Greece Higher Education System
Structure of the Higher Educational System in Greece
Admissions to Higher Education in Greece
Types of Higher Education Institutions in Greece
Cycles of Higher Education in Greece
Higher education constitutes the last level of education system and comprises the University and Technological sectors. The University sector includes Universities, Technical Universities, and the School of Fine Arts. The Technological sector includes the Technological Education Institutions (TEIs), and the School of Pedagogical and Technological Education (ASPETE). Higher education institutions are fully self-administered legal entities of public law. Collective bodies that are established and act in compliance with special legislation administer each institution.
The first Greek University was established in Athens in 1837. Other Universities subsequently established throughout Greece during the 20th century. In recent years, the organisation and operation of Universities has mainly been defined and regulated by article 16 of the Greek Constitution, in force since 1975, with subsequent partial revisions. According to article 16 of the Greek Constitution, higher education is public and exclusively provided by Higher Education Institutions, which are Legal Entities under Public Law, enjoying full self-administration and academic freedom, while they are subject to state supervision and financed by the government. State supervision is carried out by the Minister of Education and Religious Affairs.
Higher Education Institutions in Greece have the following mission:
a) To promote knowledge through research and teaching, to prepare students to use the acquired knowledge at their professional life and to boost arts and culture.
b) To offer higher education and to contribute to lifelong learning using modern teaching methods (distance learning included) on the basis of high quality scientific and technological research which follows international criteria.
c) To develop students’ critical thinking and skills, to take care of their integration into the labour market and to create the appropriate conditions for the emergence of new researchers.
d) To correspond to the labour market needs and to the country’s development needs as well as to promote the knowledge dissemination, the optimization of research results and of innovation focusing on the scientific ethics, sustainable development and social cohesion.
e) To promote cooperation with other Greek or foreign institutions and research organisations. To promote student and stuff mobility contributing this way to the construction of the European Higher Education and Research Area.
f) To create responsible citizens, capable of facing all human activities demands with scientific, professional and cultural sufficiency as well as to respect values such as justice, freedom, democracy and social solidarity.
Higher Education sectors
In Greece, Higher Education is divided into two sectors: the University Sector and the Technological Sector. Higher Education University Sector aims at establishing, producing and developing science and technology, achieving our country's future scientists’ high level, comprehensive, theoretical and applied training while promoting and developing scientific research. Higher Education Technological Sector aims at developing the scientific and technological research and at providing programmes of more applied character.
The mission of University and Technological Sectors Institutions comprises the following:
a) The University (Panepistimio) gives emphasis to high quality education according to the demands of science, technology and arts taking into account the international scientific practice and the corresponding professional fields.
b) The Technological Educational Institute (TEI) (Technologiko Ekpaideftiko Idryma) and the School of Pedagogical and Technological Education/ASPETE (Technological Sector Institutions) give emphasis to high quality education as well as to the applied character of science, technology and arts. In this framework they promote the development of the appropriate theoretical background together with the development of high standard practice.
For the accomplishment of their mission, all institutions are organised and operate based on the following principles:
a) freedom in teaching and research,
b) the research and scientific ethics,
c) the quality of education and of the services provided,
d) the efficiency in managing stuff, resources and infrastructures,
e) the transparency in all of their activities,
f) the impartiality during the actions they take and the decision making.
g) the meritocracy when dealing with the stuff and h) the equal treatment of women and men and the respect of diversity.
Compared to University studies, TEI studies have a more applied character. Nevertheless, care is taken to ensure that the TEI curricula contain a sufficient number of background theoretical courses, so that graduates are able to adjust easily and efficiently to the ever changing and increasing professional and social life demands.
Structure of the academic year
As regards tertiary education, the academic year begins on 1st September each year and ends on 31st August of the following year.
The educational work of each academic year comprises two semesters. Every semester includes at least thirteen weeks of teaching. The number of weeks dedicated to exams is defined by the internal regulation of every institution.
Extension of a semester is allowed under exceptional circumstances and for the purpose of fulfilling the minimum required number of teaching weeks. The extension cannot exceed two weeks and is decided by the Rector (or the President of TEI) after a proposal of the Deanery (or the faculty directorate of TEI).
If for any reason the number of the teaching weeks of a course is less than thirteen, then the course is not considered to have been taught and students are not examined in it.
The first semester normally begins in September’s second fortnight and the second semester normally ends in June’s second fortnight.
Throughout the year, there is a total of four weeks of Christmas and Easter holidays.
Studies leading to a degree in Greek Universities last at least four years for most scientific sectors while they last five years at Polytechnics, other applied sciences (Agronomy, Forestry, Dentistry, Veterinary Medicine, and Pharmaceutics) and certain Art Departments (music studies and fine arts) and six years for Medical School.
The duration of studies leading to a TEI degree is four years.
Cycles of study
Studies are divided into three cycles, the first, the second and the third one.
The first cycle of studies comprises the attendance of a study programme, includes courses corresponding to a minimum of 180 ECTS credits and leads to the award of a diploma / certificate.
The second cycle of studies comprises the attendance of a postgraduate programme. This programme includes courses corresponding to a minimum of 60 ECTS credits and leads the award of a Postgraduate Degree (Metaptychiako Diploma Spoudon), in accordance with the provisions of the organizational charter of the institution.
The third cycle of studies comprises the attendance of a doctorate study programme. It includes courses corresponding to at least 30 ECTS credits, as well as the thesis preparation. It is concluded within minimum three years duration, leads to the award of a doctoral diploma, according to the provisions of the organizational charter of the institution.
