Branches of study
According to Law 4957/2022, the Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) organize study programs structured in three (3) cycles, as follows: The first cycle concerns the organization of Undergraduate Studies Programs with a minimum number of two hundred and forty (240) credits (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System ECTS) and a minimum duration of eight (8) academic semesters, with the exception of the applied sciences and technology study programs which have a minimum number of two hundred and ten (210) credits (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System ECTS) and a minimum duration of seven (7) academic semesters, the successful completion of which leads to level six (6) degree in accordance with the National and European Qualifications Framework. According to the National Qualifications Framework of Higher Education, each programme includes the learning outcomes and the qualifications acquired through the study programme. It also entails the credits (ministerial decision Φ.5/89656/B3/13-8-2007), as well as the level of qualifications in correspondence to the national qualifications framework, the european qualifications framework of lifelong learning and the qualifications framework of the european area in higher education. Pursuant to the system established by law 4610/2019, all the scientific fields of different departments of higher education are redefined. Based on the new system, faculties are grouped into scientific fields, depending on their fields of knowledge:
- Field 1: Humanities, Law and Social Sciences
- Field 2: Natural and Technological Sciences
- Field 3: Health and Life Sciences
- Field 4: Sciences of Economy and Informatics
Ministerial decision Φ253/11812/Α5/28-1-2020, as it was amended according to the Ministerial Decision Φ253/99129/Α5/24-7-2020, delineates the inclusion of the faculties of higher education institutions into the scientific fields. Each department’s curriculum corresponds to a field of knowledge related to a science and/or a profession, and leads to a bachelor's degree. However, the department’s general assembly, has recommended that directions or specialisations may be incorporated in the degree awarded by the department.
According to Law 4957/2022, Departments of the same or another Higher Education Institution (HEI) covering different scientific branches and subjects may cooperate for the establishment of first cycle study programs of an interdisciplinary nature, the successful completion of which leads to the awarding of a joint degree.
According to Law 4957/2022, Departments of the same or another Higher Education Institution (HEI) may organize dual first-cycle study programs (dual major), which lead to the awarding of two (2) equivalent first-cycle degrees cycle in two (2) distinct subjects. The duration of the dual study program is increased by a minimum of two (2) years from the duration of the other first-cycle study programs and the educational activities correspond to a minimum of three hundred and sixty (360) credits. The double study programs are single study programs, which are divided into two (2) individual non-independent study programs related to distinct academic subjects. The educational activities of each non-independent program cover a minimum of one hundred and eighty (180) credits.
According to Law 4957/2022, the Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs) of the country may organize Foreign Language Study Programs with double specialization as well as double Foreign Language Study Programs in cooperation with recognized Higher Education Institutions abroad.
According to Law 4957/2022, Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) participating in transnational University Alliances within the framework of the European Commission's Initiative "European Universities" may establish, organize and operate Joint International Inter-Institutional Programs Studies (K.D.D.P.S.) of short duration of first, second and third cycle.
Graduates of lykeia (upper secondary schools) participate in the pan-hellenic exams being held simultaneously all over the country. The pan-hellenic exams are centrally supervised by the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs. A central exams committee approves the exam topics, taking into consideration the curriculum relevant to grade C of lykeio (upper secondary school) or EPAL (vocational upper secondary school). The number of new entries in every department of higher education institutes follows the principle of numerus clausus and is defined by the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs. The terms and conditions for the number of new entries in each academic year, are related to:
- The developmental needs of the country.
- The proposals of the institutions themselves.
Specific percentages for vocational upper secondary schools are presented below. According to the law 4777/2021 for the admission to higher education institutions a number of criteria, by priority order, is taken into consideration:
- The Minimum Admission Base of each department, faculty and introductory directions.
- The total sum of marks of the 4 lessons being examined in the pan-hellenic exams at each scientific field.
Genika lykeia (general upper secondary schools) candidates who participate in the pan-hellenic exams have access to faculties, departments and scientific directions of higher education institutions (HEIs), the Higher Ecclesiastical Academies (AEA), the Higher Schools of Tourism Education (ASTE), the Higher Military Educational Institutions (ASEI), the Higher Military Officers’ Schools (ASSY), the School of Police Officers of the Greek Police Force, the School of Fire Brigade Service, as well as the Schools of Officers and of Non Commissioned Officers of the Hellenic Coast Guard. More specifically, for admission to the departments of all scientific fields, all the subjects of the particular scientific field the candidate belongs to, are calculated as defined by every scientific field. Participants in the special pan-hellenic exams for vocational upper secondary schools (EPAL) are admitted to schools, departments and introductory directions of higher education departments as follows:
- 10% of the total number of students to faculties, departments and introductory directions of the universities designated by ministerial decision as corresponding or related to the areas in which they graduate, and to a joint group of faculties, departments and introductory directions to universities, to which graduates from all fields are admitted. By exception, the percentage referred to in the preceding subparagraph is 5% of the total number of admissions to departments and introductory directions of Polytechnical and Technical Schools, departments of Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary and Medicine as well as of Physics, Biology and Geology, if designated by the above ministerial decision as corresponding or relevant to the areas in which they graduate.
