Studying at UIBK
What's studying at the University of Innsbruck like? Click on the individual tabs in the box below to find out everything there is to know.
The 16 faculties of the UIBK offer approximately 160 study programmes in total that students can choose from. Which study programmes exchange students are eligible for depends on the type of agreement UIBK has with your home university: Erasmus+ agreements are usually concluded for a specific subject area, whereas partnerships with overseas universities are often university-wide. For more details, please check the section about our partner universities.
Please note that the UIBK does not have a Faculty of Medicine because there is a separate Medical University of Innsbruck in the city.
The academic year at UIBK consists of two semesters:
- Semester 1 (called “winter semester”) lasts from the beginning of October until the end of January/first week of February. There are no classes in February although exams may be held at the beginning or end of this month.
- Semester 2 (called “summer semester”) lasts from the beginning of March until the end of June/first week of July.
Specific dates and holidays during the semester can be found on the website of our College Service Centre.
The Erasmus+ & International Welcome usually takes place on the first Monday of each semester at 05:00 PM, where students receive administrative information surrounding their arrival and have the chance to meet their peers as well as some local students.
In general, we do not ask you to upload a language certificate to your online application as an incoming exchange student – neither in German nor in English. For Erasmus+ incomings, your home coordinator has to confirm that you have sufficient language skills on your Erasmus+ Certificate.
However, please note that most of our courses are held in German and you should thus be able to follow lectures, discuss their contents, write papers and pass exams in German (recommended: level B2 – vantage or upper intermediate language user). The same goes for classes held in English. Although some MA Programmes are taught in English, it is advisable to be able to communicate in German in everyday life, so we strongly recommend to brush up on your German before coming to Innsbruck.
Incomings who would like to learn German from scratch or improve on their German skills during their exchange semester can follow a free German class for 5 ECTS credits at our Language Centre as an elective. You will receive more information about the available courses from your incoming exchange coordinator at UIBK in time for the course registration.
German courses that are free of charge are offered for Erasmus+ and Joint Study incomings on different levels (beginner, intermediate and upper intermediate) – including grammar, vocabulary, reading and oral comprehension lessons – each semester. There is no obligation to participate in one of these courses but if you do want to do one of these courses, please note that attendance is mandatory in the classes that take place twice per week. Additionally, you have a final exam at the end of the semester. You will receive 5 ECTS credits for successful completion of one of these courses.
The courses are free of charge because the Erasmus+ courses are financed by the European Commission and the Joint Study courses are financed by the International Relations Office of the UIBK. Students that are eligible for these language courses will receive an email with all the necessary details to these courses in good time.
Other international students can book “German as a Foreign Language” semester courses on three different levels (beginner – intermediate – advanced) for a fee at the Language Centre. In addition, the Language Centre offers fee-based preparatory courses during summer.
If you would like to practice your German outside of class, you can also sign up for the study buddy partnership programme. This is a free initiative run by the Language Centre for all course participants, students and staff members of the University of Innsbruck as well as Innsbruck Medical University. The Language Centre staff then matches language learners with native language speakers, so they can both work together on improving their language skills by talking to each other in their respective mother tongue and learning more about the country and culture of their study buddy.
There are various different types of courses in Austria: lectures (VO), practical exercises (UE), lectures with practical elements (VU), proseminars (PS) and seminars (SE), which usually last one semester (cf. all available course types). Most courses are held in units of two hours per week (1 hour = 45 minutes), although some may be offered as block courses. Courses that are listed as “eLecture (100% virtual teaching)” take place online.
Registration opens one month before the official semester start. It is necessary to register for all chosen courses regardless of whether attendance in class is mandatory or not. For example, you can decide for yourself if you wish to attend lectures although we generally recommend to do so. Lectures have a written or oral exam at the end of the semester.UE/VU, PS and SE are courses with continuous assessment, which means that they generally have mandatory attendance. There are slight differences between the three formats though:
- The emphasis in practical courses is on active participation and students may get homework.
- In proseminars, students acquire basic knowledge of work on academic/scientific papers by participating actively.
- Seminars are mainly group discussions on an advanced level. Students write and present papers, which serve as a basis for discussion.
Please note that most course types (except lectures) have mandatory attendance of 80 % (= max. two absences for whatever reason per semester if your course takes place weekly in a two-hour-format)!
