The matura is a test that allows you to continue on to university study. The subjects available to take your exam in are numerous. Some subjects require you to take the matura exam both written and orally. You can take the exam at either the basic level or the extended one. Make sure to check your university’s requirements for different subjects before you submit an application


Poland has both public (state-funded) and private (privately-funded) higher education institutions, which can be either academic or vocational. Universities and medical academies in Poland, however, have always been public. Within the country, there are close to 400 higher education institutions. These include Public Universities, Technical Universities, Medical Universities, Academies of theatre and film, Agricultural Universities, Pedagogical Universities, Academies of Music, Academies of Arts, Theological Universities, Universities of Economics, Maritime Universities, and Military Universities. The qualifications one gets after graduating from an institute of higher education are assigned a level of the Polish Qualifications Framework specified in the Act of 22 December 2015 on the Integrated Qualifications System (Journal of Laws of 2017, item 986, as amended). The laws surrounding higher education in Poland are written down in the Act of 20 July 2018 – Law on Higher Education and Science (Journal of Laws, item 1668).


Studies can be pursued full-time or part-time. The Polish higher education system consists of three separate stages: Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctorate, sometimes also referred to as the first-, second-and long-cycle. There are, however, some academic paths that only consist of the last two stages. These are Law, Pharmacy, Psychology, Veterinary Medicine, Medicine, and Dentistry.

Degree Descriptions

First Cycle

Bachelor (BA, Licencjat)

This degree is earned after completing 3 to 3,5 years of vocational/technical training. To receive this title, a student needs to complete between 180 to 240 credits. Finishing this cycle of the study confirms a qualification of level 6 within the Polish Qualifications Framework.

Bachelor (BSc, Inżynier)

This degree is earned after completing 3,4 to 4 years of training in technical sciences, agriculture and economics. To receive this title, a student needs to complete between 180 to 240 credits. Finishing this cycle of study confirms a qualification of level 6 within the Polish Qualifications Framework.

Second Cycle

Master (MA, MSc, Magister)

This degree is earned after completing 5 to 6 years of study in a university; however, the MSc degree can be earned after completing 2 to 2,5 years of supplementary study, after receiving an undergraduate degree. To receive this title, a student needs to complete between 90 and 120 credits. Finishing this cycle of the study confirms a qualification of level 7 within the Polish Qualifications Framework. The following degrees are the same level of achievement: Master of Art, Master Engineer, Master Engineer Architect, qualified physician, dental surgeon, or veterinarian.

Long Cycle

Long-Cycle Studies

Long-cycle studies take between 4,5 and 6 years, and after finishing students earn a Master’s degree. To receive that title, a student needs to complete between 270-360 credits. Long cycle studies can be pursued in the following areas: medicine, dental medicine, medical analysis, pharmacy, veterinary, psychology, acting, law, canon law, art conservation, and restoration and photography.

Doctor (Ph.D., MD)

This degree is earned following the successful completion of a doctoral exam and dissertation defense. In order to begin one’s doctoral studies, you must have already completed your master’s degree or equivalent.

The academic year and vacations

The academic year consists of two-semester, fall, and spring. The fall semester is from October to mid-February, and the spring semester from mid-February to June. All universities give students a two-week break around the end of January. During vacation, no classes are conducted. Private language schools operate differently with studies continuing all year, except for national holidays.

Types of Institutions

Academic institutions in Poland can be either academic or vocational. Academic institutions offer one or more scientific/artistic courses of study, as well as the bestowal of scientific category A+, A, or B+. These institutions administer primarily bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and sometimes doctoral degrees. Vocational institutions operate differently, offering more practical or hands-on education. These institutions also administer primarily bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and sometimes long-cycle studies.

Enrolment requirements

All international students have to first meet the requirements to enroll in higher education in their own countries with at least an intermediate proficiency level of English. The enrolment requirements for each university vary, and you can look up each university’s requirements on their website. To qualify for entrance into an institute of higher education, a student must have completed secondary school.  Students receive a secondary school-leaving certificate after passing their matriculation examination. This document allows them to apply to a higher education institution. Beyond that, you will usually need to complete an application, and include transcripts from any secondary school or another university you have attended. Some universities may request a personal statement from you or a letter of recommendation from a former professor. Depending on the university, you may also need to submit evidence of your English level (such as TOEFL results). While some universities accept everyone, others are more selective based on your exam scores or secondary school grades. Specialized schools, such as art academies, may also expect a demonstration that you have a certain level of talent or proficiency in a specific area.

