At ISCED-level 6 to 8 there are studies at universities, Fachhochschulen (universities of applied sciences) and university colleges of teacher education.
The university level has been significantly expanded in recent years, partly as a result of the introduction of Fachhochschulen and also due to the Bologna Process. Gradually, most of the conventional diploma programmes (ISCED 7) have been replaced by bachelor programmes (ISCED 6), which generally last for 6 to 8 semesters, and master programmes (ISCED 7), which follow on from bachelor programmes and last for another 2 to 4 semesters. The highest formal academic qualification, the doctorate, can be attained at ISCED level 8 after a minimum of 6 semesters of study.
In the 2018/19 academic year 268 586 regular students were enrolled at public universities, a decrease of 3.4% compared to the previous year.
In the thirteen accredited private universities 11 503 regular students were enrolled in 2018/19 – an increase of 4.3% compared to the previous year.
In the 1994/95 academic year the tertiary educational sector was expanded with the setting up of universities of applied sciences (Fachhochschulen). These new institutions gained positive acceptance right from the beginning and saw greater rates of increase than traditional universities, in terms of numbers of both students and graduates. The number of regular students at universities of applied sciences amounted to 53 401 in the academic year 2018/19.
In the 2007/08 academic year the academies of education were upgraded to university colleges of teacher education. In the 2018/19 academic year there were 14 595 students enrolled in courses qualifying for teaching.
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