According to the Greek Constitution, the government is required to offer free and mandatory educational services for all children ages 5 to 15 years (in other words, a mandatory 9-year educational system).In Greece schooling is compulsory for all children aged 5 to 15. Compulsory education includes primary (kindergarten, one year, and primary school, six years) and lower secondary education (three years), at a day or, for working students, an evening school.
Children first go to kindergarten at the age of 5 years. The curriculum in kindergarten aims to prepare students for the first grade and the years to follow. At the age of 6 years, students enter the Demotikon or Elementary school for grades 1 through 6.
After elementary school, students register at the Gymnasion (or Gymnasium), the junior high school. The gymnasium has 3 grades (1 through 3) and is the last part of the mandatory educational service offered. The Gymnasium covers the ages of 13 through 15 years.
At the end of the gymnasium, students have several options:
They may continue to the Lykeion (Lyceum), the senior high school in order to acquire a general and comprehensive education. Or, they may opt to follow the first cycle of training and/or vocational education in Technical-Vocational Educational Institutes (EPAL). In the first year of Lyceum, students follow a common curriculum which aims to broaden their general knowledge. At the end of the first year, students may opt to follow a more technical/vocational training and switch to the EPAL. Similary after EPAL students may register in the 2nd grade of Lyceum following the successful completion of the first year of technical training.
Higher education constitutes the last level of the formal education system and comprises of the Panepistimio (University) and Technological sectors. The University sector includes Universities, Polytechnics and the School of Fine Arts. The Technological sector includes the Technologika Ekpaideftika Idrymata (Technological Education Institutions – TEIs) and the Higher School of Pedagogical and Technological Education (ASPETE). Undergraduate courses typically last for 4 years, while postgraduate courses last from 1 to 2 years and doctorates from 3 to 6 years. UNIVERSITY 4 -5 YEARS (MEDICAL STUDIES 6 YEARS) POLYTECHNICS( 5 YEARS) HIGHER TECHNOLOGICAL ISTITUTIONS( 4 YEARS)
OPEN UNIVERSITY OVER 18
Technical Vocational Schools (EPAL)
Vocational secondary education – offered in Epaggelmatiko Lykeio (Vocational Lyceum).
The latter offers two cycles of studies, which belong to the formal educational system: the secondary cycle and the optional post-secondary cycle of studies, the so-called “apprenticeship class”, a scheme which involves combined school and workplace courses. Graduation from lower secondary education completes the cycle of compulsory schooling and students can then choose whether to continue in general or vocational education (VET-EPAL).
Provide vocational training and education in 14 fields for 42 different areas of specialisation.
The Greek Vocational School (EPAL) is the school where the student approaches basic vocational knowledge. The studies last three years and the courses include: general education courses, technical courses and laboratory exercises in their respective areas.
Students in the first grade attend the courses of general education (25 hours a week) and a few technical subjects(9 hours a week), to gain knowledge of subjects in each field.
2nd EPA.L of Serres
The second grade is structured in professional fields. Students attend common general education courses (17 hours a week) and courses in the field they choose (18 hours a week).
Economics and Management• Health and Welfare• Agricultural Production, Food and Environment2nd EPA.L of Serres Second grade sectors The 3rd grade sectors includes: Food technology, Agricultural Production, Food and Environment, Modern agriculture management, Economics and Management, Tourism, Babies welfare, Nursing
Our curriculum covers about 35 hours per week (from 8.15a.m. to 2.00p.m.)
We have a lot of homework. Our free time is limited. The last two grades are demanding and sometimes exhausting. As we approach the end of school the stress is intensi fied due to the difficult entry exams for the university….
If they choose to continue in general education they will attend classes at a general upper secondary school (GEL), for three years of upper secondary education; there are also evening schools for working students, and in these the programme is four years. Students enter upper secondary school at the age of 15 and graduate at 18.
In the first year the programme is general, while in the second and third years students take both general education and special orientation subjects.
The choice of subjects is informed by educational or vocational guidance offered through the decentralised structures of the Ministry of Education’s Vocational Orientation Guidance and Educational Activities Directorate (SEPED)
Those who graduate from a general upper secondary school can sit the national examinations for admission to a tertiary education programme.
Examinations to University at the end of the third year: difficult exams
Final exams at the end of Year 3:ØInternal (school level)ØExternal (national level)
Students with special needs (Blind, deaf, learning difficulties). There are also schools for:
Kindergarten -Nursery schools 1-2 years Lyceum (Senior High School) and Vocational Senior High School 3 years University Post secondary Vocational training Postgraduate courses Technological Educational Institutes, Elementary School -Primary school 6 years , Junior High school – 3 years
According to the new law regulating secondary education (Law 4186/2013), which aims among other things to attract more students into VET, students now have the following options in addition to the general upper secondary school: 21 (a) initial vocational education within the formal education system (20) in the second cycle of secondary education at a vocational upper secondary school (day or evening school); (b) initial vocational training (21) outside the formal education system (referred to as non-formal) in vocational training schools (SEK), vocational training institutes (IEK), centres for lifelong learning and colleges.
