In the central Austrian mountain city of Leoben, the country’s mining, metallurgy and materials university has been operating since the mid 19th century. Over that time, the public university, for which the German name is Montanuniversität Leoben, has evolved to include courses on the latest mining technologies and subjects, including recycling and industrial environmental protection.
The first year of a bachelor’s degree at the University of Leoben is similar for all subjects, covering mathematics, programming, chemistry and mechanics. This means that at the end of the first year, it is relatively easy for students to switch their programme. The university offers 11 bachelor of science programmes and 14 master’s degrees. The majority of courses are in German, but one petroleum engineering masters course is offered in English.
There are 3,000 students in Leoben, which has a population of just 25,000. It is the cheapest university city to rent accommodation in, according to research in 2015 by the Austrian government. Leoben city council gives each new student resident a €250 voucher and another one for €100 for every additional year they stay there to study.
In early October, the city hosts one of the largest street fairs in Austria, the Gösser Kirtag. The university’s ceremonies are closely linked to Leoben’s mining traditions. These include the “Ledersprung” or leather jump, during which first year students have to introduce themselves, quickly drink a glass of beer and then jump over some leather mining clothes.