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In accordance with the assumptions of the Bologna Process, a three-level study system has been introduced at Polish universities:
First-cycle studies – Bachelor’s degree programmes, at least 6 semesters, leading to the professional title of “licencjat” or at least 7 semesters, leading to the professional title of “inżynier”. These are focused on preparing students for future employment, or for continued education within Master’s degree programmes. To obtain this degree, students must earn at least 180 ECTS credits.
Second-cycle studies – Master’s degree programmes, 3 to 4 semesters following first- cycle studies, leading to the professional title of „magister” or an equivalent degree (depending on the study course profile). These are focused on theoretical knowledge, as well as the application and development of creative skills. In artistic disciplines, focus is on the growth of creativity and development of talent. Master degree holders may enter doctoral programmes (third-cycle studies). To obtain this degree, students must earn at least 90 ECTS credits.
Long-cycle studies – Master’s degree programmes, 10 to 12 semesters leading to the professional title of “magister” or an equivalent degree (depending on the study course profile). To obtain this degree, students must earn at least 300 ECTS credits (10-semesters studies) or at least 360 ECTS credits (12-semesters studies). Single long-cycle studies are based on an integrated study program, which contains both basic studies and in-depth specialization.
Third-cycle studies – Doctoral degree programmes, 6 to 8 semesters, accessible to graduates of the Master’s degree program and leading to the PhD degree, are offered by the university-type schools as well as some research institutions (departments of the Polish Academy of Sciences, along with research and development institutions). The PhD degree is awarded to candidates who submit and successfully defend a doctoral dissertation before the thesis committee, and who pass the doctoral examination.
Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) use the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS), under which a certain number of credits are allocated to a given subject, independently of marks awarded. To complete a year successfully, the student has to collect at least 60 credits (30 per semester).
In order to graduate, students are required to:
• pass a performance assessment for all subjects, integrated placements
and practical work sessions, and pass all examinations covered by the study programme
for a given field of study,
• present, at an appointed date, a diploma project, and obtain the pass mark
for the project,
• pass the diploma examination.
Upon graduation, the student receives a diploma of completion of studies in a specific field of study, together with a diploma supplement (a document that accompanies a higher education diploma, providing a standardized description of the nature, level, context, content and status of the studies completed by its holder).