Study in Serbia: the ultimate guide for a PhD in 2023

The Ultimate Guide to Studying in Serbia in 2023

Browse all PhD programmes in Serbia

  • Oct-Jul Academic Year
  • 1 Listed Institutes
  • 11,000 Int. Students
  • 243,000 Students
  • 6,844,000 Population

Study in Serbia

Higher education system has two types of studies:

  • Academic studies organized at universities, and
  • Applied profession-oriented studies organized either at colleges of applied studies or at universities.

Universities are independent higher education institutions that may offer all types and levels of study courses. Universities consist of individual faculties. In order to obtain accreditation universities have to offer all levels of study courses at least in three areas of studies.

Colleges are independent higher education institutions that offer basic, specialist and master’s degree courses in one or more areas. There are two types of colleges:

  • Colleges of Academic Studies – offering academic courses
  • Colleges of Applied Studies – offering applied study courses.

Find the best information about what it’s like to study in Belgrade, including degree course offers, career opportunities, student life, living costs, and more.

General application requirements

Basic requirement to enter Bachelor and integrated study programmes is the completion of a four-year secondary education and passing the entrance exam. Specific admission pre-requisites usually entail the specific knowledge in certain disciplines and should be checked for the particular program a student is interested in.

Entrance exams are usually held in early July and early September. The ranking of candidates depends on both the entrance exam and the success from the previous level of education.

Applicants need to go through a process of recognition of their study credentials. Candidates should submit the following documentation to the higher education institution:

  • request form
  • proof of payment of expenses
  • two certified photocopies of a foreign higher education document
  • two copies of translation of the foreign higher education document into the Serbian language
  • two copies of diploma supplement or course record transcript
  • two copies of the translation of the document
  • two copies of a decision by the authorized body on name and/or surname change for persons who have changed their name

Admission to a Master programme is permitted after the successful completion of a Bachelor programme in a related subject. Admission to a Doctoral programme is permitted after the successful completion of a Master programme.

Higher education institutions determine specific programme application requirements. Contact the student admission department for detailed information.

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Degrees offered

The three-cycle system of academic studies includes:

  • Basic academic studies (Bachelor), lasting 3-4 years
  • Master studies, lasting 1-2 years
  • Doctoral studies (PhD) with a minimum of three years of study

In the field of medical science (the studies of medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine), studies are organized through integrated studies that last 6 years.

Vocational studies comprise of two levels:

  • Basic applied studies, lasting three years
  • Specialized applied studies, lasting one year


The main language of instruction is Serbian for all educational levels. There are also English-taught study programmes. In many universities and colleges, there are additional benefits for foreign exchange students, such as organizing consultations with professors in English, etc.

Study visa

Visa applications should be submitted to the student’s local Embassy or Consulate of the Republic of Serbia. General visa requirements:

  • Valid passport (passport must be valid at least 90 days from issue date of visa)
  • Letter of invitation from the university that the student enrolled in
  • Completed visa application form
  • Photo (size 3.5x4.5cm)
  • Return ticket or Itinerary
  • Proof of sufficient funds for staying in Serbia
  • Health insurance
  • Visa fee

English language preparation for studying in Serbia

Develop your academic English language skills in order to meet the English language requirements at Serbian universities offering degree studies for international students. Choose an English language school anywhere in the world and pick your preferred English exam preparation course from diverse language course options.

Living in Serbia

  • Higher education institutions determine programme tuition fees. These usually cost 500 EUR to 2500 EUR per year.
    • All university towns also have a lot of rental apartments and rooms for students. Prices vary from 50 EUR for a shared room to over 220 EUR for an apartment in the city.
    • Monthly living costs range from 330 to 550 EUR/month. 
    • There are 16 sports centres, 7 sports halls, 7 stadiums and 6 swimming pools in the capital city of Serbia, Belgrade.
    • Belgrade is a frequent host to European and World cups and championships in basketball, handball, water polo and volleyball.
    • The Belgrade Fortress is a museum of the history of Belgrade, a place where you can literally observe the passage of time. The Fortress was built in stages, during the lengthy period between the 1st and 18th century.
    • Located in the heart of the city, the Belgrade Zoo, also known as the Garden of Hope, is located in one of the most attractive locations in the city – Kalemegdan Park.
    • Discover cultural remnants of the Roman era, explore the hideaways of long-ago Emperors, and wander through exquisite Romanesque-Byzantine monasteries.
    • Serbian villages are ecological oases; free from the pollution of modern civilisation.
    • A traditional welcome to a Serbian village house involves the serving of bite-sized pieces of warm homemade bread dipped in salt.
    • In contrast to the rest of Europe, there is no single day of the week in Serbia when you cannot have a night out.
    • Foreign students can eat in students' restaurants for as much as 4 EUR.
    • Serbia has a strong network of libraries: three national libraries, 689 public libraries, 143 higher education libraries and 11 non-specialized libraries.

