Croatia is a country located at the crossroads of Southeast and Central Europe. Its capital is the city of Zagreb. It is limited to the Adriatic Sea and it has a nice warm and rainy continental climate. This country is also one of the richest when it comes to biodiversity in the old continent.

Croatian landscapes are breathtaking. Several places of its countryside were sets of HBO’s famous series Game of Thrones, including the sceneries of King’s Landing, High Garden, Braavos, and Qarth. If we consider these aspects, it is no surprise that tourism is the dominant industry of the third sector.

The economy of Croatia is categorized as a high-income economy by the United Nations and its literacy percentage stands at 99.2%. In 2007, the Government passed a law in order to increase free non-compulsory education until the age of 18.

This country has ten universities; two of them are private universities and the others are public universities. Croatia also has about 205 education institutions, government system institutions, and multiple companies and non-profit organizations that develop technology and scientific research.

Croatia has a large history of scientific excellence, being the house of great famous scientists and inventors like Nikola Tesla and Fausto Verano. And, what is more, Croatian laureates, Lavoslav Ružička and Vladimir Prelog have also been awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Affordable Schools in Croatia for International Students

1. University of Zagreb

The University of Zagreb is a public university that happens to be the oldest in Croatia and Southeast Europe. It was established in 1699 by decree of Emperor and King Leopold I. It is an institution focused on artistic and scientific research.

This cheap university in Croatia is divided into 30 faculties that specialize in areas like agriculture, geodesy, theology, graphic arts, and medicine.

Some of the University of Zagreb’s faculties offer degree study programs in English for both international and local students. It offers undergraduate, graduate, integrated undergraduate and graduate, postgraduate, and specialist postgraduate study programs in English.

International students need some documents for applying to the University of Zagreb such as a high school diploma recognition with copies of certificates for each grade completed. They also need, among other documents, a certificate of citizenship, and a receipt for the payment of administrative fees of 140 HRK (20 USD).

Tuition fees depend on the major. For example, annual tuition fees for the business major are 28,000 HRK (4,190 USD approx.).

2. University of Zadar

The University of Zadar was first established as a Dominican higher education institution Studium generale in 1396 but the formal beginning of the University was in 2003, 607 years later.

It stands as the largest integrated university in Croatia. It cooperates with several international academic associations and institutions.

This university is divided into 25 university departments including Ecology, Ethnology, Linguistics, and Traffic and Maritime Studies. It also has four scientific-research centers and two centers for academic activities which are the Centre for Gymnastics and Student Sports, and the Centre for Foreign Languages.

The University of Zadar has a land of about 195 hectares for agriculture. There are various cultivars of wine and apple growing every year.

University of Zadar’s study programs follow the Bologna process and the Act on Science and Higher Education. There are 34 undergraduates, 42 graduate, two integrated undergraduate and graduate, and seven doctoral study programs. There’s also a specialized postgraduate study program. Click here to see the list of programs.

Regarding the admission process, this cheap university in Croatia differs for full-time students and part-time students. For full-time studies, enrolment is through the website of the national university system. International citizens with or without permanent residence and citizens of the European Union can apply. They have full scholarship support from the Ministry of Science, Higher Education, and Sports of Croatia.

As for part-time studies, the admission process can either be through the website mentioned above or through a qualifying procedure of the department. These students must pay the full scholarship amount which is about 5,000 USD per year.

3. Catholic University of Croatia

The Catholic University of Croatia is a non-profit private university located in Zagreb. It is one of the newest universities in the Republic of Croatia. It was founded in 2006 by decree of Cardinal Josip Bozanic, archbishop and metropolitan of Zagreb. The creation of this university is divided into its establishment (2004-2010) and its beginning (from 2010 until nowadays).

The Catholic University of Croatia emerges from the heart of the Catholic Church. It is an institution dedicated to teaching, educating its students, and developing scientific research.

It has six departments of Nursing, Communication Sciences, Sociology, Physiology, Chair of Theology, and History. It also has a Press Center for students and professors.

As a higher educational institution in Croatia, this university offers Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programs.

For more information regarding enrolment and tuition fees, contact them.

4. University of Rijeka

The University Of Rijeka was founded in 1973 in the city of Rijeka. It has a campus of 9,000 m2 and it is a center for higher education and scientific research. This institution is a modern European university open to international students.

The University of Rijeka is divided into four departments and eleven faculties. These faculties include Maritime Studies, Medicine, and the Academy of Applied Arts.

This cheap university in Croatia has 162 study programs. There are undergraduate, graduate, integrated, vocational, specialist graduate, postgraduate, and postgraduate specialist study programs.

Their programs are divided into full-time and part-time. For both of these types of programs, students must take an entrance exam in order to be admitted.

Full-time students are partly or completely subsidized by the government. Depending on the score of the student’s entrance exam and the grades obtained throughout the academic year, the State budget pays for the studies.

Tuition fees depend on the faculty. For example, tuition fees for international students at the Faculty of Economics are 8,000 HRK (1,200 USD approx.). Contact them via email or through their phone numbers to get more details.