Your workload at UIBK is measured in ECTS credits. ECTS stands for “European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System”. Every module/course is allocated a certain number of ECTS credits, depending on its workload. A workload of 25 hours in total (including attendance in class, studying at home, preparing presentations etc.) corresponds to 1 ECTS credit. A full-time workload for degree-seeking students at UIBK consists of 30 ECTS credits per semester. Studying at a new university and maybe even in a foreign language can be more challenging, so some exchange students choose to do slightly less. As a rule of thumb, we recommend you do not fall below 16 ECTS credits per semester.
How many ECTS credits you actually have to gain during your exchange semester or year depends on the requirements of your programme and/or your home university, so please always check with your exchange coordinator at home first.
The mode of assessment depends on the course type and is usually detailed in the course descriptions in our course catalogue and/or explained by the course instructor during the first session. Assessment can be based on a final exam only or in some cases you may have additional mid-terms, homework assignments, presentations or final papers. Your performance is rated based on the Austrian Grading System:
Excellent (1): Outstanding performance
Good (2): Generally good, but with some errors
Satisfactory (3): Generally sound work with a number of substantial errors
Sufficient (4): Performance meets the minimum criteria
Successfully completed: Positive performance, where a strict differentiation is not adequate
Unsatisfactory (5): Substantial improvement necessary; requirement of further work (—> no ECTS credits are awarded in this case)
Not completed: Negative performance, where a strict differentiation is not adequate (—> no ECTS credits are awarded in this case)
The searchable course catalogue provides detailed information about all offered courses during the current and past semesters. Updates to the course catalogue for future semesters are published:
- at the beginning of July for the winter semester and
- at the beginning of January for the summer semester.
Should the information you are looking for not be available yet when you draw up your Learning Agreement or list of prospective courses for your home university, please use the information of the corresponding semester from the previous academic year as a general guideline. The course offer tends to be similar so you can use winter semester of the previous year as a reference for the upcoming winter semester – the same goes for the summer semester. Use the “advanced search” option and change the “language of instruction” in order to look for courses in English at your faculty. You can choose the right semester at the top of the page. Click on the courses that come up in your search to pull up the course description, where you find additional information such as learning outcomes, assessment methods, the registration window, dates/times/locations and the so-called “mode of repetition” (this information tells you if the course is held every semester, once per year or every 2 years). In case of doubt or in the unlikely event that no information about a specific course is available, please double-check with your academic advisor at the UIBK. When referring to courses, please always indicate the 6-digit course code that you can see next to the course title in the catalogue.
In general, the system is quite flexible and students can freely choose courses from the study programme they have been admitted to at the UIBK, which should be similar to the one at their home university. However, participation in some courses might be subject to certain preconditions or restrictions. There is a section called “interdisciplinary courses” in the course catalogue, where students can find free electives that are open for students from all fields. It is also possible to take courses from other faculties to a certain extent, but there are a few exceptions:
- Faculty of Business and Management
- Faculty of Economics and Statistics
- Faculty of Psychology and Sport Science
- Faculty of Teacher Education
Participation in courses outside of your chosen study programme cannot be guaranteed and participation depends on the course instructor’s individual approval.
After successful online application as an exchange student, you will receive an e-mail from the admission department from mid-January or mid-August onwards, depending on whether you are coming to Innsbruck in the summer or winter semester. This email includes the login credentials for your UIBK student account that gives you access to our learning platforms and student email service. We have prepared two short videos to show you how to retrieve your login credentials and subsequently register for courses.
Video “How to get login data”
Video “How to register for courses”
It is very important to attend the first lesson of courses with continuous assessment even if your registration status says “waiting list” because instructors will often only confirm your spot in the course after the introductory session. If you are unable to attend the first lesson, please contact your course instructor in advance if you do not want to lose your spot.
Please be fair and drop courses if you are not interested in attending any more. If you cannot de-register via LFU:online directly, please inform your course instructor via e-mail about the cancellation. Other students should get a chance to book the course too. De-registration within the first two weeks of the semester usually does not have any consequences but if you fail to de-register in time, you might receive a fail grade for courses with continuous assessment.
Services & facilities
The following 10-minute video is your very own virtual guided tour through our main campus and it provides a good overview of some of the topics we are covering in this section.
Video "Virtual Campus Tour"
The University of Innsbruck is over 350 years old and the campus has grown over time, so it is no wonder the whole city seems like one big campus. In order not to get lost, you can find a quick overview in the picture below or look up all campus maps in detail.
