Study in Croatia
The Croatian higher education system has a long educational tradition preserved primarily through the work of its public universities.
Croatia has a binary higher education system, meaning that prospective students can choose between two types of higher education studies:
- University studies consisting of academic programmes that are conducted solely at universities
- Professional studies consisting of professional programmes conducted at polytechnics or colleges of applied sciences (exceptionally, professional programmes can also be implemented at universities)
The Croatian higher education system is now structured according to three cycles (undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate) and higher education studies in Croatia are organised according to the system of transferable credits, thus making it easier for international students (from Europe and beyond) to study in Croatia and have their studies recognised in their home countries.
Find the best information about what it’s like to study in Zagreb, including degree course offers, career opportunities, student life, living costs, and more.
Private and public higher education institutions
Croatia has both public and private higher education institutions.
Most Croatian universities are public institutions. However, private university education has recently started to develop in Croatia with the establishment of three private universities and numerous colleges of applied sciences.
Almost all polytechnics are public institutions, while most colleges of applied sciences are private institutions. Both polytechnics and colleges of applied sciences provide first and second cycle professional study programmes – these institutions differ only in the number of study programmes they provide, not in the type of programmes.
General application requirements
Prospective students who apply to undergraduate study programmes as degree-seeking students and who have completed the minimum of four years of secondary education outside Croatia can apply to higher education institutions in Croatia using the Central Application System.
Applicants who have completed their secondary education in a country that does not have an established system of external evaluation of secondary education are advised to take the State Matura exams in subjects proscribed for admission to a particular study program. Namely, the results of the State Matura exams influence the candidate ranking in the selection process for admission to most study programs.
Candidates should send the following documents to the Central Application Office (at the Agency for Science and Higher Education):
- Completed application form
- Identification information
- Proof of completion of all secondary school levels by that date (certificate of each level)
- Confirmation of the results of final examination
- Confirmation of the results of national or international competitions
- Confirmation of sport status
Please request detailed information about the application process from the higher education institution you wish to attend.
Find more information about applying to a university in Croatia.
- Undergraduate university studies normally last for three to four years. Upon completion, students are awarded an academic title of Bachelor (prvostupnik) with reference to a specialisation, which qualifies a student for specialised work in art or science.
- Graduate university studies normally last for one to two years. Upon completion of both undergraduate and graduate studies, students are awarded an academic title of Master (magistar struke) with reference to a specialisation.
- Postgraduate university studies are divided into specialist and doctoral studies.
- Specialist studies lead towards specialisation in a profession and last for one to two years. Upon completion, the student is awarded the title of University Specialist with reference to a specialisation (univ. spec.).
- Doctoral studies last three years and are intended for scientific and research training aimed at the production of scientific excellence as well as renewal of teaching staff in the higher education system. Upon completion of doctoral study (and after defending the doctoral thesis), the academic title of Doctor of Science or Doctor of Arts is awarded (dr. sc. or dr. art.).
- Integrated undergraduate and graduate university studies normally take five or six years. Upon completion, students are awarded a diploma and the academic title of Master (magistar struke) with an indication of the field of study.
- Undergraduate professional studies last for two to three years. Exceptionally professional studies may last up to four years. Students are awarded a professional title of strucni pristupnik with a reference to a specialisation the professional title of Professional Bachelor (strucni prvostupnik) with a reference to a specialisation.
- Specialist professional graduate studies last one to two years. Upon completion, students are awarded a title of a specialist of the respective profession.
Research in Croatia is conducted at universities, public research institutes, research institutes, the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts and other institutions registered in the Register of Scientific Research Legal Persons.
About qualifications recognition
Recognition of foreign educational qualifications in Croatia is carried out for the purpose of continuation of education at Croatian higher education institutions (academic recognition) or for the purpose of employment in Croatia (professional recognition).
All higher education institutions that accept international students usually have an International Cooperation Office and prospective students should contact that office well before applying in order to obtain relevant information on what educational qualifications need to be recognised in order to apply for the study programme in question.
English language preparation for studying in Croatia
Develop your academic English language skills in order to meet the English language requirements at Croatian universities offering degree studies for international students. Choose an English language school anywhere in the world and pick your preferred English exam preparation course from diverse language course options.
The visa application (Viza C) must be submitted to the diplomatic mission or consulate of the Republic of Croatia in the foreign national’s home country. The visa application can be submitted either in person or via e-mail.
Visa application forms shall be submitted no sooner than three months prior to the date of the intended trip.
Foreigners shall enclose the following documents with the application:
- valid travel document (travel document must be issued in the previous 10 years)
- a 35x45 mm colour photo
- evidence of travel health insurance
- evidence of paid visa fee
- documents that prove the purpose of the stay in Croatia
- proof of ensured accommodation
- proof of means of subsistence to cover their stay in Croatia and the return to their country of origin
- means of transport and their intention to return to their country of origin
Students should also apply for a residence permit after arriving in the country.
Ask your local Croatian embassy or consulate for detailed information about study visa application.