Following this stage, students participate in general pan-hellenic examinations in order to attend Universities, Technological Educational Institutions, Military Academies, Merchant Marine Academies and other post-secondary schools. Students from the EPAL participate in exams for entrance to the Technological Educational Institutions and Universities .
Why study in Greece? The geo-political position of Greece puts her in the centre of attention in the south-eastern part of Europe. As a nodal point and entrance gate of the European Union, it is characterized by intense activation of not only Greek but also multinational companies in neuralgic financial sectors such as commerce, tourism and offering of services. The recruitment of these companies is in a great percentage made by the graduates of the country’s educational institutions that are distinguished by the high educational level that they provide. Education which is mainly related to the market’s trends, proportionally to the numerous years of experience of these institutions and their affiliations with other top European and American universities. By studying in Greece, you acquire not only the infrastructure needed for a successful professional career but also all the qualifications for further studies
Admission requirements for studies at university in Greece
First cycle studies (bachelor’s) Although Greece is not a signatory country of the Lisbon Convention, if you have successfully completed upper secondary studies, are in possession of a valid school leaving certificate and qualify for higher education studies in your home country, you may also qualify for higher education studies in Greece. However, you are requested to prove your level of knowledge of Greek and have studied another foreign language, such as English, Spanish, French or German. In some cases, you must also satisfy course specific requirements. For example, if you are applying for mathematical studies, you must have studied mathematics.
Second cycle studies (master’s) If you are applying for a master’s program at university in Greece, you are required to be in possession of a relevant bachelor’s or equivalent degree diploma.
Third cycle studies (PhD) In the event you are applying for doctoral studies at university in Greece, you are required to be in possession of a relevant diploma or master’s degree program.
Language requirements for studies at universities in Greece
The language of instruction at higher education institutions is Greek. Therefore, you should be ready to prove your level of command of Greek with the results you receive after taking the exams in Greek language from any of the institutions below:
Modern Greek Language Center of the University of Athens Modern Greek Language Centre of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki English
If English is not your first language and you might be taking courses in English while at university in Greece, you are required to prove your level of command of the English language through the results you received from your studies at upper secondary school or through the results you received at the TOEFL or IELTS tests. The minimum accepted score for the TOEFL test is usually 570 (paper-based) or 90 (Internet-based), and 6.5 for the IELTS test.
With regard to their registration, the candidates admitted into a Faculty or a Department, are also required to hold a certificate denoting their command of the Greek language. Such a certificate is issued after relevant examinations either by the University of Athens or by the University of Thessaloniki; alternatively, the candidates should hold a B2 (3rd) level certificate issued by the Greek Language Centre. If the candidates do not hold any of these language certificates, they can only enroll in the next academic year of their admission to a Greek University, on condition that they will by then have obtained the prerequisite language certificate. Otherwise, the candidates are disqualified from enrolling.
The examinations for the Greek language certificate are held twice a year around May and September in ATHENS, at theModern Greek Language Centre of the University of Athens in Zografou (tel: 0030 210 7277672 / 7277971); also, in June and October in THESSALONIKI, at the School of Modern Greek Language of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (tel: 0030 2310 997571 / 2). The examinations for the B2 level certificate issued by the Greek Language Center are held in May (www.greeklanguage.gr/certification)
Minimum grade point requirement to access first cycle studies (bachelor’s) in Greece
Admission to the majority of first cycle studies in Greece is subject to the fulfillment of a minimum grade point requirement. This is the grade point you receive after passing your upper secondary school studies in combination with the grades you receive at the university entrance examinations in your home country. Therefore, always check with your Greek university about the minimum grade point you need to obtain.
You can use the European grades comparison chart to learn how you would score in Europe.
Minimum grade point requirement to access second and third cycle studies in Greece
In general, the minimum grade point to access second and third cycle studies is approximately 7,5 out of a maximum of 10. [Learn more about the Greek grading system at higher education level]
Source: Ministry of National Education, Lifelong Learning and Religious Affairs, General Instructions for the Admission to Higher Education in Greece Eurydice database (Eurydice is an international educational database developed by the European Commission and Member States of the European Union with the aim of facilitating and improving the understanding of the different educational systems in Europe Eurydice is an institutional network for gathering, monitoring, processing and circulating reliable and readily comparable information on education systems and policies throughout Europe. Eurydice covers the education systems of the Member States of the European Union, the three countries of the European Free Trade Association which are members of the European Economic Area, and the EU candidate countries involved in the EU Action Programme in the field of Lifelong Learning. Eurydice provides an online encyclopedia on education systems called Europedia).
Tuition fees at university in Greece
First cycle (bachelor’s degrees) EU/EEA students are exempted from paying tuition fees at public universities and colleges in Greece. However, some master’s programs may charge tuition fees. In some cases, EU/EEA students may request their textbooks free of charge.
