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12 April 2021

Higher education in Cyprus for foreigners (non-EU citizens)

Cyprus is a great place for living, resting and studying. And all this can be successfully combined. Education in Cyprus is no worse than in other EU countries, since education here is conducted mainly according to British standards. At the same time, the cost of studying and living on the island is significantly lower than in other parts of the Union.

1. Advantages of higher education in Cyprus

Living in Cyprus is a pleasure. Excellent climate, perfect ecology and warm and friendly atmosphere. What else do you need to be happy?

Therefore, many non-EU (or even EU) students are thinking about entering universities in Cyprus. They want to live and study in a pleasant place, but not count the months and days until their graduation in order to leave the place as soon as possible. Of course, thinking about a nice place to live cannot be the main criterion for choosing a university.

There are some tangible benefits of studying in Cyprus, which include:

  1. Excellent quality of education. As a rule, the universities in Cyprus have a European-level training program. British or not.
  2. International diploma. With a diploma, you can get a job anywhere in the world. Not only in Europe, but also in the USA, Canada, Australia and Asian countries.
  3. Low fees. On average, a year of study at a Cypriot university costs 7-10 thousand euros. In Great Britain, a similar specialty under a similar program will cost 15–20 thousand euros, which is twice as expensive.
  4. Low cost of living. Groceries, travel, rent or student hostel fees all come at a cost. And in Cyprus, these costs will be 1.5-2 times less than in Mainland European countries. On average, a student spends 350-400 euros per month for the most basic necessities (excluding housing).
  5. Opportunity to study at universities in England, France and other countries. There are two variants of events: either the student goes to study in another country for a certain period, or after the 2nd year the student can be transferred to another European university. The university fees remain the same.
  6. Admission. It is not required to pass entrance exams (with the exception of some creative and medical fields). It is enough for a school graduate to provide a school certificate and a certificate of knowledge of the English language (see below).
  7. Flexible schedule. Unlike universities in many countries, Cypriot universities provide for a more flexible structure in terms of time. There are three semesters: autumn-winter, winter-spring and summer. You can start training either from September or from January! The main thing here is to listen to the prescribed number of hours and collect the minimum number of credits (see below). If a student, for some reason, did not manage to do this in two general semesters, then they can catch up with the program in the summer semester.
  8. Year for employment. After graduating from the university, the graduate receives the chance to stay in the country and get legal work. Many universities help their successful students find high-paying and interesting jobs.

In addition to the above, the applicant can have a friendly atmosphere which is everywhere throughout the island, interesting projects, new acquaintances and living on a beautiful Mediterranean island.

2. Are there any disadvantages to higher education in Cyprus?

Some nuances that seem like difficulties are indispensable. However, it is worth looking at them from a different angle: many "obstacles" become advantages upon closer acquaintance.

  1. Lectures are in Greek or English. At first glance, this is a serious test for a student who never left their home country. On the second glance, this is an excellent language practice, which will come in handy in any case and in any country. With good preparation, you can perfectly learn the language in a year, make new acquaintances and expand your professional capabilities.
  2. Only paid education for third-country nationals. In this case, you can get a scholarship or grant. To do this, you need to study a lot and develop interesting projects. But there are also two advantages here: firstly, there is no need to pass entrance exams. Secondly, this problem can be solved if the student receives permanent residence in Cyprus.
  3. The student must be 18+. You might think that a 17-year-old graduate is losing a year, but this is not entirely true. They can enroll in the advanced training program for university studies in Cyprus, which is held at these universities. He will be tightened up to the required level, and will also be given a course of necessary subjects. Enrollment after such preparation takes place quickly and without problems.
  4. They cannot work full time during your studies. Third-country nationals on the island on a student visa are not allowed to work more than 20 hours a week. In the summertime, part-time work can increase to 38 hours per week. First-year students are generally prohibited from finding a job during the first semester. In this case, it is necessary to confirm the availability of funds for living - these are bank statements, certificates and income, etc. But it can be solved as well. If a student really wants to work at full capacity, they can get not a student, but a work visa. They just need to find an employer who will accept a foreign citizen in the state.

