What do we actually study in political science?

Political science belongs to the social sciences. Thus, it is a discipline which endeavors to find explanations for societal phenomenons.

As a demarcation from other social sciences like sociology, cultural- and social anthropology, etc., political science restricts its subject of inquiry to “politics”. Yet, the first question arising from this statement, namely, what the term “politics” means, and which societal phenomenons can be understood as being political, is already very hard to answer.

Alongside the “classical” definition of politics, which limits its interest to phenomenons like the state, different forms of government, political parties, laws and processes of decision-making, there is also a “widened “definition of politics. This definition of politics enables a gaze beyond formal institutions and political parties, to examine relations of authority and power as well as mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion.

Thus, to choose a definition of politics is simultaneously a choice about what to examine- which makes the decision itself a political decision, in the widest sense. Is one using a merely descriptive understanding of politics, that only considers rational explanations for its analysis – or might this description itself already be influencing the examined object? One need only think of opinion polls for example, which – although allegedly merely descriptive – can have an impact on the actual results of elections. But what are the consequences of departing from a purely descriptive definition of politics? Is political science merely a science dealing with politics, or is it rather a science that is political ( and isn’t that true for every scientific field?)

This “widened” definition of politics is part of the reason why much political science research is at its core orientated towards interdisciplinarity.

Political science is a scientific education- and not a vocational training for future politicians. Therefore, its object of research, politics, is examined according to a specific procedure, a method. Only a well mastered methodology can provide for comprehensible findings- and that is what is scientific about political science.

In a nutshell: Studying political science is not about being dictated what “politics” are, but rather, how political phenomenons can be influenced or analyzed and how they can be described in a scientific manner. This makes it necessary to develop and encourage critical thinking and to leave not even the seemingly simplest and most banal facts unquestioned. This is also why we take gender-sensitive language seriously, which is especially necessary in german. The german language uses the “generic masculinum” instead of the “generic neutruum” (this is not an actual grammatically correct term, but the point is, in english you would say “students”, for example, whereas in german a lot of people prefer to use the male-form “Studenten”, than to use the gender neutral form “Studierende”) which is supposed to automatically subsume and include women. Our point of view on that issue is that the generic masculinum is not merely an innocent language tradition, but that it mirrors the gender inequalities and male dominance in history and culture that still remains in our societies today. So, the question of gender-sensitive language might serve as an example for how something that is seen as “normal” and unproblematic, is reflected upon critically and hence becomes subject of a political decision.

This ability for critical thinking, that will be encouraged throughout the political science studies, is also likely to be one of the main skills that graduates gain from a political science programme.

One of the main ambitions of the students’ representatives is to further enhance the field of gender studies, which has become one of the most important fields of studies within political science over the last years. Furthermore, we advocate for the establishment of a new professorship for feminist theories at the political science department. In a paradigmatic way, this field of studies shows, how modern political science can conceptualize the phenomenons of exclusion, discrimination and power relations as genuinely political. The use of a widened definition of politics allows, for example, to examine domestic violence as a political and therefore as a societal problem. Likewise, questions concerning discrimination on the grounds of class, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation are continuously picked up and interwoven, to create complex research questions, which can then be analyzed by means of the aforementioned methods. A widened definition of politics can also help to understand, for example, why economic decisions, which are often presented as practical constraints, are usually political decisions too, which are in turn inextricably linked to power relations.

Fields of work

The political science programmes try to enable the convergence of theory and practice through interdisciplinarity and empirical research. The core of the training as a political scientist is the ability to apply the acquired methods and theories to problems in a future work context. To this end, there has been more intense contact and interaction with experts from different work areas in the political science programmes, recently. In addition to the traditional work areas of administration, parties and parliament, international organizations and the media, there are possibilities and options to work in fields like PR and press work in the private sector, in the social or cultural sector, or in NGO’s (Non Governmental Organization), with a political science degree. The latter are the main work fields of political science graduates.


There are two departments offering courses for the political science programmes: The department of political science ( “Institut für Politikwissenschaft- IPW”) located at NIG (“Neues InstitutsGebäude”), Universitätsstraße 7, 2nd floor. The second department is called „Institut für Staatswissenschaft“ and is located at Hohenstaufengasse 9. Both departments are mainly dedicated to research.

