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Bologna process: Poland


Much of the current structure and regulation of the higher education sector in Poland can be traced to the “Law on Higher Education” passed on 27th July, 2005. The previous Higher Education Act (1990) allowed for some private provision of universities rather than the more common state provision. As such there is now a mixture of both types of provision. Including the Catholic University of Lublin. These are supplemented by higher professional education providers, created via the Schools of Higher Professional Education Act (1997).

Oversight of universities and higher education generally comes from the Ministry of National Education and Science with some specific input from other ministries (e.g. Ministry of Health for Academies of Medicine or Ministry of National Defence for military schools).

Overview of Types of Universities and Qualifications at Undergraduate and Post graduate Level

(i) Structure

First cycle programmes aim to provide knowledge and skills in a specific area of study, preparing students for work in a specific profession. Graduates of first-cycle programmes have access to second-cycle programmes. Second-cycle and long-cycle programmes aim to provide specialist knowledge in a specific area of study, preparing students for creative work in a specific profession. The completion of both second cycle and long cycle programmes provides access to third cycle (doctoral) programmes.

The duration of degree programmes in both university-type and non-university HEIs is as follows:

  • First-cycle programmes leading a Bachelor’s degree (licencjat or inżynier): 3 to 4 years when leading to licencjat or 3.5 to 4 years when leading to inżynier, depending on the field of study;
  • Second-cycle programmes leading to a Master’s degree (magister or an equivalent degree): 1.5 to 2 years, depending on the field of study;
  • Long-cycle programmes leading to a Master’s degree (magister or an equivalent degree): 4.5 to 6 years, depending on the field of study.

All three types of degree programmes, including first-cycle (Bachelor’s degree), second cycle (Master’s degree) and long-cycle (Master’s degree) programmes are offered by HEIs in officially recognised fields of study. Fields of study are the same for university-type and non-university HEIs. All 119 currently existing fields are listed in the Regulation of the Minister of Science and Higher Education of 13 June 2006 on the names of fields of study. At present, degree programmes in most fields of study may be offered as first cycle programmes, second-cycle programmes and/or long-cycle programmes; with the exception of 11 fields of study including acting, art conservation and restoration, canon law, dentistry, law, medical analysis, medicine, moving image production and photography, pharmacy, psychology and veterinary medicine, where programmes are provided only as long-cycle studies.

(ii) Access

Students in secondary schools take a final examination called Matura. In addition, students wishing to progress to a higher level of education whatever the destination (college, polytechnic or university) must take and pass a Matura exam in order to gain a Swiadectwo Dojrzalosci (Matura Certificate). It is this certificate that provides a route to admission to the first cycle or licencjat degree. Each institution sets its own criteria in relation to this examination to determine admission.

To progress to a second cycle programme, students must hold a Bachelor’s degree (licencjat or inżynier), a Master’s degree (magister or an equivalent degree) or an equivalent degree.

Doctoral programmes in the third cycle are provided by universities and research institutions other than HEIs. Admission is based on the students having a Master’s degree (magister or an equivalent degree) plus some institution-specific conditions.

(iii) Qualifications

Graduates of the first level courses (studia pierwszego stopnia) are awarded the professional title of licencjat or inżynier (or equivalent) after 3-4 years' study. Graduates of the second level courses (studia drugiego stopnia) are awarded the professional title of magister or equivalent after 1.5 to 2-year complementary magister level courses. There are also uniform 5-year magister level courses (jednolite studia magisterskie).

A system of grading for degrees awards works as follows:

  • 2.0 – fail grade
  • 3.0 – lowest passing grade
  • 3.5
  • 4.0
  • 4.5
  • 5.0 – highest grade

The grading is done every semester (twice a year), not once in a school year.

The overall grade can either be based on a single exam or across the whole semester, the latter case resulting in a point system being used as opposed to the 2–5 scale.

Universities in Poland (teaching either economics or business)

  1. University of Białystok (Uniwersytet w Białymstoku, UwB)
  2. University of Gdańsk (Uniwersytet Gdański, UG)
  3. Jagiellonian University in Kraków (Uniwersytet Jagielloński, UJ
  4. John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin (Katolicki Uniwersytet Lubelski Jana Pawła II, KUL)
  5. Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin (Uniwersytet Marii Curie-Skłodowskiej, UMCS)
  6. University of Łódź (Uniwersytet Łódzki, )
  7. University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn (Uniwersytet Warmińsko-Mazurski w Olsztynie, UWM)
  8. Opole University (Uniwersytet Opolski, UO)
  9. Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań (Uniwersytet Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu, UAM)
  10. Rzeszów University (Uniwersytet Rzeszowski, UR)
  11. University of Silesia in Katowice (Uniwersytet Śląski,
  12. University of Szczecin (Uniwersytet Szczeciński, US)
  13. Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń (Uniwersytet Mikołaja Kopernika w Toruniu, UMK)
  14. University of Warsaw (Uniwersytet Warszawski, UW
  15. Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw (Uniwersytet Kardynała Stefana Wyszyńskiego, UKSW)
  16. University of Wrocław (Uniwersytet Wrocławski, UWroc)
  17. University of Zielona Góra (Uniwersytet Zielonogórski, UZ)
  18. Academy of Economics in Białystok
  19. Academy of Finance and Management in Białystok
  20. University of Economics in Katowice (Akademia Ekonomiczna w Katowicach)
  21. Cracow University of Economics (Uniwersytet Ekonomiczny w Krakowie)
  22. Poznań University of Economics (Uniwersytet Ekonomiczny w Poznaniu
  23. Wrocław University of Economics (Uniwersytet Ekonomiczny we Wrocławiu)
  24. Warsaw School of Economics (Szkoła Główna Handlowa, SGH
  25. Academy of Humanities & Economics in Łódź


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