Polish higher education has long history – first universities have emerged in this country more than 650 years ago. Nowadays study programs in Poland are available for students from every corner of the world. There are more that 57,000 international students from 157 countries in Poland and this number increases every year. Poland has signed the Bologna Convention and is a part of European Area of Higher Education. As a result, higher education system has been divided in three stages: Bachelor (the original Polish names are Licencjat and Inżynier) programs, Master (Magister) programs and Doctoral studies. Students may choose between numerous state and private universities, colleges professional schools (for example, art schools).
Bachelor degree could be obtained after 3-3,5 (Licencjat) or 3,5-4 (Inżynier) years of education in the college or university. Enrollment requirements differ between various institutions, but it is necessary to have a secondary school diploma. The list of countries which have an agreement on mutual recognition of different types of diplomas is available on the website of Bureau for Academic Recognition and International Exchange. Most of the bachelor programs are taught in Polish, but some are available in English.
To apply for a master degree, prospective students have to provide a bachelor diploma and the evidence of language proficiency (English or Polish). Some universities also require motivation letters, personal essays and letters of recommendation. Professional schools may also organize additional tests or require a portfolio. Master degree (Magister) could be obtained after 2-2,5 years of studies.
PhD programs are intended for those who already have a Master (or equivalent) degree and plan to pursue a career in academia. In order to get a PhD, students have to pass an exam and defend a dissertation in front of academic commission in the university.
Academic year in Poland usually starts in October, and the second semester finishes in June. Polish universities offer various programs in numerous fields, including outstanding programs in Engineering and Languages. Among the more famous and eminent universities in Poland are Warsaw University and Jagiellonian University which are both public.