Higher Education in Poland
Poland has two million students enrolled in over 450 higher education institutions. Since its foundation, Poland has served as the geographical and cultural crossroads of Eastern and Western Europe. A large part of the Polish higher education market is made up of private colleges and universities. There are about 310 privately owned universities and colleges and 138 state schools of higher learning. This has resulted in a high level of competition that has given Poland lower prices for studying than in many other European countries.
Structure of Higher Education in Poland:
Types of Higher Education Institutions:
These institutions offer studies in the humanities, sciences, medical sciences, economics, pedagogy, the arts, and military studies.
Professional higher education institutions:
These institutions educate students in specific professional areas and prepare them for practicing a profession.
Types of Degrees:
First-cycle studies (3 to 4 years) leading to the professional title of a licencjat or inżynier (Engineer, in the field of engineering, agriculture or economics). 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 180-240 ECTS credits.
Second-cycle studies – Master’s degree programme (1.5 to 2 years) 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 on the development of creativity and talents. Master’s degree holders may enter a doctoral programme (third-cycle studies). To obtain the degree, students must earn 90-120 ECTS credits.
In addition to the general structure, 11 fields of study including acting, art conservation and restoration, canon law, dentistry, law, medical analysis, medicine, production and photography, pharmacy, psychology and veterinary medicine, offer long-cycle programmes only.
Long-cycle studies – Master’s degree programme (4.5 to 6 years) leading to the professional title of Master (magister), or an equivalent degree depending on the course profile). To obtain this degree, students must earn 270-360 ECTS credits. 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.
Third-cycle studies – Doctoral degree programmes (normally 3 to 4 years) accessible for graduates of a Master’s degree programme, leading to a PhD degree, offered by universities as well as some research institutions (departments of the Polish Academy of Sciences as well as research and development institutions). A PhD degree is awarded to candidates who submit and successfully defend a doctoral dissertation before a thesis committee and pass a doctoral examination.