Top 10 Best Universities in Croatia

Are you considering higher education in Croatia? Wondering which universities stand out? Croatia is home to several renowned universities that offer diverse programs and opportunities for students to excel in their fields. But what is it that sets these universities apart? Which ones rank highest in terms of academic reputation and student satisfaction? Join us as we explore Croatia’s top universities and discover why they’re so popular with international students.

You can also read here about the most compelling reasons to study abroad in Croatia.

University of Zagreb

The University of Zagreb is at the top of our list of top universities in Croatia. Established in 1669, it’s the oldest in the country and one of the oldest in Southeastern Europe.

Croatia universities - University of Zagreb

With 31 faculties and 3 art academies, it’s the largest university in Croatia. As a result, it offers a wide range of academic programs in fields such as the arts, biomedicine, engineering, and more.

Over 50,000 students attend full-time undergraduate and postgraduate courses. This makes the University of Zagreb the strongest educational institution in Croatia.

In particular, it contributes over 50 percent to the country’s research output, with an emphasis on scientific and artistic research. The University’s mission focuses on sustainable development, artistic creativity and the promotion of human rights.

It also has international agreements with prestigious universities around the world, fostering global connections and opportunities for its students.

Find out more by visiting the website of the University of Zagreb

University of Split

Next on our list is the University of Split, which was founded in 1974.

In its 50-year history, it has grown to include 11 faculties and an Academy of Arts. With over 20,000 students, it’s a major educational center in Croatia.

University of Split

Research at the University focuses on the unique features of the Croatian Adriatic and Mediterranean regions, covering fields such as cultural heritage protection, oceanography and tourism.

In addition, the University is distinguished by its diverse academic offerings, including engineering, social sciences and health sciences. It also cooperates with leading European universities through programs such as Erasmus, facilitating student and staff exchanges.

Another interesting feature of the university is its library, which boasts a vast collection of 400,000 books, including rare editions.

Find out more on the university’s website

University of Rijeka

Founded in 1973, the University of Rijeka is ranked third in our list of top universities in Croatia. The institution stands out as a modern European education in Rijeka, a coastal city in northwestern Croatia.

University of Rijeka

With 16 academic units, the University is a hub of research, science and education, supporting the social and economic development of the region. In addition, the University stands out for its focus on lifelong learning.

That includes providing quality education and innovative instruction. The University of Rijeka is also committed to being open and inclusive, providing a welcoming environment for international students.

Through strategic partnerships with universities worldwide, the University of Rijeka aims to be THE European University of the future. Its purpose would be the combination of academic excellence with civic engagement for its graduates.

Check the official website of the University of Rijeka for more. 

Josip Juraj Strossmayer University of Osijek

Founded in 1975, the Josip Juraj Strossmayer University of Osijek is another high-profile institution in Croatia. Named after Josip Juraj Strossmayer, a key figure in Osijek, the University is dedicated to education, research and artistic activities.

Croatia universities - Josip Juraj Strossmayer University of Osijek

Over the years, despite some significant challenges, like the damage caused during the Homeland War, the University has managed to get back on its feet, renewing its academic offerings along the way. Today it has 12 faculties, 1 Academy of Arts and Culture and 4 University Departments.

The university’s other mission statement is internationalization. In particular, its commitment to integration with modern European systems while maintaining its unique historical identity. This underlines the institution’s commitment to remain the best academically, even beyond the borders of Croatia.

Find out more by visiting the university’s website

University of Zadar

Zadar is next in our ranking, a university with a rich academic heritage dating back to the 10th century.

Officially founded on June 14, 1396 as the Studium Generale, it has evolved into a modern institution offering a wide range of courses. Like the Josip Juraj Strossmayer University, the institution has survived difficult times, including its closure during the Napoleonic Wars.

Croatia universities - University of Zadar

In 2002, it was finally established as the University of Zadar, continuing its legacy in higher education. Today, the University has 25 departments offering undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate studies. It places special emphasis on research, education and community involvement.

