Universities in Cyprus mostly opened after 2000, but have already managed to take several positions in the top of the best young universities in the world. Over the past 10 years, the number of students on the island has grown by 80%. Applicants from all over the world come to study at the Mediterranean resort for quality education in tourism, engineering and management at an affordable price.
Important! The island of Cyprus is divided into two countries: the Republic of Cyprus in the south and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprusrecognized only by Turkey (TRNC) in the north. The process of admission and education may differ in these two states. The main part of this article is devoted to the universities of the Republic of Cyprus while mentioning important nuances of studying in North Cyprus. General information about the universities of the TRNC is presented in the corresponding section below.
Guidance in the admission process
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Developed infrastructure. The campuses of many universities in Cyprus resemble nature reserves or five-star hotels thanks to modern architecture, well-maintained landscapes and the inclusion of outdoor swimming pools. Moreover, from anywhere on the island you can reach the azure beaches within half an hour by car .
Low prices. The cost of studying at universities in Cyprus for foreigners is low compared to many European countries. For example, here you can study on the MBA program for 4,105 USD per year. Additionally, most universities offer discounts of up to 50% for high GPA in a certificate or diploma.
Disadvantages of universities in Cyprus
Transport accessibility. Dormitory space on campuses is limited, so many students live a few kilometers away from the university and get there via public transport. Usually universities have their own buses, but during the day they run rarely and irregularly. Because of this, students have to spend money on taxis or even rent a car.
Division of the country. If you are a student of a university in Northern Cyprus (TRNC), you cannot easily get to the southern part of the island. You will have to travel through Turkey. Also in the TRNC, the Turkish lira is used as the main currency, and they often ask to pay for tuition in euros or pounds at an unfavorable exchange rate.
Requirements for admission to universities in Cyprus
All universities in Cyprus are autonomous and have the right to set their own admission requirements. However, most universities follow a simple procedure: you need to fill out a digital application on the website, attach a certificate of completed secondary education and a language certificate in English, Greek or Turkishfor TRNC languages at the level of B1. Some universities conduct their own admission examinations. Based on its results, the student starts training or takes a year-long language course.
A high GPA and other academic achievements will be an additional benefit to the applicant.
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Types of universities in Cyprus
Universities in Cyprus provide students with a wide variety of majors at all levels, from bachelor's to doctoral studies. Students receive both applied knowledge and resources for research activities. There are 9 university-type institutions in the country: 3 public and 6 private. The University of Cyprus and Cyprus University of Technology are annually ranked among the top best universities in the world according to the QS and THE rankings.
Each university has programs of study in Greek and English. In some specialties, teaching is done in two languages, so that students have a choice on admission. This is often the case in engineering and IT.
Non-university institutions include institutes, academies, schools and colleges. Training in them is aimed at obtaining professional skills and providing the market with the necessary personnel. There are 6 public and about 40 private educational institutions of this type in Cyprus. Most of them have a narrow specialization: for example, tourism, agriculture, medicine, programming. Graduates can usually earn a Bachelor's degree or a lower qualification (Certificate, Diploma or Higher Diploma), depending on the length of study. The exception is the Mediterranean Institute of Management, the only non-university institution in the country where master’s MBA programs are conducted.
Colleges in Cyprus
In 2020, there are 25 colleges of various types in the country. Most work autonomously, some are part of large universities. In Cyprus there are several public colleges, but teaching there is conducted mainly in Greek, and the subjects studied tailored to the needs of the local labor market. Therefore, a private college with a wide range of specialties and courses in English will be better for a foreign student. Students go there after graduating from high school. Depending on the length of study, Cypriot colleges offer the following qualifications: Certificate (1 year), Diploma (2 years), Higher Diploma (3 years) or Bachelor(4 years). In 1-3 years, a student receives a secondary specialized education and can start working or continue to study at a bachelor's cycle at a university. After the Bachelor, there is an opportunity to enter the master's studies.
In North Cyprus American style colleges are quite common. In them for 2 years a student receives an associate degree — AA (Associate in Arts) or AS (Associate in Science), after which he continues his studies at the university.
The basic requirement for admission to any college is a language certificate, confirming proficiency at a level not lower than B1. In the absence of an IELTS or TOEFL certificate, many colleges conduct entrance exams on their own.
Public and private universities in Cyprus
Public universities in Cyprus are funded by the government of the country, but at the same time they are completely autonomous and self-governed. Education in them is paid for everyone. Even though the scholarships are offered, for Cypriots it is way easier to obtain them compared to foreigners.
When it comes to pricing there is not much difference between public and private universities. The cost of a year of study of bachelor's programs starts from 4,618 USD. But in public universities the requirements and competition for admission are higher, and teaching in many faculties is conducted only in Greek. However, those wishing to get an education in economics, engineering or IT will easily find a suitable program in English at a public educational institution.