Students don’t have to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees vary depending on the school and study program. Usually, non-EU students have to pay a tuition fee of approximately 1000 EUR per year.
Accommodation Accommodation is not included in the tuition fees, and is therefore covered either by the students themselves, or by scholarships.
Evidence of adequate knowledge of the Greek language and elements of Greek history and culture
The adequate knowledge of the Greek language, history and culture shall be demonstrated through any of the following evidence of formal qualifications: a) a title of successful completion at least of the compulsory education in Greece, b) a diploma of upper secondary education obtained abroad at schools under the Greek educational system c) a recognised evidence of formal qualifications from Greek language sections at universities abroad, d) a certificate of attainment in Greek, at least of level B1 , issued pursuant to the presidential decree 60/2010 and e) a special certificate of adequate knowledge of the Greek language and elements of Greek history and culture after having successfully passed the examinations organized under the responsibility of the General Secretariat for Lifelong Learning in cooperation with the Greek Language Center, in the framework of the responsibilities entrusted to the center for certifying the attainment in Greek. Holders of the certificate of attainment in Greek, level A , issued pursuant to the Presidential Decree 363/1998 (Α΄ 242), or Α2, issued in accordance with P.D. 60/2010 (Α΄ 98), are considered to have adequate knowledge of the Greek language, history and culture in order to be subject to the provisions of the P.D. 150/2006 (Α΄ 160), provided they are also certified for the adequate knowledge of elements of Greek history and culture, in accordance with the procedure determined by the joint ministerial decision referred to in paragraph 3 of this article. Both the procedure for obtaining the special certificate of adequate knowledge of the Greek language and elements of Greek history and culture from the General Secretariat for Lifelong Learning , and the certification from the General Secretariat for Lifelong Learning of the adequate knowledge of elements of Greek history and culture for holders of the certificate of attainment in Greek, level Α or Α2, as well as all other relevant details are regulated by decision of the Ministers of Interior , Finance and Education and Religious Affairs, Culture and Sports, published in the Government Gazette .
Student Schengen Visa A student visa best translates into a genuine authorization the government of the designated country issues to students who are already accepted at a certified educational establishment. The holder of this type of visa is not required to have the citizenship of the designated country in order to follow studies yet it is no immigrant visa either. Every student with the citizenship of a country that requires a visa to enter the Schengen zone must obtain a student visa in order to follow studies in the educational institute of the designated Schengen country.
The Schengen visa is commonly valid for stays no more than 90 days.
For the students who are planning to study in the Schengen country, it is mandatory to apply for a residency permit at the appropriate authorities.
The great thing about the residency permit is that it allows you to freely travel throughout the whole Schengen area, without any additional documents needed. The residency permit is stamped in your passport. The Schengen visa validity is predetermined by the authorities the day you are issued the visa. As aforementioned, as a student visa it commonly encompasses duration of up to 90 days, with multiple-entries, however that is no rule. During that time, students are allowed to travel in and out of the designated country, within the Schengen area. However, you have to notify the authorities if you intend to make trips in and out of the Schengen space.
The visa takes a maximum of 3 months to get a reply after one has applied for a Schengen visa in order to study in Europe. In case one doesn’t receive any response during this time (commonly the appropriate authorities reply even if the response is negative), one must assume that the request has been denied. For student visas, the usual response is delivered in about 1 month.
Students EU/EEA Nationals
You will not require a visa for studies to enter Greece if you possess a valid passport from an EU Member State, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. However, please check your passport is valid and if necessary, renew it as early as possible, and before leaving for Greece
Moving between EU countries during my short-term visit – less than three months
When you stay in an EU country for a long stay for studies, for more than three months, you will generally be issued with a national long-stay visa and/or a residence permit. If your long-stay visa or permit has been issued by a Schengen area country, you can travel to another Schengen area country for three months per six-month period without any additional visa.
Moving between EU countries during my long-term stay – more than three months
To continue your studies from one Schengen area country to Greece for more than three months, you will need a Greek Residence Permit. If you wish to continue your studies to Greece, you may enter with your valid passport and residence permit and submit an application for a residence permit to your closest “One-Stop Service” Foreigners and Immigration Department of the Decentralized Administration of the Ministry of Interior & Administrative Reconstruction. After the submission of the application, you will receive a certificate (when you submit all necessary documentation / see also point 2c respectively) and you can check at any time the application status.
For further information
www.mfa.gr Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Hellenic Republic – Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Hellenic Republic – Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs
Eurydice – Network on education systems and policies in Europe …
European Center for the Development of Vocational Training
Cedefop is one of the EU’s decentralised agencies. Founded (1) in 1975 and based in Greece since 1995, Cedefop supports development of European vocational education and training (VET) policies and contributes to their implementation. VET provides people with skills.
European Employment Services (EURES)
This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the European Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information there