First Cycle Programmes
During the first cycle of studies, students attend a study programme that consists of modules that correspond to at least 240 credits and leads to the award of a degree (Titlos Spoudon). The number of credits required for a degree in the case of similar study programmes, is defined by a Presidential Decree. This is issued based on the proposal of the Minister of Education, who in turn takes into consideration the proposals of the rectors resulting from the opinions expressed by the deans of the Departments, the opinion of Hellenic Quality Assurance and Accreditation Agency (ADIP) and the relevant developments in every scientific field in the European Higher Education Area.
Every academic year includes educational activities corresponding to 60 credits.
Within the first cycle of studies, every institution may organize short cycle study programmes including modules corresponding to no more than 120 credits, leading to the award of a short cycle instruction certificate. This certificate is by no means equivalent to a first cycle studies’ degree. The Organisation of the Institution defines the operation of short cycle study programmes.
Branches of study
During the first cycle of studies, students attend a study programme that consists of modules that correspond to at least 240 credits and leads to the award of a degree (Titlos Spoudon).
According to the National Qualifications Framework of Higher Education, each programme also includes the learning outcomes and the qualifications acquired through the study programme as well as through each module, educational activity, or in-service traineeship. It includes the credits according to a relevant Ministerial Decision, as well as the level of qualifications in correspondence to the National Qualifications Framework, the European Qualifications Framework of Lifelong Learning and the Qualifications Framework of the European Area in Higher Education. The deanery of every department is responsible for awarding credits to each educational activity of the programme. In the case of a graduate course, they take into consideration the proposals made by the department’s assembly,. In the case of post-graduate courses, the proposals made by the teaching group are taken into consideration.
Pursuant to the system established by Law 2525/1997, as amended, supplemented and currently in force, the Faculties and Departments of Universities and Technological Educational Institutes (TEIs) - as well as the Academy of Police Officers, the Military School and other schools falling under the system - are grouped into five (5) disciplinary fields:
• FIELD 1: Humanities, Law and Social Sciences, including theoretical faculties such as literature, law, sociology, art schools, etc. (duration of studies: 4 or 5 years).
• FIELD 2: Science, including mathematics, physics, chemistry, etc. (duration of studies: 4 years).
• FIELD 3: Health Sciences, including medical, dental, pharmaceutical etc. schools (duration of studies 4, 5 or 6 years).
• FIELD 4: Technological Sciences, including architecture, polytechnics etc. schools (duration of studies 4 or 5 years).
• FIELD 5: Sciences of Economy and Administration, including economic, financial schools, etc. (duration of studies 4 years).
Each Department’s Curriculum corresponds to a field of knowledge related to a science and/or a profession, and leads to a Bachelor's degree. However, following a recommendation by the Department’s General Assembly, Directions or Specialisations may be incorporated in the degree awarded by the Department.
Graduates of General Upper Secondary Schools may apply for studying at both Universities (Panepistimia) and Technological Education Institutes (TEIs) (Technologika Ekpaideftika Idrymata). Graduates of Vocational Upper Secondary Schools are divided into the following groups: group A who can only apply for Technological Education Institutes and group B who can apply for both Universities and Technological Education Institutes.
Graduates of General Upper Secondary Schools and Vocational Upper Secondary Schools, group B acquire apart from the “Apolytirion”, a “Certificate” for access to Higher Education. They participate in the Pan-hellenic Examinations (Panelladikes Eksetaseis), a system which is centrally coordinated by the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs. The grade on the “Certificate” is the result of what the pupil has accomplished at the national level examination.
It is to be noted that according to new Law 4186/2013, a new independent administrative authority is established, under the title "National Examinations Organisation", which is supervised by the Minister of Education and Religious Affairs. It constitutes an executive scientific authority responsible for issues pertaining to the written progression or graduation examinations in General and Vocational Upper Secondary Schools, examinations for the admission to higher education and the establishment and operation of the graded difficulty pool of topics, in cooperation with the Institute of Educational Policy.
Entry at the Hellenic Open University is through a public electronic draw among those who have applied. The only prerequisite is that applicants are graduates of Upper Secondary Education.
The procedure differs for entry at the Hellenic International University. An international call for interest takes place through the Ministry of Education’s website and the Greek Embassies abroad.
From academic year 2009-2010 graduates of Vocational Upper Secondary Schools have access to both sectors of Higher Education (Universities and Higher Technological Universities) as follows:
• Those who select the lessons of group A, are examined at the national level exam in 2 lessons of General Education and 2 lessons of Specialization.
• Those who select the lessons of group B are examined at the national level exam in 3 lessons of General Education and 1 or 2 selective courses and 2 lessons of Specialization.
• Graduates of evening Vocational Upper Secondary Schools are only examined in lessons of General Education.
In the 3rd grade of General Upper Secondary Education lessons are of General Education, Direction and Optional. They are further categorized according to the mode of examination in those that are examined at school level and those examined at a national level. In both cases the examination is written.
When the results come out, holders of the “Certificate” may apply for entry at the Departments / Faculties of their choice, in a priority order and in no more than 2 scientific fields. Their success depends on their grade as well as the priority order of applying and of course the availability in each department.
For entry in departments where specialized knowledge or skills are a prerequisite candidates must also:
• Be examined in the specific fields of their interest in the cases of studying architecture, photography, music, translation & interpretation, foreign languages.
• Undergo physical, psychiatric and athletic examinations in the cases of studying at the Military and Police Academies.
