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Cyprus

Chapter 1: Higher Education System

Section 1.1.: Schematic Description of the Higher Education System

Cyprus Section 1.1

Section 1.2: Description of Higher Education System

Cyprus places a great deal of value on Higher Education. The country has the second highest tertiary educational attainment rate in the EU with 55.8 % of 30-34 year olds having a Higher Education degree in 2017 (EU average: 39.9 %).

Cyprus’ Higher Education sector is still comparatively young (the country’s first University – The University of Cyprus - was founded in 1989 and became operational in 1992), but it has nonetheless expanded substantially over the past three decades. The Higher Education System in Cyprus consists of Universities and Institutions of Higher Education, both Public and Private.

Some of the Institutions of Higher Education, offer short term programmes, mostly for specific professions, that provide students with Certificates (1 year), Diplomas (2 years), and Higher Diplomas (3 years). Many courses include periods of placement at the workforce environment. There is also a significant number of Institutions of Higher Education that along with Universities, provide Bachelor and Master Degrees. Two private Institutions, namely the Cyprus Institute and the Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics, provide PhD Programs. The Open University of Cyprus is the country’s only Public University devoted entirely to open and distance education and lifelong learning. Distance learning is also provided as an option from the majority of the Institutions of Higher Education, especially after the emergency measures that Cyprus Government implemented towards the interception of the pandemic COVID-19.

Cyprus Universities, both public and private, offer Academic and Professional Bachelor Degrees of 4-year duration (240 ECTS ). A Bachelor Degree is a stepping stone for studies at a Master’s level. Master programmes are characterised by the integration of education and research. Students are given the choice to fulfil the programs requirements either by succeeding in a specific number of modules (total 120 ECTS) or by combining selected modules along with a Master’s dissertation.

Doctorate degree is the highest level of an academic degree provided by Cyprus Universities and Institutions of Higher Education. It is based on an original research project and aims to contribute in an innovate way to the existing international knowledge in any subject area.

Section 1.3: Number of Higher Education Institutions

3 public Universities, 6 private Universities, 5 public Institutions of Higher Education, 44 private Institutions of Higher Education.

Section 1.4 Number of Students in Higher Education

Table 1: Population of Students per Type of Higher Education Institution for the Academic Year 2019-2020

2019-2020
Type of Higher Educational Institution
Students
Cyprus
European Union
Rest of the World
Total
Public and Private Universities
18015
18694
2494
*39203
Public Institutions of Higher Education
775
36
6
817
Private Institutions of Higher Education
4159
133
8950
13242
Total
22949
18863
11450
53262

* 40% of students follow the distance learning approach for their studies

Table 2: Students enrolment per program of study for the Academic Year 2019-2020

 
 
2019-2020
    Enrolments  
 
 
Cypriot students
European Union students
International students 
Total
Outgoing mobility
Public and Private Institutions of Tertiary Education
Programs of studies (1-3 years) Certificate, Diploma, Higher Diploma
2587
67
2767
5421
N/A
Bachelor
 1456
41
5716
7213
N/A
Master
836
60
442
1338
N/A
PhD
55
1
31
87
N/A
Total
4934
169
8956
14059
N/A
Public and Private Universities
Bachelor
12493
5209
1569
19271
N/A
Master
4480
13166
824
18470
N/A
PhD
1042
319
101
1462
N/A
Total
18015
18694
2494
39203
N/A
Total Universities and Institutions of Tertiary Education
22949
18863
11450
53262
N/A

Section 1.5: Structure of Academic Year

The academic year consists of two semesters and one summer period as follows:
Winter Semester: September – January
Spring Semester: February – June
Summer period: July – August

Each semester ends with an examination period and for the majority of HEIs there is also a second chance examination period in August-September.

Section 1.6: National Qualifications Framework (or Similar)

The Cyprus National Qualifications Framework (CyQF) has been in alignment with the European Qualifications Framework and is structured as follows:

The Cyprus National Qualifications Framework    
 NQF Levels  Educational /Academic Qualifications  Occupational/Vocational Qualifications EQF Levels 
 8  Doctoral Degree    8
 7c  Master's Degree    7  
 7b  Post Graduate Diploma  
 7a  Post Graduate Certificates  
 6  University Degree (Ptychion/Bachelor's Degree)  SVQ Level 6  6
 5c  Higer Certificates and Diplomas (3 years or more)  SVQ Level 5   5
 5b  Post Secondary Certificates and Diplomas (2 years) 
 5a  Post Secondary Certificates and Diplomas (1 year)
 4  Upper Secondary General Education and Evening Schools Certificates (12th Class or 12&13th for Some Private Schools) - Apolyterion Upper Secondary Technical and Vocational Education and Evening Technical Schools Certificates (12th Class) - Apolyterion    SVQ Level 4  4
 3  Lower Secondary Certificate 10th Class  New Modern Apprenticeship Certificate  SVQ Level 3  3
 2  Compulsory Secondary Certificate 9th Class    Preparatory Programme (New Modern Apprenticeship)     2
 1  Compulsory Education Certificate (Elementary School Leaving Certificate and/or Graduates of 7th and/or 8th Class)    1
                                   *SQV =System of vocational qualifications

 

http://www.cyqf.gov.cy/index.php/en/diagram

Section 1.7: Learning Outcomes in Higher Education

Cyprus does not yet have a National Framework for validating non-formal and informal learning. However, it is currently under development, through a project, partially funded by the European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds. This project, which started at the beginning of 2018, has supported a mapping study of the current situation in Cyprus and a National Action Plan, setting up a validation mechanism for the validation of non-formal and informal learning.