Also one of the disadvantages is the lack of a good program in some specialties. For example, narrow areas of medicine, like many technical specialties, are simply not taught in Cyprus. But this is not a disadvantage but a matter of specifics.

3. Principles of higher education in Cyprus

In general, the learning process in Cyprus is not very different from the learning process in other countries. The student attends compulsory classes, electives, carries out projects, work at seminars and passes midterm exams. At the end of the studying, the graduate is certified, and they receive a diploma. Sometimes it's a double diploma.

Academic degrees are calculated in the way we are used to:

  • bachelor's degree - 4 years
  • Master's degree - 2 years
  • PhD - 3 years.
You can get a bachelor's degree in college in Cyprus after studying for the 8 semesters.

The only exceptions are medical specialties: to graduate from a bachelor's degree, you need to study for 12 semesters. This is only available at universities, not colleges.

Interim certification (session) takes place at the end of each semester. The type of examinations taken depends not only on the specific university, but also on the specialty. In some disciplines there will be enough visits and some homeworks, in others they need to pass the difficult exam orally or in writing.

To obtain an advanced degree, a student must collect a certain number of so-called credits according to the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System. Credits are used not only as the equivalent of course acquisition, but also as the percentile when moving to another European university.

To successfully complete a bachelor's degree, they need to get 180+ credits (about 50 per year), a master's degree -120+ credits plus a diploma, PhD requires 60+ credits plus a dissertation.

4. The process of admission and the documents needed

The most exciting thing is the process of admission, preparation and submission of documents, as well as finding a place to live for a future student. All this is easier than it seems.

4.1. Submission of documents

The conditions for applicants from third countries are quite simple. They need to be at least 18 years old, to have a basic package of documents and a certificate of proficiency in English. Perhaps it's worth starting with the latter.

To enter a Cypriot university, an applicant must provide a TOEFL or IELTS certificate. Accordingly, the study of English must be started in advance, at least a year before admission.

There is an alternative: the test result according to the British programs G.C.E or G.C.S.E. As a rule, it can be obtained as a certificate upon graduation from a British school or with self-preparation and delivery in authorized organizations of the applicant's home country.

There should be no problems with the rest of the documents. The list includes:

  • copy of the passport
  • completed university application form (as a rule, this is done online on the university website)
  • English proficiency certificate or G.C.E / G.C.S.E test result
  • a certificate of completion of pre-university education with a notarized translation
  • notarized and translated certificates confirming the availability of financial means for living in Cyprus (this can be either personal funds or funds transferred by the parents of the future student).

The process of admission is as follows.

A questionnaire is filled out on the website of the university, copies of the listed documents are attached to it. Usually, the application is submitted before September 1 or December 1, depending on which semester the graduate wants to start studying.

The application is reviewed by the admissions committee and decides whether to accept the applicant. As a rule, the decision is positive.

A letter is sent to the student with an invitation and further recommendations. If the specialty is complex or creative, they will need to pass separate entrance exams.

The student must arrive 2-3 weeks before the start of classes in order to provide originals of documents directly to the university, to be enrolled, find housing and get comfortable a little.

4.2. Registration of a student visa

Residence in Cyprus for third-country nationals is possible only with a visa. It is easiest for students to obtain a study visa. It gives the right to be on the island, but there is no opportunity to find a full-time job if you have this visa.

Documents for obtaining a visa are submitted in the Cyprus Embassy after the student has been enrolled and paid for the first semester of study.

