Biomedicine and Health Sciences

The programme covers the following fields of Biomedicine and Health Sciences: Basic medical sciences, Clinical medical sciences, Public health and health care, and is intended to cover all the branches of those three fields. The programme is proposed by the School of Medicine, University of Zagreb. Elective course ‘Molecular Medicine’ is proposed in collaboration with ‘Ruđer Bošković’ Institute, Zagreb. In accordance with ‘Zagreb Declaration’, the PhD programme is intended to enable individuals, after completing and defending their PhD thesis, to carry out independent, original and scientifically significant research and critically evaluate work done by others. After completing doctoral programme of studies and public defence of dissertation, students are awarded the degree of PhD in the field of biomedicine and public health.

PhD programme is governed by thePhD Programme Coordination Committee and headed by the Programme Director. PhD Programme Coordination Committee is elected by the PhD Board for a period of four years. The duties of PhD Programme Coordination Committee include admission procedure to the PhD programme, course selection and schedule, and assisting the PhD candidates in finding supervisor for their thesis, as well as the organisation of peer review and re-evaluation of the courses.

Admission criteria as well as the criteria for quality and evaluation of PhD thesis  are in accordance with the ‘Guidelines for Organisation of PhD Programmes in Biomedicine and Health Sciences’ reached at the Second European Conference on Harmonisation of PhD Programmes in Medicine and Health sciences.

PhD Programme Director

Associate Professor Fran Borovečki, MD PhD

  • E-mail:
  • Phone/fax: +385 1 4590 067
  • Address: Center for Translational and Clinical Research, School of Medicine, University of Zagreb, Šalata 2, 10 000  Zagreb


Deputy Directors

Associate Professor Professor Ana Borovečki, MD PhD

  • E-mail:
  • Phone: +385 1 45 90 129
  • Address: School of Public Health ‘Andrija Štampar’, Rockefellerova 4, 10 000 Zagreb


Associate Professor Ante Tvrdeić, MD PhD

  • E-mail:
  • Phone: +385 1 45 96 857
  • Address: School of Medicine, University of Zagreb, Šalata 11, 10 000  Zagreb


Associate Professor Robert Likić, MD PhD

  • E-mail:
  • Phone: +385 1 23 88 288
  • Address: KBC Zagreb, Clinic for Internal Medicine – Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Kišpatićeva 12, 10 000 Zagreb


Associate Professor Marko Jakopović, MD PhD

  • E-mail:
  • Phone: +385 1 23 85 317
  • Address: KBC Zagreb, Clinic for Pulmonary Diseases Jordanovac, Jordanovac 104, 10 000 Zagreb


Assistant Professor Ivan Pećin, MD PhD

  • E-mail:
  • Phone: +385 1 23 67 757
  • Address: KBC Zagreb, Clinic for Internal Medicine, Kišpatićeva 12, 10 000 Zagreb


Chief of the Office for Postgraduate Education and Continuing Medical Education
Jasmina Štimac

  • E-mail:
  • Phone: +385 1 45 66 917
  • Fax: +385 1 45 90 721
  • Address: School of Medicine, University of Zagreb, Šalata 3b, 10 000 Zagreb


PhD Programme Administration Officer
Anita Putrić

  • E-mail:
  • Phone: +385 1 45 66 987
  • Fax: +385 1 45 90 256
  • Address: School of Medicine, University of Zagreb, Šalata 3b, 10 000 Zagreb


PhD Programme Secretary  
Ingeborg Remich

  • E-mail:
  • Phone: +385-1-4566-904
  • Fax: +385-1-4590-256
  • Address: School of Medicine, University of Zagreb, Šalata 3b, 10 000 Zagreb


PhD Programme Students Guide

Info about the country

Temporary stay for the purpose of studies

Foreign nationals intending to study in Croatia must regulate their temporary stay for the purpose of studying if their stay in Croatia is longer than 90 days. International students are not allowed to attend classes at a university until they have procured a residence permit.

International students can submit a residence permit application in one of two ways:

  • to the diplomatic mission or consulate of the Republic of Croatia in the foreign national’s home country
  • to the appropriate police department or police station immediately upon entering Croatia if they submit proof of taking part in an exchange programme approved by the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports in Croatia (Erasmus, Erasmus Mundus, CEEPUS, bilateral exchange, etc.). For more information about this document, the student should contact International Relations Offi ce of the host university.

If foreigners are subject to the visa requirement they are obliged to apply for a visa prior to their entry into the Republic of Croatia, at the responsible Croatian diplomatic mission/consular post.