Directorate of studies (Studienprogrammleitung- SPL)

The directorate of studies is responsible for issues directly related to the BA/MA degree programmes (for example the curriculum, recognition of courses and exams, etc.). Regina Köpl is currently the head of the directorate of studies (Studienprogrammleitung) at the political science department.

ÖH Social Fund

The ÖH’s funding comes from the Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy, the Austrian National Union for Students (ÖH) and the ÖH’s representation at the respective university, each compensating a third of the total budget. The ÖH funds comprise the Social fund, the Housing fund, the Children- and Childcare fund. Furthermore, the ÖH is paying for the expenses of a limited amount of mediation sessions (more information about the different funds can be found here). When your request is approved, you will receive a single payment. There is no legal claim, however, to receive this payment.

:: Requirements

The requirements for receiving financial support from the ÖH fund are:

  • You have to be a member of the Austrian National Union for Students (ÖH).
  • You have to be a regular degree programme student (under particular circumstances, it is possible to receive financial support as a non-degree programme student too, see more below ).
  • You have to be socially disadvantaged within the meaning of the directive (see more below).
  • You have to have an adequate level of academic success (see more below).
  • You must not receive sufficient financial support from any other organization.

:: Social disadvantage

You are socially disadvantaged within the meaning of the directive, when you don’t live with your parents and your monthly expenses exceed your monthly income. As income count, amongst other things, income from work, financial support from the unemployment insurance system, financial support for parental leave, housing benefits, family allowances, student grants and other scholarships, maintenance and other financial support from your parents or other relatives. For the expenses, your listing must not exceed a maximum of 270€ for housing, 150€ for necessary study related spendings (incl. proof, without proof: 75€ flat rate), 60€ for telephone and television charge as well as for household insurance, and 200€ for childcare.

:: Adequate academic success

Adequate academic success is at hand, when you have successfully completed some courses during the last 2 semesters (8 semester periods per week or 16 ECTS points. In case of parenthood: 4 semester periods per week or 8 ECTS). Furthermore, you must not exceed twice the legally prescribed minimum duration of studies. However, delays caused by parenthood or sickness will be considered.

:: Non- degree students

Non-degree students who are in their second semester and who are in preparation for a degree programme (eg. via attending a language course), can receive financial support, if their transcript of records shows academic success from the first semester, amounting to a minimum of 8 semester periods per week or 16 ECTS.

The social fund is intended for students who stand in a financial emergency, without self- infliction.

They can receive a maximum of 1200€ ( the exact amount conforms to the degree of the emergency) per year.

:: Further questions

You can reach the social fund staff every tuesday and thursday from 10-12 under the number 01/ 310 88 88 -22.

Referat für Sozialpolitik- Social policy unit

ÖH Bundesvertretung Taubstummengasse 7-9, 1040 Wien
+43 (1) 310 88 80-22

Course types

VO: Vorlesung = Lecture. No compulsory attendance. The professor is lecturing the content. At the end of the semester, you can take an exam about the content of the lecture. Usually, you don’t have to register for lectures at the political science department beforehand, but only by the end of the semester, when you register for the exam. In deviant cases, you will find a correspondent note in the course catalogue.

PS: Proseminar. Course with compulsory attendance. Usually, you can miss out on two classes per semester. At the end of the semester, you have to hand in a bigger task. During the semester, you usually have to do a presentation and/or hand in a few short texts. In order to take part in a proseminar, you have to register before the start of the semester.

UE: Übungen = Tutorials. These courses are very similar to proseminars, in principle. However, the workload for the task/paper that you hand in by the end of the semester, will be smaller. During the semester you will hand in a few exercise tasks/papers. There is compulsory attendance in tutorials. In order to take part in a tutorial, you have to register before the start of the semester.

LK: Lektürekurs= Reading course. Reading courses need to be completed alongside the core subject- lectures. Reading courses are supposed to further enhance and complement the lectures through reading and discussing the relevant literature. In order to take part in a reading course, you have to register before the start of the semester.

PR: Praktikum = Internship. In the course of your bachelor degree you have the possibility to do an internship as part of your studies. The internship has to be approved by the directorate of studies and it can only be done in an institutions related to political science. You can find detailed guidelines for internships here.

BA-SE: Bachelor Seminar. In this seminar you will write a bachelor thesis of 25-35 pages, by which you complete your degree. The seminar is supposed to assist and support you in the writing process. In order to take part in a bachelor seminar, you have to register before the start of the semester and you must have completed at least two of your three mandatory BAK9-BAK16 modules.

