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.
Why study in Croatia?
1. Tuition and living costs are affordable
You don't need to rob a bank in order to study in Croatia. Most Bachelor's programmes cost between 800 and 4,000 EUR per academic year. Tuition fees for Master's programmes vary more, but they are still more affordable than what you'd pay at a Western university.
The same thing is true for living costs, which will take 400–700 EUR out of your pocket every month.
2. English is widely spoken
You shouldn't face any language barriers while in Croatia, especially in popular places like Zagreb, Rijeka, and Istria. Statistically speaking, around 80% of Croatians speak multiple languages, with English being the most widely spoken.
3. Scholarships reduce costs even further
While Croatian universities don't usually provide any funding, the Croatian Ministry of Science and Education does. It comes in the form of bilateral agreements, Erasmus Plus programmes, or other mobility opportunities. Learn how to apply for a scholarship in Croatia.
4. Enjoy the natural beauty and local climate
In their spare time, students can have fun by visiting the most beautiful Croatian sites. With a rich cultural heritage and large area of unspoiled natural land, there are many options available.
We recommend visiting: the Plitvice Lakes National Park, the Krka National Park, Diocletian's Palace, the Walls of Dubrovnik, the Golder Horn, the Kvarner Gulf, Stradun, etc.
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.
- 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.
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.
Universities accept these official English exams:
Living in Croatia
Let's take a closer look at tuition and living expenses in Croatia:
Here's what you need to know about tuition fees:
- each higher education institution can set its own tuition fees
- public universities are less expensive when compared to their private counterparts
- usually, EU/EEA and non-EU/EEA students pay the same fees
- average costs for Bachelor's degrees range between 800–4,000 EUR/year at public universities
- tuition costs for Master's degrees vary significantly based on what you study, where you study, and how long it takes to graduate
- to get the latest info about tuition fees, always check the official university websites
Living costs in Croatia
As an international student, you need around 400–700 EUR per month to cover your living costs. Depending on your lifestyle, costs may go up or down. Here's a breakdown of average living expenses in Croatia:
- accommodation: 150–300 EUR/month
- food and groceries: 100–250 EUR/month
- monthly transport pass: 47 EUR; students might get discounts
- three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant: 40 EUR
- 1 loaf of bread: 1 EUR
- 1 litre of milk: 1 EUR
- 1 kg of apples: 1.30 EUR
- 1 kg of bananas: 1.40 EUR
- 1 cappuccino: 1.50 EUR
Croatia (Hrvatska), officially the Republic of Croatia (Republika Hrvatska) is situated in South-Eastern Europe at the crossroads of the Adriatic Sea and the Pannonian Plain.
Croatia is an ex-Yugoslav country that declared its independency from Yugoslavia in 1991 and is a member of the EU since 2013.
Croatia borders with Hungary in the north, Slovenia in the north-west, Serbia in the north-east, Bosnia and Herzegovina in the total length of the lower part of the Croatia’s crescent shape, Montenegro in the extreme south, and Italy and Slovenia on the Adriatic Sea.
Croatia is classified as an emerging and developing economy by the International Monetary Fund and a high income economy by the World Bank. Traditionally, Croatia is a tourism oriented country.
Historical heritage, natural beauty and a pleasant climate make up the framework which, together with high quality accommodation, gastronomic excellence and a rich supply of activities and entertainment, enables Croatia to attract the modern-day tourist.
Zagreb is the capital of Croatia and also the largest city in the country. It is situated in the north-west of the country, along the Sava River with a population of almost one million inhabitants. It is the political, economic, cultural and scientific centre of Croatia.
The official currency of the Republic of Croatia is the Kuna (shortened to “HRK” or “kn”) and it is subdivided into 100 Lipa (shorted to “lp”).
Universities, colleges and schools in Croatia
How to Apply to a Master's in Croatia
If you've decided to study a Master's degree at a university in Croatia, you will have to gather the right documents to prove that you fit the university requirements. Provide complete personal information, previous qualifications, financial information, and a personal statement.
What documents do I need to provide to apply in Croatia?
To apply to a university in Croatia you will likely be asked to provide some of the following documents:
- birth certificate;
- recent photos;
- your passport or national identity card;
- one or more reference letters from past employers or teachers;
- copies of past diplomas or certificates, including your graduated Bachelor's degree;
- academic transcripts;
- letter of intent;
- Curriculum Vitae;
- Some form of proof that you can support your stay in the country during your studies.
Depending on the subject or specialization of your chosen Master's, you might also be asked to provide scores for additional tests like the GRE, GMAT or LSAT. Check if your programme requires any of these, or others.
The list of documents depends on the specific requirements of universities in Croatia so you might be asked to include additional documents. It’s also likely you’ll have to provide official English translations of your documents, or translations in the local language.
Prove your English skills
Because you’ll study an international degree in English, you'll have to present a language certificate. Some popular options for international students are IELTS, TOEFL or C1 Advanced language certificates. You’ll have to meet a minimum language score set by the university, and your test scores shouldn’t be older than 1-2 years. If you don’t meet the minimum language requirements, you will have to improve your skills and scores by taking an English preparation course.
Application deadlines for Croatia
The deadlines for applying to a Master's in Croatia are usually during summer (June-July), or in winter (January-February). Keep in mind that some universities don’t have application deadlines, which means you can apply whenever you are ready.
To avoid delays or missed deadlines send your required documents with plenty of time in advance.