The university’s other mission is to prepare graduates to address global challenges. It does this through several international, inter-university partnerships and interdisciplinary initiatives.

Find out more by visiting the website of the University of Zadar

University of Dubrovnik

Founded in 2003, the University of Dubrovnik has become a prominent academic and research center in the Dubrovnik area of Croatia.

Despite being a relatively young institution, the University offers a wide range of programs in various disciplines. These include economics, maritime studies, tourism, media and interdisciplinary studies, ensuring a comprehensive academic offering.

The University of Dubrovnik also stands out for its bilingual approach. By offering programs in both English and Croatian, it broadens its accessibility. And in terms of research, it has a strong presence in the city thanks to its Inter-University Center Dubrovnik.

With partnerships with 149 institutions worldwide, including prestigious universities such as the University of Vienna and Leeds Beckett University, the University of Dubrovnik offers extensive opportunities for international collaboration and exchange.

It also demonstrates a strong commitment to community engagement by offering courses that focus on important issues such as urban development and social justice. Since its inception, the University has made significant contributions to the economic, social and cultural development of the Dubrovnik region.

Juraj Dobrila University of Pula

The roots of the University of Pula go back to the 1950s. At that time, the need for educated professionals in Istria led to the establishment of higher education institutions. Founded in 2006, the University inherited the legacy of these early efforts.

Since then, the institution has distinguished itself through its commitment to sustainability. As a result, it was the first Croatian university to be included in the international index of sustainable universities.

In addition, the University is located in Pula, a multicultural city with a long historical heritage dating back to ancient Roman times. Students thrive in this diverse and culturally rich environment, as the University encourages student mobility and interdisciplinary exchange through programs such as Erasmus.

More on the University of Pula on the institution’s website.

Algebra University College

In the eighth position in our top universities in Croatia, Algebra University College in Zagreb – an institution whose primary focus is to produce future tech experts.

That’s why it makes it to our list as one of the best universities in Croatia for programs such as computer and software engineering, economics and arts and all subjects related to the digital world. Algebra’s commitment to quality education has earned it the first place among applied science universities in Croatia.

In addition to hands-on learning in tech subjects, the university’s teachers also provide individual support to their students. In addition, Algebra’s Career Center assists students in career development, and several extracurricular workshops are offered, all aimed at ensuring that students reach their full academic potential.

Last but not least, the university also has several international partnerships and mobility programs. For example, its joint programs with prestigious institutions such as Goldsmiths, University of London allow students to earn dual degrees and increase their international exposure.

More on Algebra University College on their official website. 

Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) Croatia

RIT Croatia is a branch of the prestigious American institution Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). Founded in 1997, first in Dubrovnik and then in 2011 in Zagreb, RIT Croatia offers the highest quality American education in the country.

As a technical university, RIT Croatia is another reference for hospitality and tourism management, global business management, new media design and information technology programs in Croatia. Another interesting feature of the institution is its dual degree programs: one from RIT US and one from RIT Croatia.

With a focus on lifelong learning, RIT Croatia also offers Master of Science programs in Organizational Leadership and Innovation, as well as Information Technology and Analytics. And like any worthwhile institute of technology, RIT Croatia has built its success by collaborating with the country’s industry leaders.

Find out more on the institution’s official website.

Zagreb School of Economics and Management

Zagreb School of Economics and Management (ZSEM) is not only the best business school in Croatia, it’s also one of the top universities in the country.

Founded in 2002, its main mission is to equip students with the values, knowledge and skills they need to succeed in today’s global business world. Its programs therefore aim to foster innovation and cooperation with the local and international business community.

As a leading business school in Croatia, the institution is accredited by AACSB and ZSEM. Its MBA program is also ranked in the top 200 internationally and in the top 60 in Europe. In addition, it has partnerships with over 80 universities worldwide – promoting student mobility and international exposure.

More on the school, its programs and application on the institution’s website.

Read also here our breakdown of the tuition fees and scholarships in Croatia for international students.

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