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Poland - Higher Education

Education Encyclopedia - StateUniversity.comGlobal Education ReferencePoland - History Background, Constitutional Legal Foundations, Educational System—overview, Preprimary Primary Education, Secondary Education


The academic year lasts 30 weeks, is divided into 2 semesters, and in most cases begins with Matriculation Day, 1 October. Graduates from institutions of higher education may receive the Bachelor's and Master's degrees and the professional title of engineer. The Bachelor's degree (licencjat) is awarded following at least three years of professional training. Engineer (inzynier) comes after a minimum of three and a half years of professional training. The Master's degree (magister) can be awarded to those with four and a half years in a program of study in a given discipline. The degree can also be obtained by completing a two year supplementary Master's program, for which holders of the title of engineer are eligible. Some universities and the Polish Academy of Sciences award the Ph.D. degree. Doctorate studies take the form of daily courses and last approximately four years. They require, among other things, that applicants possess master's degrees in their field and write at least two articles and a dissertation. In Poland, as in many continental systems, a post-doctoral degree, known as Doctor Habilitated (doktor habilitowany), can be attained. Persons write and successfully defend a second dissertation, which is usually publishable, and complete a complicated five step process, assuring that they are among the finest scholars in the land.

Types of Institutions: As of December 2000, the rapidly growing higher education sector included: 15 universities; 18 technical universities; 2 maritime schools; 5 academies of economics; 9 high pedagogical schools; 7 academies of agriculture; 12 academies of medicine; 7 academies of theology; 11 military academies; 8 music schools; 6 schools of art; 3 theatre schools; and 6 academies of physical education. Legislation creating the current system includes the Education System Act; the Higher Education Act; and the Scholarly Degrees and Titles Act, supplemented with more detailed regulations by the Ministry of National Education.

Scholarly research is conducted by the 51 scientific institutes of the Polish Academy of Sciences (PANPolska Akademia Nauk), 29 research units of PAN, and 4 foreign research institutions. In 1991, the Committee for Scientific Research, a government agency, was set up to bring back direct government financing of science. Fundamental principles include financing projects, not institutions, granting financial support on a competitive basis, and granting statute research according to the ranked quality of state educational institutions. Foundations for scientific research, however, have very limited funds. The government-run Foundation for Polish Science, also established in 1991, plays an important role as well. Its chief objectives are financing scientific research and projects through nearly 100 loans, subventions, and stipends per year for young scientists. In 1992 the Foundation Award for exemplary scientific achievements was initiated. It is granted in three main fields: the humanities and social sciences; medicine and the natural sciences; and technical and exact sciences.

Admission Standards: To qualify for admission to an institution of higher education, the applicant must hold the secondary school certificate or the professional title of Bachelor's degree or meet requirements determined autonomously by a specific high school.

Faculty: Lectures and other classes are conducted by research workers: professors, associate professors, senior lecturers (adiunkt), and assistants. Classes are also taught by senior lecturers, lecturers, and instructors. The post of professor is an appointed position for persons who have been granted the degree of professor. The post of associate professor is given to persons who have received at least the degree of reader (doktor habilitowany) and corresponds to the United States position of associate professor. In the high vocational school, which grants the professional title of bachelor's degree or engineer, the associate professor post is given to persons who have obtained the degree of doctor and possess the necessary professional experience gained outside high schools or the educational system. In a higher maritime school, associate professor is an appointed position for those who have obtained the degree of doctor and possess the highest naval degree. The post senior lecturer is for persons who have attained at least the title of doctor. Assistant is given to those who have obtained at least the master's degree or its equivalent. Senior lecturers are persons who have attained the professional title of doctor or master (or its equivalent) and have the necessary professional experience.

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