Student rides a bicycle through the streets of Vienna

Austria stands at the political, geographical, and cultural crossroads of Eastern and Western Europe. This program is based in the Austrian capital, Vienna, once the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  Vienna is renowned for its cultural offerings and the program’s courses in music, art, history, and psychology take advantage of this unique environment. The St. Lawrence Program is offered in cooperation with the Austro-American Institute of Education (AAIE). AAIE, which was the first cultural institute to promote American-Austrian academic exchange, is preparing to celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2026. Check out Owen Russell's digital story on his experience: Austria Off-Campus Semester (Spring 2022) (

  • Based in Vienna.
  • Spring semester only.
  • Since the Austria program is designed specifically for SLU students, enrollment may exceed 15 students per semester.
  • Pre-requisites: 3.0 GPA and one semester of college-level German highly recommended OR another course that directly addresses topics relevant for study in Austria. See the European Studies course listing for some potential options: such as HIST 109, HIST 205, HIST 206, HIST 267, AAH 116, AAH 117, GOVT 206 or a course in European history, art history, government, or economics
  • Students must take German
  • Live with homestay families
  • Up to four courses from this semester can count toward the German Studies minor.

Apply to study in Austria

Location     Academics     Co-Curricular     Housing    Calendar    Orientation     Program Contacts


Austria is a small country at the crossroads between Eastern and Western Europe in the heart of the European Union. The program is based at the Austro-American Institute of Education (AAIE) in the capital city of Vienna - a city renowned for its incredible cultural offerings. The AAIE is located in the heart of Vienna, within walking distance of the major museums, architectural treasures, concert halls, and theatres.

Vienna’s rich cultural heritage and historical importance make it an ideal place for study and the program's courses are designed to take full advantage of Vienna’s unique environment. Field study trips, within Austria and to other parts of Europe, complement the course offerings.

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The focus of the Vienna Program is the New Europe: Promise and Perils. Students take five courses: a one-unit German course, a .5 unit Austrian culture course, and three additional courses. Each course taught in the program makes use of Vienna's unique environment. All courses, except for the German language courses, are taught in English. In addition, all students will be required to meet periodically throughout the semester with their assigned German language conversation partner.


ND247V: Encountering Austrian Culture 0.5 unit (Fulfills HUMANITIES distribution requirement)

This required course is intended to enrich the students’ understanding of the social and cultural contexts encountered as participants on this program. Although not weekly, this course will be held throughout the semester.

Required German courses

  • German 101
  • 102V: Elementary German (prerequisite G. 101)
  • 103V: Intermediate German (prerequisite G. 102)

The appropriate level course is required for all program participants.

Elective Courses

AAH119V: Austrian Art and Architecture (Fulfills ARTS/EXPRESSION distribution requirement)

The course includes the evolution of Austrian art and architecture from the Renaissance to the present. The study of each period is planned to provide the student with the essential characteristics of the art of the particular era and to show the continuity within the art development. Excursions to museums, galleries, and churches supplement the lectures 

ECON 260V: Economics and Business in Emerging Markets (Fulfills SOCIAL SCIENCES distribution requirement)

Why do some big corporations fail miserably in emerging markets? Why are many economic indicators misleading for business planning? Why do emerging market economies so often go from crisis to crisis? Other issues covered in the class include:

  • political risk analysis
  • interpreting economic indicators
  • market entry strategies
  • market expansion strategies

GOVT 233V: History and Politics of European Integration (Fulfills SOCIAL SCIENCES distribution requirement)

The course focuses on the perspectives of the European integration process in the 21st century. It looks at different visions for Europe - Is it a union of sovereign nations or a federation of the United States of Europe? Here are some of the major questions asked and discussed in the course:

  • Will Europe see true unification or rather a backlash towards nationalism?
  • How has the European process progressed over the centuries?
  • Is Europe's position as an economic, military, cultural and political global player competing with the United States?

MUS 234V: Music & Musicians in Vienna: History and Appreciation of Music (Fulfills ARTS/EXPRESSION distribution requirement)

The emphasis of the course is Viennese music: its dominance in the field of music during the Classical period (Gluck, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven), its important role in the second half of the 19th Century, and the new school of composition initiated there in the 20th Century. Students attend live performances of classical music.

HIST 277V: The Formation of Europe: The Habsburg Empire (Fulfills HUMANITIES distribution requirement)

This course will study the development of Central and East-Central Europe as a multi-ethnic unity under the reign of the Habsburgs from 1273 - 1918. It will focus on the exchange of intellectual, artistic and cultural ideas and movements under the Habsburgs, the development of successor states after the dissolution of the monarchy, and the influence of the past on current cultural and political issues.

PSYC 216V: Traditional Psychological Perspectives from Austria and their International Influence

This course studies some of the most prominent psychologists in Austria and how they have influenced the study of psychology throughout the world. Some of the people studied will include Freud, Frankl, Jung, and Adler. This course will include excursions throughout Vienna.

PLEASE NOTE:  Actual course offerings will be based on the number of students registered.

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Students stand in front of the Brandenburg Gate

There are various excursions in and around Vienna during the academic semester. Students will be reimbursed for attending cultural events of their own choosing, based on guidelines and limits established by the Director at the beginning of the semester. Students will also have the opportunity to meet with conversation partners from the University of Vienna in a social setting so that they can improve their conversational German and meet Austrian students.

The program includes an extended weekend study excursion to points of interest within Austria and a 10-day study trip to locations such as Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic.

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Students live in carefully chosen private homes. All have been visited by the AAIE staff and provide a pleasant, supportive atmosphere. These hosts will help the students become more comfortable in Austrian/Viennese culture. All breakfasts and one evening meal per week are provided by the hosts. AAIE will provide a monthly food stipend to cover the cost of  independently preparing lunches and dinners. These meals can be independently prepared or purchased at affordable restaurants near AAIE or elsewhere in the city. The St. Lawrence program does not cover the costs of meals during vacation periods.

Students may be able to remain in the homes during the vacation periods if they choose by making arrangements in advance with the Director and their host.  

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The Spring semester typically begins in early/mid-January and ends in late April/early May. 

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Pre-departure: The CIIS office organizes in-depth orientation sessions on-campus prior to the students' participation in the program. This includes a program specific session(s) in which the students will learn more about the program, local culture, academic expectations, and any other important information. There is also an orientation session led by the CIIS office on culture shock as well as safety and security while abroad.

Five students stand on a snowy mountain top.

On-site: Upon arrival in Vienna, students travel to the alpine village of Dorfgastein for a week of intensive language instruction and cultural orientation. 

The week is intended to ease the transition into Austrian culture and allows time for skiing and recreation as well.

The first week is followed by an orientation in Vienna where the students will become acquainted with the city and prepare for the courses they will be taking.

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Program Contacts

If you are interested in learning more about the Austria program please contact one of the following people.

CIIS Office: Kim Longfellow, Assistant Director of Off-Campus Programs - Questions about eligibility, program logistics, and other off-campus opportunities.

Faculty CoordinatorDr. Karl McKnight - Questions about program academics.

Apply to Study in Austria

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