• Undergo athletic examinations in the case of studying Physical Education and Athletics
Candidates also have access to Higher Ecclesiastical Academies through the above mentioned system for entry in Higher Education Institutions. It is a prerequisite that they are of Christian Orthodox religion while only male candidates are accepted to attend the Priestly Study Programme.
The number of entrants in each Department is based on the principle of “numerous clausus” and is defined every year by the Ministry of Education.
Exceeding this number, Departments accept a specific number of students belonging in the following categories:
• Coming from a family having many children
• Coming from a family having three children
• Other social criteria such as: being orphan, having a close relative suffering of a long term illness, being a victim of a terrorist act, having a sibling already studying in a HEI,
Moreover, Departments accept a specific number of students belonging in the following categories:
• Children of families who live abroad and hold a “Apolytirion” from a Greek school.
• Children of civil servants who serve abroad and hold a “Apolytirion” from a Greek school.
• Greeks who are graduates of foreign schools.
• Foreign citizens.
• Graduates of Upper Secondary Schools (or equivalent) from EU member states who are not of Greek origin.
• Foreign citizens who hold a scholarship.
• Expatriates holding a scholarship.
• Greek citizens of the Muslim minority in Thrace.
• Those who have been distinguished in Balkan or International Olympiads in the fields of Mathematics, Informatics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology or the European Contest for Young Scientists.
• Those who suffer of grave illnesses.
In addition to the above mentioned categories, university graduates can take a special examination which classifies them to study in other Departments. It is possible for them to be exempted from attending and being examined in a number of modules depending on the scientific field of their first degree. The number of these students is a percentage of the number of new entrants each year. These special examinations are defined by Laws 3404/2005, 3467/2006 and 3794/2009.
We would like to note that classes in HEIs may also be attended by students of other Departments as well as citizens who are not students. Those who are interested may enroll at the secretariat and hold an ID which gives them the right to attend, with no right to participate in the exams and hold a degree.
In the Hellenic Open University candidates have access with no exams. They must be graduates of Upper Secondary Education in Greece or abroad. When the number of candidates per study programme exceeds the availability, then certain rules apply: those who are 23 years old have a lead over the younger candidates and if the candidates are still more then a draw takes place. If there are remaining places to be filled, then a new procedure begins.
Number of students admitted in HEIs (Universities and Technological Education Institutions) for the academic years from 2006-2007 to 2012-2013:
Academic Year Number of admitted students
Source: Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs/Directorate for Organizing and Holding Exams, 2013.
The content of a Curriculum is drawn up by a special committee consisting of at least 5 professors active in the specific scientific field. The committee is set up by the dean (or the Director of the Faculty in TEIs), the director of the department and in the case of collaboration among different departments of the same University, it is set up by the relevant deans. The content of the Curriculum is approved by the rector (or the President of TEI) who takes into consideration the proposal of the assembly. The Internal Regulation defines matters that have to do with the setting up of the committees. It also defines the preconditions and the procedure for the annual changes in the Curricula.
It is possible that a first cycle Curriculum may include and recognize the credits of modules that have been materialized in other HEIs of the country or abroad. A protocol on cooperation between the 2 Institutions concerned is drawn in this case.
First cycle Curriculums include compulsory lessons for learning at least one foreign language.
A Curriculum goes to the Hellenic Quality Assurance and Accreditation Agency, before the dean (or the director of the faculty in TEIs) assigns its materialisation to the department.
The Curriculum includes the titles of the compulsory lessons, the compulsory by choice and the optional lessons, their content, the teaching hours which include every form of didactic work, while it also makes clear the time sequence and the interdependence of the lessons.
It also includes the qualifications and specialisations that the educational staff need to possess in order to achieve the learning outcomes set.
According to the National Qualifications Framework of Higher Education each Curriculum also includes the learning outcomes and the qualifications acquired through the programme as a whole and through each lesson, educational activity or in-service traineeship. It includes the credits according to the relevant Ministerial Decision, the level of qualifications and their equivalence with those of the National Qualifications Framework, the Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning and the qualifications Framework for the European Higher Education Area. The competent authority for awarding credits to each educational activity of the Curriculum is the deanery of the relevant faculty (or the directorate of the faculty in TEIs), based on the proposal of the department’s assembly. A Department Curriculum may include courses from other Departments and provide courses to other Departments belonging to the same Faculty (usually in the form of co-tutoring). In the Translation - Interpretation Departments and the Departments of Foreign Languages and Literature (English, French, German, Italian and Spanish Language and Literature), many courses (especially the compulsory ones) are taught in the respective target language.
In parallel, many HEIs, within the context of their educational and general training aims, provide students with the opportunity to learn one or more languages throughout their studies, as these are necessary tools for their academic development. They also offer students linguistic preparation intensive courses for undergraduate and postgraduate studies abroad.
Study programmes can be taught in whole or in part, exceptionally, in a foreign language, based on a decision of the rector (or President of TEI) , issued upon proposal of the deanery of the faculty concerned (or of the faculty directorate in TEIs) and approved by the Senate of the institution (or Assembly of TEI) . The organisational charter of each institution may also provide for the organisation of programmes for the teaching of the Greek language to foreign students or for the teaching of foreign languages to Greek students, beyond those required for the acquisition of their degree.
For the academic year 2013-2014, the Hellenic Open University offers the following graduate Curriculums leading to a relevant degree:
• Studies in Natural Sciences
• Administration of Enterprises and Organizations
• Studies in the Greek Civilization
• Studies in the European Civilization
• Spanish Language and Civilization
For completing a graduate Curriculum and acquiring a degree students must successfully attend and be examined in at least 12 modules. Students may chose from 1 and up to 3 modules per year (minimum duration of studies 4 academic years).
