Top 5 Subjects to Study in Vienna

by Claire Aubin

When studying abroad, location obviously matters, but choosing a location can sometimes cause the actual studying aspect to take a back seat in the decision-making process. If this is the case for you, stop right now, because your subject choices CAN matter even more! One of the best ways to truly embrace the culture you choose to study abroad in (and not feel like you are even attending class at all) is to play to your location’s academic strengths. And guess what? Some locations make this easier, and more possible, than others.

This whole “matching your classes with your location” thing is absolutely possible if you choose to study abroad in a city like Vienna, Austria, a city famed for being a place where academic rigor meets amazing cultural heritage and innovative art movements. No, really, we mean it; this city has all it takes to be an incredible destination for study abroad. 









Street in Vienna, Austria at sunset

The streets of Vienna after an evening rain

Founded in around 500 B.C., Austria’s cultural and political capital has been home to some of the world’s brightest stars, from musicians like Mozart and Beethoven, artists including Gustav Klimt and Max Fleischer, great thinkers like Walter Kohn and Erwin Schrödinger, to athletes, actors, and everything in between. In 2015, Vienna was named the “most livable city on Earth”, and in 2016, it was named the “best expat city in the world”. Finally, Vienna is home to two of Austria’s top-ranked universities. So, does it sound like the ideal study abroad destination yet?

Basically, if you’re looking to study abroad in a city with an incredible past, a lively present, and an undeniably exciting future, Vienna is certainly a good place to start.

If you’ve realized how awesome the opportunity to study abroad in Vienna is, the question then becomes, what should you study? The answer is easy: something that plays to Vienna’s (many) strengths of course! Here are just five recommendations for subjects to study in Vienna to make the most of its best characteristics:

1. Marketing

New York might be home to Mad Men, but Vienna’s got style on a whole different level. The city itself combines old-school European class with sleek and contemporary style, and advertisers are starting to take notice. Home to major firms, like FCB Neuwien and The Gentlemen Creatives, Vienna is a young marketing enthusiast’s dream town. Even better, marketing internships abound, making it possible for your study abroad experience in Vienna to stand out even more. 

International students at the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries headquarters in Vienna, Austria

Study abroad students visiting the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries headquarters in Vienna

2. Journalism

While it may not necessarily be famous for journalism, Vienna has a huge number of up-and-coming digital and physical publications, many of which are in English, if German’s not your best subject. Blogs are becoming popular throughout Austria, and Vienna is no exception, with numerous high-profile bloggers based in and around the city. Additionally, many non-EU based news outlets have satellite offices in Vienna (we’re looking at you, Vice!) and you might even be able to scoop up an internship in journalism too!

3. Music

This might be a little bit obvious, but Vienna is heaven for music lovers. The birthplace of many of the world’s most famous composers throughout history, Vienna still has a vibrant music scene. World-class performers and composers still teach in the halls of Vienna’s many universities, and music students of all types would do well to take advantage of this. It’s also home to a vast collection of music museums, concert halls, opera houses, and theaters, so you can get both your study and your groove on at the same time. Whether you’re a classical music fan or a performer, or even if you have more modern tastes, Vienna’s is the place to be, musically-speaking.

4. Culture

“Culture” is obviously a pretty huge subject, but in Vienna culture means studying the German language and Austrian history. Though the city boasts a large population of expats and many Austrians speak English fluently, there’s no better way to engage with Viennese culture than by learning the local language. Imagine the sorts of new friends you’ll make when you surprise them with your awesome German! Austrian history is also undeniably interesting, as well as still relevant to today’s Austrian culture; so read up, you might learn something new and useful that will make your experience even more memorable.

Tourists observing a musician in Vienna, Austria

A Viennese musician and artisan demonstrates his craftsmanship to students on a musical study abroad program

5. Science

Vienna’s scientific legacy is pretty hard to overstate. Firstly, it’s been known to house a few great minds in its time; the University of Vienna alone has produced 15 Nobel Prize Laureates in the sciences. Famous groups like the Vienna Circle have given the city a reputation for innovation, making it the perfect place to test out some scientific theories of your own. As home to more than a few world-class science and tech universities, Austria is uniquely equipped to make your experience of studying science abroad a memorable one.

Whether you’ve got a scientist’s brain, a musician’s ear, or an advertiser’s eye, Vienna has something to offer you.

As one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, Vienna is only enhanced by offering a true Austrian student experience. Whatever you choose to study in Vienna, be sure to make it relevant to the city; you won’t regret it, and you might even get more than you hoped for out of studying abroad!

This article was contributed by Global Education Oregon, a nationwide study abroad provider based out of the University of Oregon. GEO currently offers more than 100 programs on five continents during the academic year and summer, all with a commitment to global engagement and developing a new generation of study abroad students capable of participating effectively in a global society.