Immigration. Travel. Living.

Education for expats: Croatia

Student with books

There are many public and private centers and institutions of different levels of accreditation have been created.

Benefits of studying in Croatia

  • High-level education system
  • Diploma recognized in all European countries
  • Availability of 2-year programs
  • Possibility of free education and scholarships
  • Low cost of education, even in private Universities, as well as accommodation and meals.

Studying at Croatian universities is available to any graduate who has received a certificate of complete secondary education and has high scores in final exams. At the same time, foreign citizens can enter a Croatian university also. 

The decision to enroll a student is based on an assessment of his/her progress, according the results of the general exam and the language test.

The education system in Croatia

The education system in Croatia includes pre-school education (predškolski odgoj) public kindergartens accept children from 1 to 6 years of age

Primary school (osnovna škola): education lasts 8 years, it is free for citizens of the country and for foreigners living in Croatia;

Secondary school (srednja škola): education lasts 3-4 years, it is also free for everybody. There are three types of secondary schools in Croatia: gymnasium (gimnazija), vocational school (strukovna škola), and art school (umjetnička škola). After graduating from secondary school, students take a unified state exam (državna matura), which is also an entrance examination to Universities, and receive a certificate (svjedodžba o maturi);

According to statistics, about 70% of school students studying in Croatia easily enter the first year of the university. This suggests that the education system is generally of a good standard and provides high-quality university preparation.

High education in Croatia

love to learn pencil signage on wall near walking man

Academic degrees in Croatian universities are the same as in all of Europe: bachelor’s, master’s, and doctor’s degrees.

The first stage of preparation takes a student 4-6 years, the second one or two years, and only then can one think about the degree of Doctor of Science or Arts.

The higher education system in Croatia includes 7 public and 3 private Universities (sveučilišta), 13 polytechnic institutes (veleučilišta), and more than 30 colleges of higher professional education (visoke škole).

The most popular with foreign students are the universities of Zagreb, Split, and Dubrovnik.

Most of the lectures are in Croatian, but there are also lectures in English, German, Italian, and Hungarian.

Admission to Croatian universities is based on the results of a unified state exam. Foreign nationals can take this exam at will if they have passed an equivalent test in their home country.

Enrollment in universities for foreigners is based on the assessments of the certificate, exam, and language testing, sometimes an interview is held. 

In Croatia, there is a single electronic system that simplifies the process of admission to Universities for both local and foreign citizens: by registering on the website, you can choose 10 faculties in any universities, submit documents electronically, sign up for an exam, and then find out its results.

Top Universities in Croatia

The University of Zagreb or Sveučilište u Zagrebu (CRC) – public higher education institution in Croatia. CRC began its academic activities in 1669.

The University of Zagreb is a large university with more than 45,000 students. The academic staff of CRC includes over 8 thousand teachers. Various international exchange programs are available to students of the educational institution.

University of Split (UNIST) – one of the famous and oldest University in Croatia. UNIST was formally established in 1974.

The one year of study there little bit expensive – about 5000 dollars. Master’s degree programs also quite expensive, the cost is 5,000 USD per year. Even with low tuition fees, the institution offers financial support to students.

The University of Split has over 24 thousand students. Both citizens of the country and foreign citizens can apply for admission to the university. There are more than 1400 tutors in University .

The University of Rijeka (UNIRI) – UNIRI was officially founded in 1973. The university has modern and new campus in the city. The University of Rijeka is one of the leading educational institutions in Croatia, one of the five best universities in the national ranking.

University of Rijeka is average in terms of student capacity, teaching a maximum of 20 thousand students. Both citizens of the country and foreign citizens can apply for admission to the university. The teaching staff of UNIRI includes about 699 teachers.

Required documents

To enter Croatian universities, nostrification of documents is required, which is carried out by the Agency for Education in Croatia (Agencija za odgoj i obrazovanje). To carry out nostrification of documents on secondary education, it is necessary to submit to the Agency (it is possible in electronic form):

  • Application with a request to carry out nostrification of documents;
  • Original or certified copy of the certificate translated into Croatian;
  • A copy of documents confirming the right to stay in the country (visa, passport, residence permit);
  • A receipt for payment for the service (about 50 euros).

Besides, upon admission, it is necessary to provide the admission committee of the university:

  • Completed application form;
  • Summary and recommendations (optional);
  • A list of exams with marks passed in the home country;
  • Information about the completed curriculum.

All documents must be translated into Croatian and certified by a notary.

Cost of education

It is the cheapest to study in the humanities – it costs from 800 to 2.500 euros per year. Training in technical specialties will cost an average of 3.000 euros per year. The highest cost of education is at medical faculties about 3.600 euros per year).

The cost of living for students in Croatia is relatively low and averages 600-1.000 euros per month. 


Education in Croatia is one of the best in Europe. If you want your child to become an excellent specialist in his profession and obtain a European diploma, then studying in Croatia will be an excellent step toward his/her brighter future. 

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