Structure of studies, degrees and modes of study
When you choose your studies, the most important question is the field of study. You look through the specialties and the study program. It is important because your studies should be in line with your interests and abilities. When browsing the university offers, you also come across additional information – about degrees and modes of study. Find out what these mean.
The Polish higher education system is based on a three-tier structure of studies.
1. First-degree studies
Open to candidates who have a secondary school-leaving examination certificate. Upon graduation students obtain the first-degree qualifications, i.e., the professional title of Bachelor, Engineer or an equivalent title in a specific field and profile of education confirmed by an appropriate diploma. This diploma enables the graduates to continue their education at second-degree studies. In order to be awarded a diploma of completing the first-degree studies, students are required to obtain at least 180 ECTS credits. Bachelor’s studies last at least six semesters, and engineering studies at least seven semesters. Student placement is included in the period of study.
2. Second-degree studies
Open to candidates who have a professional title of Bachelor, Engineer or an equivalent title in a specific field and profile of education. Upon graduation students obtain the professional title of Master, Master Engineer or an equivalent title. In order to be awarded a diploma of completing the second-degree studies, students are required to obtain at least 90 ECTS credits. Second-degree studies last three or four semesters. Student placement is included in the period of study. Holders of a Master’s degree may commence doctoral studies (third-degree studies).
3. Uniform Master’s degree studies
Uniform Master’s degree studies last from nine to twelve semesters. The studies allow students to obtain a Master’s degree. The studies follow an integrated program that includes both a basic course and an in-depth specialty. The student is required to obtain at least 300 ECTS credits in the five-year study system or 360 ECTS credits in the six-year study system. Completion of the study program provides students with a qualification equivalent to a Master’s degree of second-degree studies.
4. Third-degree studies
Third-degrees studies, or doctoral studies usually last from 3 to 4 years. They are open to holders of a Master’s degree or of an equivalent degree. Completion of studies is tantamount to obtaining a doctoral degree in a specific field and discipline of science or a doctoral degree of arts in a specific field and discipline of art. Doctoral studies may be conducted by university organizational units or research units authorized to award the academic degree of habilitated doctor or at least two authorizations to award the academic degree of a doctor (PhD).
When choosing your studies, you can choose a specific mode of study. You must decide for yourself whether you have the time and conditions to study full-time. If you work, live at a long distance from the university, or travel a lot, you can choose part-time or online mode of study. It all depends on your lifestyle, professional career and financial conditions.
1. Full-time studies
Full-time studies are studies conducted daily. The study program is implemented in the form of didactic classes at universities, and they require direct participation of academic teachers and students to the extent specified by the educational standards for this form of study. Classes are held from Monday to Friday.
2. Part-time studies
Education takes the form of weekend meetings, usually every 2-3 weeks. Part-time studies involve a greater amount of students’ own work and require devoting more time to self-study. This is a solution for those who do not have time to study during the week because, for example, they pursue their professional careers. Part-time studies provide students with an opportunity to work full-time and thus allow them to gain an advantage over those candidates who spend several years only on education. It is also a good way to become self-reliant and financially independent.
3. Online studies
The online study program is mostly delivered on e-learning platforms via the Internet. The main didactic tool are webinars – they are live web sessions during which the lecturer conducts classes with students using a webcam. Students are free to ask the lecturer questions as well as to communicate with each other via the chat. All the necessary materials are posted on internet platforms. They are archived so that students can access them repeatedly. Students decide themselves when to listen to lectures and when to read the materials. Classes at the university are held only at the beginning and at the end of semesters, during weekend meetings. Exams, tests and meetings with lecturers as well as consultations are held in the traditional form.
Regardless of the mode of study, students are required to master the same material and they are awarded the same diploma.