Cyprus also has 6 state institutions of a non-university type. Most of them are teaching in Greek. Graduates receive a Higher Diploma in tourism, agronomy or management. The exception is the Mediterranean Institute of Management, which specializes in English MBA programs.
Private universities in Cyprus are funded by individuals and non-governmental organizations. There are 6 private universities in the country. All of them are accredited by the ECPU committee and comply with the educational standards of the Republic of Cyprus.
As of 2020 private universities have never been included in the rankings of the best universities in the world. Nevertheless, they are not inferior to the state ones in popularity: a wide selection of English-language programs and modern campuses, which look more like luxury hotels, attract thousands of foreign applicants every year.
There are also several private academies, institutes and non-university colleges in the country. There you can get a specialized secondary or higher (bachelor's) education in various fields: from cooking to IT. More than 90% of courses are taught in English.
Universities of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
The state of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is formally recognized only by Turkey and since 1974 has been considered an occupied territory. Nevertheless, the island is now safe and there are more than 20 universities in its northern part. In 2017, one of them, the Eastern Mediterranean University, entered THE world ranking of the best universities in the world for the first time. In 2020, the share of foreign students at this university was 83%.
Foreign applicants are attracted by the American standard of education and low prices. The prices of bachelor’s programsexcept medical specialties start from 5,132 USD per year, but, for example, the Cyprus International University provides a 50% discount on tuition to all incoming foreigners. Also, universities can reduce the cost if the student has a good certificate and sports achievements. In the master's and doctoral studies, there is an option to study without writing a thesis, which is almost 2 times cheaper.
The diplomas of the local universities are recognized by the majority of universities and employers in the world. They are officially considered illegal only by the Republic of Cyprus. Before entering it is important to make sure that the university and the faculty are accredited not only by local organization YÖDAK, but also by the Council of Higher Education of Turkey YÖK. Be extra careful when choosing a university in TRNC as there are cases when foreigners were deceived by universities without a license.
Northern Cyprus universities are recognized members of international educational associations, but are not eligible to participate in programs based on intergovernmental agreements such as Erasmus. If the university claims that it is exchanging students with other countries, the information should be double-checked.
Groups and associations of educational institutions in Cyprus
Cyprus Rector's Conference. Goals of the organization: to stimulate the scientific, educational, cultural and economic development of the universities of Cyprus; to facilitate interaction between universities in the country; to establish links with international European associations and EU government bodies. CyRC members are 3 public and 5 private universities in the Republic of Cyprus.
Cyprus Academy of Sciences, Literature and Art. Until recently, Cyprus remained one of the few European countries without its own Academy of Sciences. It was founded in 2017. The new institution should contribute to maintaining a high level of scientific development and academic achievement in the country's universities.
Cyprus Universities Association. This association brings together 6 of the largest universities in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, headed by the Cyprus International University. The organization is a platform for collaboration and solution of common problems in research, teaching and student satisfaction.
Free universities in Cyprus
There are no free universities in Cyprus. However, the average cost of education is relatively low when compared to other European countries. Only Cypriot citizens can count on government scholarships, while applicants from abroad have a chance to receive financial support from universities themselves.
University admissions committees encourage the fastest: for example, Philips University in 2020 offered a 50% discount on tuition to the first 200 applicants from the EU due to the economic crisis. And the Cyprus International University annually halves the prices for all international students. These "promotions" are usually temporary. For up-to-date information, check the sections Scholarship and / or Financial Aid on the university website.
Typically, a discount from 10% to 75% can be obtained if you meet one of the following criteria:
Good academic performance. The higher the average grade in the certificate, the lower the final cost of training. The recommended minimum score is 6.5 out of 10. The selection will benefit from publications and speeches at conferences;
Difficult financial situation. People in need can count on financial support. That includes students from large families, children of unemployed parents, orphans, refugees from war zones. Most often such scholarships are received by citizens of developing countries;
Sports achievements. If the applicant provides proof of participation in national competitions, he can receive a sports scholarship. It will cover part of the tuition and living expenses, but in return, the student must represent his university in sports tournaments.
Interesting facts about the universities in Cyprus
In 2019, Cyprus showed the highest result among the EU countries in terms of the number of citizens who graduated from the university: almost 60% of people aged 30–34 years have successfully completed higher education. Figures exceeded expectations by 10%. In other age groups only Ireland was ahead of Cyprus.
University of Cyprus are among the European leaders by the number of female students: 49% of the bachelor's students and 60% of master's are female according to the survey of 2017. Good results also showed by Greece and Germany.