contrast, from most medial universities you get a Dr. med. univ., but this is just a Berufsdoktorat (like an MD in the US, I guess). It does not come with a PhD equivalent, and cannot usually be used outside the DACH region for potential of confusion.

So, it really just boils down what is literally said on the Bescheid. Sometimes this can get relevant: for example, until some point, Fachhochschulen were only allowed to confer Mag. (FH) degrees. These have become equivalent to regular Mag., but you need an extra Bescheid to be allowed to just use Mag.!

This holds also for foreign degrees. You can officially use them in their literal form (as originally conferred), with some privileges to degrees from EU countries (see here). Beyond that, you can get an Anerkennungsbescheid, and then use whatever is specified in there.

  • Regarding doctorates: I don't know the general situation, but for some curricula and universities in Austria, you do not get a "Dr. rer. nat" anymore, but only a PhD.
    – kof
    Commented Dec 12, 2023 at 15:21
  • Getting a "Bescheid" is new and kind of depressing. I remember the half-sqare-meter piece of heavy hand-made paper with an inscription in Latin, no less. These were the days!
    – bakunin
    Commented Dec 12, 2023 at 15:25
  • @bakunin True, it's kind of sobering. And I got my degree during Covid, meaning I had my Masters exam online and then picked up the papers from the faculty secretary without any further ado :D Honestly, I kind of liked it this way, though. Not a huge fan of all that Brimborium. Commented Dec 13, 2023 at 15:06
  • @bakunin in addition mine had also wax seals Commented Dec 13, 2023 at 16:55

Broadly speaking, Mag. is an older title which may still exist in some niche curricula but is mostly superseded by M. Sc. In the case someone has both a Mag. and a M. Sc., I would assume in title-hungry Austria they'd use both.

  • "In the case someone has both a Mag. and a M. Sc." How would one get both? By having an "older" Austrian degree and a "newer" one? Commented Dec 12, 2023 at 13:55
  • @user1301428 Exactly: In the course of the Bologna process, the titles in university curricula were change step by step, starting in the early 2000s. I.e., if someone got a title before the change from Mag. to M. Sc., and another one afterwards, they'd have ended up with both.
    – kof
    Commented Dec 12, 2023 at 15:18

The "old" university system in Austria had several titles: "Magister", "Diplomingenieur" and "Doktor".

You finished you "normal" studies (usually 8-10 semesters) and wrote a sort-of "thesis" (the name was different, but otherwise it was the same). Then you got a "Magister" ("Mag." if you studied on a general university or a "Diplomingenieur" ("Dipl.-Ing.") if you studied on a technical university. Optionally you could do further studies (usually 2-3 years of slave labour for a Prof.), write your doctoral thesis, have some additional examinations ("Rigorosen") and you became a "Doktor" ("Dr.").

This was the "old" system. Since the Bologna process (an EU-wide process to make university-level education more (grammar) school-like, less valuable and more time-consuming) was also implemented on austrian universities there are now "bachelors" (roughly what was called "erster Studienabschnitt" before but requires a "mini-thesis") and "masters" (equivalent to "Magister" and "Diplomingenieur"). Notice that some departments (for instance: law) still have the old system in place - but only the departments in public universities.

There are some private universities with departments also offered in state-run universities which use the Bologna-system instead: for instance, studying law at the University of Vienna is done in the old system and your studies end with a "Sponsion" to "Magister juris" ("Mag. jur.") with the option of doing a "Doktoratsstudium" and become "Dr. jur." (or, rather, because you needed to do the normal studies before, "Dr. Mag. jur.") Studying law at the Sigmund Freud Privatuniversität Wien your studies will make you a "Master of Law" (LL.M) and you can add a "Doktoratsstudium" after that the same way.

PS: in addition to these titles there is also "Privatdozent" (former "Universitätsdozent") as the highest title one can achieve by writing an additional thesis, a "Habilitation". This is the usual qualification for becoming an "(außer-)ordentlicher Universitätsprofessor", a full professor. See more here.


There is this Bologna Process which is a reform of European universities that started in 1999, with all EU-states (among them Austria) and some other states (like Norway and Switzerland) as foundation member states. Other countries in Europe and Asia joined later.

Among some other reforms (most notable the ECTS system), the national systems of academic degrees were altered, so that these degrees are easier to compare and easier to accept by other countries that are members of the Bologna Process.

