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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Types of higher education institutions


7.Higher education

7.1Types of higher education institutions

Last update: 28 March 2024

A higher education institution is a university, a faculty, an art academy and a polytechnic.

Universities are higher education institutions that organise and conduct university studies in at least two scientific fields or in scientific and artistic fields and in at least three fields. Universities can also conduct professional studies. Universities can establish a faculty and an art academy as a constituent which is a legal entity. As a constituent which is not a legal entity, a university can establish a university department, faculty or art academy which is not a legal entity, institute, centre, bureau, clinic or other organisational unit of the university. Universities and their constituents perform higher education, scientific and artistic activities, as well as professional activities.

Polytechnics are higher education institutions that conduct professional studies. Polytechnics perform higher education and professional activities. A polytechnic can perform scientific and artistic activities. Public universities are established by law, public polytechnics are established by a regulation of the Government of the Republic of Croatia, while private higher education institutions are established by the decision of the founder.

According to data from the Register of Higher Education Institutions, the official record of accredited higher education institutions in the Republic of Croatia managed by the Ministry of Science and Education, there are currently 117 higher education institutions which are legal entities operating in the Republic of Croatia, namely: 

  • 10 public universities
  • 4 private universities
  • 72 constituents of public universities
  • 13 public polytechnics
  • 18 private polytechnics.

The large number of higher education institutions is the result of the fact that the largest universities (Zagreb, Rijeka, Osijek and Split) are not integrated universities, but their constituents (faculties, centres, etc.) are separate legal entities. 

There are currently 1,823 studies registered in the Register of Higher Education Institutions. 

According to the Croatian Bureau of Statistics, in the winter semester of the academic year 2022/2023, a total of 151,827 students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate studies, of which 124,403 enrolled in faculties, 24,638 in polytechnics, and 2,786 in art academies. At the same time, 30,875 students graduated from undergraduate and graduate studies in 2022, of which 24,744 from faculties, 5,506 from polytechnics and 625 from art academies.