Higher education in Greece consists of only one sector: the University Sector – which includes Universities. Currently there are 24 Universities, all of which are considered accredited by Greek state. All the Higher Tertiary state-accredited universities in Greece are public. The duration of the undergraduate degree programs for most disciplines is 4 years but there are programs in engineering, dentistry, pharmacology, agronomics, forestry, and fine arts, with a duration of 5 years and medicine with a duration of 6 years. These credits are accumulative and transferable under the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS). Programs in engineering, dentistry, pharmacology, agronomics, forestry, along with some programs in fine arts, have a duration of 5 years (240 ECTS – 300 ECTS). Medicine is the only discipline with a duration of studies of 6 years.
The current Constitution of Greece prohibits private institutions for post-secondary education, known as Colleges, from operating as independent universities in Greece. However, it does not prohibit colleges from collaborating with foreign universities to offer undergraduate and postgraduate programmes of study in Greece.
The vast majority of colleges offer study programs under franchise or validation agreements with foreign universities (mainly based in the EU and the UK) leading to degrees which are awarded directly by those universities. The monitoring of those agreements as well as of additional provisions for the operation of colleges is carried out by the Ministry of Education. Integration into Greek law of EC Directive 2005/36 on the mutual recognition of qualifications, holders of academic degrees by universities in the European Union, including those obtained through studies at a college in Greece, have their professional rights fully recognized.