BOKU - Universität für Bodenkultur:
University of Agricultural Sciences Vienna

The Universität für Bodenkultur or BOKU is a university with its main facilities in Vienna; it is specialised on agricultural sciences and forestry. It defines itself as a university that deals with "the teaching and research of renewable environmental resources in combination with sciences, technology and economics". In detail, the researchers of the BOKU often work in rather exotic areas - agricultural meteorology, forest economics or internet data security. At least I - as an outsider - am often amazed by the research groups that you find there. The BOKU has a very applied and practical scope and - at least for an Austrian university - a very good reputation.

The BOKU Vienna was founded in 1872 and the original "campus" was the Palais Schönborn in the 8th district of Josefstadt (now the district′s museum). The Gründerzeit period between approximately 1850 and 1900 was a time of academic expansion and rapid economic development - for both, new, practical institutions with educational scope were needed. The BOKU originally focused on agriculture only, but when the Academy of Forestry in Mariabrunn was dissolved and its faculty merged with the BOKU′s, the university increased in size and significance.

To accommodate this, a campus was built in the 18th district of Währing was built in the style of a neo-Classical campus as it is known from 19th century British or US universities. This site is situated by the Türkenschanzpark, one of the nicest parks of Vienna. The BOKU is divided into 14 departments, ranging from nanotechnology to biodiversity. There is an additional, smaller campus in Tulln in Lower Austria.

BOKU Today: Campus, Students, Academic Programs

The BOKU has approximately 6,000 students - remarkably, women make almost 50 percent of the student population (remarkable insofar as universities with a strong technical focus usually have a clear tendency towards male students). Bachlor degrees take six terms (three years) and masters an additional two. Master courses include peculiar subjects such as horse sciences, winery or wood technology. Note also the English course of "Mountain Risk Engineering", which I find rather appropriate for Austria. In terms of sightseeing, the facilities of the BOKU at the Türkenschanzpark are worth a closer look. As a university and public facility, you can even go inside and have a look.

Other attractions nearby are the cemetery of Döbling and the neighbourhood around the BOKU is full with 19th century villas - it is one of Vienna′s most exclusive areas and full with filthy-rich, yet usually somewhat geriatric people. Therefore, the surroundings of the university lack any studenty personality. However, it is well-connected with the U6 and Gürtel area, so transportation is easy. The Heurigen areas of Döbling, Grinzing and Nussdorf are not too far, nor is the Pötzleinsdorfer Park and the Geymüller Schlössl with a side-branch of the Museum of Applied Arts.

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Further Reading

Official Website of the BOKU Vienna

Information for International Students - BOKU Vienna