The financial contribution of students towards study costs for academic year 2013-2014 has been defined for the amount of 550 € per module of the graduate programme.
This amount applies for the duration of 6 years of studies. Every academic year, the Hellenic Open University grants scholarships for excellence and scholarships based on the combination of financial, social and academic criteria.
Teaching is divided in lessons with 1 semester duration. The definition of teaching is: a) the integral teaching of a module, b) the integral teaching of modules that intend to go deeper to small student groups, c) laboratory work, clinics and in-service traineeship ofstudents, d) the supervision of projects and dissertations and e) organizing seminars or other similar activities aiming at the consolidation of what has been taught.
In tertiary education, teaching methods and teaching aids are established by the educational institutions.
The Organisational charter of each Institution includes specific provisions related to the organisation and operation of cycles of study, as well as the terms and conditions for the application of distance learning methods.
Teaching and learning is assisted by respective textbooks or other supporting material distributed to students free of charge. In many cases, this task is also assisted by audio-visual aids, new technologies, and electronic teaching aids made available by each Department as material and technical infrastructure.
Every semester includes at least 13 whole weeks of teaching. In exceptional cases this period may be extended so as to complete the required minimum weeks of teaching. The extension may not exceed 2 weeks and requires a decision by the rector (or of the TEI president) which is based on a proposal by the deanery (or of the TEI faculty directorate). If for any reason the number of didactic weeks is less than 13, then the module in question is considered as not having been taught and students cannot be examined. In the case of examination, for any reason, the result is not considered valid and the grade is not calculated.
The Hellenic Open University achieves its objectives through high quality learning material, especially adapted in terms of format and content, so as to allow high quality distance self-learning and regular student assessment. This material might be in printed (books, notes, assessment forms), audio-visual, or electronic form (multimedia, Internet, etc.).
As regards Undergraduate Curricula, studies are carried out based on the “distance education" method, including per module:
• Five meetings of tutors with students.
• Four to six compulsory assignments sent to the tutor.
• Distance counseling between tutors and students.
• Student laboratory practice in the Hellenic Open University laboratories in Patras (if provided in the Curriculum).
• Final examinations, and in the case of failure, repeat examinations for every Thematic Unit, simultaneously conducted throughout the country.
Students may attend the Curriculum of their choice wherever they live in Greece or abroad. Tutor-student meetings are held in the following cities: Patras (seat of the Institution), Athens, Thessaloniki, Iraklion, Ioannina, Xanthi, Piraeus and Larisa.
Progression of Students
Students register at the beginning of each semester during dates set by the deanery. They also declare the modules they chose to attend. If a student fails to register for 2 consecutive semesters then he is automatically disqualified.
Students’ progression in Higher Education is carried out according to the internal regulation of operation of the respective institution.
There are three examination periods during each academic year: i) January-February, ii) June, and iii) September. The number of weeks for holding the examinations is defined by the Organisation of the Institution.
Students are examined at the end of each semester (winter and spring) in the courses taught in the respective semester, as well as during the September examination period, in the courses tought in both semesters. Students failing a compulsory course are required to repeat it in a subsequent semester, given that attendance and successful examination in courses set as compulsory by the Curriculum is a pre-requisite for the degree award. Students failing an optional course should either repeat it in the following semesters or replace it with another optional course, so that they cover the necessary number of courses specified by the Curriculum.
If the course that the student failed has been defined as a prerequisite for other courses, he/she has no right to declare that he/she will select other courses depending from it.
If a student fails more than 3 times to pass a module, he may apply for a special examination by a three member committee consisting of professors of the Institution, who must be of the same or a similar scientific field. The decision rests with the dean. The tutor of the module may not be part of this committee. In the case of a new failure, the student may or may not continue with his/her studies, according to the terms and conditions and the Organisation of the Institution. These include the maximum of times a student may sit an exam.
In order to pass a course -whether compulsory or optional- students must, as a general rule, receive a pass mark of five out of ten. This mark results either solely from the mark received on the written and/or oral exams at the end of each semester, or from a combination of the mark received on examinations and the mark resulting from the students’ participation in various educational activities (laboratory exercises, tutorials, written assignments, etc).
Students complete their studies and receive their degree when they have passed the number of courses specified in the Curriculum and have accumulated the required credits number.
In both Universities and Technological Education Institutions (TEIs), special care is being taken for the oral examination of students who can prove that they have suffered of dyslexia before their entry into higher education. The procedure is defined by the Organisation of each institution.
According to Law 4009/2011, the Organisational Charter of each Institution provides for the establishment and operation of a single or separate support service per faculty offering consulting services to students for their smooth transition from secondary to tertiary education, their updating on the overall operation of the institution, as well as supporting students with disabilities or students facing difficulties, so as to successfully complete their studies. As part of the support service, professors exercise duties of curriculum advisors, providing academic mentoring and advice to students. Students may also undertake internships in the public or private sector, within the country or abroad, provided that this activity is included in the relevant programme of study. The terms and conditions of the internship are regulated in the Organisational Charter of the Institution, including specific provisions to facilitate the participation of disabled students in a manner equitable to any other student.
Furthermore, Higher Education Institutions take special measures to facilitate studies, especially for working students. To this effect, there are special provisions regulating mandatory leaves to working students during examinations. Also, students who work at least 20 hours a week may be registered as part-time students.
