Study in Croatia!

Croatian higher education system

The University of Zagreb, founded in 1669, is the oldest continuously operating university in South Eastern Europe.

Croatian higher education: a long university tradition

The Croatian higher education system has a long educational tradition preserved primarily through the work of its public universities, which are (in alphabetical order): J.J. Strossmayer University of OsijekJuraj Dobrila University of Pula, University of Dubrovnik, University of Rijeka, University of Split, University of Zadar and University of Zagreb.

The University of Zadar was the first university in Croatia, founded in 1396. It remained active until 1807, when other higher education institutions took over the activities of the University until the foundation of the renewed University of Zadar in 2002.

The University of Zagreb, founded in 1669, is the oldest continuously operating university in South Eastern Europe.

Binary system: university and professional studies

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 Bologna Process in Croatia

The Bologna Process, following the Bologna Declaration of 1999, is a process aimed at harmonising the systems of higher education in Europe in order to create a European Higher Education Area. The Bologna Process aims to lead to greater compatibility and comparability of higher education systems in Europe and thereby make it easier for learners to be mobile and for institutions to attract students and scholars from other countries and continents.

The higher education system in Croatia has undergone a comprehensive reform within the framework of the Bologna Process. 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 (ECTS), thus making it easier for international students (from Europe and beyond) to study in Croatia and have their studies recognised in their home countries.

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.

Regarding higher education institutions providing professional studies, the picture is more varied. 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.