Students submitting an application to the diplomatic mission or consulate of the Republic of Croatia in their home country should do so prior to their scheduled arrival to Croatia. The usual procedure can take three months or longer. There is also a fast-track option for handling the application and students can request this at the diplomatic mission or consulate, in which case they pay a higher fee. Students submitting the application to the appropriate police department or police station in Croatia should do so immediately upon entering Croatia.

The temporary stay permit for the purpose of studies is valid up to one year, that is, until the end of the academic year.


Documents needed to apply for a temporary stay permit for the purpose of studies:

  1. Application form
  2. Proof of admittance to a higher education institution in Croatia written in the Croatian language
  3. One colour photograph (35 x 45 mm)
  4. Original and copy of a valid travel document
  5. Proof of accommodation arrangements *
  6. Proof of means of support **
  7. Certificate of impunity (not older than 6 months)
  8. Proof of health insurance ***

* – E.g. written proof of secured accommodation in the student dormitory or an apartment lease and proof of the landlord’s apartment ownership for students in private accommodation
** – Proof of finances: a scholarship or proof of having access to finances in the amount of at least 1,000 Kuna per month during 12 months. The proof of receiving a scholarship is issued by the legal entity granting the scholarship while the proof of finances is issued by a bank in the form of a bank statement
*** – Proof of health insurance (bilingual document) coming from a home country that has a bilateral agreement on social and health security with Croatia. Nationals of countries that do not have the aforementioned agreement with Croatia have to report to the Croatian Institute for Health Insurance (HZZO – Hrvatski zavod za zdravstveno osiguranje) to establish their right to health insurance under Croatian health insurance regulations.

All original documents must be officially translated into Croatian, and an “apostille” of all original documents and certified translations may be required. It is suggested to check with the Croatian diplomatic mission or consular post whether the need for an “apostille“ exists.


Application fee
The application fee for the first temporary residence permit for the purpose of studying is 520 Kuna (approximately 70 EUR). International students receiving a grant from the Croatian Ministry of Science, Education and Sports are exempted from this fee.


Diplomatic Missions and Consular Offices of Croatia (in English)
Study in Croatia >Living in Croatia >Student residence permit

Upon arrival you need to register at a police station. If you have received a room in one of the student dormitories, the Student centre (Studentski centar) will do this for you.

Getting an OIB identity number

OIB is a personal identity number, called “osobni
identifikacijski broj” in Croatian. This new form of identity
number was introduced on 1 January 2009. The OIB is
needed for all dealings with any kind of officialdom, such
as paying taxes and household bills, opening and accessing
a bank account, or registering a vehicle.


Foreigners temporarily staying in the Republic of Croatia will get the OIB in
the procedure of registering the residence/stay in the police station.

In all other cases the OIB is issued by the Tax Department of the Ministry of Finance,
which has offices all round Croatia. For example, foreigners who hold a bank account
have to apply for their OIB to be issued. This is a straightforward procedure which costs
nothing. The application can be submitted in person, together with the original supporting documents or by some other authorized person (employer, host institution etc.). The OIB can be issued immediately.

List of documents:

  1. Request for an OIB to be issued and delivered (the application form is in Croatian, and is available on this web site)*
  2. Authorization signed by the foreigner (if the request is not submitted in person) – in Croatian
  3. Copy of the valid travel document, or some other identity document (original may be asked for inspection)

*The form is divided into three parts: as an individual, please fill in part 1 and 3.

The OIB document is composed of two parts: a slip containing the number, which you should detach and keep in your wallet or in a safe place, as it is the official proof of your OIB. The upper part contains a system code and explanatory statements.

From 1 January 2010 the OIB is also considered as a tax number.

Health insurance registration procedures

During their stay in Croatia, all foreigners with temporary residence must have health insurance. Regulated health insurance is the prerequisite for being granted temporary residence (except for the foreigners on temporary stay for the purpose of scientific research – they must have the
provision of health insurance stipulated in the hosting agreement).

Foreign citizens are advised before coming to the Republic of Croatia to check with the health insurance authority in their country of origin whether there exists an agreement on health insurance between the Republic of Croatia and their country of origin. In case such an agreement does exist, their local health insurance authority must issue a document on the basis of which the foreigner will be entitled to medical protection while in Croatia. In case such a document does not exist, foreign citizens may procure a health insurance policy from the Croatian Institute for Health Insurance (HZZO) in the following way:

  • upon arrival they need to register at the police administration/station, where they will be issued a registered number
  • on the basis of this number the HZZO office will register the person on temporary evidence and issue relevant confirmation, which entitles the foreigner and binds the HZZO to medical insurance after residence status regulation
  • with this temporary confirmation from the HZZO, the foreign citizen needs to return to the police administration/station, where their temporary residence will be approved and a permit issued
  • after bringing a copy of the residence confi rmation to the HZZO, the foreign citizen will be fully insured
  • necessary documents: a copy of the first page of the passport, a copy of thepassport page with visa, a copy of the residence confirmation

An employment contract is needed in order to register a foreign researcher as an employee with the Croatian Institute for Health Insurance (HZZO). Researchers on temporary stay for the purpose of scientific research that do not have an employment contract must register with the HZZO upon arrival to Croatia by presenting their passport and residence permit.