Specifically in TEIs, in addition to the Academic Staff undertaking the main teaching and research tasks, various specialties special Associates can also be part of the TEI Academic staff thus conveying their know-how and practical experience to students and contributing to more efficient and effective vocational counseling. Finally, according to Law 4009/2011, higher education institutions host innovation and career offices, aiming at providing information services and career guidance to students and alumni, at offering support in the diagnosis of their inclinations and skills, in matters of career choice, further studies and in finding work. They are also responsible for organising students' practical training. Within the Innovation and Career Office, further discrete units may operate, as for example a Liaison office, an Innovation and Entrepreneurship office, a Practical Training office, etc.
Student performance is assessed by the Higher Education Institutions Academic staff. The student's grade is determined by the course tutor, who holds written and/or oral examinations, or organize laboratory or clinical exercises, as well as assignments throughout the semester.
In order to pass a course students must, as a general rule, receive a pass mark of five (5) out of ten (10). This mark results either solely from the mark received on the written and/or oral exams at the end of each semester, or from a combination of the mark received on examinations and the mark resulting from the participation of students in various educational activities (laboratory exercises, tutorials, writing of assignments, etc). In certain cases, the dissertation grade may be multiplied by a specific coefficient.
Students complete their studies and receive their degree when they have passed the number of courses specified in the Curriculum and have accumulated the required credits. To obtain a first cycle degree, students must successfully complete at least one foreign language course or demonstrate proof of knowledge of a foreign language. The method of calculating the final grade is defined by decision of the Minister of Education.
The Diploma Supplement, stipulated by a 2005 law (Law 3374/2005), is attached to all graduate or post -graduate degrees and provides information on the studies content and status.
Each Higher Education Institution Department grants a degree, possibly with distinct directions/specialisations. There is no particular procedure for the certification of the degrees. They are signed by the Rector and the respective Department’s President and Secretary, and deemed valid and official certificates.
The degree sets forth the Higher Education Institution, the Faculty, the Department and, if any, the Specialisation/Direction, as well as the graduate’s exact grade and the corresponding qualitative description (5.00-6.49 "Good"; 6.50-8.49 "Very good"; and 8.50-10.00 "Excellent").
Short-Cycle Higher Education
According to Law 4009 of 2011 each Higher Education Institution may organize short cycle programmes consisting of modules corresponding to no more than 120 credits, leading to a certificate of short cycle training, as defined in the Regulation of Operation of the Institution. This certificate is not equivelant to a first cycle studies degree. The prerequisites, conditions and process for entry in these programmes are also defined in the Regulation of Operation. The approval of the regulations regarding the specific programmes is in the authority of the Senate. Short cycle programmes are periodically accredited by the Hellenic Quality Assurance and Accreditation Agency in Higher Education. However, the provision of Law 4009 of 2011 for short cycle programmes has not been yet implemented.
Second Cycle Programmes
Branches of study
Programmes of postgraduate studies are part of the strategic planning of the Institution, they aim at promoting knowledge, developing research and satisfying the educational, research and development needs of the country. They are ruled by scientific cohesion and refer to specializations relevant to the scientific fields of graduate programmes. They meet the requirements that guarantee a high level of studies.
As mentioned earlier, Faculties and Departments of Universities (Panepistimia) and Technological Educational Institutions - TEIs (Technologika Ekpaideftika Idrymata) are grouped into five disciplinary (Bachelor – Branches of study).
The academic year begins on 1st September each year and ends on 31st August of the following year. Each academic year has two semesters. The first semester normally begins during the second fortnight of September and the second semester normally ends round about the second fortnight of June.
Throughout the year, there are a total of four weeks of Christmas and Easter holidays.
A Postgraduate programme cannot last less than one complete calendar year, while part of this year, at least three months, is dedicated to the dissertation preparation. The maximum time limit to acquire a postgraduate degree is defined in accordance with the Rules of Postgraduate Studies. In exceptional cases, it may be suspended for up to twelve (12) months (Law 3685/2008).
In case of part-time postgraduate programmes, their duration must be extended for at least half a semester, comparing to full-time programmes.
The Postgraduate Studies regulation of operation of each programme specifies the courses taught, as well as the number of hours required for each course
As regards postgraduate studies leading to a Master's Degree (Metaptychiako Diploma Spoudon), postgraduate students’ selection takes place following a public call of interest, stating the number of postgraduate students to be admitted and the categories of degree-holders of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to be admitted to the specific Postgraduate programme.
According to Law 3685/2008 (article 4) Both Greek and foreign graduates of Greek Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) or accredited equivalent institutions from abroad can be admitted to Postgraduate programmes, under conditions specified in the Postgraduate Studies regulation of operation of each programme. The selection of graduate students is mainly based on the following criteria: the overall degree grade , marks in undergraduate courses on the subjects of the Graduate Programme, performance in thesis and research activity etc. The relevant academic unit decides on the modalities of these criteria, the definition of additional criteria or the setting up of examinations and interviews. Each Graduate Programme, in addition to the number of students normally accepted, may also accept a scholar of the State Scholarship Foundation (IKY).
The Regulation of Postgraduate studies includes provisions related to the number and procedure for selecting students, the specific foreign language skills required, the procedure for suspending attendance, part-time attendance, etc.
Degree holders of Higher Education may also be admitted to the Hellenic Open University Postgraduate courses. Upon call for the applications submission and following consultation with the Faculty in question, the Hellenic Open University Board of Directors specifies the conditions for the applications per study course.
