If competitive tuition fees and a low cost of living sounds appealing then head to Poland for a variety of study options and a top class education...
Located right in the middle of continental Europe Poland is currently fourth, behind only the UK, Germany and France, in terms of the number of people studying at university. The total student population reaches almost two million so if you decide to study in Poland you'll be in good (and like-minded) company.
A second language always looks impressive on your CV and studying abroad provides the perfect opportunity to learn, however if your Polish skills are lacking don't panic as most higher education institutions offer courses in English, at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.
Due to its location Poland is a mix of eastern and western cultures making it an interesting place for those who like to explore. From Polish cities to coastal beaches to lakes and mountain ranges there are leisure activities to suit everyone.
The Polish education system
Opportunities are diverse when studying at higher education level in Poland. The country houses more than 400 universities and institutions, both public and private, which cover over 200 fields of study. Types of institutions include:
- public and private universities;
- universities of technology;
- medical universities;
- universities of economics;
- universities of agriculture and life sciences;
- universities pedagogy;
- universities of arts;
- universities of physical education.
For more information, visit Go Poland.
As per the Bologna Process, which standardises qualifications in Europe, the Polish higher education system is divided into three cycles:
- Bachelors (Licencjat). These degrees typically last for three years. BSc or BEng qualifications are known as Inżynier qualifications - the Polish equivalent to a bachelors degree. Studies are focused on preparing students for future employment or continued education in the form of a Masters degree.
- Masters (Magister). Students have the choice between a five-year Masters programme starting in their first year of university or a supplementary two-year course following a Bachelors degree.
- Doctoral (Doktor) studies typically last for four years and lead to a PhD degree. They're only open to those students who have gained a Masters qualification.
The academic year in Poland is divided into two semesters - winter and summer. The winter semester lasts from October to February and the summer from February through to June.
Choose from seven Masters programmes in sustainable energy, each offering a rare combination of engineering and entrepreneurship
Each university and course will have different entry requirements, so make sure you check what is expected of you with your chosen institution before applying. Details of prerequisites for postgraduates are usually listed on university websites by the end of May.
For admission onto degree programmes in Poland you must hold a matriculation certificate (or equivalent document) stating that you are eligible for admission to higher education in the country in which you completed secondary school.
To enrol on any postgraduate programme, however, you will need an undergraduate degree that is legally recognised in Poland, and you must provide proof of recognition to the Polish university by the end of the first term.
Knowledge of Polish is not necessary for most universities in the country, as many courses are offered in English.
Full-time education at Polish higher education institutions (HEI) costs nothing for Polish citizens. In addition, it is free for international students in Poland in some cases. For more information, see Study in Poland.
For all other international students, course fees are:
- €2,000 per year for Bachelors and Masters courses;
- €3,000 per year for Doctoral and specialist courses.
Course fees differ in private institutions, ranging from €2,000 to €6,000 per year depending on the course and institution.
Funding to study in Poland
International students have access to numerous scholarships offered by the Polish government, through international agreements or under the decision of the minister of science and education. The minister appoints grantees through the Bureau for Academic Recognition and International Exchange.
A number of Polish universities have their own scholarship programmes and these are up for grabs to international students too, however you will need to make sure you ask your chosen institution what is on offer before applying.
Polish exchanges and placements
Students attending UK universities can take part in the European Union (EU)'s education, training and youth support programme Erasmus+ . The scheme replaces its predecessor 'Erasmus' and offers study, training, work experience and voluntary placements to millions of young people, students and adults.
Financial support is available through the Erasmus+ initiative to any UK public, private or not-for-profit organisation actively involved in education and training.
Your university must have a formal agreement with a partner university in Poland. Check that your university is involved in the programme and offers the Erasmus+ scheme in your subject.
It isn't necessary to have any knowledge of the Polish language, but you can arrange intensive language courses before you go. Speak to the Erasmus+ coordinator at your university about available opportunities.
As an EU citizen, you are permitted to live in any EU country while studying as long as you:
- are studying for more than three months;
- are enrolled at an approved university/other educational institution;
- have sufficient income (from any source) to live without needing income support;
- have comprehensive health insurance cover.
If you are a citizen of an EU member state then all you need to enter Poland is a valid travel document or a document confirming your identity/citizenship.
EU/European Economic Area (EEA) students living in Poland for up to three months usually don't require a visa, but check with your local Polish embassy to make sure. After three months you will need to register for a residence permit (Karta Pobytu), which is valid for up to two years. This document is issued by the Department of Citizens Affairs of the local Voivodeship Office.
For more information, see Go Poland.