In the context of the bilateral co-operation between France and Greece, Greek and French Universities took the initiative for the creation of Joint Post-Graduate Programs in different domains a few years ago. 8 joint Masters are running the academic year 2015-2016 with the following characteristics: there are no fees, limited number of students, the teaching language is mainly in French, mobility of students and academic staff.
Their implementation was made possible thanks to the support by the Greek Minister of Education and Religious Affairs and the French Ministers of Education and Foreign Affairs. Their creation confirms the will of Greek universities to cooperate with the European ones.
The legal framework which permitted Greece to run post-graduate courses in cooperation with foreign universities (under which the present joint Greek-French programs run) mentions that 'The Greek universities can cooperate with foreign established Institutions of the same status for the organization and operation of joint Master programs. These joint post-graduate programs run under a Cooperation Protocol which determines the objective of the program, the finance sources, the participants' rights and obligations, the academic staff's/students' mobility, the award of one joint degree or of two separate ones - one from each institution - , the language of the dissertation or thesis (...) and any other issue necessary according to the juridical framework under which post-graduate studies run in the cooperating institutions.
This legal framework is also innovative for one more reason, i.e. it permits the cooperation between Greek and foreign Higher Education Institutions for the elaboration of Ph.D. theses, by regulating the procedures Most of the existing joint Greek-French post-graduate programs have exploited this potentiality (or are in the preparation phase of a special cooperation protocol for the elaboration of joint Ph.D. theses).
The joint Greek-French Master Programs, despite their particularities (more or less innovative, some addressing Greek graduates more and some not, the exclusive use of the French language or of the French together with the English and/or the Greek language, obligatory or optional student mobility, some oriented towards research more and some towards professionalism), have a lot of common characteristics. Being generally the outcome of a previous long cooperation between the Greek and French academic staff they aim at opening new perspectives for cooperation like joint research and Ph.D. programs. Based on already existing broader cooperation networks, they permit scale economies and synergies by enabling the students who attend them to benefit from the experience of the cooperating academic teams. Thus, they constitute the first tangible example of the international orientation of Greek Higher Education Institutions.
Prof. Byron Kotzamanis
Coordinator of the Joint Greek-French Master Programs Network