Before 1999, there was no degree comparable to a Bachelor degree in Austria. The majority of university study programs lasted 10 semesters (5 years) and ended with a degree called »Magister«, but some programs named their degree different, like »Diplom-Ingenieur«.

After that you could add a second study course, to gain the degree »Doktor«. Only when you studied medicine, the first degree you could get was already »Doktor«, but the program lasted longer than 10 semesters (I'm not sure, but I think it was 16 semesters).

After the Bolognia Process was applied, the situation in Austria is this:

When you start to study on an Austrian University after you left school, you are in the first cycle, which usually lasts 6 semester. When you finish this cycle, you get one of these degrees:

  • »Bakkalaureus« if you are male and »Bakkalaurea« if you are female
    Abbreviated as »Bakk.« (Examples: »Bakk. techn.«, »Bakk. rer. soc. oec.«)
  • »Bachelor«
    Abbreviated as »B« (Examples: »BSc.« »BSc«, »BA«, »BA.«, »B.Eng.«)

Which of these two degrees you get depends on a decision of the university that was made when the study program was submitted to be accredited by the ministry of science. But both degrees (Bakkalaureus/Bakkalaurea and Bachelor) are fully equivalent, they are just different names for the same degree. When the abbreviation is written together with the persons name, it is added behind the name and separated from it by a comma. (Sandra Huber, BA)

After that is a second cycle that lasts only 4 semesters, and it ends with one of these degree:

  • »Magister« if you are male and »Magistra« if you are female
    Abbreviated as »Mag.« and written before the persons name (Mag. Sandra Huber)
  • »Diplom-Ingenieur«
    Abbreviated as »Dipl.-Ing.« or »DI« and written before the persons name (Dipl.-Ing. Sandra Huber).
  • »Master«
    Abbreviated as »M«, always with some extra letters indicating the kind of study plrogram, similar to the abbreviation of the bachelor degree, ands always written behind the name, separated by a comma (Sandra Huber, MSc.)
  • »Doktor der gesamten Heilkunde«
    When you studied Human medicine. Note, that this medicine "Doktor" is a degree of the second cycle, so it is not equivalent to the "Doktor" degrees of the third cycle, mentioned in the next block. Abbreviated as »Dr. med. univ.« and written before the name (Dr. med. univ. Sandra Huber)
  • »Doktor der Zahnkunde«
    Very similar to the medical doctor, but for dentists. Abbreviated as »Dr. med. dent.« and written before the name (Dr. med. dent. Sandra Huber)

Which of these degrees you get, and which abbreviation is valid is again a decision made by the university when the study program was submitted to be accredited.

Also these degrees are fully equivalent. None of them is "stronger" or "more important" than the others, and all of them are accepted by all other countries that participate at the Bologna Process.

After that there is a third cycle, that lasts 6 semesters and ends with one of these academic degrees:

  • »Doktor« if you are male and »Doktorin« if you are female
    Abbreviated as »Dr.« with an additional information about the stury program and written before the persons name (Dr. techn. Sandra Huber)
  • »Doctor of Philosophy«
    Abbreviated as »PhD« or »Ph.D.« and written behind the name, separated by a comma (Sandra Huber, PhD)

And again, it is the decision of the university durign the process of accreditation, which of these degrees you will get. And also these degrees are fully equivalent.

In any case, when you successfully finish a study program, you will get an academic degree. For each finished program you get one degree, and you keep this degree for the rest of your life. It can not be altered in any way.

So, having a degree »Magister« and another degree »Master« just means, that you successfully finished two study programs of the second cycle. It is impossible to tell just from the titles, in which order you made them, because, although »Magister« existed in the old system, it still exists in the new system. So, you can get the degree »Master« in 2007, and later, in 2020, you get a »Magister« for finishing another study program.

Note, that all above is only about academic degrees but there are also a lot of titles that also can be added to names in Austria, like »Universitätsprofessor«, »Professor«, »Ingenieur«, »Ziviltechniker«, »Tierarzt«, »Kammersänger«, »Bergrat« and many more.

If a person has titles and and degrees, the titles are written before the degrees and degrees from second cycle are written before third cycle degrees (FH-Prof. FH-Hon.Prof. Priv.-Doz. Mag.rer.soc.oec. Dipl.-Ing. Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn. Karl M. Göschka)

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