The University of Innsbruck has its own online management and information system. Once students have been admitted, they can use their login credentials to access the following services:
- Webmail for students
- LFU:online: Our student portal allows you to register for courses, alter your personal data, see your exam results, print your official transcript and many more. If you have trouble navigating LFU:online, please have a look at the FAQ section.
- OLAT: Our learning platform is used for sharing course materials and PPT slides, having forum discussions and streaming online lectures.
These three services can also be accessed via the “Quicklinks” section in the top right corner of every UIBK subpage on the website.
Our IT Services (ZID = “Zentraler Informatikdienst”) offer many computer labs at different campus locations.These labs are used for scheduled classes but can also be accessed by students when they are not occupied. You need to log in with your UIBK user credentials. Some labs also offer printing and scanning options.
The app of the University of Innsbruck is suitable for students, university staff and anyone interested in courses, dates and news offered by the university. It includes complete access to LFU:online, the student portal of the University of Innsbruck, along with all exam results and an ECTS counter. In addition, the app offers a calendar with personal and public dates, research and study-relevant news about the university, a comprehensive campus guide to the university buildings and rooms with links to Google Maps and the menu plans of the university cafeterias.
You have to log in with your UIBK user credentials, so you can only use the app after you have been admitted to the University of Innsbruck.
The “Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek Tirol” (ULB) is the official library at UIBK and has resources for all kinds of subjects. With more than 3.6 million books, thousands of journals, e-Journals, e-books and some special collections, ULB is the third largest library in Austria. ULB has various sites at different campus locations and some faculties/departments even have their own small libraries:
- Library locations, opening hours and booking a study space in the library
- Online literature search: You can look up books and other resources online beforehand. Request the materials directly online and go to the library to pick them up.
The official university book store is called Studia and it has various branches at different campus sites:
- Campus Innrain, Herzog-Siegmund-Ufer 15
- Campus SOWI, Universitätsstraße 15
- Campus Technik, Technikerstraße 21b/UG
You can also print and copy documents there after getting a copy card there and adding credit to it:
- 1 page, A4 format, b/w: ~ EUR 0.075 to EUR 0.14
- 1 page, A4 format,colour: ~ EUR 0.23 to EUR 0.70
The copy card can only be procured in one of the three facilities mentioned above but once you have it, you can also use it on photocopiers and printers all over campus.
The university canteen called “Mensa” offers takeaway or self-service lunch at different campus locations for a reasonable price. Check the opening hours and weekly menu before going there.
Apart from the German courses mentioned in the previous section “Academic information” , the Language Centre also offers courses for other languages such as Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Sign Language, Italian, Ivrit, Japanese, Latin, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Swedish and Spanish. You can see the prices and book the courses directly on the website of the Language Centre.
Our Psychological Counselling Service offers you the opportunity to talk things through with someone who is not involved in your daily life. This service is available free of charge to students in order to solve any personal and/or study-related problems that worry you.
If you have special needs, please reach out to our Study & Inclusion Office. Consultations take place individually and happen after prior arrangement of an appointment.
If you plan to come to Innsbruck with your children, it is a good idea to have a look at the services and resources on the website of our Family Services. They provide information on school education for minors, how to enrol children in daycare facilities and schools, provide a list of available babysitters and many more services.
Other important details
The Austrian Students’ Union (= Österreichische Hochschüler*innenschaft, abbreviated as “ÖH”) supports all students of the university in more than 20 organisational units. Each faculty is represented and detailed information on courses, exams, literature etc. is offered. In order to complete your enrolment at UIBK, all students have to pay the mandatory membership fee of approx. EUR 22,70 every semester ( exact amount for each semester) by 31st October or 31st March respectively.
Tuition fee for Erasmus+ or Joint Study incomings is waived but this small administrative fee also applies to them. We have prepared another short video to show you how to pay the ÖH fee:
Video “How to pay the ÖH fee”
If you study in Innsbruck for two semesters, you have to pay the ÖH fee again at the beginning of your second semester at UIBK.
At the beginning of the semester, you will receive your Student Card from your incoming exchange coordinator during the orientation or welcome event. Please sign it and print the end of the semester date on the card after paying the ÖH fee. It is important to keep it safe during your time at UIBK because it serves multiple purposes:
- Official student ID
- Official photo ID
- Library card
- Payment of the tuition fee
- Prolongation of the student card
If you were only nominated for one semester and wish to extend your stay, please contact your incoming exchange coordinator at UIBK for more information. In the Erasmus+ programme, extensions are only possible within the same academic year (= winter semester to summer semester that comes directly after, not the other way around).