- 20% of the total number of students enrolled in the School of Pedagogical and Technological Education (ASPETE) and the Higher Schools of Tourism Education (ASTE), in departments designated by the above ministerial decision as corresponding or related to the areas in which they graduate.
- In a specific percentage of the total number of students, designated by decision of the Minister of Education and Religious Affairs and/or, as the case may be, the responsible minister, in a joint group comprising the Higher Military Schools of Non Commissioned Officers of the Armed Forces, the School of Non Commissioned Police Officers of the Greek Police Force, the School of Non Commissioned Officers of the Fire Brigade Service, the School of Non Commissioned Officers of the Hellenic Coast Guard and the Schools of Merchant Navy Academy (AEN) regardless of the field in which they graduate.
When the results come out, candidates may apply for entry through an e-application form at the departments and faculties of their choice in a priority order. According to the law 4777/2021, the candidates that participate in the Pan-Hellenic Exams may apply for entry through an e-application form for the total number of faculties, departments and introductory directions of the universities designated by ministerial decision as corresponding or related to the areas in which they graduate.
In addition, all candidates that participate in the Pan-Hellenic Exams have the alternative choice of applying for entry through a parallel e-application form to a public Vocational Training Institution (IEK), level 5 according to the European Qualification Framework. The candidates’ success and their admission in departments or faculties of higher education institutions depends on parameters such as:
- Their grades
- The priority order of applying for the departments
- The availability of places in each department.
- The success of the Minimum Admission Base according to the Law 4777/2021.
Moreover, a new independent administrative authority has been established, under the title National Examinations Organisation. It is supervised by the Minister of Education and Religious Affairs (law 4186/2013). It constitutes an executive scientific authority responsible for issues pertaining to the written examinations for admission to higher education. Entry at the Hellenic Open University is through a public electronic draw among those who have applied. The only prerequisite is that applicants are graduates of upper secondary education. For entry in departments where specialised knowledge or skills are a prerequisite, candidates must also:
- Pass the pan-hellenic exams in specialised courses (English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Freelance Drawing, Linear Drawing, Testing of Musical Acoustic Skills, Harmony) for entry to the departments of English Philology, French Philology, Architecture, Music Studies, Translation and Interpretation etc.
- Pass the pan-hellenic exams of music courses (Music Performance and Acting and Music Perception and Knowledge) for entry to the departments of Music Studies of the Ionian University, Music Science and Art of the University of Macedonia, Music Studies of the University of Ioannina. For admission to the above departments, apart from the exams in two music lessons, the grade in the subject of Modern Greek Language and the upper secondary education school leaving certificate are taken into account.
- Undergo physical, sports and psychiatric tests in the cases of studying at the Military and Police Academies etc.
- Undergo sports and physical tests for entry to the departments of Physical Education and Sports Science.
Departments accept a specific number of students belonging in the following categories:
- Children of families who live abroad and hold a school leaving certificate from a Greek school
- Children of Greeks abroad who hold a school leaving certificate from a Greek school
- Children of civil servants who serve abroad and are graduates of Greek schools
- Greek graduates of foreign schools
- Graduates of upper secondary schools (or equivalent) from EU member states, who are not of greek origin
- Foreign citizens who hold a scholarship
- Expatriates holding a scholarship
- Greek citizens of the muslim minority in Thrace
- Those who have been distinguished in Balkan or International Olympiads in the fields of mathematics, informatics or robotics, physics, chemistry or biology in the European contest for young scientists or in the European Girl's Mathematical Olympiad (EGMO)
- Those who suffer of grave illnesses
- Prominent athletes.
In addition to the above-mentioned categories, HEI graduates can take a special examination on 3 subjects, as defined by the HEI’s internal regulation. In this case, graduates are not re-examined on the subjects they have already been examined through their classification process or if these subjects correspond to the curriculum subjects of the new department. According to the law 4763/2020 for the graduates of Vocational Training Institutions (IEK) as well as of ‘’Post Secondary Year-Apprenticeship Class’’, after their successful completion of the exams for the accreditation of initial vocational training and the acquisition of a vocational training specialization Diploma of Level 5, according to the European qualification framework, and at the same time hold a Lykeio Graduation Certificate, have the possibility to apply for admission to university departments, related to their vocational training specialization, after succeeding in classification exams, organized by the Greek HEIs.
