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Studies structure in Greece


Under the terms of the Constitution of 1975, higher education institutions are legal entities of public law. They are self-governing and under the supervision of the Ministry of National Education and Religious Affairs which supports them financially and is responsible for educational policy concerning them. Technological Educational Institutions (TEI) form part of higher education just like the universities but belong to the non-university sector. Military Academies (Stratiotikes Scholes Axiomatikon) enjoy the same status as universities but they fall under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Defence. There are no private universities. The diplomas awarded by certain private post-secondary education institutions are not recognized by the State.


Higher education structure:

Non-university level post-secondary studies (technical/vocational type):

The Higher Engineering Training College includes specialized departments: Civil, Mechanical, Electrical and Electronic Engineering. The Athens Higher School of Religious Studies offers three-year courses. The Higher State Academies for the Merchant Navy offers three-year courses. At the end of the course and after passing examinations, students obtain the Dokimou Axiomatikou diploma. There are also Schools of Fine Arts. Centres for Higher Technical Education (KATE) offer short training courses (six to nine months) in over 20 fields. Specialized training is offered in certain areas. An Act of Parliament has established Institutes of Vocational Training (IEK). They admit school leavers from Gymnasia, Technical-Vocational Schools and Lykeia. Training usually lasts for four semesters. A Certificate of Vocational Training which mentions the duration and specialization of the course is awarded following a final examination.


University level studies


University level first stage: Ptychio:

Undergraduate degree programmes at universities normally last for four years (eight semesters) and lead to the Ptychio in the relevant field. In Veterinary Science, Dentistry, Engineering and Agricultural Studies, studies last for ten semesters. In Medicine, they last for twelve. The study programme contains compulsory and elective courses. Each semester, students are required to follow a number of compulsory courses consisting of the core programme and a number of elective courses. The total number of courses to be taken is decided by the respective course programme of the department. In some departments, the submission of a dissertation describing the final (graduation) project is required. For example, the 10th semester of all Engineering Departments is devoted to the preparation of a final year project and the submission of a dissertation. Entrance requirements to the Institutions of Technological Education (TEI) are the same as for universities. Studies in TEI last for seven or eight semesters, including the compulsory professional placement and the completion of a graduation project and lead to a Ptychio. Subjects include general compulsory subjects, mandatory elective subjects and optional subjects. The Ptychio qualifies holders for immediate employment. It also allows them to continue their studies in a related university undergraduate course and, at postgraduate level, in a Greek or - mostly - in a foreign university.


University level second stage: Metaptychiako Díploma Exidíkefsis:

The first level of postgraduate studies, of a duration of a minimum of four semesters, leads to the Metaptychiako Díploma Exidíkefsis (Postgraduate Diploma of Specialization). This study programme may be carried out and completed in a university or research institute outside Greece. The degree, however, is awarded in Greece.


University level third stage: Didaktoriko:

The Doctoral Degree (Didaktoriko) is conferred after the public defence of a thesis. The research must be original and show advances in research and science. A doctoral thesis requires at least three years' study since the student was admitted to doctoral studies. Students can be admitted to a doctoral research programme when they hold a Greek Ptychio or Diploma or an equivalent qualification obtained abroad and recognized by Dikatsa. In certain university departments, students must also hold a Diploma of Postgraduate Specialization. This is the case when the department offers a postgraduate programme that is relevant to the doctoral research.


Non-traditional studies:

Distance higher education

The Hellenic Open University (EAP) was established by law in 1992 and constitutes an independent and fully self-administered university. It is based in Patras. The mission of EAP is to provide distance undergraduate and postgraduate education and further education. It organizes educational programmes and vocational training or re-training programmes which lead to the award of Certificates and educational programmes which can, under certain circumstances, lead to the award of academic degrees.


Lifelong higher education

Lifelong learning in higher education is addressed to those adults who did not have the opportunity to attend higher education studies in a university or technological education institute. It is also addressed to graduates of higher education who have already been integrated into the labour market but because of the rapid and constant developments in science and technology are obliged to renew, update and modernise their knowledge and skills.


Private Universities

Private higher education is associated with and affected by public higher education. The latter’s infrastructure has expanded considerably over the past few years. This means that new universities were founded and new curricula were created both for undergraduate and postgraduate education.

As a result, competition in private higher education has grown and so, it is essential for colleges, in order to keep up, to implement certain actions with respect to the study programs they offer.

However, the pending recognition of the professional rights of graduates has discouraged many students from studying in Greece and who instead choose to study abroad.


In Greece, the foundation and operation of private universities is forbidden under the Constitution. There are, however, colleges which are affiliated with foreign universities. These establishments give only attendance certificates and not degrees. It is the foreign universities with which they collaborate that award degrees. Up to now, the community directive issued by the EU regarding the recognition of the professional rights of graduates has not yet been implemented. And that is why the organization appointed to recognize foreign degrees (formerly called DIKATSA) does not acknowledge the above diplomas. There are, however, colleges that do not collaborate with foreign universities but whose diplomas are acceptable in the labor market (ALBA for instance).


The colleges associated with foreign universities are concentrated in large urban centers (essentially in Athens). There is therefore a disproportionate amount of them there in relation to other Greek regions. Most of them are affiliated with British universities and some of them with US universities, while only a few collaborate with French or other universities. Studies generally last three to four years for an undergraduate degree and one to two years for postgraduate degrees. Classes are taught either in English or in Greek. It is important to keep in mind that although these colleges are private businesses they are not all required to publish their financial results; thisactually depends on the legal form under which they operate.

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