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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: 27 November 2023

The University of Malta

The University of Malta is the highest teaching institution in Malta. It is publicly funded and is open to all those who have the requisite qualifications. The University's structures are in line with the Bologna Process and the European Higher Education Area. The supreme governing bodies of the University are the Council and the Senate.

There are around 12,000 students including around 1,000 international students from 92 different countries and 450 visiting students, following full-time or part-time degree and diploma courses, all of which run on the modular and ECTS credit system. A basic Foundation Studies Course enables international high school students who have completed their secondary or high school education overseas and are eligible for admission to a university in their country but who do not have the necessary University of Malta entry requirements, to qualify for admission to undergraduate degree courses.

Well over 4,000 students graduate in various disciplines annually. The degree courses at the University are designed to produce highly qualified professionals, with experience of research, who will play key roles in industry, commerce and public affairs in general. There are a further 1900 pre- tertiary students at the Junior College which is also managed by the University.

The Foundation Stone of the main campus at Msida was laid on 22 September 1964 by the Rt. Hon. Duncan Sandys, the then Commonwealth Secretary. The total area of the Msida Campus is 194452 square metres. 

There are two other campuses: one at Valletta and the other on Malta’s sister-island, Gozo.

The Valletta Campus, which is housed in the Old University Building, dates back to the founding of the Collegium Melitense and incorporates the Aula Magna. The Valletta Campus also serves as a prestigious setting for the hosting of international conferences, seminars, short courses and summer schools. It is also the venue of the, the Research, Innovation & Development Trust (RIDT) and the Conferences & Events Unit.

The Gozo Campus was set up in 1992 with the collaboration of the Ministry for Gozo. The administration of the University of Malta Gozo Campus supports the organisation of part-time degree, diploma and short-term courses in Gozo and also caters for the needs of the increasing number of students from Gozo who study on the main campus. This campus also provides a venue for public lectures and seminars and it houses the Guesten Atmospheric Research Centre, within the Department of Geosciences.

The University today has fourteen faculties: Arts; Built Environment; Dental Surgery; Economics, Management & Accountancy; Education; Engineering; Health Sciences; Information & Communication Technology; Laws; Media & Knowledge Sciences; Medicine & Surgery; Science; Social Wellbeing and Theology.

A number of interdisciplinary institutes and centres have been set up in various fields. The institutes include Aerospace Technologies; Anglo-Italian Studies; Baroque Studies; Climate Change & Sustainable Development; Confucius; Creative Thinking & Innovation; Digital Games; Diplomatic Studies; Earth Systems; European Studies; Islands & Small States; Linguistics & Language Technology; Maltese Studies; Mediterranean Institute; Physical Education & Sport; Space Sciences & Astronomy; Sustainable Energy; Tourism, Travel & Culture.

The centres comprise: Centre for Biomedical Cybernetics; Centre for Distributed Ledger Technologies; Centre for Educational Research; Centre for English Language Proficiency; Centre for Entrepreneurship and Business Incubation; Centre for Environmental Education and Research; Centre for Labour Studies; Centre for the Liberal Arts & Sciences; Centre for Literacy; Centre for Molecular Medicine and Biobanking; Centre for Resilience & Socio-Emotional Health; Centre for the Study and Practice  of  Conflict  Resolution;  Centre  for  Traditional  Chinese  Medicine.

The University of Malta also has a School of Performing Arts, International School for Foundation Studies and a Doctoral School.

The Cottonera Resource Centre acts as a hub that co-ordinates links between communities in the inner harbour area and the University, facilitating resource-transfer and capacity building. The University is also responsible for the Malta Argotti Botanic Gardens and Resource Centre which is located in Floriana

The public response to the University of the Third Age has been very encouraging with membership constantly on the increase and all activities being well attended.

The campus is home to the IMO International Maritime Law Institute (IMLI).

Researchers at the University of Malta conduct research in a variety of areas ranging from adaptive systems to seismic monitoring. As the only university in Malta, academics have a special responsibility to study areas of an indigenous or national dimension, such as local marine and terrestrial fauna and flora, properties and conservation issues related to the Maltese globigerina limestone, Malta's rich history, indigenous disorders such as thalassaemia, Maltese linguistics, and the resilience and vulnerability of islands and small states. The University is also home to a number of leading research programmes, including digital games research, climate change, metamaterials, physical oceanography and maritime law. More about ongoing research at the University is available on the Research Website [13].

The University of Malta is a member of the European University Association, the European Access Network, the Association of Commonwealth Universities, the Utrecht Network, the Santander Group of Universities, the Compostela Group, the European Association for University Lifelong Learning (EUCEN) and the International Student Exchange Programme (ISEP). Over the years, the University has participated in a number of EU Programmes and has won several projects in collaboration with various partner universities. University of Malta staff and students regularly participate in programmes such as Erasmus and Leonardo.

The University of Malta has a very good and fruitful rapport with the Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise & Industry and Jobsplus. Through collaborative projects the University, industry, business and the public sector develop a mutually beneficial dialogue. Whilst acquainting potential employers with the knowledge and skills acquired by students at university, the University seeks to assess the needs of the various facets of the labour market in order to provide timely and relevant instruction.