A postgraduate study programme is made by a special committee consisting of professors of the specific scientific field. The committee is set up by the deanery (faculty directorate in TEIs) or, in the case of collaboration among faculties of the same University, it is set up by the deaneries of the relevant faculties. The content of the study programme is approved by the rector (or the President of the TEI), based on the proposal of the deanery of the school and the agreement of the Senate (TEI Assembly). The Internal Regulation regulates the issues regarding the setting up of the committee as well as the conditions and the process for the yearly review of the study programme’s content, in parts.
It is defined by the organizations of the HEIs that postgraduate study programmes of one institution may include modules offered by postgraduate programmes of other institutions. The credits of these modules are of course recognized, while special protocols of collaboration between the 2 universities are drafted. Also, one or more courses can be taught in a language other than the language of instruction. This provision is specifically defined in the Regulation of postgraduate studies.
Already since 2008, in the framework of Law 3685/2008 "Postgraduate studies institutional framework" granted TEIs (Technologiko Ekpaideftiko Idryma) the capacity to organize Postgraduate programmes in order to award a Master's Degree (Metaptychiako Diploma Spoudon). Pursuant to Law 2916/2001, the TEI Departments can jointly organise Postgraduate programmes with a University (Panepistimio). In these cases, joint degrees are awarded by the Universities.
The International Hellenic University can organize and operate Postgraduate courses in all its Faculties, even if they do not provide undergraduate studies.
According to Law 4009/2011, institutions from within the country may organize and offer joint programmes of study with peer institutions from abroad, leading to the award of a respective degree. For those programmes, a special collaboration protocol between partner universities is drafted, defining scientific fields, sources of financing, the method of students' admission, obligations and rights of participants, teaching staff and students' mobility, the type of qualification awarded (joint or separate), the setting up of committees to define the content of the curriculum , the language or languages of instruction and preparation of assignments, as well as any other related matter , under the current legal framework for postgraduate studies of the country of each participating institution concerned.
For the academic year 2013-2014, the Hellenic Open University offers the following curricula, leading to the respective degrees acquisition:
Postgraduate Specialized Diplomas
• Administration of Tourist Enterprise (MSc)
• Administration of Health Units (MSc)
• Graphic Arts - Multimedia MA
• Audio Design - Multimedia MA
• Administration of Cultural Units (MSc)
• Business Administration (MΒΑ)
• Environmental Planning of Cities and Buildings (MSc)
• Environmental Planning of Infrastructure Works (MSc)
• Quality Assurance (MSc)
• Postgraduate Specialization for English Language Teachers (MSc)
• Postgraduate Specialization for German Language Teachers (MSc)
• Postgraduate Specialization for French Language Teachers (MSc)
• Studies in Education (MEd)
• Adult Education (MEd)
• Seismic Engineering and Anti-seismic Structures (MSc)
• Technical Works Management (MSc)
• Postgraduate Specialization in Computer Systems (MSc)
• Studies in Orthodoxy (MA)
• Graphic Arts - Multimedia (MA)
• Waste Management (MSc)
• Advanced Studies in Physics (MSc)
• Environmental Degradation and Protection (MSc)
• Postgraduate Specialization for Natural Sciences Teachers (MSc)
• Postgraduate studies in Mathematics (MSc)
• Hardware and Software Technology: Design and Development of Ubiquitous
• Computing Systems (MSc)
• Lighting Design – Multimedia (MA)
For the completion of postgraduate studies and the award of the Master's Degree, students must successfully complete and participate in the examinations for four modules and submit a dissertation, corresponding to up to two modules depending on the Programme.
The teaching methods employed in Postgraduate courses are the following:
• Seminars and laboratories.
• Supervision of laboratory, tutorial, or clinical exercises.
• Supervision and guidance on writing papers and conducting research in specific subject areas.
• Invitation to other academic and/or research staff both from Greek and foreign Higher Education Institutions.
In addition to the Teaching and Research Staff or the Training Staff members, researchers from Greek research centers or independent research institutions, or respective recognized foreign centers or institutions, as well as scientists and other persons of acknowledged prestige with specialized knowledge or experience in the subject of the Postgraduate course can also carry out teaching tasks.
Teaching and learning is supported by textbooks and other aids (e.g. notes, Greek and foreign bibliography) distributed to students free of charge. In many cases, this task is also assisted by audio-visual aids, new technologies, and electronic teaching aids made available by each Department as material and technical infrastructure.
Academic staff and professors are free to choose the appropriate teaching methods and materials.
As regards the Hellenic Open University Postgraduate courses, the methodology employed is "distance learning", including for each module:
• Five meetings of tutors with students.
• Four to six compulsory assignments sent to the tutor.
• Distance counseling between the tutor and students.
• Final exams, and in the case of failure repeat exams.
Progression of Students
Students’ progress and promotion depend on their passing the examinations in the subjects specified by the respective Postgraduate Course, as well as their participation in the overall research, writing and educational activities and obligations foreseen in the Postgraduate Curriculum framework.
For each postgraduate student attending a Postgraduate course, the Department’s Special General Assembly appoints a supervisor from the Teaching and Research Staff, who is assigned postgraduate duties in the specific programme’s context. The supervisor in question is responsible for supervising and checking the postgraduate student's progress.
The way postgraduate students’ performance and their entire work is evaluated, the certification of their successful completion of studies, as well as the Degree's qualitative description and its definition, are specified in the Postgraduate course regulation, which also sets forth any other details regarding the postgraduate studies organization.
Pursuant to Law 3685/2008 , a Postgraduate Curriculum cannot last less than one full calendar year.
For each postgraduate student attending a Postgraduate course, the Department’s Special General Assembly appoints a supervisor from the Teaching and Research Staff, who is assigned with postgraduate duties in the specific programme context. This supervisor will be responsible for supervising and monitoring postgraduate student's progress.
