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New opportunities for those interested in continuing education due to changes in the Universities of Applied Sciences Act

May 24, 2023

In October 2021, the legal framework for continuing education studies was decisively changed. After a two-year conversion phase for existing continuing education studies, these provisions will now come into force for the first time in autumn 2023. Thus, academic degrees such as BA (CE), MPr and EMBA will increasingly be found in the study programs offered by Austrian higher education institutions. But what does this mean for those interested in continuing education programs offered by the Vienna Management Academy?

“We welcome this reform to the Universities of Applied Sciences Act, because it brings more clarity and transparency for our interested parties through standardized conditions for the entire education sector as well as through clearly regulated access requirements and academic degrees. By adapting all higher education to the Bologna system, the degrees of “regular” and continuing education studies are made equal. For the first time, graduates of Master’s programs at the Vienna Management Academy are now formally qualified for admission to PhD programs,” says Head of Vienna Management Academy, DI Wolfgang Vrzal, MBA. This form of interchangeability between “standard degree programs” and continuing education studies is new – and essential – in the design of individual educational paths.

Students in continuing education studies are characterized by their professional experience. With the reform, the Universities of Applied Sciences Act now enables higher education institutions to recognize students’ professional or extra-professional qualifications to a greater extent. This also allows students to shorten the duration of their studies.

The changes in detail

As a result to the reform, both Master’s and Bachelor’s programs can be offered in continuing education. These will be given the addition “Continuing Education– BA (CE) or MA (CE) for short. All those programs that are conducted in cooperation with a non-university educational institution will be called “Bachelor Professional” or “Master Professional(BPr or MPr). The organizational and economic cooperation between the higher education institution and the non-university educational institution makes it possible, to focus even more directly on occupational specializations. The main responsibility for the programs, such as academic quality assurance, remains the core task of the university.

The well-known “Master of Business Administration” (MBA) will continue to exist and will be expanded by the EMBA, the “Executive Master of Business Administration”. To obtain this academic degree, a higher level of professional experience is generally required.


For those interested in continuing education studies, there will also be innovations in terms of admission requirements. Wolfgang Vrzal summarizes them as follows: “As in the past, proof of previous professional experience is required for our academic university programs. For the completion of a BA (CE) program, applicants additionally need the general university entrance qualification (with the exception of the Bachelor Professional), while the majority of the Master’s programs require previous studies”.

Bachelor of Arts (Continuing Education) – BA (CE) General university entrance qualification AND several years of relevant professional experience
Bachelor Professional – BPr Relevant professional qualification OR several years of relevant professional experience
Master of Arts (Continuing Education) – MA (CE)

Master Professional – MPr

Master of Business Administration – MBA

Relevant Bachelor’s degree or comparable degree AND several years of relevant professional experience
Executive Master of Business Administration – EMBA Relevant professional qualification at executive level

Start in winter semester 2023/24

The new continuing education programs of the Vienna Management Academy will already be offered as BA (CE), MA (CE) and MBA from September 2023. The established university programs can be pursued within the framework of the existing regulations for the very last time in September 2023. (Admission requirement: at least 6 years of professional experience; degree: Master of Science).

All information about the continuing education programs at the Vienna Management Academy by FHWien der WKW can be found here.