There are four categories of higher education institutions in Cyprus: public universities, private universities, public non-university level institutions, and private non-university level institutions.
Public universities are founded as public corporate bodies to be academically autonomous governed by their Council and Senate. They are funded by the government, but they can raise money from other sources as well. All the three public universities in Cyprus are dedicated to the excellence of teaching and research. The specific objectives and mission of each university are stated in its respective founding Law.
Public universities are multi-faculty institutions, each Faculty made up by Departments. Faculties and Departments are administered by Boards headed by Deans and Chairpersons respectively. They offer academic programs at Batchelor, Master, and Doctoral (Ph.D.) level. The Open University offers short professional courses in continuing education as well. The language of instruction is Greek and Turkish - the official languages of the Republic of Cyprus.
Private universities are founded as private law organizations of speculative or non-speculative character, registered with the Ministry of Education. As provided by Law 109(I)/2005 on Private Universities, the mission of each private university is the advancement of science, knowledge, learning, and education through teaching and research for the benefit of society as a whole; the cultivation, transmission, implementation, and exchange of knowledge through science; and, the provision of graduate and/or postgraduate education of a high standard that accepts international recognition. Private universities raise their funds from tuition fees.
Non-university level public institutions operate under other than the Ministry of Education and Culture ministries. Each ministry is wholly responsible for the organization and regulation of the institution(s) under its remit, thus setting regulations for the type and level of courses, admission requirements, curricula, and student enrolment, in collaboration with the Board of Management, Director and Faculty of the institution.
There are currently five public institutions operating at the non-university level. Their aim is to offer high-level education and training and produce high-caliber professionals in each respective field, according to the needs of the labour market in Cyprus. The language of instruction is English or Greek.
Non-university level private institutions of higher education are registered with the Ministry of Education and Culture, according to Law 67(I)/1996, which provides for their establishment, operation and control. Each institution sets its own aims and internal regulations with the approval of the Ministry. They offer vocational and academic programs at various levels of study, such as the Certificate level (one-year duration), the Diploma level (two-year duration), the Higher Diploma level (three-year duration), the Bachelor level (four-year duration) and the Master level (one-year or two-year duration). Fields of study cover Secretarial Studies, Business Administration, Banking, Accountancy, Hotel Management, Computers, and Engineering. Their programs of study are accredited by the Council for Educational Evaluation and Accreditation – SEKAP (ΣΕΚΑΠ).
Examinations in Distance Learning Programs
The Council of the Quality Assurance and Certification Body of Higher Education (Φορέας Διασφάλισης και Πιστοποίησης της Ποιότητας της Ανώτερης Εκπαίδευσης Δι.Π.Α.Ε.) at its 32nd Session held on July 2 and 3, 2018, decided and informed the higher education institutions offering distance learning programs that all courses in a distance program should have a final examination which students have to take at certified training centers in Cyprus or abroad.