The level of the education system in Poland has been improving steadily within the last ten years. At the same time, not only the quality of teaching has improved, but also the number of international students has been growing constantly and a lot has been done to make their stay in Poland as comfortable as possible.
Interestingly enough, among universities in Poland, there are both some of the oldest in the world with impressive historical traditions, as Jagiellonian University in Cracow, founded in 1364 and some very new and very modern universities. It is your choice where to apply!
Bologna Process is implemented at all universities in the country. Polish universities offer the students a wide range of areas of studies from technical and medical specialties to economics, finance, and social sciences.
Below you can find the listed types of studies and their duration:
- Bachelor of Arts - 3 years (6 semesters)
- Bachelor of Science - 3.5 years (7-8 semesters)
- Master’s Degree - 1.5 - 2 years (3-4 semesters)
- Long cycle Master's Degree (for Medical Specialities, Psychology and Law) lasts for 5-6 years (10-12 semesters)
- Postgraduate studies - 1 - 1.5 years (1-2 semesters)
There is a quite common non-degree programme called “Zerówka” - a 9-months preparatory course for future students. It includes classes of the Polish language and a couple of other subjects. After completing the course participants get a certificate confirming their level of Polish proficiency.
Alternatively if one does want to improve their English language skills there is option to enroll for English preparatory school (also 9-months) with aim of entering degree program upon completion the course.
Jagiellonian University in Cracow, the oldest Polish university
As a foreigner, you have a right to apply for studies at any University and study in either Polish or English. There are universities offering studies in other languages as well.
The cost of studying in Polish is on average about 2 000 - 2 500 EUR per year. Studies in English are a bit more expensive and cost about 3 000 EUR per year on average. You can find more detailed information about the tuition fees in Polish universities here.
You can apply for a variety of scholarships that could cover the tuition fee and/or costs of living in Poland. Here you can find the list of scholarship programmes offered by NAWA. In fact, many universities offer their own scholarships to the most talented students.
Below is a generalized description of how the admissions process looks like in various universities in Poland. Please keep in mind, that some universities may add their own requirements, thus make sure to check the admissions rules of every university, that you are planning to apply for.
STEP 1: Chose the programme.
Will you become a lawyer, a journalist, a teacher, or a doctor? Opportunities are endless and the decision is up to you. You can take a look at programmes offered by Polish universities here: STUDYFINDER*
STEP 2: Choose the university and check its admissions requirements.
There are almost 380 state and private higher educational institutions in Poland. You need to choose the one, that will be suitable for you. Do not forget to:
- Compare the ratings of selected universities
- Read student reviews
- Clarify internship opportunities
Then you need to contact the Admissions Office of the university of your choice and discuss the details of the admissions such as required documents, deadlines, and start of the programme. If you are going to apply for the undergraduate programme, usually you will need to prepare the following documents:
- Application Form
- Digital copy of your photo
- High school certificate
- Translation of the above mentioned certificate if it is not in Polish or English
- A certificate confirming the level of language proficiency
Please keep in mind, that different HEIs may require a different set of documents. It is always best to contact the HEI of your choice directly to find out all the details.
To find the contact information and links to the admissions rules of the university, you can use our STUDYFINDER* tool.
STEP 3: Acceptance letter and visa preparation
Usually, admissions campaigns for undergraduate and graduate programmes are starting in April or May. The duration of the campaign depends on the university and may last for up to 6 months.
Poland is a member of the European Union, so EU/EEA students do not need a visa Meanwhile, non-EU/EEA students should read about it and start preparing the necessary documents and setting appointments as soon as possible.
After the university will accept your application, you will be issued with an admissions decision along with the Acceptance letter. Based on the last document, the Embassy will issue you a student visa for a period of time mentioned on it (but no longer, that one year).
To find out more details about the visa application you can visit the dedicated page or the web page of the Embassy of Poland in your country.
STEP 4: Departure and adaptation to a new culture
The academic year in Poland starts at the beginning of October. By that time, you need to start considering the following topics:
- The presence of the Internet in the room or flat
- Purchasing a local SIM card
- Search for a part-time job if necessary
When travelling or living abroad, it is common to experience culture shock, especially if there are vast cultural differences and a language barrier.
Prepare for your trip by reading books about the culture, travel guidebooks, and popular websites or newspapers relevant to life in Poland. If there is a language barrier, take language classes or seek out a tutor to make your transition period easier. Do not hide in your room and only hang out with friends from your country. Get out of your comfort zone and explore popular cultural sites in Poland.
The interview about cultural adaptation with a Nigerian student who studies in Poland you can find here.
More information on what to do before and after your arrival in Poland, you may find here.