What papers will be needed:

  • completed application (can be downloaded on the embassy website)
  • copy of the passport
  • photos 4-6 pcs.
  • school certificate or college / university diploma
  • IELTS / TOEFL or G.C.E / G.C.S.E certificates
  • medical insurance
  • health certificate - testing for HIV, tuberculosis, syphilis, hepatitis (may depends on the country of actual residence)
  • receipt of payment of duties and fees (approx. 138 euros)
  • invitation from the university
  • receipt for payment of the first academic semester
  • a document confirming that the student has housing: a rental agreement or a certificate from a student hostel
  • certificate of no criminal record and criminal prosecution
  • documentary evidence that the student has funds for living (about 8000 euros for the academic year): a bank statement or statement of income from abroad; if one of the parents is a sponsor, then documents confirming the relationship are required.

The student visa is renewed every year. This does not require any special cost or effort. Perhaps the most exciting thing is getting the first visa. Further actions become ordinary.

4.3. Student accommodation in Cyprus

Another disadvantage of studying in Cyprus is that there is not enough place in the student hostel in some universities. As a rule, sophos manage to get it, but froshes need to look for housing for at least the first semester.

Why is this happening? The fact is that an application for living in a hostel must be submitted in advance, six months before check-in. First-year students are enrolled only 1–2 months before the start of the semester, so they simply do not have time to allocate a place.

You shouldn't worry about this. It is quite easy to rent an apartment in any city in Cyprus. Many students cooperate and rent one apartment for 2-3 people. It's cheaper that way. And it is much easier to establish everyday life.

Another profitable option is to buy a house in a large city in Cyprus. Buying even a small studio has a lot of advantages:

  • this is a good investment - real estate in Cyprus will definitely not fall in price
  • own square meters - this is comfort, convenience, it gives the ability to easily get permanent residence, if you invest from 300 thousand euros in primary real estate
  • at the end of the university, the student can stay on the island, rent out housing or exchange it for a more spacious one
  • the apartment can be a family holiday residence.
The website of the DOM real estate in Cyprus presents options for any type of housing: from small urban studios to villas by the sea. Finding housing for a student among them will not be difficult.

5. List of universities in the Republic of Cyprus

There are quite a few universities on the small island. Most of them are located in the capital of Cyprus, Nicosia; there are also universities in Limassol, Paphos and Larnaca. Which city to choose for studying is up to the student.

  1. University of Cyprus, Nicosia. Languages ​: Greek, Turkish, English. Faculties: Humanities (history, linguistics, etc.), Medicine, Pure and Applied Sciences, Social Sciences and Education, Economics and Management, Engineering, Letters.
  2. Open University of Cyprus, Nicosia. Languages: Greek, English. Faculties: Studies in the Hellenic Culture, Business Administration, Police Education, Economics.
  3. Cyprus University of Technology, Limassol. Languages ​: Greek, English. Faculties: Geotechnical Sciences and Environmental Management, Management and Economics, Communication and Media Studies, Health Sciences, Fine and Applied Arts, Engineering and Technology.
  4. University of Nicosia, Nicosia, Limassol, Larnaca. Languages ​: Greek, English. Faculties: Business, Education, Humanities and Social Sciences, Law, Sciences and Engineering.
  5. European University Cyprus, Nicosia. Languages: Greek, English. Faculties: Humanities, Social and Education Sciences, Sciences, Business Administration, Medicine, Law.
  6. Frederick University, Nicosia, Limassol. Languages: Greek, English. Faculties: Architecture, Fine and Applied Arts, Economic Sciences and Administration, Education, Engineering and Applied Sciences, Health Sciences, Humanities and Social Sciences.
  • University of Neapolis, Paphos. Languages: Greek, English. Faculties: Architecture and Environmental Design, Real Estate Valuation and Development, Business Administration, Financial Studies, Psychology.

In any case, admission to a foreign university should be planned in advance.

It is better to start learning a foreign language 1-2 years before moving to Cyprus. Knowledge of English or Greek is the key to successful study at a university in Cyprus. This is the road not only to a good and demanded specialty, but also to the comfort of life in almost any country in the world.

Source: DOM LiVE
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