Master curriculum

The political science Master programme comprises 120 ECTS which translates to a minimum study time of four semesters. The prerequisite for starting a Master degree is a Bachelor in the same or a closely related field of studies. The political science Bachelor meets those requirements.

In case the resemblance of the studies is not acknowledged merely because of singular details in the curricula, the directorate of studies can instruct you to complete up to 30 ECTS of extra courses, in order to catch up.

There have been minor changes in the political science Master programme in the winter semester 2011/12. For one thing, the “Vertiefungsseminare” are no longer the mandatory prerequisites for “Spezialisierungsseminare”, and for another thing, the module “Methoden” was moved and is now called M10 instead of M2. Since the changes were so marginal, all Master students got transferred to the new study plan automatically.

M1 – Pflichtmodul: Grundlagen (Compulsory module: Basics)

Courses amounting to 8 ECTS have to be completed. The course type ( VO, UE, SE) is irrelevant.

M2 – Pflichtmodul: Methoden (Compulsory module: Methods)

A tutorial (UE) in “Political scientific methods”, comprising 8 ECTS has to be completed.

M3 – MElective modules: Specializations

Students have to pick two specialization modules, comprising 22 ECTS each. For each specialization, one lecture (4 ECTS), one “Vertiefungsseminar” (10 ECTS) and one “Spezialisierungsseminar” (8 ECTS) have to be completed.

You can choose form the following topics:

M3 Politische Theorien und Theorienforschung (Political theories and theory research)

M4 Internationale Politik und Entwicklung (International Politics and development)

M5 EU und Europäisierung (The EU and Europeanization)

M6 Österreichische Politik (Austrian politics)

M7 Staatstätigkeit, Policy- und Governanceanalysen (Government activity, Policy- and governance analysis)

M8 Geschlecht und Politik (Gender and politics)

M9 Osteuropastudien (Eastern European studies)

M10 Kultur und Politik (Culture and politics)

M11 – Pflichtmodul: Forschungspraktikum (Compulsory module: Research course)

A research internship (M11) comprising 12 ECTS has to be completed. The internship has to be assigned to one of the chosen specializations.

M12 – Wahlbereich (Electives)

For “Wahlbereich” (M12) any courses available in the political science course catalogue can be selected. Students have to pick courses with a total value of 16 ECTS. On request, the directorate of studies can recognize more courses than that and even recognize courses that were completed at other departments.

M13 – Pflichtmodul: Masterseminar und Masterarbeit (Compulsory module: Master seminar and Master thesis)

In order to complete your Master degree, you need to take a Master seminar comprising 2 ECTS,write your Master thesis comprising 26 ECTS and take the Master exam comprising 4 ECTS. The Master’s thesis, which is supposed to prove your ability to do scientific work independently, should be 75- 150 pages long.

NB! The completion of all the previous compulsory modules is the prerequisite for participating in the Master seminar.

Recognition of courses and exams

Based on §78 of the 2002 Universities Act, exams that you have passed at other domestic or foreign educational institutions (Universities, Universities of applied sciences, academies), or at other departments of the University of Vienna, can be transferred to your current Bachelor or Master curriculum.

For this purpose it is decisive whether the directorate of studies recognizes your course/exam as equivalent in content to the course/exam designated in the local curriculum. Furthermore, the courses/ exams have to be worth the same amount of ECTS, or deviate only insignificantly.

According to legal commentary, for a course/exam to be recognized, it must not have more than 20% less ECTS than the course/exam designated in the local curriculum.

Hence, for a designated course/ exam that is worth 5 ECTS, a course/exam that is equivalent in content can be transferred, if it has at least 4 ECTS.

NB! You can not have courses/ exams that you completed elsewhere (at other departments, other domestic or foreign university) transferred to the “extension curricula”- part of your current curriculum. The only thing you can do, is having a maximum of 15 ECTS transferred to the “Alternative Extension”-part. More detailed information is available at the section about extension curricula.

As the students’ representatives we consider this regulation as completely absurd. Hence, we use all the means available to us, to make it possible to have exams transferred to the “extension curricula”-part of the Bachelor curriculum and generally make it possible for students to build their extension curricula individually and according to their interests.

All relevant information about how to apply for recognition can be found under the following link!

As your student representatives, we are happy to support you with formulating your application for recognition. For this purpose, it would be best if you just dropped by during our help desk hours. Don’t forget to bring your transcript of records!

