Branches of Study
Bachelor programmes of study are offered by public and private universities. Some non-university level private institutions also offer Bachelor programmes of study. The expected duration of studies for a Bachelor's degree is four years (eight semesters) except for Medicine with twelve semesters required. The ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) is applied by all public and private universities, with a number of at least 240 ECTS required for a student to graduate (one credit unit corresponding to 25-30 working hours of the course per semester).
Most of the Bachelors are disciplinary programmes offered by a Department of the university/institution. However, universities may allow for the establishment of interdisciplinary programmes proposed by interested Departments, provided that they have the approval of the Senate and the respective Faculties. As part of their 240 ECTS, students are usually required to attend a number of courses on Foreign Languages.
Bachelor programmes are offered within the following study fields: Humanities; Pure and Applied Science; Social Science and Education; Economics and Management; Letters; Engineering and Technology; Health Science; Medicine; Technological Science; Geotechnical Sciences and Environmental Management; Law; Fine and Applied Arts.
All three public universities follow a policy of restricted numbers of admission, which are set annually by the Council of the university and are approved by the Council of Ministers upon recommendation of the Minister of Education. Admissions to the undergraduate level of studies at the University of Cyprus and the University of Technology of Cyprus are based on the system of entrance examinations, namely the Pancyprian Examinations, which are set every June by the Ministry of Education and Culture according to the provisions of the relevant law. In order to be eligible for the examination, applicants must be Cypriot citizens with at least one Cypriot parent. They must also have a school-leaving certificate either from a lyceum, a technical school or a recognised private secondary school.
A small percentage of the total number of admissions is set on special criteria. These apply, amongst others, to Cypriot applicants of special categories (e.g. children of missing persons as a result of the Turkish invasion, persons with special needs, mature students); Greeks of the diaspora and Cypriots who belong to specific religious or ethnic groups; Turkish Cypriots; and, international students.
Admissions to the Open University of Cyprus are based on predetermined criteria and not on written examinations. Prospective students submit their applications online and on the basis of the set criteria they are ranked by an automated system of evaluation. In order to be eligible to apply to a course at the undergraduate level of studies, prospective students must be graduates of secondary level education and have a good knowledge of Greek. In addition, they must be able to adequately operate a personal computer and use the Internet. Ranking criteria include grades and number of years elapsed since graduating from secondary education, knowledge of foreign (European) languages, post secondary level diplomas and unemployment.
Admissions to private universities or private non-university level institutions are controlled by the Private Universities ( Establishment, Operation and Control ) Law (N. 109(I)/2005). A leaving certificate from a recognised school of secondary education or an equivalent qualification acquired in Cyprus or abroad, is usually required for admission to the Bachelor level of studies.
At the university level, the structure and nature of the curricula are determined by the Departmental Board of the University Department involved and they are approved by the Senate and the Council of the University.
Private non-university level institutions submit their courses and curricula to the Council for Educational Evaluation and Accreditation-SEKAP for approval.
Teaching methods and materials are decided on by the members of academic staff of Departments, either individually or in collaboration. Classes usually take the form of a lecture, tutorial or laboratory work, but they may also take the form of a seminar or exercise, according to the nature and requirements of the particular programmes of study. New technology is widely used. The Open University employs distance education methodology relying on digital technology, but without totally omitting face-to-face interaction. Other institutions also increasingly offer courses on the basis of distance learning.
Progression of Students
Student progression from one year/stage of studies to the next is based on the internal regulations of each institution. Students are promoted on the precondition that they have obtained at least the minimum pass mark (usually 50 %) in all prescribed evaluations and have attended at least a minimum required percentage of the programme (ranging from 75 % to 100 % in the different institutions).
At the University of Cyprus, if a student fails a compulsory subject, he/she has to repeat the subject until he/she passes (within the maximum time limit). If a student fails an elective subject, he/she can repeat the subject once. If the student fails the elective subject a second time, he/she must select an alternative elective subject. A student is removed from the Register of Students of the University if he/she is not able to complete the requirements of the programme of studies within the maximum time limit, which is twelve semesters for undergraduate studies. A student will also be removed from the Register of Students if he/she is absent for one semester and the University authorities are unable to contact him/her.
Similar provisions are followed for student progression at the Cyprus University of Technology.
Postponement of studies at the Open University may last up to two years, but only after successful completion of at least one Module. Removal from the Registry of Students of the Open University occurs when a student either decides to stop studying at the OUC, does not register for at least one Module (subject to the conditions of postponement of study), or has failed to successfully complete a Module for the second time.
Promoting the employability of higher education graduates is a policy priority for the Government. The Human Resource Development Authority (HRDA), a semi-governmental organisation whose mission is to create the necessary prerequisites for the planned and systematic training and development of human resources in Cyprus, is currently running two programmes concerning young tertiary graduates' employability. The Scheme for Job Placement of Young Unemployed Tertiary Education Graduates in Enterprises/Organisations aims at giving the opportunity both to young graduates to gain work experience and to enterprises to make productive qualified manpower. The participants are offered a weekly training allowance of 125 Euro by the HRDA. The Scheme for the Employment of Young Tertiary Education Graduates in Enterprises/Organisations aims both at the improvement of the enterprises' competitiveness and giving opportunity to young graduates to gain work experience. In the framework of the programme the HRDA grants a subsidy to the employers. Further information is available on the HRDA's website.
Careers Offices operating in higher education institutions provide information on employment and career prospects. Although no official responsibility is taken by the institutions for the employment of their graduates, the guidance and counselling that are on offer very often lead to the placement of graduates in appropriate positions in their field in the public or private sectors.
Every institution of higher education has an organised system of student assessment. Students are assessed internally by the teaching staff of the institution. Assessment methods include written and/or oral examinations at the mid-term or the end of a semester, continuous assessment focused on the student’s active participation, laboratory exercises, written or practical assignments, projects and dissertations. Written examinations are set by all the institutions.
Certification is the responsibility of each institution of higher education. Upon successful completion of the programme of studies the institution awards the Bachelor degree. The award of a Bachelor degree at the university level is subject to the approval of the Board of the Department.
The degrees of public institutions are recognised by KYSATS (The Cyprus Council for the Recognition of Higher Education Qualifications). The degrees of private institutions are recognised on the precondition that the relevant programmes of studies have been accredited by SEKAP (Council for Educational Evaluation-Accreditation).