A Fachhochschule (help·info)(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 für angewandte Wissenschaften (HAW). Due to the Bologna process, Universitäten and Fachhochschulen award legally equivalent academic Bachelor's and Master's degrees. 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 Universitäten "separate but equal". 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.
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 (Universität) mainly through its more application or practical orientation and less research. 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.
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.
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 Universitäten. 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).
Many Fachhochschulen dwell much on their English title, because they are allowed to call themselves University (of app. sc.) but not Universität.
Bologna process 
Due to the Bologna process, most German Universitäten and Fachhochschulen 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 (Universitäten and Fachhochschulen) are legally equivalent.
With a Master's from either it is now possible to enter a doctoral degree program at a Universität, 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 höheren Dienst (higher service) career for civil servants.
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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 Fachhochschulstudiengängen with a total of 25,554 students. About a third of the 136 Fachhochschulstudiengänge are organized as part-time courses of studies.
The Swiss Universities of Applied Sciences UAS are vocational universities established in Switzerland in 1995 following the model of the German Fachhochschulen. They are called Fachhochschule in German, Haute école specialisée in French and scuola universitaria professionale (SUP) in Italian. The Swiss Universities of Applied Sciences offer third level education, continuing education, services businesses and institutions, and produce applied research activities. In 2013 there are seven public UAS approved by the Swiss Federal Council in 1998 and two private UAS approved by the Federal Council in 2005 and 2008. The public UAS are run by one or more cantons.
UAS have the institutional mandate to provide degree programmes (Bachelor’s degrees and Master's degrees, continuing education and training, to conduct applied research and to offer services to companies and institutions. Students with a finished apprenticeship and Vocational Matura and students with the Matura and a practical year in a company can access further education within the Universities for applied Science. The UAS and their Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees are federally accredited.
The Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER) is in charge of the accreditation of the UAS which are requested to meet the federal legislative requirements. The UAS are supported by the cantons, the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER), the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) and by the Rectors' Conference of the Swiss Universities of Applied Sciences (KFH).
|University of Applied Sciences||Typology||Establishment||Recognition||Note|
|Berner Fachhochschule (BFH)||Public||1998|
|Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz (FHNW)||Public||1998|
|Fachhochschule Ostschweiz (FHO)||Public||1998|
|Haute école spécialisée de la Suisse occidentale (HES-SO)||Public||1998|
|Scuola universitaria professionale della Svizzera italiana (SUPSI)||Public||1997||1998|
|Zürcher Fachhochschule (ZFH)||Public||1998|
|Haute école spécialisée Les Roches-Gruyère||Private||2008|
See also 
- Institute of technology
- University of applied sciences
- Vocational university
- Secretariat of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republic of Germany, 10/10/2003, version of 22/09/2005
- Federal Law on Universities of Applied Sciences, Switzerland
- "Molecular imaging methods for the analysis of gene and protein expression". University of Heidelberg. Retrieved 2008-06-06.
- Claudia Unseld; Gaby Reucher (13 September 2010). "University types: Universities of applied science". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 17 August 2011.
- Studienberatung USA in der Fachhochschule Hannover, an Education USA Student Advising Center for Lower Saxony, affiliated with the U.S. Department of State, Washington, 2006. Adapted from: G. B. Porter, Federal Republic of Germany: a Study of the Educational System of the FRG and a Guide to the Academic Placement of Students in Educational Institutions of the United States. (American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, 1986)
- "Auszüge aus dem Hochschulrahmengesetz der BRD (citings are outdated)" (PDF). German Rectors Conference. 2003-12-01.
- Standing Conference of the Ministers of Internal Affairs of the Länder (IMK) in the Federal Republic of Germany, 07/12/2007.
- Swiss Confederation website Universities of Applied Sciences http://www.sbfi.admin.ch/themen/01337/01339/01340/index.html?lang=en.
- Swiss council of UAS, http://www.edk.ch/dyn/19692.php.
- The Federal Act of 6 October 1995 on Universities of Applied Sciences (SR 414.71 http://www.admin.ch/ch/i/rs/414_711/index.html) revised in 2005 (federal act SR 414.71); EAER Ordinance of 4 May 2007 on Recognition of Accreditation Agencies for Universities of Applied Sciences and Degree Programmes (SR 414.711.43)
- KFH http://www.kfh.ch.
- FH Aachen University of Applied Sciences
- International University of Applied Sciences Bad Honnef - Bonn, Germany.
- Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg, Germany.
- Hochschule Deggendorf, Germany.
- Hochschule Esslingen, Germany.
- FH Gelsenkirchen, Germany.
- Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft Dresden, Germany.
- FH Hannover, Germany.
- Hof University, Germany
- Hochschule Karlsruhe, Germany.
- FH Koblenz, Germany.
- FH Köln, Cologne University, Germany biggest University of Applied Sciences in Germany
- Hochschule München, Munich, Germany
- Hochschule Ostwestfalen-Lippe, Lemgo, Germany.
- HTW Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft des Saarlandes, Saarbrücken, Germany.
- Hochschule Zittau/Görlitz, Germany.
- Hochschule für Oekonomie und Management, University of Applied Sciences.
- Westfälische Hochschule (Westfalia University of Applied Sciences) Recklinghausen and Bocholt
- Fachhochschule Oberösterreich, Austria.
- Fachhochschule Salzburg, Austria.
- FH Kufstein/Tirol, Austria.
- Management Center Innsbruck, Austria.
- Fachhochschule St. Pölten, Austria.
- Fachhochschule Krems, Austria.
- Fachhochschule Technikum Wien, Austria.
- Fachhochschule Wiener Neustadt, Austria.
- Fachhochschule Joanneum, Austria.
- Fachhochschule Wien, Austria.