A new academic year begins in the fall, and for many, this will be the begin of new phase of their lives and a number of open questions may arise. It may not be that easy to obtain a clear picture of what is expected and to determine which information is important for you and which is not. Here are a few points that you may have wished you would have known before your start.
First point of contact: The Study-Info-Center
The helpful staff of the Study-Info-Center of the Carinthia University of Applied Sciences are looking forward to answering all your questions. No matter what the subject – they are there to assist you – that’s a promise.
You may have noticed the small red icon/widget on the lower right side of pages on the CUAS’s web site. If click on the widget, you are immediately connected via a Live Chat directly to one of our helpful staff in Study-Info-Center. For more information, use this the SIC’s link.
How do studies at a UAS/FH work – what can I expect?
University of applied sciences (UAS/FH) degree programs are different from traditional universities degree program in a few aspects. However, both types of institution of higher education (IHE) offer academic degrees at end of your studies.
Fixed or flexible length of studies
A UAS/FH guarantees that you will be able to complete a bachelor program in six semesters and master program in four. For many potential students this is very interesting because they would like to plan or need to know exactly how long their studies will take. Thus, you will have a very good idea when you can enter the job market, etc.
„When I decided to do my master studies, it was easy for me to decide what study program I wanted, but choosing the university and environment were my main concern. The reason I chose FH university, it’s because you don’t simply learn in class, but also you get the opportunity to learn in real life.
I was honored to be part in many events organized by the top professors of my study department. I got to participate in timing system for classic cars race I also got the chance to be a part of the GSM/ IT volunteer in Special Olympics Austria 2017, and the list goes on“, explains Amira Belly from Lebanon.
Studying at a traditional university your length of studies can be longer due to the flexible organization of lectures. There are no limits on enrollment for study programs, but many courses and seminars have a set number of participants so you may have to wait a semester or two to take a required course.
Fixed course schedule vs flexible time management
While at the university you are responsible for scheduling your own courses and lectures in a semester, the UAS/FH provides a fixed course schedule every semester. Roughly speaking, you will most likely sit more often in a lecture hall or seminar room as a university student.
You will receive your course schedule in the fall at the beginning of the academic year. If your curiosity has gotten the best of you or you simply want to start planning, the Study-Info-Center can provide you with the respective course schedule from the previous academic year. However, this is without any guarantees – course schedules can vary greatly from one academic year to the next.
Course schedules may sometimes change during the current semester as well; while this can be certainly annoying, just remember that you will most certainly see that not everything always runs according to plan in your future careers. Take these unexpected changes as learning experiences and practice being flexible.
Now that you have successfully completed all of your required courses at the end of a semester, you can simply start the next semester without any delays or waiting to take a missing course. Your degree program won’t unnecessarily be extended.
Practical application vs. Theory in lecture halls
A UAS/FH distinguishes itself from other IHEs through its strong focus on practical application. Lecturers/Professors and researchers at traditional universities are most often full-time staff and faculty, whereas there are many part-time lecturers at UAS/FHs who work full-time at companies involved in the subjects they teach.
This means that during your studies you will have many opportunities to get know lecturers that are working in management positions or own their own firms. This contact provides you a direct link to companies in your future career fields and moreover projects and lab examples are taken directly from these industrial areas. This is a major factor why UAS/FH graduates are so well-liked by companies. Time needed for training and familiarization in a company is greatly reduced and often UAS/FH graduates already know company processes and can start contributing immediately.
Already during your studies you have the possibility to start you own professional network. Many UAS/FH students begin working for their future employers during their internships or through contact with part-time lecturers.
You have just finished your first two semesters and it is now time to write your first academic paper in the form of a bachelor work. This academic paper is divided into two parts.
Part 1: Composition of the expose
Short explanation: you define and formulate the problem, set up the hypothesis and determine which methods are necessary to arrive at the desired scientific result. The expose is thereby a significant part of the bachelor work because it serves as a guideline during the actual writing of the work. The deadline for this first part in many degree programs is the middle of November.
Part 2: Composition of the work. This occurs during the 3rd semester.
Depending on the degree program you can with a UAS/FH master degree continue your studies in a doctoral program – doctoral degrees can only be granted by traditional universities. The major prerequisite for acceptance in a doctoral degree program is to graduate from a relevant corresponding master degree program. This means that a master of science graduate in Electrical Engineering can only apply for a doctorate in Electrical engineering.
Scholarships and grants
Many students are interested if there are financial grants available. There are a number of different possibilities that depends on each individual situation. An overview of available student scholarships is listed on the CUAS web site.
The first place for further information is the CUAS student union (FH-K ÖH), which has its own office on the Campus Villach. You can also find information online here.
Breaks and holidays
The length of each semester, holidays, vacation and breaks – all of these vary from academic year to academic year. These dates are continuously updated and can be found on-line in the “Academic Calendar”.
At the end of each semester (January and June) there are exam periods which are applied similarly on both UAS/FHs and universities.
“I can only give this tip to everybody – pay attention in your lectures during the semester because this will give you a considerable head start in preparing for exams. This can be the key to passing a few exams.”, Jasmin Aslan, Bachelor of Business Management.
This does not mean however that during the semester you do not have to do anything. Group work, small written exercises and reports as well as blended learning activities can be very time-consuming.
In order to avoid exam stress, we have prepared a blog with study tips (in German) how to successfully prepare for exams.
CUAS Sports Club
Sitting for long times and periods of high concentration can be exhausting over the long run. Every now and then it is important to get a clear head again and just ‘switch off’! Many people overlook the great variety of athletic courses offered by CUAS Sports due the overabundance of available information. Climbing courses, yoga, dancing, kayaking, and ski tours, basketball, etc.: there is definitely something for you here.
Once a year, usually in May, the CUAS Sports Camp takes place on Lake Millstätt in the District of Spittal an der Drau.
More information about sports courses can be found here.
Many students would like to participate in an international semester abroad. To find out where you can perform a semester abroad and other things to consider and to prepare for, check out our blog: Tips for a semester abroad (only in German)
Bottom line: Many open questions are answered shortly after the semester start
At the begin of your studies you will be flooded with information. Appointments, course materials, many new faces – it is very important to get an overview of everything right from the start. To avoid your pen from overheating, we have prepared a list of FAQs for you which you can access when you need to. Thus, you will have a clear idea what to expect before the start of your studies, for example, your course schedule, possible scholarships or a semester abroad. The staff of the Study-Info-Center at the Carinthia University of Applied Sciences always has an open ear for your questions, even during the summer months.