In this context, postgraduate students’ opportunities for practical research training in laboratories within the country or abroad is actively promoted. At the same time, old and new Postgraduate programmes are being supported, provided that their performance, prospects and relevance to the country’s key development priorities, provide evidence of their international success and sustainability. Furthermore, promotional activities aim to attract potential postgraduate students from companies in the broader public or private sector. Finally, as already mentioned in section "Bachelor – Employability", a special innovation and career office operates in each Higher Education Institution, providing students and graduates with information on matters of career, as well as career counseling services, supporting them, both in the diagnosis of their skills and inclinations, as well as in career choice issues, further studies and in finding work, while it is responsible for organizing students' practical training.
As regards the postgraduate students’ assessment and progress, this depends on their passing the written and/or oral examinations in the courses specified by the programme in question, taking into consideration their participation in overall research, writing and educational activities and obligations defined in the Programme and the regulation of operation of the Postgraduate course.
The duration of the examination periods, the requirements for obtaining the diploma, examination and performance evaluation rules of graduate students, the way postgraduate students’ performance and their entire work is evaluated, their studies successful completion certification, as well as the Degree's qualitative description and its definition are specified in the Postgraduate course regulation of operation, which also sets forth any other detail regarding the postgraduate studies organization.
In addition to planning and organizing Postgraduate courses, Universities also award and certify the postgraduate degrees. In the case of joint postgraduate courses between Universities and Technological Educational Institutes (TEIs), the relevant degrees are awarded by the Universities involved. Pursuant to Law 3685/2008 ("Postgraduate studies institutional framework ") TEI can award a Postgraduate Degree under certain conditions.
In the case Greek Universities cooperating with foreign recognized equivalent Institutions for joint Postgraduate courses, the awarded Postgraduate Degrees are automatically considered equivalent to those granted by the associated Universities operating such joint Postgraduate courses.
The Postgraduate Studies regulations of operation, regulate issues concerning successful completion and certification, as well as type and qualitative description of the degree awarded.
In order to calculate the Postgraduate Specialized Degree grade, the marks achieved on all courses required for the degree are taken into account, and the final grade is the average of the aforementioned marks. In certain cases, the grade given to the dissertation may be multiplied by a specific coefficient. The Degree signed by the Rector, the relevant Department’s President and Secretary, usually indicates the postgraduate student’s exact grade and the corresponding qualitative description.
Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes
Organisation of Doctoral Studies
The responsibility for planning and organizing third cycle study programmes is in the competence of the University (Panepistimio).
The deanery of the school for postgraduate studies based upon its proposal or the proposal of the deaneries of the relevant graduate schools, organizes the study programme for doctorate studies. This contains the titles of the compulsory, compulsory by choice and optional lessons, their content and number of teaching hours per week (including the didactic work of any form) as well as the time sequence and the interdependence of the lessons. It also contains the qualifications and specializations required of the teaching staff in order to achieve the learning goals set.
The doctoral programmes, in accordance with Law 4009/2011, are prepared by a special committee, consisting of professors of the relevant scientific field, including the deanery or, in case of cooperation of faculties of the same university, the deaneries of the respective faculties. The content of the curriculum is approved by the rector, upon recommendation of the deanery of the faculty and consent of the Senate. The internal regulation contains specific provisions for the regulation of issues related to the establishment of the committee, and the conditions and procedure for the annual review of individual aspects of the content of the curriculum.
Finally, with regard to disciplines, as already mentioned, the faculties and departments of higher education institutions have been classified according to five scientific fields ("Bachelor - Branches of Study").
The criteria, the prerequisites and the process for the choice of doctorate candidates (Ypopsifioi Didaktores) are defined by the Institution’s Organisation. The Internal Regulation, defines the conditions and the process for exempting, in part or in whole, doctorate candidates from the obligation of attending the doctorate study programme. The postgraduate degree, publications, research, the knowledge of foreign languages etc are factors taken into consideration for the choice of doctorate candidates.
According to Law 3685/2008, candidates interested in conducting a doctoral thesis, have to submit an application to the Secretary of the respective Department , identifying the general scientific field and subject area. Then, it is considered whether the applicant meets the requirements for conducting a doctoral thesis, based on criteria established in accordance with the Rules of Postgraduate Studies. Generally, postgraduate degree holders have the right to apply for a doctoral thesis. In exceptional cases, other applicants, not Masters Degree holders, may be accepted as PhD students. Graduates of TEIs and ASPETE , or graduates of equivalent schools may be admitted as doctoral students only if they are holders of Postgraduate Degrees.
Status of Doctoral Students/Candidates
According to Law 4009/2011, article 2 a), "doctorate candidates" (Ypopsifioi Didaktores) are students that follow the third cycle of studies in Universities. Under the same law, doctoral students, who have no other medical and hospital care, are entitled to full medical and hospital care in the framework of the National Health System. The terms, conditions and process for the provision of care is defined in a presidential decree, issued upon proposal of the Ministers of Finance, Education and Health. The years of doctoral candidacy do not count as pensionable service.
By decision of the postgraduate studies school deanery, a supervisor is appointed for each doctorate candidate, coming from the same or relevant scientific field as that of the candidate’s interests. Through the same process more than one supervisor may be appointed. He can be a professor from the same University (Panepistimio), or a researcher from a research centre equivalent to itI, from the country or even abroad.
In the case of a collaboration between a University and a research centre, Law 4009/2011 allows that the supervisor be a researcher, if this is provided for in the protocol of cooperation. A decision of the postgraduate studies school deanery is also required.