Extension Curricula

In order to complete your political science bachelor degree, it is necessary to take courses and exams from other fields of studies. These need to be done in the form of so-called extension curricula. Extension curricula are packages of courses (mostly lectures) compiled by diverse degree programmes. One extension curriculum comprises either 15 oder 30 ECTS. In total you need 30 ECTS, ergo one or two packages depending on the size, coming from extension curricula for your bachelor degree.

Students that started their bachelor degree before the winter semester 2011/2012 and didn’t transfer to the new study plan, have to complete 60 ECTS of extension curricula.

On this homepage  you can find a list of all the available extension curricula, as well as information regarding their content and potential prerequisites. You will also find information about registration -which is necessary for some extension curricula- and how to register through your UNIVIS account.

The individual courses within the extension curricula and their dates can be found in the course catalogue.

Alternative Extensions

Due to the student protests in the course of the transition to the Bologna system (keyword: Audimax), the University management had to refrain from its original plan to organize extensions to the students’ main subjects exclusively in the form of pre-packaged modules.

Hence, since the winter semester 2010 there is the possibility to complete 15 ECTS of your extension curricula in the module “Alternative extensions” (Alternative Erweiterungen). This module allows you to pick your courses completely non-restrictive (within the scope of the module) at the University of Vienna, and with certain limitations, at other domestic and foreign universities. More detailed information is available on the website of the “Studienpräses”.

Attention should be paid to the following regulations:

You can pick random courses from the political science Bachelor and complete them in your alternative extensions module, as long as you fulfill the requirements for the registration to those courses (Voraussetzungsketten). You don’t need to have these courses recognized separately, but simply assign them to the module “Alternative Erweiterungen” on your UNIVIS account.

In the same way, you can choose your courses from the entire course catalogue of the University of Vienna for your alternative extensions module, as long as you fulfill the necessary requirements for registration. Again, you simply have to assign the completed courses to the module “Alternative Erweiterungen” on your UNIVIS account. NB: In case you completed the respective courses via another programme code (eg. in a second degree), the courses need to be recognized/ transferred to the module “alternative extensions” by the directorate of studies.

Courses completed at other domestic educational institutions (universities, universities of applied science, academies) can equally be recognized within the scope of alternative extensions. Those, however, need to be authorized as “domestic recognitions” (“Inlandsanrechnung”) by the directorate of studies. The authorization is also possible ex post. Under this branch, it is also explicitly possible to have language courses recognized/ transferred to your curriculum.

Exams and courses passed abroad/ at foreign universities, can also be recognized within the scope of your alternative extensions. In this case, however, prior consent by the directorate of studies is necessary.

Even though this regulation solves some problems and absurdities of the extension curricula- system, it still falls far short in our opinion. We, as student representatives, demand for all of extension curricular to be freely selectable. Pre-packaged modules could serve as interesting and structured options, if they wouldn’t merely consist of overcrowded lectures. All students should have the option, nonetheless, to choose their elective-modules completely according to their interests.


The legally binding study plan for the Bachelor programme can be found in the University Bulletin (“Mittleilungsblatt”). We have summarized the most important information below.

150 ECTS political science+ 30 ECTS extension curricula

BAK1 Studieneingangs- und Orientierungsphase (15 ECTS)

(Introductory and orientation period)

You have three attempts to pass each STEOP exam. The successful completion of STEOP is the prerequisite to register for all the following courses. If STEOP is not passed, the student will be blocked for the rest of the Bachelor programme. Thus, it appears that the STEOP has little to do with orientation, but rather serves as a tool to sort out students.

• BAK 1.1 Grundlagen sozialwissenschaftlicher Methodologie VO 2 SStd. / 6 ECTS)  (Foundations of social scientific methodology )

•  BAK 1.2 Fachspezifische Einführung in die Politikwissenschaft VO 2 SStd/6 ECTS (Introduction to political science )

•  BAK 1.2 Propädeutikum Politikwissenschaft VO 2 SStd/3 ECTS (-Introductory lecture to political science)

BAK2 Sozialwissenschaftliche und interdisziplinäre Grundlagen (22 ECTS) (Socio-scientific and interdisciplinary basics)

It is possible to take BAK2- exams in the first semester already. However, you need to have passed both STEOP exams and received the grades for them, before the registration for BAK2- exams is possible.

