TEMPUS is the European Union’s programme which supports the modernization of higher education in the EU’s surrounding area. Tempus promotes institutional cooperation that involves the European Union and Partner Countries and focuses on the reform and modernization of higher education systems in the Partner Countries of Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Western Balkans and the Mediterranean region.

It also aims to promote voluntary convergence of the higher education systems in the Partner Countries with EU developments in the field of higher education. With regards to the Western Balkans, Tempus contributes to preparing the candidate and potential candidate countries for a participation in the integrated Life Long Learning Programme.

In addition to promoting cooperation between institutions, Tempus also promotes a people-to-people approach. Tempus provides support to consortia of institutions composed mainly of universities or university associations. Non-academic partners can also be part of a consortium.

The Tempus programme is implemented in close coordination with the Erasmus Mundus programme which provides scholarships to third country students allowing them to participate in top-level Master courses and Doctorate programmes outside the EU.


The overall objective of Tempus is to contribute to the creation of an area of cooperation in the field of higher education between the European Union and the Tempus Partner Countries.

The specific objectives of Tempus are as follows:

  • To promote the reform and modernization of higher education in the Partner Countries;
  • To enhance the quality and relevance of higher education to the world of work and society in the Partner Countries;
  • To increase the capacity of higher education institutions in the Partner Countries and the EU, in particular their capacity to cooperate internationally and to continually modernize;
  • To assist them in opening up to the world of work and the society at large in order to:
    • overcome inter-country fragmentation in the area of higher education and inter-institutional fragmentation in the countries themselves;
    • enhance inter-disciplinary thinking and working within and between faculties and universitiesarity and trans-disciplinarity between university faculties;
    • enhance the employability of university graduates;
    • make the European Higher Education Area more visible and attractive to the world;
  • To foster the reciprocal development of human resources;
  • To enhance mutual understanding between the peoples and cultures of the EU and the Partner Countries.

Priority themes under Tempus are defined around the main components of the EU’s higher education modernization agenda and are therefore structured in the following three building blocks:

  • Curricular Reform
    Modernization of curricula in academic disciplines identified as priorities by the Partner Countries, using the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS), the three cycle system and the recognition of degrees.
  • GovernanceReform
    • University management and services for students
    • Introductionofqualityassurance
    • Institutional and financial autonomy and accountability
    • Equal and transparent access to higher education
    • Developmentofinternationalrelations.
  • HigherEducationandSociety
    • Trainingofnon-universityteachers
    • Developmentofpartnershipswithenterprises
    • Knowledgetriangleeducation-research-innovation
    • Training courses for public services (ministries, regional/local authorities)
    • Development of lifelong learning in society at large
    • Qualificationsframeworks

National and regional priorities are defined based on these themes.


For more information about the Tempus Programme,
please, visit: http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/tempus/