About Serbia

Serbia is located in the central part of the Balkan Peninsula, in the south-eastern part of Europe.

Serbia borders Hungary to the north, Romania and Bulgaria to the east, Macedonia to the south, and Croatia, Bosnia, and Montenegro to the west.

The official language is Serbian and official alphabet is Cyrillic as well as Latin. In the areas inhabited by national minorities, the languages and alphabets of the minorities are in official use, as provided by law. The majority of the population of Serbia are Serbs (66 per cent), but another 37 nationalities also live on its territory (Albanians 17 per cent, Hungarians 3.5 per cent, followed by Romanians, Croats, Bulgarians and others). All citizens have equal rights and responsibilities and enjoy full national equality.

Serbia has a temperate continental climate, with a gradual transition between the four seasons of the year (warm summers, with temperature up to 30°C and snowy winters, with temperature from - 5°C to 10°C).

Serbia has always straddled East and West, not only in a geographical sense, but also politically and culturally. At first, Serbia found itself between the Byzantine and Roman empires, than it became a frontier between the Ottoman Empire and the Christian West. The Byzantine Empire had a great influence on the Serbian culture. Roots to the Serbian education system date back to 11th and 12th centuries when first Catholic colleges were founded in Vojvodina(Titel, Bac). Medieval Serbian education however was mostly conducted through the Serbian Orthodox Monasteries.

This centuries-long position in the path of conquering armies from both sides has led to constant migrations and the mixing of populations. The result is a multi-ethnic, multicultural and multi-confessional society in Serbia. During communism the inhabitants of this region were somewhere between the Warsaw Pact and NATO. In contrast to other post-communist countries in the region, the people of Serbia have a more comprehensive education, a more contemporary approach to life, better knowledge of foreign languages and more readily accept new technologies and behaviours.

Belgrade (Beograd), is the capital of the country, with a population of 1.6 million people, is the administrative, economic and cultural heart of Serbia.

Currency of the Republic of Serbia is Serbian dinar (RSD).

Universities, colleges and schools in Serbia


Interesting programmes for you

Find PhDs Degrees in Serbia

Recent international policies promote international university cooperation and student exchange between countries worldwide. High-quality study and PhD degrees are made more available to students in order to create a global educational network, achievable through student and staff mobility. Career and research oriented programmes support international student development.

University cooperation enables students study worldwide, for instance in Australia, Asia, Europe and the United States and provides ways of recognizing previous degrees. Different study options offer appropriate alternatives to students, depending on their preferred mode of study.

Many study programmes in Australia, Asia, Europe and North America are English-taught. The most popular international student destinations include the following countries: Australia, Belgium, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, the United States, and more. However, these are not the only countries offering English-taught education. The rest of the world is full of endless study choices, from highly ranked to smaller, more specialized, universities.

PhD (postgraduate) Degrees

If you want further education beyond the undergraduate level or if you want more personal development or a career in academia, you could obtain a PhD degree. PhD degrees are postgraduate programmes that usually follow a Master's, MPhil or MRes, but there might be additional requirements depending on the university. Students are required to do their own research in a chosen topic. With the help of a supervisor, you develop knowledge and analytical skills in a specific or multidisciplinary field and you carry out independent research. The duration of a PhD degree differs per country and institution. Sometimes your own research is accompanied by work for the department such as giving seminars or small group teaching.

PhD students are required to study on campus under close supervision, but there are universities that accept students enrolled into a part-time distance education PhD degree. Studying on campus can also be full-time as well as part-time, in which case the part-time variant is normally twice as long as the full-time study.