5. University of Dubrovnik

The University of Dubrovnik was founded in 2003 in the ancient city of Dubrovnik that dates back to the 7th century. It is the newest public university in Croatia even though it has its roots in the 17th century when it was the Collegium Ragunisum, established by Jesuits in 1624.

It is a modern educational and scientific institution. It is divided into seven departments which include aquaculture, mass communication, arts and restoration, engineering, maritime, electrical engineering and information technology, and economics and business economics.

Besides regular degree programs at the three levels of study, they also offer double degree programs.

To find out more about the admission process and tuition fees at the University of Dubrovnik, visit their official website and get in touch with them.

6. Libertas International University

Libertas International University is also known as Dubrovnik International University. This is a private higher education institution founded in 2008 in the city of Dubrovnik. Its establishment was supported by the United Nations of Civilization in union with both American and Croatian institutions.

Libertas identifies itself as an international university because lessons are primarily taught in English. Thus, it is perfect not only for international students but for Croatian students looking for a different type of higher education method.

This institution is divided into five faculties and schools including International Relations and Diplomacy, International Business and Economics, Film and Performing Arts, Health Sciences, and Libertas Business School.

Libertas International University has undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate study programs. This university’s undergraduate studies are six semesters long and have a total duration of three years.

For applying to undergraduate studies it is compulsory to have completed secondary school. Some documents such as high school transcripts, a certificate of nationality, and a birth certificate are also needed. It is compulsory to present the certification of payment of an enrolment fee.

Admission to graduate studies at this cheap university in Croatia is not very different from admission to undergraduates. It is needed to have completed undergraduate education and to have a diploma of it. A transcript of records, a certificate of nationality, a birth certificate, and a copy of a passport are also required.

Visit their foreign students’ page to learn more.

7. Josip JurajStrossmayer University of Osijek (UNIOS)

The Josip Juraj Strossmayer University of Osijek is also known as the University of Osijek (UNIOS). It is a higher education public institution founded in 1975 in the city of Osijek.

There are two languages of instruction: Croatian and Hungarian. However, some of its courses are taught in other foreign languages.

UNIOS is divided into 12 faculties and an Academy of Arts. It has three affiliated institutions which are the City and University Library in Osijek, the Student Centre in Osijek, and the Student Centre in Slavonski Brod.

This university offers five types of study programs. There are undergraduate, graduate, and integrated undergraduate and graduate study programs. It also has a Doctoral School that offers a postgraduate Ph.D.

For applying to UNIOS applicants must pass an entry exam and pay an enrolment fee. To find out more about admission and tuition fees, check their website

FAQS About Studying in Croatia

How Does the Croatian Higher Education System Work?

The Higher education system in Croatia is a binary system that consists of university type-studies and professional type-studies.

University type-studies are academic programs given only at universities.

Professional type studies are professional programs that can be conducted in college institutions of applied sciences and polytechnics. These programs can also be conducted at universities in some cases.

There are private and public higher education institutions in Croatia. Most universities and polytechnics are public institutions. The only exception is for college institutions of applied sciences, which are mostly private.

Nowadays, there are four levels of expertise in Croatia:

  • Prvostupnik: Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts.
  • Magistar: Master of Science and Master of Arts.
  • Magistar edukacije: Master of Education.
  • Doktor: Doctor of Science and Doctor of Arts.

What is the Language of Instruction in Croatia?

The official language of instruction in Croatian higher education institutions is Croatian. However, depending on the institution, there are some international programs that offer the possibility to study a major in a foreign language like English.

What is the Admission Process for Higher Education Institutions?

The type of admission process depends on both the program the student is applying to and the status of the international student. There are three categories for international students in Croatia: exchange students, guest students (who spend short periods of time studying in the country), and degree-seeking students.

Degree-seeking students are undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate students applying for degree-level programs of studies.

Undergraduate students must apply through a central online application system and fill in an application form. They need to select a maximum of ten programs of their preference in higher education institutions in Croatia.

Graduate and postgraduate students must make their applications directly to the higher education institution they desire as each one of them has different admission procedures.

Check Also: Programs in Europe for International Students

What is the Price Range of Tuition Fees for These Institutions?

The majority of the universities in Croatia are public but when it comes to private institutions, tuition fees can go from 900 USD to 4,000 USD per year depending on the area of study. The cheapest areas of study are humanities and arts, while the most expensive are technical sciences.

Although public universities are tuition-free for local students, as an international student, you will have to pay. Luckily, these tuition fees are cheaper than fees at private institutions and usually stay below 2,000 USD.

How is Living in Croatia and What are the Costs of it?

Living costs in Croatia are pretty low when compared to other countries in the region. Their official currency is the Croatian Kuna (HRK), and 100 HRK is 15 USD.

Depending on the zone and size of housing, monthly rent goes between 300 USD and 700 USD.  Basic utilities can cost up to 176 USD during winter, and a month of the internet can cost 25 USD.

As for food, groceries for a month would be 120 USD, and eating out can cost between 7 USD and 35 USD. In case you have to use public transportation frequently, you should budget 50 USD per month for this.


We hope that this article on cheap universities in Croatia was helpful! To know more about studying abroad, make sure to check out the Available Programs in Europe for International Students!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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