However, under (still) existing Law 3685/2008, for each doctoral candidate, a three-member advisory committee is appointed by the Department's Special General Assembly. This committee, whose main duty is to provide mentoring and guidance to doctoral candidates, is composed of a faculty member of the Department concerned (with the rank of professor, associate professor or assistant professor), as supervisor, as well as two (2) members, who may be faculty members of the same or another Department of the same or another University within the country or abroad, or researchers of a research center recognized within the country or abroad, holding a doctorate degree. Committee members should have the same or related academic field of specialisation with that of the candidate's dissertation. The three-member advisory committee, in consultation with the doctoral candidate, submits a progress report to the Department's Special General Assembly at the end of each year.
It is also worth noting that in Universities, the Department's Special General Assembly and the Senate approve the Regulation of Doctoral Studies (under existing Law 3685/2008, Article 9). The main articles included in the regulation are the criteria and procedure for admission to the doctoral program, the process of the thesis elaboration, supervision of research, duration, students' obligations, monitoring progress , conditions of study, the final assessment of the doctoral dissertation, general student welfare provisions, management and support of doctoral studies and evaluation of the doctoral program. The regulation applies to all doctoral candidates and there is no specific contractual framework of responsibilities for each one of the students.
Moreover, Greek Universities are free to organize and offer joint programmes of study, in cooperation with institutions from abroad, leading to the award of respective degrees. A collaboration protocol between partner universities is established, which, inter alia, defines bodies entitled to monitor the said programmes.
There are no available data on the employability of PhD holders. However, Innovation and Career Offices that operate within Higher Education Institutions, offer information and career counseling services, especially to support students, both in the diagnosis of their inclinations and skills, in matters of career choice and / or further studies, as well as in finding employment.
According to Law 4009/2011 the doctorate thesis is publicly supported by the candidate, provided a written proposal by the supervisor/s is submitted to the postgraduate studies school deanery. If no proposal is submitted or if the proposal is of a negative nature, this process may continue based upon an application of the candidate himself. A three member committee is responsible for the evaluation of the thesis. This committee is set up by decision of the deanery, which is based on a proposal submitted by the supervisor/s.
Two members of this committee are professors of the HEI or researchers of a corresponding level, from a research centre equivalent to the HEI from the country or abroad. The supervisor/s may not be appointed as members of the committee. One the members is assigned by the deanery to draft a report evaluating the thesis. A positive evaluation is a prerequisite for awarding the doctorate degree. The HEI’s Organisation regulates other matters regarding the process of public support or possible additional requirements such as publications.
However, in accordance with existing Law 3685/2008, for the final assessment and judgment of the candidate's doctoral thesis, the Department's Special General Assembly designates a seven-member evaluation committee, including members of the above mentioned three-member Advisory Committee. (At this point it should be noted that the three-member Advisory Committee, in collaboration with the doctoral candidate, submits a progress report to the Department's Special General Assembly at the end of each year). The doctorate candidate (Ypopsifios Didaktoras) presents his thesis in public before the seven-member selection committee, which then considers its originality and contribution to science. For the thesis approval, the assent of at least five (5) members of the evaluation committee is required.
If the Examining Committee approves the doctoral thesis, candidates are awarded their Doctoral Degrees by the Department General Assembly in its ordinary composition. The Doctoral Degree, signed by the Rector, the President and the Secretary of the Institution concerned, will bear a qualitative description as judged by the Examining Committee i.e. “Good”, “Very Good”, "Excellent”.
There is no substantial variation in the organizational structure of doctoral studies in Greece, even if they are carried out through distance learning.
The Hellenic Open University
The Hellenic Open University awards doctoral degrees pursuant to the provisions regulating higher education and the supplementary provisions of the law on the institution establishment. The internal Doctoral Studies regulation of operation specifies the admission pre-requisites for doctoral candidates, as well as the evaluation process with regard to the doctoral theses progress.
Students Interested to conduct a doctoral thesis in the Hellenic Open University, should communicate with a member of the Academic staff, with scientific interests relevant to the scientific field, in which the candidate wishes to conduct the thesis.
The thesis supervisor (member of the above Advisory Committee) is a member of the Academic staff of the Institution, with scientific interests related to the thesis subject. The other two members must also have scientific interests related to the doctoral thesis and may be: members of the Academic staff of the Institution; any other HEI Academic Staff member; a researcher working at a recognized research centre.
Based on academic criteria and upon recommendation of the Academic staff member supervising the doctoral thesis, the Dean decides if the candidate actually fulfils the conditions for a doctoral thesis, and appoints as supervisor the member of the Academic staff who recommended the doctoral candidate also recommends the Advisory Committee members.
Programme of activities and duration
The time provided for the Doctoral Thesis is divided into three periods, and doctoral candidates are obliged to pay contribution fees for their doctoral studies at the beginning of each period.
The total study period, from the registration day until the doctoral thesis conclusion and compilation, cannot be less than four (or three, if no attendance of a module is required) full academic years. Research work per se for a doctoral thesis cannot last less than three years. Doctoral candidates (Ypopsifioi Didaktores) enjoy postgraduate students’ rights for no more than eight years from their registration in the doctoral studies programme. After this period is over, they lose their student status.
Based on academic criteria and upon recommendation of the Academic staff member supervising the doctoral thesis, the Dean decides if the candidate actually fulfils the conditions for a doctoral thesis, and appoints as supervisor the member of the Academic staff who recommended the doctoral candidate. The Dean also recommends the Advisory Committee members.
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