Webster University was founded in St. Louis, Missouri, USA in 1915. After being impressed by a visit to the Webster Geneva campus, Vienna mayor Leopold Gratz invited Webster University to open a campus in Vienna as the country’s first and only American university beginning in 1981.
Originally located on the Schubertring in Vienna’s first district, the campus soon moved to Marokkanergasse, occupying a full three-story building. During this time in 1985, Webster Vienna became the first institution to offer an accredited MBA program in Austria. The university also became the first university in Austria to be run by a woman; Elisabeth Chopin served as Webster Vienna’s director from 1988 to 1999.
Due to a growing student population, in 1996, the campus relocated a second time to the 22nd District, Donaustadt, close to the United Nations Office at Vienna. In the same year, Webster Vienna granted honorary doctorates to Kardinal König and former Austrian-Jewish Holocaustsurvivor, Simon Wiesenthal, a monumental event. Later, in 2007, the university also granted an honorary degree to acclaimed social psychologist Philip Zimbardo (of Stanford University near Palo Alto, California).
In 2001, Webster Vienna became the first and only American university to receive the Austrian private university accreditation.
In fall 2014 Webster Vienna moved to its current, modern campus in the historic Palais Wenkheim close to the city center. The newly renovated building provides state-of-the-art technical equipment on more than 5000m² (or 55,000 sq ft).
In 2015 Webster University is celebrating its centennial anniversary. On 15 October 2015 until the end of June 2016 Prof. Dr. Bernd Marin took over the director's chair from Dr. Arthur Hirsh who served for 15 years. Dr. Johannes Pollak is the new interim director of the university.
At the undergraduate level, Webster Vienna Private University offers Bachelor’s degrees in International Relations (BA), Media Communications (BA), Psychology (BA), Business Administration (BS), Management (BA) and Management (BA) with additional emphases. Undergraduate students have the additional option of pursuing a minor in Studio art, Computer Science, Economics, German, History, Political Science and Website Design.
At the graduate level, the university offers master's degrees in Counseling Psychology (MA), International Relations (MA), Marketing (MA) and Finance (MSc). In addition, Webster Vienna offers an MBA degree with the possibility of an emphasis in Finance, International Relations and Marketing.
Webster Vienna also offers certificate programs in Web Site Design, Digital Media- Design & Production and Entrepreneurship.
All classes are held in English.
The student body consists of over 500 students from 70 different countries. About 20% of the student population comes from the local Austrian community and 10% from the United States.
The campus has various student organizations including a Student Government Association, a Delta Mu Delta chapter, and a debate team in addition to numerous sports and academic clubs. Students are also encouraged to establish their own student organizations if they would like to participate in a special interest group which hasn't already been organized. To facilitate these student initiatives as well as many others, The WebsterLEADS program offers guidance and resources to further develop students' leadership skills and ideas.
The most prestigious program Webster offers, the Webster Scholars Program, invites the university’s highest achieving students to participate in advanced co-curricular courses and events. The program additionally provides students with an opportunity to engage in undergraduate research in a topic of their choice paired with one-on-one mentoring from a specialized faculty member.
The university hosts over 100 adjunct professors, research professors and teaching faculty from over 40 different countries covering five continents. Many faculty members come from prestigious educational backgrounds including Cambridge, Princeton, Stanford and Columbia universities.
The Webster alumni network includes over 175,000 alumni worldwide and nearly 3,000 alumni graduated from the Webster Vienna campus. Notable alumni include Gernot Mittendorfer, CFO Erste Bank, Dr. Peter Harold, CEO of Hypo Noe Group and South Korean Film-Director, Juhn Jai-hong.
As a member of the Webster University Network, Webster Vienna students have the option of studying abroad at any of Webster's campuses located in eight different countries. Webster has campuses in Austria, China, Ghana, Switzerland, Thailand, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the USA.
In addition to their own campuses, Webster holds partnerships with a few universities worldwide including Kansai University in Osaka, Japan and The Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara in Guadalajara, Mexico.
As one university system, the international connections Webster has worldwide provides an easy path for their students to study abroad. Students who choose to study abroad have the security of all courses transferring, plus the benefit of choosing a flexible length of stay of between eight weeks to over a year within the same university.
Each student who enters the undergraduate degree program is required to complete Webster's Global Citizenship Program. The program aims at teaching students how to confront global issues and the quickly-changing society of the 21st century. The program criteria include six knowledge areas (Roots of Cultures, Social Systems & Human Behavior, Physical & Natural World, Global Understanding, Arts Appreciation, and Quantitative Literacy) and five skill areas (Critical Thinking, Oral Communication, Ethical Reasoning, Written Communication, Intercultural Competence) each with a variety of courses students can choose from.
Every May, Bachelor and Master’s graduates complete their Webster education with a traditional American graduation ceremony, complete with the cap and gown academic dress. Each year, the ceremony is attended by a notable guest commencement speaker, who prepares a special address to the graduates for the occasion. Webster Vienna's most recent graduation speakers have included the following:
2005. Ambassador George Herbert Walker III (Ambassador to Hungary)
2006. Dr. Emil Brix (Austrian diplomat and historian)
2007. Philip Zimbardo (Stanford Professor, known for the Stanford Prison Experiment)
2008. Thomas Hintze, CEO UPC Austria and Chair of Webster Vienna Advisory Board
2009. Father Georg Sporschil] SJ, Founder, Concordia Sozialprojekte
2010. Dr. Kandeh Yumkella, Director General, UNIDO
2011. Gernot Mittlendorfer, CFO and Board member, Erste Group Bank
2012. Felix Thun-Hohenstein, Managing Director, 3M Alpine Region
2013. US Ambassador to Austria H.E. William C. Eacho
2014. Dr. Tolga Yacizi, Board of Trustees President, Plato Education Group
2015. US Ambassador to Austria H.E. Alexa L. Wesner
2016. Dr. Hannes Androsch, leading Austrian entrepreneur and politician
Webster Vienna Private University is accredited in the United States by the Higher Learning Commission at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Since 2001, the university has also held accreditation with the Austrian Accreditation Council as an Austrian Private University. Furthermore, all Business and Management programs at Webster Vienna are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).
Additional recognitions given to Webster Vienna include the following:
• Webster Vienna Private University is an Affiliated University of Professor Michael Porter's "Microeconomics of Competitiveness" Network at the Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness at Harvard Business School.
• CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) Institute has recognized Webster Vienna's MSc in Finance for incorporating at least 70% of the CFA Program Candidate Body of Knowledge.
• Webster Vienna is the first and only University in Austria to be recognized by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) as a Partner in Learning.
The Webster Vienna research faculty regularly publishes literature within academic journals, books and conference proceedings. The topics of research emphasized at the institution are the following:
• Psychological/behavioral decision making
• Psychological aspects of counseling and psychotherapy (e.g., psychotherapy, organizational psychology, coaching, supervision, consulting, teams, groups, and leadership)
Business & Management
• Management information systems
• Strategic management
• Supply chain management
• Political representation beyond the nation-state
• Participation of national parliaments in European affairs
• European Energy Policy
• Political Violence
• Trends in Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism