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Third-cycle (PhD) programmes


7.Higher education

7.5Third-cycle (PhD) programmes

Last update: 27 November 2023


The organisation of doctoral studies

Currently, all faculties and departments of state universities offer doctorate programmes. Main branches of study include Humanities, Pure and Applied Sciences, Social Science and Education, Economics and Management, Law, Engineering, Letters and Health Sciences. The language of instruction must be one of the official languages of the universities (Greek and Turkish). A programme may be offered in another language, provided that it is offered in one of the official languages too. Postgraduate programmes offered in cooperation with other universities within an EU programme, e.g. Erasmus Mundus, can be offered in an international language without any precondition. 

Two Ph.D. programs in Education and a Ph.D., interdepartmental, program in Engineering are offered, since September 2010, by private universities in Cyprus. Also, the Cyprus Institute, a non-profit science and technology research, and educational institute, established in 2005, offers three doctoral programs approved by the Ministry of Education and Culture, in the following study fields: Computational Sciences; Digital Cultural Heritage; and, Environment and Atmospheric Sciences.  

Most of the doctoral programs on offer are three-year duration programs consisting of a taught part and a dissertation. They are based on the ECTS credit system with about 240 ECTS required for their completion, of which 120 will be earned through the research part of the program. The doctoral title is awarded following a successful submission and defense of an original dissertation constituting an important contribution to the particular discipline.

Admission requirements

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. In order to apply for a PhD degree, prospective students must hold a Master’s degree in a related subject. Selection of students is made by the institutions themselves.

Status of doctoral students/candidates

Cypriots and EU citizens being full-time doctoral students in Cyprus are entitled to free healthcare in public hospitals. Students from out with the EU countries are obliged to arrange on their own for private insurance. 

Doctoral students are often put in priority as regards part-time or full-time appointments as researchers in research programs run by academic staff of the respective department. They may also be given teaching/tutoring duties under the supervision of a permanent academic staff of the institution.    

Supervision arrangements

Every student in a postgraduate program is assigned an Academic Supervisor who will offer guidance to the student throughout the program of study. Every doctoral student is assigned a Research Supervisor too. The Research Supervisor is appointed by the Board of the Department upon a recommendation of the Postgraduate Programmes Committee of the Department and he/she is responsible for guiding the student in his/her research and providing the necessary support and advice.


Careers Offices operating in higher education institutions provide information on employment and career prospects. No industrial staff is involved either in the development of course curricula or as external examiners in the assessment of students. 


A Ph.D. title is awarded upon completion of the following course requirements:

• A minimum of 6 semesters duration of studies (the maximum course duration being 16 semesters);

• Success in a comprehensive examination until the fifth semester of studies, at the latest;

•  The successful defense of a doctoral thesis, which must be original and constitute an important contribution to the relevant knowledge field.


Comprehensive examinations are set annually by the Department concerned, which is responsible for the content and the management of the examination.

The doctoral thesis must be defended, in an open 30-45 minute presentation, before a five-member examining Committee determined by the Board of the Department. If a Ph.D. dissertation is rejected, the candidate is allowed to resubmit it once. The conditions of resubmission are determined in writing by the Examining Committee.


Certification is the responsibility of each institution of higher education. Upon successful completion of the program of studies, the institution awards the Doctoral degree. The award of a Ph.D. degree at the university level is subject to the approval of the Senate of the university. The degrees of public institutions are recognized by KYSATS. The degrees of private institutions are not recognized unless the relevant programs of studies have been accredited by SEKAP. 

Organizational Variations

The Open University of Cyprus is dedicated to distance learning. Unlike the conventional university, students at the Open University have the opportunity to pursue their studies in a flexible way as regards place, time and pace.

Curricula are structured on modules and are based on the system of the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). Teaching methods are based on distance learning approaches relying on ICT technology.

The Open University is currently offering doctoral programs in Health Care Administration; Educational Sciences; Information Technology; Greek Culture; Greek Language and Literature; Theatre Studies; Environmental Management and Protection; and, Communication and Journalism.