The content of a curriculum is drawn up by a special committee. The curriculum is certified by the Hellenic Authority for Higher Education, former Hellenic Quality Assurance & Accreditation Agency (HQA) according to law 4653/2020. The internal regulation defines matters that have to do with the preconditions for any changes in the curricula. It is possible that a first cycle curriculum may include and recognise the credits of modules attained in other HEIs of the country. In such cases a protocol of cooperation between the two institutions concerned is drawn. The curriculum includes:
- Compulsory, selective compulsory and optional modules
- Weekly teaching hours
- The time sequence and the interconnection of modules.
The curriculum also includes the qualifications and specialisations required for the educational staff. Furthermore, first cycle curricula may include modules for learning a foreign language. Successful completion of attending at least one foreign language module or certified knowledge of it, is a prerequisite for a first cycle graduate degree. The institution itself defines the number of languages on demand, the number of teaching hours, the level of certified knowledge and the way of certification. According to the law 4692/2020, departments and faculties of the Greek HEIs have the possibility to organize foreign language undergraduate programmes, addressed exclusively at foreign citizens (either EU or non-EU countries) who hold a Certificate of upper secondary education, or other equivalent certificate according to their national framework, as well as to establish international partnerships of all kinds. In order to receive a bachelor's degree at the Hellenic Open University, students must successfully attend and sit on exams in at least 12 modules. Students may choose from one and up to 3 modules per year (minimum duration of studies is 4 academic years).
According to Law 4957/2022, two (2) or more Departments of the same or another Higher Education Institution (HEI) may organize dual specialization Foreign Language Study Programs which lead to the awarding of a single (1) first cycle degree specializing in two (2) different academic subjects.
According to Law 4957/2022, two (2) or more Departments of the same or another Higher Education Institution (HEI) may organize double Foreign Language Study Programs, which lead to the awarding of two (2) equivalent first-cycle study titles of the same or different academic subject. The time duration of a Foreign Language Study Program is increased by a minimum of two (2) years in relation to the duration of the other first cycle study programs.
According to Law 4957/2022, the Higher Education Institutions (HEI) may organize an internal student mobility program (internal Erasmus), which includes all first-cycle study programs in which students are admitted through pan-Hellenic exams.
Teaching is divided in semester modules. The teaching work is defined as:
- Autonomous teaching of a module
- Autonomous teaching of modules that need to be given more attention, to small groups of students
- Laboratory work, clinics and in-service traineeship of students
- Supervision of projects or master’s thesis
- Organising seminars or other similar activities aiming at the consolidation of knowledge.
In tertiary education, teaching methods and teaching aids are developed by the educational institutions. Teaching and learning is assisted by respective textbooks or other supporting material distributed to students free of charge. The only exception is the Hellenic Open University (EAP), where students have to pay fees. In many cases, this task is also assisted by audio-visual aids, new technologies, and electronic teaching aids made available by each department as material and technical infrastructure. Distribution of academic textbooks to undergraduate students of universities, Higher Ecclesiastical Academies and the Hellenic Open University is conducted through the central informational system EVDOXOS. All teaching staff are obliged to upload notes of the lessons and other course material on the Internet. As regards undergraduate studies in the Hellenic Open University, studies are carried out based on the method of distance education, which includes:
- Meetings between tutors and students
- Compulsory assignments
- Distance counselling communication between tutors and students
- Students’ practice in the Hellenic Open University laboratories
- Final and repeat exams.
Students can select their studies wherever they live in Greece or abroad.
According to Law 4957/2022, the educational process may be conducted using modern distance education methods. The Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) maintain an electronic platform accessible to people with disabilities, through which asynchronous distance education services are provided for all first, second and third cycle study programs. The Hellenic Open University gives emphasis on the quality of the learning material, developed in such a way to promote high quality self-learning and regular student evaluation, in order to achieve the objectives of distance education. This material may be in printed (books, notes, assessment forms), audio-visual, or electronic form (multimedia, Internet, etc.).
Progression of students
Undergraduate students’ registration process, that is students of both general upper secondary and vocational upper secondary schools who have succeeded in the pan-hellenic exams, is announced by the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs on a fixed period of time through an electronic platform. The academic year includes two semesters, winter and spring. Students register at the beginning of each semester during dates set by the deanery. They also choose the modules they choose to attend. Only in exceptional cases is the semester’s extension allowed in order to cover the necessary teaching weekly hours of a module, but in no case can this extension be more than two weeks. The internal regulation of an institution regulates the arrangements of the study programme. More specifically, the internal regulation defines:
- The required number of modules for a graduate’s degree according to the respective curriculum, as well as the provision of specific modules in a foreign language.
