Danube University Krems: University Program in Waldorf Education in Austria

Students and their lecturer in an auditorium
Waldorf teacher training: education is self-education, Photo: C. Fischer

Since 2007 students have the possibility to complete a three-year master's degree program in Waldorf education at the Danube University Krems in Austria. This can be seen as a milestone in terms of the academic recognition and internationalisation of Waldorf education.

The Zentrum für Kultur und Pädagogik (Centre for Culture and Pedagogy), located in Vienna, is responsible for part-time Waldorf teacher education in Austria. Four years ago, with the financial support of the Software AG Foundation, the center developed a concept for a Waldorf-focused degree program in education. All necessary preparations are now complete for the degree program to be implemented at the Danube University Krems. This state-run university proved to offer a particularly suitable home for the project, as it exclusively offers part-time continuing degree programs for working professionals. Housed in the Department of Education Management and Pedagogy, the Zentrum für Kultur und Pädagogik now offers a six-semester, part-time course in Waldorf education. After the first year the students receive a certificate, after the second year a Diplom degree, and after completion of the third year and a master's thesis they are awarded the title “Master of Arts in Waldorf Education.” In Austria, this qualification entitles graduates to teach in Waldorf schools and to teach Waldorf education in public schools.

With this degree program, which is designed to reflect accepted international benchmarks for master's degree programs in education science, the Vienna center has created a pioneering course of study in alternative education. The program contributes to a more clearly visible presence of Waldorf education in the European landscape and anticipates similar developments in other countries. The university environment and academic-oriented context ensure wide recognition of the degree. As a result, Waldorf education will be afforded more recognition and acceptance in the discourse surrounding the science of education. Future graduates of the program will be able to shape their own teaching plans as well as the activities of their schools on an academic foundation of the highest quality.

The Software AG Foundation supported the development of the program from 2007 to 2009.