International Education

Higher Education in Poland

Poland has over 400 public and private universities and other higher education institutions which provide a broad range of subject areas to meet student's academic and professional goals. The Ministry of Science and Higher Education oversees higher education and the University Accreditation Commission evaluates the quality of university programs. Although improvements have been made since the end of communism in 1989, higher education has suffered from growing pains as a result of greatly increased demand, budget limitations and conflicts between public and non-public institutions. Changes are being proposed which would increase quality, improve alignment with labor market needs, increase focus on research and improve accessibility to those in rural and poorer areas. Students are admitted to universities and other institutions based on secondary school exam grades, entrance exam grades and interviews as determined by the individual institution and/or department. Higher education at public institutions is currently free as dictated by the constitution although proposals to charge tuition have been discussed in the recent past due to government financing limitations.

Types of Schools and Degrees

As of 2010, there were 131 state-owned higher education institutions and 326 private institutions. About 30 percent of students attend private institutions. University-type institutions are differentiated from professional institutions which offer programs more focused on vocational professions such as nursing, finance, technical sciences and agricultural sciences. Universities have a traditional academic focus with some offering a broad array of subjects while others specialize in certain areas such as medicine, technology or fine arts. Poland's institutions abide by the Bologna agreement which standardized degrees across Europe. Bachelor's degrees can be earned in three to four years, master's degrees in another two years, first master's degrees in five to six years and doctoral degrees in three to four years. All levels of degrees can be earned in most fields except medicine, dentistry, law, pharmacy, veterinary medicine and psychology, where only master's and doctoral level degrees can be earned.

International Students

Over 13, 000 international students attend Polish institutions of higher education each year with over 3000 coming from North American and Western Europe. Most courses are taught in Polish but there are some programs available in other languages, most commonly English. To attend a university in Poland, international students must qualify to attend higher education institutions in their own country and have at least an intermediate command of the language in which they are going to study. Some programs have admissions policies which require students to have taken specific coursework, to take entrance exams and/or be interviewed. European Union students study for free at public Polish universities although some programs taught in English do charge tuition fees. Other foreigners pay very reasonable tuition fees as compared with western countries.

About Poland

Poland is a country of over 28 million people located in Central Europe. It became a democracy in 1989 after decades of communist rule. The official language is Polish while English and German are common second languages. The capital of Warsaw is also the country's largest city with a population approaching two million people. Although a member of the European Union, it retains its own currency. Its economy is one of the healthiest among former communist countries and it had the highest GDP growth in EU in 2009. Tourism, as well as manufacturing of electronics, transportation and military engineering and medicine is among the important components of Poland's economy.


Ministry of Science and Education
Study in Poland