The application process for foreigners in the Croatian Pension Insurance Institute and the Croatian Institute for Health Insurance are the same as the application procedures for workers who are Croatian citizens.

Foreigners who establish regular working relationship with the Croatian employers pay contributions for compulsory pension insurance in the same way as workers who are Croatian citizens.

School of Medicine, University of Zagreb

The main building of the School of Medicine, University of Zagreb is situated at the Šalata hill campus, a peaceful oasis in the central part of the city, and is near a sports and recreational center. It houses the administrative offices and departments of pre-medical and basic sciences, as well as some pre-clinical teaching facilities. The majority of clinical teaching is done at the clinical departments of the Clinical Hospital Center (Šalata, Rebro and Petrova premises), the Sestre Milosrdnice, Merkur and Dubrava clinical hospitals, and other health institutions, such as the Clinical Hospital for Infectious Diseases, the Pulmonary Diseases Clinic, the Sveti Duh General Hospital, and the Vrapče Psychiatric Hospital. Public health and general medicine courses are taught at the Andrija Štampar School of Public Health and at the ambulatory health care facilities of local health centers.A network of libraries assures access to a wide range of primary sources in almost all fields of study. The Main Library, centrally located at the Šalata campus, and the public health library housed in the Andrija Štampar School of Public Health, are major resource centers in the area of biomedical sciences, containing particularly strong holdings of periodicals. Students are also encouraged to use the supportive facilities of the computer workshop, which has Internet access. The main administration building at the Šalata premises houses a restaurant which serves food exclusively for students.

General info about the country is available on the following link:

General info about daily life is available on the following link:


You might find the following two libraries useful in your research:

Središnja medicinska knjižnica (Central Medical Library)
Address: Šalata 3b
Phone: +385 1 45 66 745
Fax: +385 1 49 20 050

Nacionalna i sveučilišna knjižnica (National University Library)
Address: Hrvatske bratske zajednice 4
Phone: +385 1 61 64 111

During your studies in Zagreb, you might like to start learning Croatian. Faculty of Philosophy, University of Zagreb offers Croatian language courses, and you can also learn Croatian in a number of other language schools in Zagreb.
Faculty of Philosophy (Filozofski fakultet)
Ivana Lučića 3
+385 1 61 20 214
+385 1 61 56 881
+385 1 61 20 095

Academic recognition

Admission criteria

Full-time PhD Programme

Full-time PhD Programme is entirely research oriented and lasts three years.

The principal scheme of lessons and the appertaining student credits in the full programme are as follows (the presumption being equally divided obligations):

  • First year: primarily methodological subjects (20 ECTS), scientific work (40 ECTS), application for the project proposal (obligatory for the enrolment in the second year);
  • Second year: field related courses (20 ETCS), scientific work (40 ECTS) public defence of the project proposal (obligatory requing for the enrolment in the third year);
  •  Third year: field related courses (20 ECTS) , scientific work (40 ECTS).

Part-time PhD Programme

Part-time PhD Programme is intended for candidates who work at the clinic and often lecture themselves. In order to offer these candidates a feasible scheme, we did our best so that the Programme should meet their needs as well. If announced in time (principally at the beginning of the academic year), it is possible to take a leave of absence or continue the lessons attendance. If not otherwise stipulated by law, the provisions in force at registration time will continue to apply to doctoral candidates in full-time programme (3 years).


Candidates and supervisors jointly decide on research topic until the end of the first year. Registered and approved project proposal is a guarantee that the candidate will complete the PhD programme and defend successfully his/her PhD thesis. The time passed from the application of the project proposal to the public defense of the thesis can be no more than 10 years. The candidate and the supervisor take the responsibility regarding any scientific discoveries made within that period of time which might put the authenticity of the registered PhD project proposal at risk. If discoveries should annul the innovativeness of the topic, the candidate shall register an addition to the previously registered PhD project proposal or a completely new proposal.

Possible prolongation for completion of doctoral thesis beyond the period of 7 years and appropriate procedure shall be stipulated by the School, i.e. the university in compliance with respective legal regulations.

