The System of Education in Poland



1. Access to the higher education

The total duration of education until completion of a school which offers the possibility of taking the secondary school leaving examination (maturity examination) is 12 – 15 years. Having passed successfully the secondary school leaving examination (maturity examination), the graduates are awarded a secondary school leaving certificate (maturity certificate), which entitles them to apply for admission to a higher education institution. 

2. Higher education system

Higher education system in  Poland and the basis for its operation are laid down in the Act of 27 July 2005 – Law on Higher Education. Its provisions are applied both to the state (public) and non-State (non-public) higher education institutions, in which programmes of study are offered on the same basis and upon completion of the same requirements. Higher education institutions are divided, irrespective of their status, into academic and vocational ones. An academic higher education institution is a school in which at least one of its organisational units is entitled to award the academic degree of doktor. 

A vocational higher education institution is a school offering first, second cycle study programmes or one-tier (long-cycle) study programmes. It is  not entitled to award the academic degree of doktor.

Study programmes are offered as first cycle, second cycle and one-tier (long-cycle) programmes and doctoral (third cycle) programmes. First cycle programmes leading to a licencjat degree last from 6 to 8 semesters, and those leading to an inżynier degree last seven or eight semesters. Second cycle degree programmes last three or four semesters and one-tier (long-cycle) programmes leading to a magister degree last from 9 to 12 semesters.

Doctoral study programmes last no longer than 4 years and upon completion graduates are awarded a certificate. Under a separate procedure graduates are conferred the academic degree of a doktor or doktor w zakresie sztuki.

Higher education programmes and doctoral programmes may be offered as full-time or part-time programmes.

3. Degrees awarded to graduates of higher education institutions

- licencjat, licencjat pielęgniarstwa or  licencjat położnictwa, inżynier, inżynier pożarnictwa, inżynier architekt and inżynier architekt krajobrazu – awarded to graduates of first cycle programmes;

- magister  and equivalent degrees of: - magister sztuki, magister farmacji, magister inżynier, magister inżynier architekt, magister inżynier architekt krajobrazu, magister inżynier pożarnictwa, magister pielęgniarstwa, magister położnictwa,

- lekarz, lekarz dentysta, lekarz weterynarii - awarded to graduates of long cicle 5 or 6 years intramural full-time Master’s degree studies.


The number of the ECTS credits provided by the plan of studies for one semester  is from 27 to 33, while it is 60 ECTS credits for an academic year. It is necessary to gather 180 – 240 ECTS credits to complete a first cycle programme, 90 – 120 ECTS credits to complete a second cycle programme, and 270 – 360 ECTS credits to complete a one-tier (long-cycle) programme.

5. Academic degrees, degrees in  arts, academic title, academic title in arts

The academic degrees are the degrees of doktor and doktor habilitowany of a specific area of science in a given scientific discipline. The degrees awarded in arts are the degrees of doktor and doktor habilitowany of a specific area of arts in a given artistic discipline.

Academic degrees are conferred by organizational units of higher education institutions, Polish Academy of Sciences and research and development institutions in compliance with the powers granted under a separate procedure.

The academic title is the degree of profesor of a specific area of science, while the equivalent degree in arts is the degree of  profesor of a specific area of arts. The degree of profesor is conferred by the President of the Republic of Poland.

footer background

Pomorski Uniwersytet Medyczny w Szczecinie

ul. Rybacka 1, 70-204 Szczecin,
tel. 91 48 00 700 / 800, fax 91 48 00 705
NIP 852-000-67-57, Regon 000288886