Discover other countries

The Netherlands is a very popular study destination. Internationals choose this beautiful country because Dutch universities are some of the best in Europe, the living standards are high, foreigners are always welcome, and you get to live in one of the happiest and safest countries in the world. The Netherlands is also renowned for innovative technologies and engineering solutions, which is reflected in the wide range of Engineering degrees offered by universities. English is spoken by around 90% of Dutch citizens, so forget about language barriers. Also, bike lanes and the “cycling culture” will help you to stay fit and healthy, and there are diverse job opportunities and internships for international students.
Finland is an excellent choice for all internationals and especially for EU/EEA students who can study at local public universities for free. The beautiful Nordic country has one of the best education systems in the world and ranks among the safest and happiest nations in the world. You can also choose from over 400 English-taught programmes. In your spare time, you can explore the breathtaking Finnish nature and landscapes, as well as the numerous lakes that give the country the nickname ‘The Land of a Thousand Lakes.’ From here, you can easily travel to neighbouring countries like Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Russia, or Estonia.
France is a study destination whose romance, academic environment, and style of life charm thousands of international students every year. Students can enjoy the best of both worlds: the chance to enrol at top-ranked European universities while paying some of the lowest tuition fees worldwide. The Hexagon, a local nickname for France, is a multicultural hub, allowing you to meet, get to know, and develop friendships with people from all over the globe. There’s also a significant number of English-taught degrees (over 1,500). You can also learn French, the language of love, which will allow you to enjoy even more the local cuisine and touristic attractions and will make you a stand-out applicant on the job market.
Ireland is among the top countries in the world in terms of quality of life, peace, safety, and development. It represents an appealing blend of beautiful landscapes, English-speaking environments, and a strong, welcoming, and rich culture — of which the Irish people are very proud. International students also enjoy the full support of Irish universities, which hire and train staff that are able to help with accommodation, studies, visa details, or any other challenge.
Norway is a paradise for anyone who wants to study abroad for free. Public universities don’t charge any tuition fees. This policy applies to all international students, regardless of their nationality. The academic standard is very high, and professors are easy to approach, always willing to go the extra mile for their students. Additionally, classes are organised in small groups, which further improves learning and cooperation. You can choose from a wide range of English-taught programmes, and you don’t need to worry about language barriers outside of classes either, because most Norwegians speak English as a second language. Internationals should find it easy to adapt to Norway’s society, which is based on equality and fair opportunities — reflected both in the legal system and in people’s behaviour.
Greece is the cradle of European civilization and the birthplace of philosophy. Greek universities and colleges have a long history in academics, attracting international students from all over the world. Classes are not typically formal, so you can expect open discussions between students and professors, in line with the classical philosophical debate tradition. EU/EEA students don’t pay any tuition at public universities, while non-EU/EEA citizens pay low fees. In Greece, you’ll also enjoy the well-known local hospitality and the wonderful Mediterranean climate. There are many landmarks and monuments waiting to be explored, including the Acropolis, Delphi, the Parthenon, and many others.
Sweden is a very ambitious, eco-friendly, and visionary country. For example, by 2040, it aims to produce all its energy from renewable sources. Universities play an important role in achieving development goals, thanks to their world-class research facilities. If you’re from the EU/EEA, you can study at public universities for free. As a student, you will discover and easily adopt the three main values of Swedish society: freedom, equality, and sustainability. These values are reflected in every aspect of the local society, and you’ll quickly learn to appreciate them. Language barriers are also almost non-existent since around 80% of Swedes speak English.
Switzerland has one of the most advanced free-market economies, which is reflected in the high living standards and the satisfaction of people living here. In terms of higher education, Swiss universities are constantly ranked among the best in Europe, and they shine in areas like Business, Tourism, Culinary Arts, and Engineering. When compared to Western universities, tuition fees in Switzerland are affordable, and all studies — especially PhD programmes — are world-class. You’ll have the opportunity to develop in a multilingual environment and try learning international languages like German, French, or Italian. If you settle down here, the unemployment rates are low, and salaries are well above the European average.
United Kingdom
United Kingdom
Universities in the UK are some of the most highly regarded in the world, and for good reasons. Some of the world's most highly regarded research takes place in British universities, which are regularly featured in international rankings. While studying in the UK, you will be able to develop in a highly multicultural environment with high chances of pursuing lucrative careers after graduation. The teaching in the UK is designed to encourage new idea generation, encouraging individual research and group cooperation, through class discussions and creative assignments.
Canada is one of the most popular study destinations in the world due to its high focus on the quality of its universities and its emphasis on attracting international students who can later immigrate. Canadians are very welcoming to international students and they invest a lot into making sure students are safe, treated fairly, and enjoy their stay in the country. Study in one of the strongest economies in the world while enjoying a high living standard and a flexible study environment. Classes have smaller student groups ensuring everyone gets the attention they need, and encouraging group assignments and debates.
United States
United States
The United States is home to some of the most prestigious universities and colleges in the world. With over 150 universities featured in international rankings, the U.S. has some of the best business schools, medical schools, and engineering schools. Universities and colleges in the U.S. are well known for academic flexibility and ways to customize your study experience with optional studies and extracurricular activities. Depending on where you will be studying, you will be able to visit iconic places like the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Goldengate Bridge, The Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, Disney's Magic Kingdom Park, and much more.
Israel attracts international students through high standards of education and a wide range of English-taught degrees. Local universities shine in areas like Technology, Sciences, Business, and Entrepreneurship. In fact, Israel is a renowned land of innovation, having earned itself the nickname ‘Start-Up Nation’. While living and studying here, you will discover a wonderful culture developed throughout 4,000 years of history; different cultural influences are noticeable everywhere, especially in Israeli food, art, and history. In major cities, English is widely spoken, so communication shouldn’t be a problem. In your spare time, you can visit one of the over 400 nature reserves and 80 national parks.
By studying in Australia you will take advantage of the great student environment both inside and outside classrooms. In addition to some of the best business and engineering schools in the world, you will be able to explore a greatly developed country that still retains its wild side with its warm climate, beautiful beaches, and the Great Outback, with over 500 national parks. Many Australian universities provide internships and work placements, preparing students early on for the job market.


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