  • BAK 2.1 Grundlagen sozialwissenschaftlicher Denkweisen VO 2 SStd./5 ECTS (Foundations of socio-scientific thinking)
  • BAK 2.2 Sozialwissenschaften und gesellschaftlicher Wandel: aktuelle Debatten VO 2 Sstd/5 ECTS (- Social Sciences and societal change: current debates)

• BAK 2.3 Historische Grundlagen VO 2 SStd / 4ECTS (Historical Foundations / Only offered in winter semesters)

• BAK 2.4 Politik und Ökonomie VO 2 SStd / 4ECTS (Politics and economy / Only offered in summer semesters)

• BAK 2.5 Politik und Recht VO 2 SStd / 4 ECTS  (Politics and Law / Only offered in summer semesters)

BAK 3 Einführung in das wissenschaftliche Arbeiten (5 ECTS)

BAK 3 Einführung in das wissenschaftliche Arbeiten PS 2 SStd / 5 ECTS (Introduction to scientfic work)

BAK 4 Methoden (18 ECTS) (Methods)

In BAK 4, you need to complete one seminar ( 6 ECTS) and one lecture (3 ECTS) from each module.

• BAK 4.1 Qualitative Methoden der empirischen Sozialforschung VO+UE = 2+2 SStd / 3+6 ECTS (Qualitative methods in empirical social research / Only offered in summer semesters)

• BAK 4.2 Quantitative Methoden der empirischen Sozialforschung VO+UE = 2+ 2 SStd/ 3+6    ECTS (Quantitative methods in empirical social research/ Only offered in winter semesters)

Kernfächer (36 ECTS) (Core subjects)

For the core subjects, you need to complete one lecture (3 ECTS) and the correspondent reading course (6 ECTS) in each core subject. It is recommended to take both the lecture and the corresponding reading course in the same semester. This is not mandatory, however.

• BAK 5 Theoriegeschichte und Theoriedebatten VO+LK = 2+2 SStd/3 + 6 ECTS (History of theory and theoretical debates)

• BAK 6 Das politische System Österreichs und die EU VO+LK = 2+2 SStd/3 + 6 ECTS (The political system in Austria and the European Union)

• BAK 7 Vergleichende Analyse von Politik VO+LK = 2+2 SStd/3 + 6 ECTS (Comparative political analysis)

• BAK 8 Internationale Politik VO+LK = 2+2 SStd/3 + 6 ECTS (International politics)

Spezialisierungen (Specializations)

NB! The successful completion of the modules BAK1, BAK2 and BAK3 is the prerequisite for the registration to all lectures and seminars in the further modules, starting with BAK9. You can pick three of the eight offered modules. You must complete one lecture (3 ECTS) and one seminar (6 ECTS) in each chosen module.

Specialization modules

• BAK 9 Politische Theorien und Theorieforschung VO+SE = 2+2 SStd / 3+6 ECTS (Political theories and theory research)

• BAK 10 Internationale Politik und Entwicklung VO+SE = 2+2 SStd / 3+6 ECTS (International politics and development)

• BAK 11 Europäische Union und Europäisierung VO+SE = 2+2 SStd / 3+6 ECTS (European Union and Europeanization)

• BAK 12 Österreichische Politik VO+SE 2+2SStd/3+6 ECTS (Austrian politics)

• BAK 13 Staatstätigkeit, Policy- und Governanceanalysen VO+SE = 2+2 Sstd/3+6ECTS (Government activity, policy- and governance analysis)

• BAK 14 Geschlecht und Politik VO+SE = 2+2SStd / 3+6 ECTS (Gender and Politics)

• BAK 15 Osteuropastudien VO+SE = 2+2SStd / 3+6 ECTS (Eastern european studies)

• BAK 16 Kultur und Politik VO+SE = 2+2SStd / 3+6 ECTS (Culture and politics)

BAK 17 Vertiefungsmodul (15 ECTS)

(In depth module)

For the in depth module, you can choose between two options:

• BAK 17a Wahlmodul/ Elective module

Here, you must complete any individually picked courses from BAK9- BAK16, to the amount of 15 ECTS.

• BAK 17b Wahlmodul/ Elective Module

This option consists of the tutorial “Politikwissenschaft in der Praxis” (= political science in practice) and an internship, to an amount of 6 ECTS respectively. Furthermore, you must complete one lecture from BAK9- BAK16.

