A Fachhochschule (German: [ˈfaxhoːxʃuːlə] (listen); plural Fachhochschulen), abbreviated FH, or University of Applied Sciences (UAS) is a German tertiary education institution that specializes in a particular applied science or applied art, such as engineering, technology or business.
Fachhochschulen were first founded in Germany, and were later adopted in Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Cyprus and Greece. An increasing number of Fachhochschulen are abbreviated as Hochschule, the generic term in Germany for institutions awarding academic degrees in higher education, or expanded as Hochschule für angewandte Wissenschaften (HAW). Universities of Applied Sciences are primarily designed with a focus on teaching professional skills. Swiss law calls Fachhochschulen and Universitäten "separate but equal".
Due to the Bologna process, Universitäten and Fachhochschulen award legally equivalent academic bachelor's and master's degrees. Fachhochschulen generally do not award doctoral degrees themselves. Combined with the rule that they appoint only professors with a professional career of at least three years outside the university system, those are the two major ways in which they differ from traditional universities. However, they may run doctoral programs if the degree itself is awarded by a partner institution.