Education in Poland
Every year Polish universities are gaining popularity among applicants from Europe, Russia and the CIS countries. There are many reasons for this: the low cost of studying and living in the country, many programs in English, ancient and prestigious universities and a diploma quoted in all countries of the world. Every year Polish universities accept 500 thousand foreigners.
Higher education system
Poland is a full member of the European Union, therefore, higher education in the country is subject to the pan-European Bologna system. This means that Polish universities issue bachelor’s (3-4 years of study), master’s (2-3 years after bachelor’s degree) and doctor’s degrees (3-4 years after receiving a master’s degree).
The academic year is divided into semesters, each of which ends with exams. The fall semester starts in October and the spring semester starts in February. In Poland, as in other European countries, the common European assessment system is adopted – ECTS. For mastering each discipline, the student receives a certain number of points (credits). To obtain a bachelor’s degree, you will need to collect at least 180 credits for all years of study. For a master’s degree – at least another 90 points. Such a system simplifies the student’s transfer to the next course and transfer to another university in any European country.
Another plus of higher education in Poland for applicants from Russia is the lack of additional preparatory courses. Despite the fact that Poland has adopted a 12-year school curriculum, and not 11-year, as in Russia, a Russian student will not have to spend time filling in educational gaps before admission. Foreigners are admitted to universities with a school certificate. In turn, in the Netherlands, Germany, Austria and other European countries, applicants from other countries need to take preparatory courses.
Students choose one of two forms of education: full-time (stationary) or part-time.
In the afternoon, classes are held 4-5 days a week, in the evening – 4 full days a month (on weekends). Foreign students often choose the correspondence form, since in this case it is possible to obtain an official work permit, thus the students fully support themselves and pay for their studies. Since 2015, full-time students do not need a special work permit, they can work for a whole year, but with one restriction – the work schedule should not exceed 40 hours per week.
It is not necessary to know Polish to study in Poland, although for students who speak Russian, Polish will not be a difficulty due to the similarity of the languages. Most universities provide training programs in English for almost all specialties. But in many universities, attending classes in the Polish language is mandatory, and besides Polish, students are offered to learn another language of their choice. So, after graduation, the graduate speaks two or even three foreign languages. With high scores in entrance examinations and excellent marks in the certificate, a student can study for free in programs in Polish, so sometimes applicants spend a year studying the language and then go to university.
Polish universities cooperate with universities and colleges throughout Europe. Students participate in international programs and have the opportunity to receive two diplomas: from a Polish university and a partner university. For example, you can use the Erasmus Mundus program, which is very popular in Europe.
Internships and internships are integral parts of Polish higher education. Students acquire work skills and experience in Polish and European companies starting from the 2nd year, and the most talented students receive job offers already at this time.
Higher education in Poland: choosing a university and study programs
There are 460 higher education institutions in Poland, private and public. Polish universities are divided into the following types:
Universities (grant bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees)
Academies (awarded bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees) Higher schools (awarded bachelor’s and master’s degrees) Colleges, technical schools (awarded bachelor’s degrees)
Universities and academies are considered academic universities (the emphasis is on theoretical knowledge and research activities), higher schools and colleges are professional (the focus is on the development of practical skills in a particular professional field).
Warsaw State University (Warsaw)
The renowned metropolitan university is the largest educational institution in the country. The university is known for preparing bachelors, masters and doctors of science in the humanities and natural sciences. More than 60 thousand students study at the university, about 10 thousand of whom are foreigners. 10 undergraduate programs, 12 graduate programs and 7 doctoral programs are presented in English. The cost of studying for all programs starts from 2 thousand euros per year.
Jagielon State University (Krakow)
One of the oldest and most prestigious universities in Europe, founded in 1364. The main specialization of the university: medicine, economics, law, philosophy, linguistics, biology and chemistry. 50 thousand students study here, of which more than 8 thousand are foreign students. 5 undergraduate and 4 graduate programs are taught in English. The cost of training for all programs is from 2 thousand euros per year.
Academy named after Leon Kozminsky (Warsaw)
It is considered the best university in the field of business, management and management studies in Central and Eastern Europe. The private academy offers 6 undergraduate and 3 graduate programs in English. 10 thousand students study here, 2 thousand are foreigners. Graduates of the master’s program “International Business and Management” also receive a second diploma from a partner of the university – the British University of Bradford. The cost of studying for a bachelor’s degree starts from 2 thousand euros, for a master’s degree – from 3 thousand euros per year.
Wroclaw State University (Wroclaw)
One of the largest universities in Central Europe, founded in 1703, offers training in all three degrees. The most in-demand specialties at the university are: biology, law, philology, international relations, history, mathematics and physics. 6 undergraduate and 10 graduate programs are taught in English. Tuition fees for bachelor’s and master’s degrees start at 3500 euros per year.