- The conditions of student participation to the exam periods, the duration of these periods as well as the process of re-examination.
- The detailed way, the exam procedures and other evaluation methods of students (written and/or oral, laboratory exercises etc.).
Examinations are conducted at the end of the winter and spring semesters for the modules taught respectively during each semester. Students have the option to be examined on the courses of both semesters, before the beginning of the winter semester, during September. Students who have certified dyslexia before their entry to the HEI, can be examined orally. According to the law 4777/2021, students are obliged to complete their undergraduate studies within 8 academic semesters with an extension of 4 or 6 academic semesters, depending on the duration of each undergraduate program, and after this period they are dropped out. Special measures will be taken for students with health problems, special needs, full time workers as well as distinguished athletes who will have the possibility for part time undergraduate studies. Students who have completed full-time attendance, meaning they have attended the necessary number of semesters leading to a degree, according to the study programme, have the opportunity to take part in the examinations at any semester, either winter or spring. This means that they can be examined at any course they choose regardless if it is taught in the winter or spring semester. If a student fails more than 3 times to pass a module, he/she may apply for a special examination in front of a 3 member committee, consisting of professors of the institution, who share the same or similar scientific field. The tutor of the module cannot be part of this committee. In the case of a new failure, the student may or may not continue with his/her studies, according to the terms and conditions of the organisation of the institution. These include the maximum times a student may sit an exam. Students failing a compulsory module are required to repeat it in the following semester. Αttendance and successful examination in modules set as compulsory by the study programme are a pre-requisite for awarding the degree. Students failing an optional module should either repeat it in the following semesters or replace it with another optional course, so that they cover the necessary number of modules specified by the study programme. If the module that the student failed has been defined as a prerequisite for other modules, he/she has no right to select other modules depending from it.
Students may undertake internships in the public or private sector, within the country or abroad, provided that this activity is included in the relevant study programme. The terms and conditions of the internship are regulated in the organisation charter of the institution, including specific provisions to facilitate the participation of disabled students in a manner equal to any other student. Furthermore, higher education institutions take special measures to facilitate studies, especially for working students. To this effect, a ministerial decision regulates mandatory leaves to working students during the exam period. In addition, students who work at least 20 hours a week may be registered as part-time students. Finally, higher education institutions host Innovation and Career Offices, which constitute a communication bridge between the institution, the labour market, the economy and the production. Their main aim is:
- The support of members of the academic community and graduates
- The promotion of collaboration between members of the academic community and various bodies of the country
- The organisation of lectures, seminars and counselling services for students and graduates etc.
Within the Innovation and Career Office, further distinct units may operate, as for example a liaison office, an innovation and entrepreneurship office, a practical training office, a mediation office, etc.
Student performance is assessed by the academic staff. The methods of assessment depend on the nature of each module. The student's grade is determined by the module tutor, who organises written and/or oral examinations, or laboratory or clinical exercises, as well as assignments throughout the semester. The evaluation of the students, which is a necessary part of the learning process, is continuous. It lasts throughout the semester and covers all modules. In order to pass a module students must, as a general rule, receive a pass mark of 5 out of 10. This mark corresponds:
- Either solely to the mark received on the written and/or oral exams at the end of each semester
- To a combination of the mark received on the exams and the mark resulting from the participation of students in various educational activities (laboratory exercises,tutorials,writing of assignments,etc).
In certain cases, the dissertation grade may be multiplied by a specific coefficient. Students complete their studies and receive their degree when they have passed the number of modules specified in the study programme and have accumulated the required credits.
Law 4653/2020 defines the framework, the procedures and the criteria of the evaluation and the certification of quality assurance of the curricula and the services of individual academic units and institutions as a whole. They are all subjected to the certification by the Hellenic Authority for Higher Education. Each HEI department grants a degree, possibly with distinct directions/specialisations. There is no particular procedure for the certification of the degrees. They are signed by the rector and the respective department’s president and secretary. They are deemed valid and official certificates. The degree certificate includes the name of the higher education institution, the faculty, the department and, if any, the specialisation/direction, as well as the graduate’s exact grade and the corresponding qualitative description (5.00-6.49 "Good"; 6.50-8.49 "Very good"; and 8.50-10.00 "Excellent"). The diploma supplement, stipulated by the law 3374/2005, is attached to all graduate or postgraduate degrees and provides information on the educational framework and the studies’ content.