Higher Education System in Poland
Higher education in Poland conforms to the guidelines from the Bologna Process in European higher education. The European standard in higher education makes it easier for students to obtain recognition of their qualifications in other countries.
Studies are conducted at the level of
- first-cycle studies,
- second-degree studies
- and long cycle studies.
First-cycle studies (3 to 4 years which consists of 6 to 7 semesters) leading to the professional title of a licencjat or inżynier. This is the Polish equivalent of the Bachelor’s degree. It is focused on preparing students for future employment or for continued education within a Master’s degree programme. To obtain this degree, students must earn at least 180 ECTS credits.
Second-cycle studies – Master’s degree programme (1.5 to 2 years which consists of 3 to 5 semesters) following the first cycle studies and leading to the professional title of Master (magister, or an equivalent degree depending on the course profile). It is focused on theoretical knowledge as well as the application and development of creative skills. In arts disciplines, the focus is the development of creativity and talents. Master’s degree holders may enter a doctoral programme (PhD). To obtain the degree, students must earn at least 90 ECTS credits.
In addition to the general structure, 10 fields of study including medicine, dentistry, medical analytics, pharmacy, physiotherapy, veterinary medicine, law, canon law, pre-school and early school education, special education offer long-cycle programmes only.
Additionally, 13 fields of study including architecture, theology, acting, acting of the puppet theatre, art conservation and restoration, psychology, film and television production, film directory, stage design, graphics, painting, sculpture and studies only for candidates for professional soldiers can be offer long-cycle programmes.
Long-cycle studies – Master’s degree programme (4.5 to 6 years which consists of 9 to 12 semesters) leading to the professional title of Master (magister), or an equivalent degree depending on the course profile). Such single long-cycle studies are based on an integrated study programme containing both basic studies and in-depth specialisation. Completion of this degree will provide a qualification corresponding to a second-cycle Master’s degree.
After completing 1st and 2nd cycles or long-cycle studies, graduates can apply for 3rd cycles studies (normally 3 to 4 years which consists of 6 to 8 semesters). Admission to the doctoral school takes place through a competition on the principles set out by the University Senate or the Scientific Council. A student of doctoral schools receives a scholarship for 4 years. A PhD degree is awarded to candidates who submit and successfully defend a doctoral dissertation before a thesis committee and pass a doctoral examination.