The Polish higher education system is based on a three-cycle structure. It covers Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral degrees.
First-cycle studies (Bachelor’s degree programmes) lead to a licencjat (on completion of a professional higher education course lasting 6-8 semesters) or inżynier (on completion of a professional higher education course in technical areas lasting 9-12 semesters). First-cycle studies are focused on preparing students for future employment or for continued education within the Master’s degree programmes.
Second-cycle studies (Master’s degree programmes) lead to a magister on completion of a 3-4 semester course – for holders of a Bachelor’s degree. Second-cycle studies are focused on theoretical knowledge as well as the development and application of creative skills. In the artistic disciplines, the focus is on the development of creativity and talent.
There are also long-cycle programmes that lead to a magister (Master’s degree). The following fields of study are covered acting, art conservation and restoration, canon law, dentistry, law, medical analysis, medicine, production and photography, pharmacy, psychology and veterinary medicine. The long-cycle studies take 9-13 semesters and are based on an integrated study programme which contains both basic studies and in-depth specialisation.
Third-cycle studies (Doctoral degree programmes) lead to a doktor (Doctor, Ph.D. degree). Doctoral studies last no more than 8 semesters and are accessible for graduates of a Master’s degree programme. A degree is awarded to candidates who submit and successfully defend a doctoral dissertation and pass the doctoral examination.