On the national level, the higher education system in Croatia is defined by the Law on Higher Education since July, 2003. Croatian universities are autonomous when it comes to enrollment procedure and quotas, modes of paying tuition and fees, budget management, strategic planning and setting priorities, as well as all other crucial development decisions. The Law from 2003 allowed universities to be funded from the government budget in the total amount (lump sum), but the implementation of the Law did not start before 2007 and 2008. 

Higher education studies in Croatia are divided into two categories, university and professional studies. University studies are organized and conducted at universities in the form of a three-cycle system – undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate - tailored in accordance with the Bologna system. Such system is in practice since the academic year 2005/2006. Professional studies are conducted primarily at colleges of applied sciences and schools of professional higher education and last for two to three years. There is an increasing trend in the number of enrollments and graduates at university and professional studies in Croatia. For more information on this, check here

Higher Education in Croatia

Croatia has nine accredited universities (7 public and 2 private), 15 polytechnics (three private) and 27 colleges (24 private). Constituent units at the universities in Zagreb, Split, Rijeka and Osijek are mainly faculties, while the universities in Dubrovnik, Pula and Zadar, as well as the International University of Dubrovnik and Croatian Catholic University of Zagreb, and are organized in departments. The University of Zagreb has 34 constituent units, the University of Split 15, the University of Rijeka 14, and the University of Osijek 16 constituent units. In the last few years, Croatia witnessed an increase in the number of newly founded higher education institutions, accompanied by an increase in the number of academic staff working in higher education over the past few decades. For a list of higher education institutions in Croatia, check here

Career Curriculum

The academic staff in Croatia can be divided into two groups: senior staff (assistant professor, associate professor and full professors). There are further two, but smaller categories: associate positions – expert associate, senior expert associate and expert advisor.

Requirements for Positions

A classical pattern of employment and career development is present in the national context where it is still very common for a person to be educated and later employed at the same institution. However, this practice has started to change in the last couple of years primarily due to mobility programs, homing programs for researchers and similar measures for encouraging the internationalization in higher education. 

For the senior staff, the promotion to higher positions does not take place at the university level, but at the national level. The national bodies stipulate minimal conditions for promotion into higher positions, and the universities can add further conditions in their statutes (which is rarely done). The senior staff is elected on a period of five years, followed by a public call for proposals. The competition for those positions is not high, some disciplines are even lacking in qualified scientists. This situation is to be connected with the part on newly founded institutions (especially the private ones) who have staff working part-time while employed full-time at another (usually public institution), or the same teacher working on two or more public institutions. This practice has only recently started to be considered a conflict of interest.

For foreigners, one of the important barriers for entry into Croatian academia is the need for the official recognition of foreign degrees. The Croatian Agency for Science and Higher Education contains within it the ENIC/NARIC Office, which is charged with recognizing the professional credentials of foreign academics who wish to work inside the country and is a part of the European Network of National Information Centres on Recognition and Mobility. The application form for beginning the procedure of having foreign professional higher education qualifications recognized by the Office is linked here. A list of other documents required as well as the following steps for recognition is here.  

Research Career

In addition to other funding opportunities available at the European level there are a number of funding opportunities for foreign researchers interested in working in Croatia. More information about these opportunities may be found here. In addition, aspiring researchers should try the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions. More information can be found here.

Barriers for Career Advancement

Please contact us if you can provide relevant information.

Job Security

Please contact us if you can provide relevant information.

Gross Salaries

Salaries are nation-wide defined and fixed by the ministry. Please contact us if you can provide relevant information.

Accessibility to Non-nationals

Only a limited amount of foreigners work in the Croatian academia. Previous contacts with Croatian academics and the knowledge of Croatian are usually necessary to start working at the university. 

Useful Links

  • A list of universities and institutions in Croatia can be found here.
  • The Ministry of Economy, Labor and Entrepreneurship provides information employment policies here.
  • List of EURAXESS contact points at public universities,
    as well as public and private research institutes

Please see the EURAXESS Croatia website for more information here

Websites for Job Postings

Please contact us if you can provide relevant information.


Croatia,” EURAXESS National Portal, last accessed June 12, 2013.

"Higher Education in Croatia: Introduction", The Knowledge Base for Higher Education and Research in the Western Balkans, accessed on October 20, 2014.





Page last updated on 18 August 2017

Back to top