The Malta University Holding Company Ltd [14] (MUHC) embodies the commercial interests of the University of Malta. The companies comprised in the Holding Company serve as the commercial interface between the University of Malta and the business community, brokering the resources and assets of the University to provide added value through commercial activity.

The Malta University Holding Company Ltd provides strategic direction and corporate support to the companies within the Group:

Malta University Branded Merchandise 

Malta University Broadcasting

Malta University Consulting Services

Malta University Hospitality, Leisure & Sports 

Malta University Labs Services

Malta University Language School (Msida Campus) 

Malta University Publishing

Malta University Residence 

Professional Development 

The Kappara Hotel

The academic year at the University of Malta starts in the first week of October and ends on the 30th of September. It is divided into two semesters and may be extended by a summer semester. Generally the first semester ends on the last day of January with the second semester initiating on the first day of February. The academic year may vary slightly from year to year depending on which date Easter falls. There are two weeks of recess at Christmas and another two weeks for Easter. University administrative offices and facilities are open all the year round. Lectures are usually held between 08.00hrs and 20.00hrs.



The Organisation of the Academic Year in Higher Education 2021/22

Type of Activity


Dates or periods

Beginning of Academic Year

11 October 2021 (1st year students)


Beginning of Semester 1

11 October 2021 (1st year students)


27 September 2021 (continuing students)



Teaching Activity (Semester I)

11 October 2021 – 17 December 2021 (1st year students)


27 September 2021 – 17 December 2021 (continuing students)

Graduation Days (Undergraduate courses)


15 November - 2 December 2021

Graduation Days (Postgraduate courses)

March 2022 – April 2022

Christmas Recess

18 December 2021 – 2 January 2022


Teaching Activity (Semester I cont.)

3-21 January 2022



Examinations (Examinations Semester I)

24 January 20122 – 12 February 2022

Teaching Activity (Semester II)

4 February – 8 April 2022

Easter Recess

11 April 2022 - 24 April 2022


Teaching Activity (Semester II cont.)

25 April – 27 May 2022



Examinations (Examinations Semester II)

28 May – 30 June 2022

End of Second Semester

30 June 2022

Summer Semester (for postgraduate courses spread over 3 semesters)

13 June – 30 September 2022

Summer Recess (within the summer semester)

1-13 August 2022

Supplementary Examinations

1-17 September 2022

Public holidays


(occasional / national / religious holidays)

8 September 2021

21 September 2021

8 December 2021

13 December 2021

25 December 2021

1 January 2022

10 February 2022

19 March 2022

31 March 2022

15 April 2022

1 May 2022

7 June 2022

29 June 2022

15 August 2022


The Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST)

Established in 2001, the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST) is the country’s leading vocational education and training institution. Through the six institutes in Malta and the Gozo Campus, MCAST offers over 190 full-time courses and over 300 part-time vocational courses ranging from certificates to degrees (Malta qualification Framework (MQF) Level 1 to Level 8). Students are prepared for careers in different sectors of the economy or for higher education. 

MCAST collaborates closely with local industries to ensure that the knowledge, skills and competencies within the curricula are appropriate and relevant to a dynamic and forward-looking economy. Programmes are flexible, relevant and responsive to the aspirations of students and the needs of industries, which are constantly evolving to meet the challenges of a changing global economy.  

Within the Malta Qualifications Framework, MCAST provides Level 1 and 2 programmes for students who may have left formal schooling without any formal qualifications with the aim of helping them to at least achieve a Level 3 Vocational qualification and possibly even more. MCAST also provides Level 4 courses to students who may wish to enter employment at the technician level or who may aspire to continue their studies at a higher degree level. Additionally, MCAST offers courses at Level 5 and 6 in which students aim to achieve a first degree. In 2019, MCAST introduced Apprenticeship degrees in 7 programmes. In 2021 MCAST embarked on a first Doctoral Programme at MQF Level 8.

Available VET qualifications at MCAST: 

•    Certificate and Award courses at EQF/MQF Introductory Level A and B, levels 1 or 2, giving access to programmes at the next EQF/MQF level in the same field: these are introduction and foundation certificate pro¬grammes, which include a component of work experience and work-based learning: for learners without a qualification; 

•    Certificate courses at EQF/MQF level 1, 2 and 3, comprising a percentage of work-based learning, which provide access to programmes at the next level: for foundation certificate holders and those with an EQF/MQF level 2 compulsory education qualification; 

•    Advanced diploma courses at EQF/MQF level 4 (two- to three-year duration); for learners with a general education or VET EQF/MQF level 3 qualification. These courses include mandatory work experience through apprenticeship schemes. 

•    Higher diploma courses at EQF/MQF level 5 (one- to two-year duration): for learners with an EQF/MQF level 4 VET qualification; 

•    MCAST also offers a suite of tertiary qualifications at bachelor and master levels.

