The public universities are the backbone of post-secondary education in Austria: first and foremost among them the University of Vienna, the oldest university in the German-speaking region, founded in 1365. With 91,358 students, it is one of the largest universities in Central Europe.

The Universities of Graz, Linz, Salzburg, Innsbruck and Klagenfurt, as well as the medical universities and the universities of art, complete the Austrian higher education landscape. Altogether, 298,126 students (winter semester 2013) are enrolled at public universities in Austria.

Compared with the universities of applied sciences (43,593 students) and private universities (7,316 students), public universities account for the major part of post-secondary education in Austria.