The National Action Plan was discussed with stakeholders during the first half of 2018 and was completed in May 2018. Currently there is an ongoing pilot implementation of the plan, focusing on adult education, youth and volunteering. The validation process will entail five stages: information-individualized counselling; identification; recognition of learning outcomes; assessment of learning outcomes; and certification.

CYPRUS European inventory on NQF 2018
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/cyprus_-_european_inventory_on_nqf_2018.pdf 

Section 1.8: Admission Requirements to Higher Education

Type of Educational Institute
Students Admission Requirements
Public Universities
Undergraduate Studies
The entrance for undergraduate studies in the two conventional Public Universities of Cyprus is attained upon success at the Pancyprian Exams which are organized centrally by the MOEC. Eligible to participate at the Pancyprian Exams are holders of a Cypriot Secondary School Leaving Certificate (Apolyterion) or an equivalent foreign qualification verified by an Accreditation Council/Body of the country of origin.
The Open University of Cyprus offers Bachelor Degrees only in Greek.
Postgraduate Studies
Applicants must have a University degree awarded by an accredited Institution of HE in the country where it operates, or a degree evaluated as equivalent to a University degree by the Cyprus Council for the Recognition of Higher Education Qualifications (KY.S.A.T.S.). In general, academic Bachelor degrees give access to Master degrees and Master degrees give access to PhD programmes.
For admission to some postgraduate programmes, candidates are required to have proficiency in English that can be demonstrated through internationally certificates of English Language Proficiency (e.g. IGCSE, IELTS, TOEFL). For the majority of programmes of study applicants for PhD Degree must be holders of a Master Degree.
Private Universities
Undergraduate Studies
The general admission requirement for entry to an undergraduate programme of study is a recognised Secondary School Leaving Certificate or equivalent. Some programmes may have additional requirements, in which case, they are specified separately under the relevant programme requirements. English is often the main language of instruction at Private Universities. Students may be required either to take an English test before registering for classes, or to prove that they have passed an internationally recognised English exam which indicates their level of English proficiency.
Postgraduate Studies
The minimum requirement for admission into a Postgraduate Study Programme (Master degree) is a Bachelor Degree from an accredited Institute of HE. In addition to the minimum requirements, special admission requirements may apply for some Departments. For the majority of programmes of study applicants for a PhD Degree must be holders of a Master Degree.
Public and Private Institutions of Higher Education
Post-Secondary Certificates and Diplomas (1, 2, 3 years duration)
Admission requirements may vary depending on the Institutions’ requirements. However, the following two are necessary:
- Qualified Secondary School Leaving Certificate.
- Proof of proficiency in English language.
Undergraduate Studies
Postgraduate Studies (where applicable)
Basic admission requirements:
-University degree or equivalent qualification in any subject.
-Master degree when applying to PhD programmes.
-Proof of proficiency in English language for programmes offered in English.

Section 1.9: Grading System

In general, for Bachelor and Master degrees the Grading system ranges between 0 – 10 with an interval of half points (7.5, 8.5 etc.). Grade 5 is the pass mark in an overall average of assignments, tests and final examinations.

Section 1.10: Tuition Fee System for International Students

Type of Educational Institute
Tuition fees
Public Universities
Undergraduate Studies
EU students €3417,20/yearly (FREE - paid by the Republic of Cyprus)
Non EU students €6868,41/yearly
Postgraduate Studies
€4100-€10250/ in total
Private Universities
Undergraduate and Postgraduate Studies
Tuitions and fees are approved by the Ministry of Education and Culture of Cyprus and are announced at the Institutions’ official websites. Nevertheless, the Universities reserve the right to change the fees and charges where appropriate
€9000-€25000*
*For the field of Medicine
Public and Private Institutions of Higher Education
Post-Secondary Certificates and Diplomas (1, 2, 3 years)
In general tuition fees vary depending on the Institutions’ regulations and programs offered.
Foreign students ≈ €3500-€6500/yearly
Undergraduate Studies
Foreign students ≈ €4000-€7500/yearly
Postgraduate Studies (where applicable)
Foreign students ≈ €5500-€7500/in total

Section 1.11: Graduation Requirements and/or Qualification Awarding Requirements

There are specific graduation requirements, which are analytically specified in each Institution of Higher Education’s Prospectus.

