The Erasmus Programme (EuRopean Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students) was created to ease cooperation between European universities and allow for full academic recognition of studies and qualifications throughout the Union.
The Programme has grown and adjusted to the changing needs and demands of the students and EU. Today, the Programme has expanded to 4,000 higher learning institutions, 33 countries with over 2.2 million students participating.
Who was Erasmus?
The Programme is named after a 16th century Dutch scholar, Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam. An orphan who received a religious education, Erasmus eventually earned a doctorate in Paris and developed his own unique methods and theories concerning teaching. He continued his work by bequeathing his fortune to the University of Basel as a precursor of mobility grants. "The Spanish apartment", the movie from Cédric Klapisch, makes a reference.
More information on Erasmus here.
The Programme is still not without controversy and issues. Funding and management has been a problem and a massive overhaul of the Programme was in order. Erasmus for All has replaced the many different programmes to reduce administration costs, duplication and fragmentation.
In Cyprus, Erasmus is available mostly in Nicosia in various subject areas and institutions. However, not all institutions are eligible, and not all programs are covered, so make sure you do your research in advance to ensure you are getting the Erasmus programme you want.
Under Action 1, Erasmus supports Joint Programmes: Masters Courses (Action 1 A) and Joint Doctorates (Action 1 B). These are operated by consortia of higher education institutions from the EU and elsewhere in the world. They provide an integrated course and joint or multiple diplomas following study or research at two or more higher education institutions.
Erasmus funds scholarships for students and academics studying or teaching on Erasmus Masters Courses. Fellowships are also available for doctoral candidates following one of the Joint doctorates. Scholarships cover participation costs, subsistence costs, and insurance for the duration of the study period. Many students also have the right to a contribution to travel costs.
Partnerships between European and Third Country higher education institutions are available for students (undergraduates to post-docs) and staff (administrative and academic).
Scholarships cover participation costs, subsistence costs, insurance for the duration of the study period, plus a contribution to travel costs.
The Programme is open to higher education institutions and organisation active in the field of higher education and research, as well as to students, doctoral candidates, teachers, researchers and university staff from any part of the world. Postgraduate students can also take part in Erasmus, provided they have not already exceeded their grant quota. Students from all subject areas can participate. The home Higher Education Institution must have a formal agreement with a partner in one of the eligible countries and it must have an Erasmus University Charter awarded by the European Commission.
Erasmus also offers education and training opportunities for teaching and non-teaching Staff. It's a great opportunity to teach or work in another EU country and get to know the workings of their educational system. Learn new ideas and best practices to take from Cyprus, develop your international network and enhance your language skills. You will also acquire first-hand experience to share with students and colleagues who may be interested in Erasmus.
Check the Erasmus partnerships currently open for nationals of your country at the EACEA site's info for Action 2. Visit the partnership website to see which courses are available in which disciplines. Apply direct to the partnership via its website. If you are registered at one of the partner institutions, you should contact your International Office.
Proposals are selected through a competitive system based on their quality from the content and organisational points of view. Application must include letters of endorsement from each partner organisation. The endorsement letters demonstrate that the partners are aware of the project's structure, objectives and budget and are committed to actively participate in it. There is no official format for these letters, but the endorsement letter should indicate how the project fits within the strategy of each partner organisation and what will be the added value for the organisation in question to participate to it.
They should confirm the partner's agreement with the application as submitted. They are usually signed by the Legal representative of the partner organisation or another appropriate authority that is authorised to represent the organisation in legally binding agreements. The endorsement letters must also indicate the value of the financial contribution that the partner organisation has agreed to make to the project activities. The amount indicated in the endorsement letter is an estimation of the financial contribution made by each partner.
The European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) provides uniform credit across different educational institutions. Student workload consists of the time required to complete all planned learning activities such as attending lectures, seminars, independent and private study, preparation of projects, examinations, etc. One credit stands for around 25 to 30 working hours with 60 Credits representing the workload of a year of study (usually 30 Credits per semester and 20 credits per trimester). Those credits allocated to modules and courses can only be obtained after successful completion of the work required and appropriate assessment of the learning outcomes achieved.
Example of graduation:
Percentage of successful students normally achieving the grade
|outstanding performance with only minor errors|
|above the average standard but with some errors|
|generally sound work with a number of notable errors|
|fair but with significant shortcomings|
|performance meets the minimum criteria|
FAIL- some more work required before the credit can be awarded
FAIL - considerable further work required
It is important to note that the ECTS grade does not replace that of the institution. The ECTS grading system gives information which is in addition to that provided on the host institution's standard transcript, after agreement with the home institution. The ECTS grade is indicated alongside the mark awarded by the institution on the student's transcript of records.
To fully understand how the system works, read our article on the ECTS.
Students may study abroad for between three months and an academic year. For students on short term higher vocational education courses, the minimum period on a work placement is two months. You can combine a study period with a work placement (providing there are no gaps between the two activities) so it is considered a single Erasmus period. Check with the university Erasmus Co-ordinator for details on criteria.
Currently, students benefit from the tuition fee-waiver scheme. For example, a foreign student spending a full academic year on Erasmus does not pay any tuition fees in Cyprus for that year. However, if you study abroad for less than a year, you will have to pay the tuition fees.
Students may receive an Erasmus grant for study or work placement. These are supplementary, non-repayable grants intended to offset any additional expenses incurred while abroad. The Erasmus grant is not means-tested. To be eligible, students must be registered at a Higher Education institution which holds an Erasmus University Charter (EUC) and spend an approved study or work period of between 3 to 12 months each at an institution which holds an EUC in another EU, EEA or candidate country. Grant values vary depending on the country you visit.
Students undertaking short-term work placements can receive additional supplementary funding in order to offset the relatively high initial setup costs of such placements. This includes a one-off supplementary grant of €250 can be paid to each student, to assist with the higher expenses relating to short-term accommodation. Up to €300 can be paid to each student for travel costs.
Erasmus grants in Cyprus are paid through your home institution and in addition to the standard grants or loans to which you are entitled. The total duration of all grants may not exceed 24 months.
General information regarding accommodation, health insurance, and living in Nicosia and in Cyprus can be found in this guide. Refer to the other sections listed in the menu.