Facts & Figures

DegreesLocationOur StudentsOur StaffInternationalEducation & ResearchBenchmarkingthe Library, the Observatory, Excavations, Museums -Finances



The University offers degrees at three levels: Bachelor, Masters and PhD.

There are 16 main undergraduate degree programmes corresponding to the University’s Departments, each of which has two or more ‘directions’ and a wide range of electives for specialization.  There are currently 36 Masters programs, in subjects ranging from Byzantine Studies through to Molecular Biology.  Research training at all levels benefits from the close collaboration between many of the University’s research groups with the Institutes of the Foundation for Research and Technology-Hellas (FORTH) and the Institute of Marine Biology, Biotechnology and Aquaculture (IMBBC)

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Located centrally on the north shore of the island of Crete, the University has modern campus sites in two towns: the Humanities and Social Sciences are based at the University Campus in Rethymnon, while the Physical, Technological, Mathematical and Life Sciences together with the Medical School are based at the University’s Heraklion Campuses.

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Our Students

The first students were enrolled in the University in 1977. The student population has increased dramatically in recent years: from around 7.000 undergraduates and 1.400 postgraduates in 2001 to over 16.000 registered undergraduates and 2.500 registered postgraduates today. Around 60% of registered undergraduates are studying for degrees in the humanities and social sciences and 36% in the physical, mathematical, technological and life sciences.  The remaining 4% are studying for a degree in Medicine. Graduate students are 15% of the student population. Two-thirds of registered graduate students are studying for higher degrees in the physical, mathematical, technological, medical and life sciences and a third in the humanities and social sciences. Overall, the graduate population is more or less evenly divided between PhD candidates and graduate students following Masters courses.

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Our Staff

The University currently has  500 faculty members.  They are assisted in teaching by adjunct lecturers, post-doctoral researchers,  and laboratory instructors. Research activity at the University is the concern of all faculty members and research support staff, involving also around 300 researchers on project-related contracts, as well as graduate research students.  Administrative and technical support is provided by a staff of around 300.

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As Greek is the language of instruction on all taught courses, the international students registered for degree programmes here are a small minority in the student body (6%). There is, nonetheless, an international culture on the campuses which is fostered and developed by various means, and English is the lingua franca in most of these endeavors.


Significant among these are the educational exchange programmes, most notably the Erasmus mobility opportunities for students and staff. The University currently has over 200 bilateral inter-university exchange agreements. Although the numbers of outgoing students typically exceed the incoming students by a ratio of 3:2, the University was selected by the Commission in 2010 as an Erasmus Success Story (pdf) in recognition of the way the mobility opportunities for staff as well as students have been promoted, as well as the involvement of academic staff in multilateral projects for curriculum development, thematic networks and joint degrees.


A determining feature of the international culture on campus is the international backgrounds and experience of the academic staff.  Although international faculty members are a tiny minority (1%), many of the academic staff have dual nationality and all have studied and/or worked in well reputed universities and research institutes abroad. 


Educational provision, curricula and research activities reflect this open international outlook, as does the level of activity on campus in terms of invited lecture series, workshops, summer schools, conferences, and so on.  Similarly, reflecting its research activity and associated initiatives, the University forms part of the EURAXESS European network for the mobility of researchers. As a signatory to the European Charter & Code for Researchers, the University has also recently committed itself to a Human Resource Strategy for Researchers (HRS4R).

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Education & Research

Crete currently benefits from an academic and technological environment of international standards which has been built up over the last 30 years through a cluster of research orientated institutions including the University, the Institutes of the Foundation for Research and Technology-Hellas (FORTH),  which has its headquarters in Heraklion, Institute of Marine Biology, Biotechnology and Aquaculture (IMBBC), and the University General Hospital (PagNi), as well as other HEIs in the region – the Technical University (TUC) the Technological Educational Institute (TEI),and the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Hania (MAIch).


In particular, close collaborations between the University and the Institutes of FORTH create access to excellent complementary facilities for research and research training in highly competitive fields such as molecular biology, the neurosciences, photonics, informatics, and environmental chemistry, as well as in the Humanities. FORTH also provides hundreds of scholarships annually, as well as operating the Crete University Press (CUP), whose publications are used as textbooks and reference sources in numerous courses. These research institutes not only complement the educational mission of the University, but have also cultivated strong regional, national and international collaborations in research activity. 

