Not the first country that springs to mind when thinking of taking a course abroad but consider studying in Cyprus with its well-respected education system, reasonable tuition fees and year-round sunshine
The third largest island in the Mediterranean, Cyprus is located south of Turkey and south west of Greece, sitting between Europe and the Middle East. It's a country steeped in history and culture and one that boasts sandy beaches, lush forests and ancient ruins.
A popular student destination is Nicosia - the capital and most populous city in Cyprus, although a number of the county's cities are known for their buzzing nightlife. If you're more interested in seeing the sights, be sure to check out Nissi Beach, the Tombs of the Kings, Nea Paphos, Limassol Castle and the Troodos Mountains.
Cyprus has a well-respected education system, and rightly so. It spends a large chunk of its GDP on education; in fact, it's the third highest share in the European Union (EU) after Denmark and Sweden.
The cost of study is low and accommodation is cheap compared to other fashionable European study destinations, while crime is almost non-existent. You'll also have the chance to pick up a second language - either Greek or Turkish depending on where you study. However, English is widely spoken.
The higher education sector houses a mix of public and private institutions as well as a number of private tertiary-level colleges.
A member of the EU and part of the Bologna system, most colleges and universities in Cyprus offer both undergraduate, Masters and Doctoral programmes similar to those in the UK.
There are three public universities:
- Cyprus University of Technology (CUT)
- Open University of Cyprus (OUC)
- University of Cyprus (UCY).
Six institutions make up the private higher education sector:
- European University Cyprus (EUC)
- Frederick University
- Neapolis University Paphos (NUP)
- Philips University
- University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) Cyprus
- University of Nicosia.
Universities found in northern Cyprus operate under the separate law of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
The academic year is split into two semesters and runs from September to May in public universities. Mid-term exams are taken in October and March, with final exams taken at the end of each semester. Instruction at private universities is between October and June.
Degree courses in Cyprus
Bachelors courses, also known as first cycle courses, are taught at both public and private institutions, and typically take four years to complete. Understandably, some of the most popular courses in Cyprus include business, hospitality and tourism, but these are far from your only options. Available programmes cover a range of subjects including humanities, science, engineering and technology, business, mathematics, medicine, law and social science.
To be admitted onto an undergraduate course, you'll need a school leavers certificate and to sit a centrally-administered admissions exam. You'll learn through a series of lectures, seminars, and group and project work.
Bachelors degrees are available in English, but if this isn't your native language you'll need to prove your proficiency.
Postgraduate qualifications in Cyprus are equivalent to their UK counterparts. Courses usually take one or two years to complete, and can be studied both full and part time. You can study all the same subjects as at undergraduate level.
Entrants must have previously studied a relevant Bachelors degree in order to be admitted onto a programme. You may also have to complete a postgraduate interview.
MBA programmes are also widely available in the country.
Applicants require a Masters degree in a related subject. Doctorates are much more common in public universities, usually lasting for three years, and include a taught component and a dissertation. The main areas of study include:
- economics and management
- health science
- pure and applied science
- social science and education.
The government has announced a new Turing Scheme for students looking to secure overseas placements and study abroad at an overseas university for the 2021/22 academic year. Check that your institution is involved in the programme and offers the Turing Scheme in Cyprus.
It may also be possible to study for a semester in the country through Global Semesters - Cyprus Study Abroad.
Tuition fees are determined by individual institutions, so you'll need to contact your chosen university to get an accurate figure of what you'll need to pay. Degree costs vary depending on what and where you study.
Masters tuition fees are generally lower than in the UK, with public institutions often cheaper than their private counterparts.
As a general guide, Masters students should expect to pay between €5,000 and €10,000 per year in tuition fees, £4,309 and £8,619 respectively. MBAs and Doctoral degrees are more expensive. Non-EU students are likely to pay more than those from the EU.
Funding to study in Cyprus
Government-funded scholarships, usually covering 10% to 20% of fees, are available for international postgraduates who've displayed outstanding academic performance.
Universities such as the University of Cyprus, subsidise foreign postgraduate students through assistantships. This involves helping with teaching, grading and lab supervision.
Non-EU students, including those from the UK, will require a visa to study in the country.
Visas are only issued to full-time students taking at least 12 credits per semester. Apply to your country's Cypriot embassy two to three months before the course starts. You'll need to attend a visa interview where you must submit documentation including evidence of a medical check-up, and letters of financial support and good conduct.
Non-EU students must also register with the District Police Alien Branch within seven days of arrival in Cyprus. It's important to note that students from non-EU countries are not permitted to work during their stay in Cyprus.
EU students don't need a visa to study in Cyprus. Upon arrival in the country, you must submit the following materials to the admissions office of your chosen institution:
- a completed application form
- an application fee
- four passport photographs
- copies of your academic certificates
- evidence of your proficiency in English
- a photocopy of your passport
- a recent certificate of good conduct from the police force in your country of origin.
Additional to the above, EU students must apply for a temporary residence permit from the Civil Registry and Migration Department.
For more information on Cypriot student visa requirements, see CyprusVisa.eu.
How to apply
Applications are usually made directly to the institution via post, with forms downloadable from the official website. However, each institution sets its own admission requirements so you'll need to check with your university's admissions office to find out specific details.
Be prepared to apply one year in advance. Some programmes require you to attend an entrance exam or pre-entry interview. You'll also need to pay an application fee.
You must usually present your passport, birth certificate, academic certificates and references alongside your application form. You must also prove that you can support yourself financially and pay tuition fees up front. Documents may be required in English.
Private universities teach in English, while every public university offers courses taught in English.
Universities require proof of English competency before enrolment. There's no official language testing system, so consider the IELTS (International English Language Testing System). Students without adequate skills may be granted one month's free intensive tuition.
Institutions may also require overseas students to have a good knowledge of Greek.
Comparison to UK qualifications
Due to the Bologna Process university qualifications gained in Cyprus are directly comparable to their UK counterparts therefore employers shouldn't have any trouble recognising them.
Find out more
- Discover what it's like to work in Cyprus.