Economic State University of Poznan (Poznan)
The university specializes in economic sciences and issues diplomas of all three degrees. 12 thousand people study at the university, among which 2 thousand are immigrants from other countries. There are 4 undergraduate and 5 graduate programs available for study in English. The average cost of training is 5 thousand euros per year.
State University named after Maria Curie-Sklodowska (Lublin)
The university, named after the famous Polish scientist, is known for preparing highly qualified bachelors of masters and doctors of science in the fields of medicine, chemistry, physics, linguistics, philosophy and computer science. 25 thousand students study here, including 3 thousand foreigners. The university offers only 3 undergraduate programs with training in English: “Business Management”, “Chemistry” and “Scientific Technologies”. However, free Polish language courses at the university are available for applicants. The price for one academic year starts from 1,500 euros.
Higher School of Trade and Law. Richard Lazarski (Warsaw)
A prestigious private university specializing in the fields of economics, law, political science, management and administration. About 500 out of 4 thousand students are foreigners. The university cooperates with the University of Wales, therefore, graduates of half of the master’s programs receive a double diploma. The university offers 7 undergraduate programs (cost – from 2500 euros per year) and 6 master’s programs (cost – from 3500 euros per year) in English.
Higher education in Poland: funding opportunities
Despite the relatively low cost of studying at Polish universities, students can count on various scholarship programs from the state, foundations and organizations, as well as from the universities themselves.
Every year the Ministry of Science and Higher Education issues 100 scholarships for doctoral students and 1000 scholarships for bachelors and masters studying at Polish universities. The main condition for receiving a scholarship is that a student must be in the top 5% in terms of academic performance in his specialty at the university. Students apply for a scholarship after the first year. Financial support of 6,000 euros for doctoral students and 3,500 euros for bachelors and masters can only be obtained once. Documents confirming progress are submitted by the applicant to the dean’s office of his university and then sent to the ministry. The annual application deadline is October 15th.
A joint grant from the Government of Poland and UNESCO for scientific research is intended for young professionals from any country in the world with higher education (bachelor’s or master’s) to carry out scientific research in the field of engineering and technology and to obtain a doctoral degree at the Krakow Polytechnic University.
The grant covers tuition fees, accommodation (in a student residence), flights to Krakow, health insurance, and a monthly allowance of 300 euros. Applications are submitted annually by April 30th through the Ministry of Education and Science in their country.
Young specialists with higher education from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, countries of Central Asia and the Caucasus are provided with a scholarship for one year of study to conduct scientific research in the following areas: philology, political science, philosophy, history, journalism, cultural studies, sociology and international relations. The main requirements for candidates: higher education and a high level of knowledge of the Polish language. Each year, 70 fellows are paid for their flight, tuition, accommodation and medical insurance. Applicants need to fill out a questionnaire and, together with their education documents and a description of the future research project, send by e-mail – email@example.com.
Scholarship to them. Lane Kirkland is intended for postgraduate studies.
Political scientists, journalists, teachers under 40 with master’s or doctoral degrees can apply for financial support. Upon completion of the two-semester training, the specialist receives a certificate (analogous to a document on advanced training). The scholarship covers tuition, accommodation and travel expenses. Applications are accepted annually until the end of March, the announcement of the winners – in December. The applicant needs to fill out a questionnaire, and, together with the diploma and the description of the study, send it by e-mail – firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to the above funding opportunities, students in Polish universities can count on:
receiving monthly scholarships from universities for high academic performance, achievements in sports or creativity
social scholarships (if the student is an orphan or if the student’s family income is below average)
special scholarships (for people with disabilities).
Admission to the University
As mentioned earlier, you can enter a Polish university right after school. Foreign students upon admission provide the following documents:
Certificate or diploma of previous education
Letter of recommendation
Application (on the website of each specific university)
Certificate of knowledge of Polish or English (minimum 500 TOEFL points or 6.0 ILTS points)
It is recommended to apply for admission at least six months before the start of your studies. After submitting a complete package of documents, the applicant is interviewed remotely. After the enrollment of the applicant, the university sends the documents to the Immigration Service, and from there to the Polish embassy, where a ready student visa is issued for the student.
Accommodation while studying
Most Polish universities provide students with a paid hostel. The price for accommodation depends on the city and the university itself. There are economy class and standard dormitories in Poland. Standard rooms are usually single or double and cost an average of 150-200 euros per month. Often this price includes meals in the university canteen. An economy class room will be cheaper, since it is designed for 3-4 students, it costs 100-150 euros per month. Renting an apartment, even a joint one, is much more expensive, so students prefer to live in hostels.
For the rest, living in Poland is not as expensive for students as in Western Europe. Prices for food, transport and entertainment are much lower here than, for example, in Germany, France or the UK. Plus, you can enjoy a variety of student benefits.
Poland is an ideal country for student life. Studying at prestigious universities opens up great prospects and opportunities for students to build a successful career both in Poland and in other European countries.