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Higher education in Greece: quality and affordability
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Higher education in Greece: quality and affordability

The number of international students has grown tenfold globally, exceeding 5 million in the past four decades. The most popular destinations — the US and the UK — traditionally offer high-quality but expensive education. According to Study.EU, Greek higher education institutions are affordable for most applicants as there are tuition-free undergraduate programmes and accommodation is cheap. According to UNESCO, there are 27,600 international students in Greece today. What are the advantages of Greek universities?

Application and enrolment

  • Prospective students do not have to take entrance exams in Greece. Admission is based on one’s high school results.
  • Among the entrance requirements is a Greek language proficiency certificate, issued by the University of Athens, the University of Thessaloniki or a Greek language centre. Otherwise, applicants have to take an eight-month language course before entering university, which costs about €500 on average.
  • Successful applicants are issued a student visa, covering the entire period of study and allowing free travel across Europe.

The Greek higher education system is divided into two streams: university and technological education. There are 24 universities and 16 higher technological educational institutions (TEIs), which offer more practical training.

Admission documents are submitted to the Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs, so there is no need to apply to different universities separately. School leavers can apply to 20 university departments dedicated to the research of one of the following areas:

  • humanities, legal and social sciences;
  • exact sciences;
  • public health;
  • engineering sciences; or
  • economics and management.

European high school graduates can apply to 40 university departments in two research areas.

According to international academic agencies, document preparation and submission is laborious. Students are advised to prepare the documents in advance as the application window is usually open for only 10 days. This makess it difficult to make adjustments quickly if required. Documents can be submitted independently or through a professional service.


  • Foreign undergraduate students do not pay tuition fees. Course materials are also provided free of charge.
  • All undergraduate programmes are conducted in Greek, while postgraduate programmes are conducted in Greek and English.
  • Students of any level can apply for scholarships and work part-time.

Greek university students enjoy a whole range of benefits including:

  • subsidised meals at university refectories;
  • concessions on public transport;
  • discounts on admission to gyms, libraries, historical and cultural landmarks.

International students are entitled to free medical care and are eligible for free on-campus accommodation (of limited capacity). These benefits are for students only and not for language course attendees. Therefore, health insurance, which costs €130, is necessary.

Living costs, €/month

Source: studyingreece.edu.gr
Rent (one-bedroomapartment) 150–300
Meals 90-150
Public transport 35
Public utilities
(for a shared
85 m² apartment)
Internet 18

Many Greek universities issue a Diploma Supplement to graduates, which is a standardised description of studies completed in a format approved by the European Commission, the Council of Europe and UNESCO. This helps graduates get jobs in other European countries.

Top 5 Greek universities (QS World University Rankings 2018)

Sources: topuniversities.com, university websites
University City Number
of students
of Athens
Athens 22,860
  • Civil Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Mining Engineering
  • Rural and Surveying Engineering
  • Metallurgical Engineering
  • Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering
  • Applied Mathematical and Physical Sciences
of Thessaloniki
Thessaloniki 45,712
  • Theology
  • Philosophy
  • Sciences
  • Law
  • Economics and Political Sciences
  • Health Sciences
  • Engineering
  • Fine Arts
  • Education
  • Physical Education and Sport Sciences
  • Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Environment
National and
of Athens
Athens 65,252
  • Economics and Political Sciences
  • Education
  • Health Sciences
  • Law
  • Philosophy
  • Physical Education and Sport Science
  • Science
  • Theology
of Crete
  • Philosophy
  • Education
  • Social, Economic and Political Sciences
  • Sciences and Engineering
  • Medicine
of Patras
Patras 26,044
  • Business Administration
  • Engineering
  • Health Sciences
  • Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Natural Sciences

Olga Anisimova, Tranio

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