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Benchmarking with other HEIs indicates that research and research training is of a high standard.

  • The 2017 CWTS Leiden Ranking   includes all Universities worldwide that have produced over 1000 Web of Science core publications in the period 2012-2015 (using fractional counting): a total of 903 Universities from 53 countries.  According to the 2017 results, the University of Crete has the highest percentage of high impact publications of the seven Greek HEIs included and, overall, ranks #211 on this research indicator among the total 334 European listed. Nature Index bibliometric analyses of articles published in the prestigious Nature journals also shows the University among the leading Greek research producing organizations.



The THE World University Rankings, now in their 14th year, focus on a selected frame of the world’s research intensive universities rather than the total global ‘pool’ of over 20,000 Higher Education Institutions. 13 indicators are used to measure the performance of these leading research universities in teaching, research output and impact, knowledge transfer and international outlook. Crete’s position in other THE rankings are determined by the same indicators


  • University of Crete is ranked =62 in the 2018 THE Young University Rankings. This is the seventh annual ranking of universities under 50 years old, and the seventh time University of Crete has been included in the top 100 of the world’s best young universities.


  • The University is also listed among the Best universities in Europe 2018 (tied #175 and first in Greece). In addition, since  2015 Greek universities have  been included in the THE’s Emerging Economies Ranking, with University of Crete ranking consistently in the Top 50. It is worth noting that in terms of research influence, as measured by citations, University of Crete is in a leading position at #3 among the 378 universities included in the 2018 ranking.


  • In the US News Best Global Universities 2018, the fourth edition of this ranking of research-intensive universities powered by Clarivate Analytics Incites, the University is ranked 207 in Europe and fourth in Greece.  Most of the bibliometric indicators used in this ranking of are size dependent.  Even so, the UoC  punches above its size in terms of research impact as indicated by ‘Normalized Citations’, at 189 worldwide and first in Greece. It is also notable, given the significance of international collaborative papers as a marker of quality, that the UoC ranks #82 worldwide on this performance indicator. 


  • The University has taken part in the new U-MULTIRANK university ranking, which compares and grades HEI performance across five broad dimensions (teaching and learning, regional engagement, knowledge transfer, international orientation and research). To date sixteen (16) of the nineteen (19) Greek HEIs listed participate in this multidimensional ranking.  The Ready Made Rankings tool again shows that the University’s primary strengths are in research and research linkages.


Detailed information is available through the Departmental websites about the research groups in each Division, their associated workshops, laboratories and/or clinics and corresponding networks of collaborating research groups


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The Library, the Observatory, Excavations, Museums

The University Library is considered a pioneer among Greek academic libraries in the development and exploitation of new information technologies and documentation networking services.  The modern purpose built central library in Rethymnon and campus libraries in Heraklion have one of the largest collections in Greece of printed academic titles and journals, including an important collection of rare books on Greek history and civilization, as well as digital information sources (e-journals, databases, and other materials in digital format). 


The Skinakas Observatory  was founded jointly by the University, the Foundation for Research and Technology-Hellas (FORTH) and the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE), Germany, in time to observe the passage of the Halley comet in 1986.  Today it can be characterized as one of the best sites for high quality astronomical observations in the Mediterranean area.


Crete is a rich environment for research into the material remains of past civilizations, from pre-historic times to the Middle Ages.  Excavations led by teams of the University’s archaeologists include the sites at Ancient Eleutherna, around the Minoan peak sanctuary at Vrisinas, and on the island of Gavdos. Ancient and modern meet through collaboration with FORTH’s IMS lab, using geophysical-satellite remote sensing in surface surveys of the archaeo-environment.


The University’s Natural History Museum of Crete (NHMC) explores terrestrial, bio- and geo-diversity of the Easter Mediterranean region.  It has current collections of over 2 million specimens, including a significant palaeontological collection of fossil bones from Crete and other islands of the Southern Aegean. Exhibitions, together with a Discovery Centre for children and an educational seismic table (earthquake simulator), are housed in new purpose-built museum in Heraklion.

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As a public HEI the University has no tuition or bench fees and relies on state funding to meet the bulk of its operational costs and approved capital expenditures.  External grants and contracts, managed by the Research Committee’s Secretariat (ELKE) are the principal source of research funding.  It is a tribute to the quality of the research work performed at the University that more than 60% of this funding is coming from grants won through national and European competitive calls.

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Last update 26/09/2018