Foreign students at Polish universities

There are more and more foreign students at Polish universities. In the 2013-14 academic year there were 36 thousand foreign students, compared to only 4.3 thousand in the year 1990-91. The largest group of foreigners studying in Poland are citizens of Eastern European countries – 29.2 thousand people in total (81.1%), including, especially, students from Ukraine – 15.1 thousand (42.0%) and from Belarus – 3.7 thousand (10.3%).

Young people of Polish origin also show interest in studying in Poland. In the 2013-14 academic year they constituted 15.6% of all foreigners studying in Poland. Most foreign students study in Warsaw (10.8 thousand), Cracow (4.3 thousand), Lublin (3.1 thousand), and Wroclaw (2.9 thousand). More data can be found here.

In Poland foreign students can, depending on possibilities and preferences, study at public and private universities. Currently in Poland there are 470 higher education institutions - 132 public and 338 private. Public universities have a longer history and traditionally are considered to be more prestigious, but the private sector, which has been dynamically developing its offer since the '90s, is also very popular. Many private institutions have a good reputation among students and receive high ratings.

Below we present a short review of types of studies available in Poland.

First-cycle studies – professional studies, which prepare students for work in a specific profession and lead to the title of bachelor (licencjat) or engineer (inżynier). First-cycle studies last 6 semesters (7 in case of engineer studies). This level of studies is available to persons who graduated from high school and have passed Matura exams or an equivalent exam in Poland or abroad. Detailed information about recognition of certificates further in this article.

Second-cycle studies – professional studies, lead to a master's (magister) degree or a master in engineering (magister inżynier) degree. They last 4 semesters. To undertake second-cycle studies a first-cycle studies diploma is required (awarded by a higher education institution in Poland or abroad).

Uniform Master’s studies – studies which lead to a master's degree, a master in engineering degree or an equivalent degree. Master’s degree studies last form 10 to 12 semesters. People who graduated from high school and have passed Matura exams or an equivalent in Poland or abroad may apply for those studies. Only a few degree courses such as pharmacy, law, psychology, medicine offer uniform Master’s studies.

Most people finish their educational adventure at this stage. Those who want to continue self development and to get further qualifications might undertake:

  • hird-cycle studies, that is PhD studies/doctoral degree studies. To undertake them a master's degree is required. Their goal is to provide students with advanced knowledge in a specific field or discipline. Third-cycle studies are intended mainly for people interested in pursuing an academic career, although their popularity has increased in recent years. Studies last 8 semesters. They also involve teaching and carrying out own research. They lead to the title of a doctor - after ta successfully defended doctoral dissertation.
  • post-graduate studies, the aim of which is to broaden the student's knowledge of a narrow, specialised field or discipline. Post-graduate studies last 2 to 4 semesters. After graduation, the student gets a diploma confirming graduation of post-graduate studies.

All foreigners may undertake studies at Polish universities. However, it must be remembered that rules of applying to and studying at public universities differ depending on a given person’s status.

logo migrapolis

logo ue biale

Project “New law - my new rights” is co-financed by European Fund for Integration
of Third Country Nationals and Polands state budget

 Copyright © by Foundation for Development Beyond Borders, 2015