Section 1.12: Relevant Current and Prospective Reforms in Higher Education

There are no relevant current/prospective reforms in HE at present.

 

Chapter 2: Quality Assurance in Higher Education

Section 2.1: Quality Assurance Body in Higher Education

The Cyprus Agency of Quality Assurance and Accreditation in Higher Education (CYQAA), is responsible to ensure the quality of Higher Education in Cyprus and to support, through the procedures provided by the relevant legislation for the continuous improvement and upgrading of Higher Education Institutions (HEI) and their programs of study.
Additionally, CYQAA has, according to the Law, extended competencies amongst which are the following:

  • Institutional, Departmental and Programmatic Evaluation and Accreditation of Higher Education.
  • Quality Assurance in Higher Education on the basis of the European Standards.
  • The Evaluation and Accreditation of cross-border forms of education, offered by local Institutions of HE in member states or third countries.
  • Assessment of the conditions for the provision of cross-border education from foreign Institutions of HE in Cyprus.
  • Assessment of inter-institutional cooperation of HEI.
  • The provision of information of Quality Assurance in Higher Education.
    With the cooperation of HEI, CYQAA will be a major contributor towards the effort for the establishment of Cyprus as district Educational and Research Center, in accordance to the standards and guidelines provided by the European Network for Quality Assurance (ENQA). CYQAA is a full member of the European Network of Quality Assurance (ENQA) and a full member of the International Network for Quality Assurance and Accreditation Higher Education (INQAAHE). It is also included on the European Network of Quality Assurance Register (EQAR), and is recognized by the World Federation for Medical Education (WFME).

The lists of all recognized Institutions of Higher Education and of the accredited programs of study as well as evaluation for each HEI, are published in the CYQAA’s website. 

Section 2.2: Quality Assurance System

Study programme
Institution
Voluntary
 
 
Compulsory
X X
Regularity
5 years
5 years
External
X X
Internal
X X
Further information:
All Higher Education Institutions are obliged by the relevant laws to have an Internal Evaluation Committee which is responsible to conduct a General Evaluation Report for the Institution, every three years. CYQAA has the authority to require such a report on an annual basis. Every 5 years CYQAA goes through an external evaluation process that refers to Institutional, Departmental or Program of Study Evaluation.

Section 2.3: Link Programme Authorisation with Quality Assurance

On the basis of the judgments of CYQAA, Higher Education programmes are recognized and students receive a legally recognized degree.

The lists of all recognized Institutions of Higher Education and of the accredited programs of study as well as evaluation results for each HEI, are published on the CYQAA’s website:
http://www.dipae.ac.cy/index.php/en/axiologisi/pistopoiimena-programmata 

 

Chapter 3: Credit System in Higher Education

Section 3.1: Description of Credit System

The credit system of the HEIs in Cyprus is based on ECTS (European Credit Transfer and accumulation System). One ECTS represents 25 to 30 hours of a student’s workload. Courses are often a combination of compulsory and non-compulsory thematic units for which students may enrol according to their own preferences and timetable, with due consideration for the semester system and evaluations. They can opt for a traditional course of 60 ECTS credits per year, a half-time course or an individual course adjusted to their specific needs.

Link ECTS:
http://ec.europa.eu/education/ects/users-guide/introduction_en.htm#ectsTop  

Section 3.2: Credit Transfer System(s)

ECTS – European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System.

Section 3.3: Additional Information

Students can be exempted from a course based on credits acquired in other accredited Institution of HE.

Section 3.4: Application of Credit System in Higher Education Institutions Obligatory?

Yes.

Section 3.5: Number of Credits per Academic Year/Semester

The number of credits per standard academic year is 60 ECTS (30 ECTS/semester).

Section 3.6: Number of Credits per Higher Education Cycle

Post-Secondary Certificates and Diplomas (level 5) are 60-180 ECTS. Most Bachelor programmes (level 6) are 240 ECTS. The number of ECTS for a Master programme (level 7) is minimum 90 ECTS and ranges between 90 and 180 ECTS. ECTS for a PhD (level 8) range from 180 to 300 ECTS.

Section 3.7: Description of Credit Unit

1 ECTS-credit equals 25-30 hours (of 60 minutes) of a student’s workload. Workload (ECTS-definition) is an estimation of the time the individual typically needs to complete all learning activities such as lectures, seminars, projects, practical work, work placements and individual study required to achieve the defined learning outcomes in formal learning environments.

Section 3.8: Link between Learning Outcomes and Credits

A student is awarded credits upon achievement of the defined learning outcomes related to the educational unit/course. Learning outcomes (ECTS-definition) are statements of what the individual knows, understands and is able to do on completion of the learning process. The achievement of learning outcomes has to be assessed through procedures based on clear and transparent criteria.
Learning outcomes are attributed to individual educational components and to programmes as a whole. They are also used in European and National Qualifications Frameworks to describe the level of the individual qualification.

Last updated in 2020.

 

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