Located in the central part of the Balkan Peninsula in Central Southeastern Europe, Serbia was once the political and cultural center of Yugoslavia. Some 80 percent of the country’s population of more than 7.1 million inhabitants are ethnic Serbs, while the 20 other resident nationalities include Hungarians, Bosnians, Roma, Croats, Albanians, Slovaks, Vlachs, Romanians and Bulgarians. The main religion is Orthodox Christianity; the language is Serbian; and official alphabets are Cyrillic and Latin. The literacy rate is 96 percent. Belgrade (Beograd) is the capital city with 1.6 million inhabitants.
Higher education in Serbia includes university education (faculties and art academies) and non-university education (post-secondary schools) where courses last from two to three years. There are six public universities in Serbia (with 75 faculties), and nine private universities (with 67 faculties) with a total country-wide student population of approximately 250,000. The state universities include University of Belgrade, University of Novi Sad, University of Nis, University of Kragujevac, University of Arts in Belgrade and State University of Novi Pazar. Private universities and faculties in Serbia include Metropolitan University, Alpha University, Megatrend University, Singidunum University, Educons University, Union, University Privredna akademija, International University of Novi Pazar and European University. According to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia, there are 56 scientific institutions which are completely independent from universities and predominantly engaged in research. The scientific institutes are not directly involved in education. Since 2000, Serbian higher education institutions have adopted European reforms and harmonization, known as the Bologna Process. Considerable reforms have been launched since Serbia signed the Bologna declaration in 2003.
Further development of Serbia’s higher educational system is a primary Fulbright Program goal, bringing with it human resources development and economic growth. Through the Fulbright Program, U.S. Scholars establish contacts with Serbian universities and promote potential cooperation beneficial to both sides. Fulbright administrators would like to see U.S. lecturers and researchers interested in working outside of Belgrade, especially in cities in the south of Serbia such as Nis, Kragujevac and Novi Pazar. The Program is open to a diverse array of academic disciplines. While historically there has been an emphasis on the fields of economics, law, American studies and English language, candidates in the STEM fields are also very desirable. Serbia has undergone a unique series of political, economic, social and cultural changes over the last three decades that make the country a veritable laboratory for studying this kind of dramatic transformation. Grantees have many wonderful opportunities to contribute their expertise to this transition.