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Croatia Higher Education System

Structure of the Higher Educational System in Croatia
Admissions to Higher Education in Croatia
Types of Higher Education Institutions in Croatia
Cycles of Higher Education in Croatia
 


Types of Higher Education Institutions


Currently there are 137 higher education institutions in Croatia, respectively: 7 public universities, 3 private universities, 80 constituents of the public universities, 3 private polytechnics, 13 public polytechnics, 28 private colleges and 3 public colleges. The large number of higher education institutions is mostly due to the fact that the four largest universities (Zagreb, Rijeka, Osijek and Split) are not integrated and their constituents (faculties, centres etc.) are legal entities. The universities in Zagreb, Split, Osijek and Rijeka are mainly composed of smaller constituents - faculties, which are legal entities. Universities in Zadar, Dubrovnik and Pula as well as the International University in Dubrovnik, the Croatian Catholic University in Zagreb and the Media University in Koprivnica are composed of departments, which are not legal entities.


First Cycle Programmes


First cycle study studies are delivered either as professional or university study programmes. Majority of study programmes delivered at private higher education institutions are delivered as professional studies. The minimum educational requirement for admission into first cycle study programmes are set by higher education institutions. Normally, the minimum requirement for admission into first cycle study programme is the completion of a four-year secondary school. As of academic year 2010/2011 student enrolments are based on the results of National School Leaving Exams. The admissions process to first cycle programmes is administered through a central online application system. According to ASHE Directory of Study Programmes there are 512 first cycle study programmes of which majority in social and technical sciences.


Bachelor


Professional programmes – first cycle programmes (stručni studij) - usually last for three years in which students accumulate 180 ECTS. A minority of professional programmes in Croatia are delivered as four year programmes in which students accumulate 240 ECTS. Upon completion students are awarded a document called svjedodžba and the professional title of stručni prvostupnik or stručna prvostupnica (baccalaureus/baccalaurea) with reference to their specialisation. Students holding a first cycle professional degree may apply for admission into specialist professional graduate programmes, to a second cycle university programme under special conditions, or enter the labour market.

Undergraduate university programmes – first cycle programmes (preddiplomski sveučilišni studij) - normally last for three years in which students accumulate 180 ECTS. A minority of undergraduate university programmes in Croatia are delivered as four year programmes in which students accumulate 240 ECTS credits. Upon completion students are awarded a document called svjedodžba and the academic title of sveučilišni prvostupnik or sveučilišna prvostupnica (baccalaureus / baccalaurea) with reference to a specialisation. Students holding a first cycle university degree can apply for admission into graduate university programmes or specialist graduate professional programmes, or enter the labour market


Short-Cycle Higher Education


Short-cycle professional programmes (stručni studij) normally last for two or two-and-a-half years, in which students accumulate between 120 and 150 ECTS, respectively. Upon completion students are awarded a document called svjedodžba and the professional title stručni pristupnik or stručna pristupnica with reference to a specialization. Students holding a short-cycle professional degree can apply for admission to a programme for the completion of a first cycle professional degree or enter the labour market. According to the ASHE Directory of Study Programmes in 2012 there are only 5 accredited short-cycle professional programmes carried out in the following areas: mechanical engineering, electrotechnics, law, metallurgy and chemical engineering.


Second Cycle Programmes


Second cycle study programmes are delivered either as graduate university study programmes or specialist professional graduate study programmes.

The minimum educational requirement for enrolment into graduate university programmes is the completion of an undergraduate university programme. The university can allow students who have completed a professional programme to also enrol graduate university programmes, but they are allowed to set special requirements in these cases. The minimum educational requirement for enrolment into specialist graduate professional programmes is the completion of an undergraduate university programme or a professional programme (first cycle). According to ASHE Directory of Study Programmes there are 444 second cycle study programmes of which majority is in social sciences.

Graduate university programmes – second cycle programmes (diplomski sveučilišni studij) -normally last for two years in which students accumulate 120 ECTS. A minority of graduate programmes in Croatia are delivered as one year programmes in which students accumulate 60 ECTS. The total number of credits accumulated during first and second cycle programmes is at least 300. Upon completion students are awarded a document called diploma and the academic title magistar or magistra with reference to a specialisation. Students holding a second cycle university degree can continue their studies at postgraduate university programmes or enter the labour market.

Specialist professional graduate programmes (specijalistički diplomski stručni studij) - normally last for two years in which students accumulate 120 ECTS. A minority of specialist professional graduate programmes in Croatia are delivered as one year programmes in which students accumulate 60 ECTS. The total number of ECTS credits accumulated during first and second cycle programmes is at least 300 ECTS. Upon completion of specialist professional graduate programmes students are awarded a document called diploma and the professional title stručni specijalist or stručna specijalistica in a certain field. Students graduating in the fields of medicine, dental medicine or veterinary medicine are awarded the professional title of diplomirani ili diplomirana with reference to their field of study.


Programmes outside the Bachelor and Master Structure


Integrated undergraduate and graduate university programmes - first and second cycle programmes (integrirani preddiplomski i diplomski sveučilišni studij) - normally last for five or six years in which students respectively accumulate a minimum of 300 ECTS. According to ASHE Directory of Study programmes there are 40 integrated undergraduate and graduate university programmes which are mainly carried out in the areas of regulated professions: medicine, dental and veterinary medicine, pharmacy, law and teacher education. Upon completion students are awarded a document called diploma and the academic title magistar or magistra with reference to a specialisation. Upon completion of integrated first and second cycle programmes in medicine, dental medicine or veterinary medicine students are awarded the academic title of doktor or doktorica with reference to their field of study.

Students can continue their studies at postgraduate university programmes or enter the labour market.

Postgraduate university specialist programmes (poslijediplomski specijalistički studij) normally last one to two years (courses only). It is important to note that these programmes do not refer to doctoral (third cycle) studies. These programmes are envisaged for employed persons who have already completed graduate university studies or graduate specialist professional study and wish to further their education in a certain field. According to ASHE Directory of Study Programmes there 208 available postgraduate study programmes. Upon completion students are awarded a document called diploma and the title of sveučilišni specijalist or sveučilišna specijalistica in a certain field. Students of postgraduate specialist programmes in medicine, dental medicine or veterinary medicine are awarded the title of sveučilišni magistar or sveučilišna magistra with reference to their field of study. Titles conferred after completion of postgraduate specialist programmes can be used together with titles received after completion of graduate study programmes.


Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

The minimum educational requirement for enrolment into postgraduate doctoral programmes is the completion of an appropriate graduate programme. Normally, the requirement for is the completion of a graduate university programme. Students who have completed the pre-Bologna undergraduate programmes (sveučilišni dodiplomski studij) with a duration of minimum 4 academic years are allowed to apply for Bologna postgraduate programmes as well. Postgraduate doctoral programmes - third cycle programmes (poslijediplomski sveučilišni studij) - normally last for three years. Upon completion students are awarded a document called diploma and the academic degree of doktor znanosti or doktorica znanosti with reference to their field of science. Universities autonomously determine whether ECTS credits will be awarded in postgraduate study programmes. According to ASHE Directory of Study Programmes there are 123 available third cycle study programmes. Croatian Bureau of Statistics data idicates that the most frequent scientific field of studies and registered dissertations, was biomedicine and health with 21.7%, followed by engineering with 18.9%, humanities with 16.6%, social sciences with 16.0%, life sciences with 14.6%, Interdisciplinary field with 7.3%, biotechnical sciences with 4.6% and artistic field with 0.3%.





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