Until 1992 young Cypriots received their higher education from universities in the UK, US, Greece and other European countries, many too also study in Russia, especially in the medical field. The island is well known for its large number of specialists.
There are currently eight universities in Cyprus, one of which is the State University of Cyprus, together with public and private institutions. There is the Technological University, with faculties in Nicosia and Limassol, the European University of Cyprus, Frederick University, the International Branch of the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan Cyprus), the Open University of Cyprus, Nicosia University and the University of Neapolis.
The University of Cyprus is currently the most prestigious, where the majority attending are Cypriots. There is a small percentage of foreign students, but the situation is changing every year. There are four faculties at the University – Humanities and Social Sciences, Philology, Applied Sciences and Economics and Management. The courses are held in Greek, Turkish and English.
The higher education system in Cyprus
As in most countries, the higher education academic year in Cyprus is divided into two semesters: Autumn/Winter (September – January) and Spring (February – March). There is also an optional (summer) semester (June – July). The Cyprus Education system is fairly flexible: Students can choose whether to attend classes during the summer, based on the courses offered and the level.
To obtain a grade, the student must collect a total of 120 credit hours in core subjects, and 6-9 credit hours in foreign languages. Students take exams at the end of each semester and can obtain certification/diploma after two years, a bachelor’s degree after four years and after training for six years – a master’s degree.
Colleges are also very popular in Cyprus and are considered part of the higher education system. After four years in college, a student can acquire a speciality and get a bachelor’s degree. Cyprus has created a lot of colleges in the hospitality and tourism industry. Higher education in Cyprus is becoming increasingly popular, as in some high schools and colleges students can obtain a second diploma. For example, in Intercollege, where students learn the basics of hotel management, they can also get a degree from the University of Indianapolis.
Benefits of higher education in Cyprus
The main advantages of higher education in Cyprus are:
1. Obtaining an international standard diploma
Most universities are accredited in Europe and the US, and therefore students who graduate can participate in a variety of exchange programmes and have the opportunity to receive higher education at a European university or in higher educational institutions in the USA.
2. The relatively small cost of studying and living
Education in high schools, including government schools, is not free to foreign students. Tuition is about €5,000 – €9,000 per year. However, those who do well and work hard, as a rule, are rewarded for good exam results with a reduced payment of 20-50% of the cost of tuition. The Government of Cyprus is implementing similar programmes to provide financial aid to international students.
Higher education institutions in Cyprus also help foreign students with low-cost housing in the university, or to find a modest apartment (around €300 per month). Food will also cost around €300 a month, so, therefore, the cost of studying and living in Cyprus will be around 15 000 euros a year, quite a bit compared to other countries.
3. No examinations for university entry
All you need for entry is the necessary knowledge of English. The student needs an IELTS certificate with a score of more than 5.5 points, or a TOEFL certificate with a score of 500 points. Those who do not get the required number of points on the test can enrol on a language course. Students who speak Greek or Turkish fluently can pass a language test and enrol in a university without knowledge of English.
Entrance examinations and tests are held only at medical faculties and departments for creative specialities. You can enter the University of Cyprus in any semester as long as you arrive 2-3 weeks beforehand and submit the necessary documents.
4. Ability to stay in Cyprus for one year after graduation to find work
This is an opportunity given to all graduates. Finding a job in the period of study is problematic because of the migration legislation, but after six months training, students can earn for a certain number of hours per week. Students who train in specialities in the hotel, restaurant or tourist business, can apply for jobs in the summer.
So, Cypriot universities have a relatively significant advantage compared to European. I should also mention the lovely climate and the traditional hospitality of the locals, as well as the welcoming attitude toward foreign, especially Russian, students. Therefore, if you’re looking to choose a country to pursue higher education, you should consider this option.