BAK 18 Bachelorseminar und -arbeit (12 ECTS)

(Bachelor- seminar and Bachelor thesis)

In the bachelor-seminar, you have to write your bachelor thesis, which is supposed to be 30- 35 pages long. A bachelor thesis is supposed to show your ability to develop and answer a scientific research question in the field of political science. NB! In order to be able to register for the bachelor-seminar, you must have completed at least two of your three mandatory BAK9-BAK16 modules.

BAK 19 Erweiterungscurricula (30 ECTS)

(Extension curricula)

In order to complete your bachelor degree, you need an additional 30 ECTS from the extension curricula. Those curricula are offered by other degree programmes in either 15 or 30 ECTS packages. For further information, see the page on extension curricula.

Housing benefits

The following groups are not entitled to housing benefits:

  • Residential property owners
  • Residents of student dormitories
  • Beneficial owners of garden cottages
  • Persons that own, or partially own the residence they live in
  • Persons with a close relationship to the landlord whose residence they live in
  • Recipients of “Wohnkostenbeihilfe”, according to the Act about Creditable Years of Service in the Military (“Heeresgebührengesetz”)
  • Recipients of „Mietzinsbeihilfe“, the housing benefits provided by the Federal Ministry of Finance

An application for housing benefits can be filed if…

  • If you are an Austrian or European citizen, or if you have lived in Austria legally for at least five years.
  • If you frequently spend time in the residence you are asking benefits for.
  • If you are registered in the flat you are asking benefits for.
  • If your name is listed in the rental contract.
  • If you don’t exceed the maximum permissible income according to the exemption limit.
  • If you reach the required minimum income.
  • If you reach the required minimum income per month (including holiday allowances). For 2011: 752,94€ for one adult, 1.128,89€ for two adults, 375,95€ for each additional adult, and 78,91€ for each child.

Calculation of housing benefits

For the calculation of housing benefits, the income of all persons sharing a home with the applicant is considered. (Primary residence necessary)

The household income is the basis for the calculation of the housing benefits. Proof for the household income is provided by the personal income tax or by an affidavit. When a persons’ income is partly made up of financial support by the persons’ parents, this cash flow needs to be proved by bank account statements of the last three months. The household income serves as a basis for the calculating, how much of the total income can be spend on rent. This is the so-called “Zumutbare Wohnungsaufwand-ZWA”. The calculation table can be found under this link.

The following cash flows count as part of a households’ income:

  • Child support
  • Childcare allowance
  • Maternity allowance
  • Unemployment benefits
  • “Notstandshilfe”
  • AMFG benefits
  • Grands by domestic universities
  • Apprentice’s wages
  • Income from military- or civil service
  • Social benefits

The following cash flows do not count as part of a households’ income:

  • Family allowances ( except for people with minimum income)
  • Exceptional charges for persons with disabilities
  • Attendance allowances
  • Supplementary pensions and accident benefits

NB! The household income will be reduced -20% for:

  • Families, where no family member is older than 39
  • Families with a child legally required to attend school
  • Families with a severely disabled family member (min. 45% degree of handicap)
  • Families with at least three children
  • Families with a disabled child
  • Single parents (if not in a shared household with a partner)

Apartment/Residence size

The appropriate apartment size is 50sqm per person, 70sqm for two persons plus additional 15sqm for each additional person. Everything beyond that size, will not be considered for the allowable rental prices- the “Anrechenbare Wohungsaufwand- AWA”. The “Zumutbare Wohungsaufwand-ZWA” will be subtracted from the “Anrechenbare Wohungsaufwand- AWA”. The result of this calculation is the amount of the housing benefits.

The documents and forms necessary for the application can be found under the following link!

Leave of absence

Students can ask for a leave of absence from university in the admission office. The maximum length per incident is two semesters. The following cases make a leave of absence from university possible: military or civil service, pregnancy, taking care of your own child(ren), voluntary social year, care responsibilities, sickness, injuries, disablements which hinder your studies extensively for at least 6 weeks.

Your admission remains valid and you don’t have to pay tuition fees. You are not allowed, however, to participate in courses or take exams during your leave of absence. It is not possible to receive student grants during this time either. More information can be found on the website of the University of Vienna. The regulations for leaves of absence fall far short, however. Many cases that would justify a leave of absence are not considered by the university. And at the end of the day: this regulation would be unnecessary altogether, if there were no tuition fees in the first place.