•    Doctoral programme - Professional Research Doctorate (DRes) on the Competitive Behaviour of Small Organizations


The Organisation of the Academic Year in Higher Education 2021/22

Type of Activity


Dates or periods

Beginning of Semester I

4th October

Campus Days

11th – 15th October

Graduation Days – Levels 5 and 6


Christmas recess

24th December – 31 December

Continuation of Semester 1

3rd January

End of Semester 1

28th January 

Beginning of Semester 2

7th February

Graduations Ceremonies - Levels 1,2,3 and 4


Easter Recess

13th April – 22nd April

Continuation of Semester 2

25th April

End Semester 2

3rd June


The Institute of Tourism Studies (ITS)

The Institute of Tourism Studies is an institution of higher education aimed at meeting the changing needs of the Travel, Hospitality and Tourism Industry. ITS was established in 1987 and consolidated by the Institute of Tourism Studies Act (2016) of the Laws of Malta. ITS' main responsibility is to provide the Tourism Sector with professional personnel who are able to guarantee an excellent standard of products and services within the Hospitality Industry. 

The Institute of Tourism Studies offers programmes from Level 2 (Foundation) up to a Level 6 (Bachelor Degree). As part of their studies, students not only acquire theoretical knowledge but also a hands on experience, through the ITS teaching restaurants and also through a Local Industrial Trade Practice (LITP) and an International Internship Trade Practice (LITP).

The Institute of Toruism Studies now also offers a process of Recognition for Prior Learning (RPL), which is a way in which individuals may gain exeption to, or a credit within a nationally recognised qualification course/s based on learning outcomes or competencies gained through formal, non-formal and informal learning. RPL is a form of assessment which is the process of recognising a person’s skills, knowledge and competences which a candidate has acquired through previous training, education, work and/or general life experience. Work and/or general life experience. The benfeits of RPL may be the reduced time a student needs to spend attending classes, undertaking assessments or relearning what they already know.  

ITS Mission Statement 

Quality learning to achieve excellence in tourism.

ITS Vision 

Through ITS' innovative academic programmes the Institute of Tourism Studies seeks to prepare its students for a career in tomorrow’s tourism industry.  

ITS directs its resources towards the development of inclusive learning programmes  which facilitate technical, generic and behavioural skills and competencies, integrate theory and practice and promote modern leadership approaches. 

The values behind ITS' vision are to: 

•    Provide a student oriented style of curriculum which promotes creativity, innovation, participation, self reflection, and personal independence.

•    Develop specialized technical, leadership and entrepreneurial skills in line with tomorrow’s industry’s trends and requirements

•    Promote an international outlook whilst embracing differences between local and foreign cultures.

•    Promote professional development through lifelong learning opportunities for all levels within society

•    Perform and solicit practices which are ethically correct and environmentally friendly.

•    Individually guide, mentor and holistically develop our student.

ITS Campus has 5 centres:

1.    Centre for E-Learning Technology (CELT): CELT sets out to improve dissemination and networking with others in the field towards its own improvement, for the sharing of work carried out, to obtain feedback and stimulate debate. CELT particularly welcomes international collaboration and the challenges this brings to its work. CELT's research and development interests are varied and include: Distance-Learning, interface design, cultural adaptation and multimedia. The Centre for E-Learning Technologies also hosts a video-editing and compositing lab fully equipped for the production of live and animated features. The ITS eLearning site, ITSELNET, was developed as part of the MEDFORIST Project funded by the European Commission under the EUMEDIS Initiative. The objective of the Project is to build a Mediterranean Network of teachers in the field of Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) applied to trade and industry. Through this site the Institute of Tourism Studies provides on-line learning opportunities for its students, and will eventually include opportunities for on-line workers for external students.

2.    Centre for Cleaning Science (CCS): The Centre for Cleaning Science is an ITS center dedicated to the training and certification in the cleaning industry. The CCS for launched after ITS signed a pre-agreement with the British Institute of Cleaning Science (BICS), awarding ITS the status of chosen provider of the BICS training and accreditation in Malta. The aim of this center at ITS is to introduce on a national level, internationally-recognized cleaning procedures with the ultimate aim of enhancing the overall profile and standard of the cleaning industry in Malta. The Centre for Cleaning Science at ITS will provide a modern, aesthetically appealing and well equipped environment designed to facilitate training that meets the needs of industries that depend on high standards of health and hygiene, such as the hospitality and health sectors.

3.    Centre for Cultural and Heritage Studies (CCHS): The Centre for Cultural and Heritage Studies aims to provide a platform for further studies in the cultural and heritage academic fields in relation to the Hospitality industry. New modules support the concept of Cultural Tourism. The centre provides courses that can be given through Distance Learning.

4.    The Chocolate Academy: The Chocolate Academy promotes the art of chocolate locally and aims at improving the standards of the patissiers, generating a passion for chocolate and chocolatiers and introducing new skills into the local market.

5.    Centre for Eno-Gastronomical Studies: The Eno-Gastronomical Studies Centre’s aims to promote eno-gastronomy to professionals and individuals who have a passion for food and drink and provide a general understanding of the history and culture of food and drink from ancient times to the present. It also strives to promote the development of new techniques and research in the Food & Beverage preparation and production and facilitate internal communication and cooperation between departments and organizations interested in planning eno-gastronomical activities.