Programme is adapted/suited for research: every candidate enrols 120 hours of structured classes during the first year (approximately 20 ECTS, which evenly divided amounts to 2-3 lessons per week), which as a rule take place after the working hours. In case of part-time programme this scope of commitment still leaves time for learning and research.


Obligatory courses

  • 1st year: Structure, methodology and functioning of scientific work 1
  • 2nd year: Structure, methodology and functioning of scientific work 2, Statistical Analysis of Medical Data 1, PhD Day
  • differential year: Structure, methodology and functioning of scientific work 1, Structure, methodology and functioning of scientific work 2, Statistical Analysis of Medical Data 1, PhD Day
  • 3rd year: Structure, methodology and functioning of scientific work 3: research projects, Medical Statistics (at least one out of four obligatory guided tutorials), PhD Day

Students who have not enrolled one year after another and had a pause in the course of their studies, have to enrol and pass all obligatory courses regardless of the year of studies they are about to enrol. The exception are the students who enrolled and passed the courses  Structure, methodology and functioning of scientific work (this is the equivalent to the new obligatory course Structure, methodology and functioning of scientific work 1) and Statistical Analysis of Medical Data (this is the equivalent to the new obligatory course Statistical Analysis of Medical Data 1).

Methodological courses

METHODOLOGICAL COURSES, which are as a rule attended in the first year. Each student is required to choose 20 credits from this group.  The aim of these courses is to introduce students to basic principles of scientific research in general and to procedures and methods in certain areas of research. Although the students cannot really get a thorough knowledge of numerous and  diverse research methods and procedures, they become familiar /get  acquainted  with laboratories and other centres and will work with individual professionals dealing in specific areas who will be at their disposal in the future, in case they need an advice on these methods and procedures. An additional intent of this course is to relieve the student from the fear arising when faced with new methods and procedures, and to help them realize that they will be capable of coping with that when required to do so. These courses should not include more than 30 % of classes, whereas 70 % has to be covered by demonstrations and practicals. The lesser amount of structured teaching is compensated for by compulsory reference literature.  A manual has to be compiled for each of these courses (price included in the study fee) The courses are generally organised as integrated and include both pre-clinical and clinical (or health sciences related) ways of solving certain problems, since the borders between these areas in the field of scientific methodology are dissolving.

The list of available courses is here.

Field related courses

FIELD RELATED COURSES are intended to introduce the candidates to scientific knowledge and problems arising in some narrow areas of research in biomedicine and health sciences.  Apart from broadening the candidate’s scientific horizons, the aim of these courses is to enable the candidate to follow with understanding the most recent scientific writings in this area of research. therefore, critical dicourse on various scientific issues (Journal Club) is an obligatory part of field related courses. They are attended in all three years of the programme, but usually after applying the project proposal.

The invitation for registration of filed related courses is permanently open and all lecturers at the School of Medicine, University of Zagreb are invited to register courses from their area of research. Other experts from Croatia or abroad who meet the legal requirements can register their courses as well. All course proposal are subject to an anonymous scientific double review. Our experience from 1998 until 2004 has shown that 70 to 80 p.c. of submitted proposals are approved, and most of them are amended or modified as requested by reviewers.

The list of available courses is here.

Guided tutorials

GUIDED TUTORIALS i.e. short methodological courses that are aimed at acquainting students with specific research methods, procedures of gathering and analyzing  data they will make use of when writing their PhD thesis. The focus in on practical work, so that the attendants can later on apply the knowledge they have gained.  Guided tutorials are generally short (mostly 6-8 hours of teaching, out of which a maximum of 2 hours may be dedicated to theoretical presentation of a problem). As a rule the students use the material they have gathered themselves. Admission requirements and required previous knowledge are determined by the tutorial coordinator. There is no formal schedule i.e. guided tutorials are arranged directly between tutors and students (supervisors shall give his or her opinion or be directly involved) .

The list of available tutorials is here.

Elective fields

Although the main idea of the PhD programme is its interdisciplinary feature and therefore each student in agreement with his supervisor chooses courses according to his own interest out of those offered in the PhD programme, there is an open possibility of establishing elective fields of study as part of the PhD study. They are organized as follows:

  1. large organic systems
  2. other large entities if not contradictory to 1 or not included in it
  3. exceptionally on the basis of specific important methodologies which cannot be classified /included under 1 or 2

