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The University of Applied Sciences CAMPUS 02 by night

A (FH) (plural: Fachhochschulen) or University of Applied Sciences (UAS) is a German type of tertiary education institution, sometimes specialized in certain topical areas (e.g. technology or business). Fachhochschulen were founded in Germany and later adopted by Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Greece. An increasing number of Fachhochschulen are abbreviated as Hochschule, which is also the generic term in Germany for all institutions awarding academic degrees in higher education, or expanded as Hochschule f r angewandte Wissenschaften (HAW). Due to the Bologna process, Universit ten and Fachhochschulen award legally equivalent academic Bachelor's and Master's degrees.[1] Fachhochschulen do not award doctoral degrees themselves. This and the rule to call professors with a professional career of at least three years outside the university system remain their major difference from traditional universities.

Universities of Applied Sciences are designed with a focus on teaching professional skills. Swiss law calls Fachhochschulen and Universit ten "separate but equal".[2] Just like more academically oriented traditional universities, the UAS are able to issue both Bachelor and Master degrees. In Switzerland, they may run doctoral programs when the degree itself is awarded by a partner institution which is allowed to, just as some German Fachhochschulen also co-run doctoral programs, with doctoral degrees being awarded by the partner university.[3]



The Fachhochschule or University of Applied Sciences and Arts is a type of German institution of higher education that emerged from the traditional Engineering Schools and similar professional schools of other disciplines. It differs from the traditional university (Universit t) mainly through its more application or practical orientation and less research.[4] Subjects taught at a Fachhochschule include engineering, computer science, business & management, arts & design, communication studies, social service and other professional fields.

The traditional degree awarded at a Fachhochschule was the Diplom (FH). Actual coursework generally totals eight semesters (four years) of full-time study with various options for specialization. In addition, there was one or two practical training semesters to provide hands-on experience in a real working environment. The program concluded usually after five years with the final examination and a thesis (Diplomarbeit) which usually is an extensive project of a current practical or scientific aspect of the profession.

In an effort to make educational degrees more compatible within Europe, the German Diplom degree have mostly been phased out and replaced by the European bachelor's and master's degree by 2010.

The Fachhochschule represents a close relationship between higher education and the employment system. The students up-to-date knowledge of the field enhances their preparation for their profession. Their practical orientation makes them very attractive for employers.[5]

Today the Fachhochschulen are also conducting research. The research projects are either publicly funded or sponsored by industry. The German universities of applied sciences enjoy a high importance for the German industry and they have several partnerships with the local industry. Nevertheless, in Germany the right to confer doctoral degrees is still reserved to Universit ten.[6] Some Fachhochschulen run doctoral programs where the degree itself is awarded by a partner university (like doctoral programs in German research institutes like Fraunhofer Society or Max Planck Society).

There are a few universities like Catholic University of Eichst tt-Ingolstadt and Bundeswehr University Munich which also run Fachhochschule courses of studies in addition to their normal courses.

Bologna process

Due to the Bologna process, most German and have ceased admitting students to programs leading to the traditional German Diplom, but apply now the new EU degree standard of Bachelor and Master's degrees. In line with the Bologna process, Bachelor's and Master's degrees awarded by both types of universities ( and ) are legally equivalent.

With a Master's from either it is now possible to enter a doctoral degree program at a , but a graduate with a Bachelor's degree from either is normally unable to proceed directly to a doctoral degree program in Germany (most US schools only require a Bachelor degree for admission to doctoral programs, but virtually all require additional coursework). Also, with the Master's degree of either of the institutions a graduate can enter the (higher service) career for civil servants.[1][7]


The Austrian government decided to establish Fachhochschulen in 1990. In the academic year of 2004/05, there were 18 institutions officially considered as Fachhochschulen plus a number of other providers of Fachhochschulstudieng ngen with a total of 25,554 students. About a third of the 136 Fachhochschulstudieng nge are organized as part-time courses of studies.

See also

  • Ammattikorkeakoulu
  • College
  • Institute of technology
  • University of applied sciences
  • Vocational university


External links




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