The structure of studies
Since 2007/2008 academic year Polish higher education system has been divided to three stages, which are: Bachelor (Licencjat, Inżynier), Master (Magister), and Doctor (Doktor). This system applies to all fields of education except Law, Pharmacy, Psychology, Veterinary Medicine, Medicine and Dentistry, which are still based on two-stage system (Master and Doctor).
Bachelor (BA, Licencjat)
Obtained following the completion of 3-3,5 year-long vocational/technical college studies
Bachelor (BSc, Inżynier)
Obtained following the completion of 3,5-4 year-long college studies in technical sciences, agriculture and economy.
Master (MA, MSc, Magister)
Equivalent degrees: Master of Art, Master Engineer, Master Engineer Architect, qualified physician, dental surgeon or veterinarian. Granted following the completion of 5-6 year long uniform university studies. The MSc may also be obtained following the completion of 2-2,5 years-long supplementary mater's degree studies which may be taken by persons with a college diploma.
Doktor (PhD, Doktor)
A degree awarded to those who pass doctoral exam and successfully defend dissertation. To qualify for the academic degree of doctor one must hold a master or equivalent degree.
The requirements depend on a specific university decision, and should be verified on a website of the university of your choice. Usually it's necessary to fill an application form, and enclose the transcript of secondary school (or college/university) results as well as the evidence of English proficiency (usually TOEFL results). Some universities require letters of recommendation, personal essays and other documents, listed on their websites. Art schools, as well as some physical education departments, and few other ones, organize additional aptitude tests.
The Polish State Accreditation Committee is in charge of monitoring and controlling educational standards in Polish institutions of higher education. The Committee is cooperating with accreditation offices in other countries. For more information see: www.pka.edu.pl
Recognition of diplomas
All the regulations regarding the validation of diplomas, and a list of countries which have signed an agreement of mutual recognition of diplomas with Poland, are available on the webpage of the Bureau for Academic Recognition and International Exchange (www.buwiwm.edu.pl).
The academic year
The academic year is divided into two parts: the fall semester (October-mid February), and the spring semester (mid February-June). Each of them ends with the examination period. Teaching is given in the form of lectures, classes, seminars, laboratory classes and discussion groups.
To complete a semester successfully a student must receive passing notes for all examinations. The most common grading scale comprises the following marks: very good (5), good plus (4,5), good (4), satisfactory plus (3,5), satisfactory (3), failing (2). Under the European Credit Transfer System a certain number of credits are allocated to a given subject independently of marks received on exams.
Polish system in European higher education area
Poland has signed the Bologna Declaration aiming to create the European Area of Higher Education. Institutions of higher education in Poland have implemented the ECTS (European Credit Transfer System). They are also engaged in the international exchange of students, based on individual schools activity and programs like SOCRATES/Erasmus. The Diploma Supplement facilitates international recognition of completed education and acquired qualifications.