A precondition for the establishment of courses is that all the teaching of field related courses (i.e. that of the second and third years) can be organized within the field itself. It is, therefore, necessary that the field should include at least 40 credits from field related courses thematically linked to this field (according to the credit system currently applied that would be approximately 250 of teaching). If appropriate, one course may be part of two or more fields.
The fields are chosen in the second year of study.
Each field may recommend to students or even oblige them to attend and pass certain field related courses (although those courses are not part of the basic courses of the field).
Students are not obliged to enroll any of the proposed fields.
Students who choose to enrol a specific field have the right to attend 30% of the courses outside the field they have enrolled, based on their interests, subject matter of their research and in arrangement with their supervisor.
All students, regardless of whether they have enrolled a field or not, may choose single courses. (Restrictions regarding the enrolment of single courses or fields apply only to those students who have not graduated from a medical school.)
In order to improve the interdisciplinary character and extend the choice of contents, the School of Medicine, University of Zagreb may establish fields in cooperation with other medical schools (universities) and scientific institutions. This kind of cooperation is regulated by an agreement.

List of elective fields:

  • MOLECULAR MEDICINE, organized in cooperation with the Ruđer Bošković Institute, coordinators Professor Krešimir Pavelić, MD PhD and Neven Žarković, MD, PhD, senior scientist
  • NEUROSCIENCE, coordinator: Professor Ivica Kostović, MD, PhD
  • ENDOCRINOLOGY, DIABETES AND METABOLIC DISEASES, coordinators: Professor Željko Metelko, MD, PhD, Professor Mirko Koršić, MD, PhD and Professor Marina Ivanišević, MD, PhD
  • PUBLIC HEALTH, coordinator: Professor Luka Kovačić, MD, PhD
  • HELTH CARE MANAGEMENT, coordinator: Professor Stipe Orešković, PhD
  • TRANSPLANTATION MEDICINE, coordinator: Professor Boris Labar, MD, PhD


PhD programme is based on mentorship. The School of medicine has a considerable number of potential mentors, but mentors do not have to belong to the faculty of the School of Medicine. A mentor can be a person who:

  • has a PhD degree
  • holds at least the academic position of research associate or assistant professor
  • is a scientific project leader, or an associate at a scientific project

We recommend course leaders of the PhD programme for mentors, but also provide information on scientific project leaders in Croatia and their publications. In keeping with the Zagreb Declaration and the decision of the Faculty Board, mentors cannot be the members of the Committee for the defense and appraisal of PhD thesis. According to the new criteria accepted by the PhD Board, mentors/course leaders have to have at least 3 scientific papers published in the last 5 years, among which at least one paper in CC with the impact factor more than 1, and two in the internationally indexed journals , which are also the requirements for PhD candidates before the public defense of their PhD thesis (with the exception that a mentor does not necessarily have to be the first author). Each mentor also has to have an abstract from an international scientific conference.

Completion of the programme

Programme ends with a successful public defense of the PhD thesis.

Conditions for the completion of the PhD programme and the public defense of the PhD thesis are:

  • consent of the mentor
  • at least one scientific paper published in WoS with the PhD candidate and his/her mentor being the authors; the paper has to be connected to the project proposal
  • positive evaluation of the PhD thesis by the PhD evaluation committee of the School of Medicine
  • attendance of the obligatory and elective courses, and all the exams passed.

All the reviewers of PhD thesis should be competent and independent from the PhD thesis, candidates and mentor, and in this sense it is recommended to include reviewers from other universities and countries.

Before the public defense of the PhD thesis, a PhD candidate has to submit the PhD thesis proposal (a condition of enrollment in the second year of the programme), attend the public discussion on the PhD thesis proposal and have it accepted by the Senate of the University of Zagreb (a condition of enrollment in the third year of the programme).

The Rules of Doctoral Studies

The process of acquisition of doctoral degree

PhD Thesis

IMPORTANT! Before submitting the thesis proposal, candidates must contact the Office for doctoral theses, Mrs. Maja Budanko to receive the invoice for starting the procedure of obtaining the PhD degree

First proposal – Form DR.SC.-01A

Instructions for completion of Form DR.SC.-01A

Final thesis proposal – Form DR.SC.-01B

Instructions for completion of Form DR.SC.-01B

Thesis proposal evaluation – Form DR.SC.-02

Instructions for completion of FORM DR.SC.-02


The duties of supervisors and doctorands

Instructions on preparing the PhD thesis for printing and binding

Instructions for the PhD Thesis binding

Instructions for printing and binding cover and front page

Instructions for literature references and citations used in writing dissertations, final specialization and doctoral theses

PhD thesis – spine

PhD thesis – front pages

Front page – sample


Procedure for defence of a doctoral thesis

Report on defence of a doctoral thesis

Instructions on writing a doctoral thesis evaluation report

Summary of the doctoral thesis evaluation report



ORPHEUS is an organization of biomedical and health science faculties and institutions.