Language requirements

You do not need to speak fluent Polish in order to enroll in a Polish university because all universities offer programs of study in English. This means that you will need to demonstrate at least an intermediate proficiency level in English. However, knowing Polish will help you in your everyday life outside of school. You can find information on getting a Polish language certificate from the State Commission for Certification and Command of Polish as a Fo­re­ign Lan­gu­age (

Quality assurance

The Polish State Accreditation Committee oversees the standards of Polish education in its universities and institutes. They work with accreditation committees in other countries to ensure similar levels of standards. For more information you can visit their website at

Recognition of diplomas

In 2004, several countries signed a universal agreement, the Lisbon Convention on Recognition of Degrees, recognizing the validity of diplomas received in Poland. For a list of these countries, please visit the website for the Bureau for Academic Recognition and International Exchange at

Lectures and classes

Studies are carried out in the form of lectures, seminars, classes, and labs. Lectures are given by a professor and can be attended by hundreds of students at a time. Seminars are much smaller and students should be prepared to actively participate in the discussion. Classes usually consist of 25-30 students and blend both lecture and discussion, giving the students an opportunity to ask questions. Labs are usually done in tandem with a science class in order to give students the opportunity for scientific experimentation.

Grading scale

To finish the semester, a student needs passing grades for all examinations. The Polish grading scale goes as such:

2.0 – unclassified, D (you fail)
3.0 – pass mark, C
3.5 – C+
4.0 – B
4.5 – B+
5.0 – A


The semester concludes with final examinations. Students must earn a passing grade for all their exams in order to finish the semester. The Polish grading scale is most often broken down as such: very good (5), good plus (4,5), good (4), satisfactory plus (3,5), satisfactory (3), failing (2). In some cases, partial credit can be given to a student in a certain subject, regardless of his or her grade, under the European Credit Transfer System.

Polish system in European higher education area

The European Area of Higher Education allows for the recognition of earned credits, degrees, and qualifications across European countries that have signed the Bologna Declaration. As a signer of the declaration, Poland takes part in this international exchange, which includes activity between certain schools and programs such as SOCRATES/Erasmus. The goal of these programs is to develop and maintain good relationships between institutions of higher education in other countries.


To graduate and receive their diploma, students must:

  • Pass examinations for all subjects taken.
  • Pass the diploma examination.
  • Present a diploma project, and receive a passing grade.

Once finished, students receive the diploma corresponding with their field of study, including a supplemental document that provides comprehensive details of the work completed by the student.


Tuition is free for full-time Polish students, and for foreign students of the Polish language who conduct their studies on the same terms as Polish citizens. This of course includes students coming from EU/EEA countries, or those who hold a Pole’s card. All other students must pay tuition.

Both public and private institutions of higher education set their own individual fees. However, the average cost is as follows:

  • EUR 2000 per year for bachelor’s, master’s, and postgraduate master’s courses
  • EUR 3000 per year for doctoral, postgraduate, and specialist courses
  • EUR 300) per year for scientific, artistic, specialist, and habilitation internships
  • EUR 3000 per year for vocational courses and apprenticeships
  • EUR 2000 per year for a language course, including preparatory courses to study in Polish
  • EUR 8000-12,000 per year for MBA programs

In extreme situations, the headmaster of the institution may grant a request to have the tuition fee reduced or waived.

Doctoral colleges operate a bit differently than other institutions of higher education. In addition to waiving tuition fees, they also provide scholarships or stipends to full-time doctoral candidates.


Once you decide to study a foreign language, you’ll have to choose a language school that best suits your needs and your goals. Think about the reasons you want to learn a new language. Will you need it for your job? Will you need it in school? Will it help you in everyday situations like shopping or going to a restaurant? Will it help you better communicate with your new friends or your spouse’s family members? No matter what your reason is if you’re going to stay in Poland for a long time, learning the Polish language will help you in numerous situations. Find the best language schools in the section COMPANIES.