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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Second-cycle programmes


7.Higher education

7.3Second-cycle programmes

Last update: 27 November 2023

Branches of Study

Instruction at the second level, up to the master's degree, provides profound fundamental training in combination with specialization in a particular major. The completion of  the following requirements is needed for the acquisition of Master's educational and qualification degree:

  • at least 300 credits in accordance with the curriculum with a minimum length of studies of five years;
  • at least 120 credits after the acquisition of a professional bachelor's educational and qualification degree;
  • at least 60 credits after the acquisition of a bachelor's educational and qualification degree.

Admission Requirements

People who have completed secondary education that gives them access to edudcation in higher schools (e.g. who have successfully passed the state matriculation exams) or who have acquired a "Professional Bachelor in..." or a Bachelor degree are eligible to apply for a Master degree programs.

For training for acquiring a Master degree shall admit persons who have completed secondary education, giving them access to education in high schools, e. g. who have successfully passed the state matriculation exams or persons who have acquired Professional Bachelor in… or a Bachelor degree.

Applicants who have successfully partaken in the admission competition to a higher school shall be admitted under easier terms and conditions as established in the higher school's Rulebook in any of the following cases:

  • applicants who scored equally;
  • disabled persons with long-term disabilities and reduction of the ability to work by 70 percent or more;
  • disabled war veterans;
  • orphans;
  • mothers of three or more children;
  • twins where both have concurrently applied to the same higher school and for the same professional area and one of them has been admitted.

Applicants who are winners at national or international competitions completing their secondary education in the year of the competition and medal winners at Olympic, worlds and European championships shall be admitted without any entrance examination and beyond the annual number of students to be admitted under the Decision of the Council of Ministers where the entrance examination for the specialty they apply for corresponds to the subject-matter of the competition or championship.

At the proposal of the Minister of Physical Education and Sports and following a decision of the academic council with the higher school medal holders from Olympic, World and European Championships may be admitted without entrance examination beyond the established under the Decision of the Council of Ministers annual number of admitted students.

Higher schools shall announce the admission terms and conditions before the 31st of March of each year.


Under the provisions of the Higher Education Act Higher schools in Bulgaria shall enjoy academic autonomy which shall include academic freedoms, academic self-government and inviolability of the territory of the higher schools. Besides the other characteristics the academic self-government shall express in independent choice of faculty, admission requirements and forms of training students and postgraduates.

Overall state requirements are set for acquisition of the different degrees – Professional Bachelor in…, Bachelor and Master. There are also state requirements set for certain regulated professions which are mainly with five to six-years length of study and required acquisition of minimum 300 credits (Medicine, Dental Medicine, Pharmacy, Veterinary Medicine, Architecture, Law).

The subjects are taught in Bulgarian but there are certain programmes taught in foreign languages, mainly English, French and German.

Teaching Methods

The forms of higher-school instruction are full-time, part-time, evening attendance and correspondence (distance) courses. The organisation matters are subject to the Academic autonomy and shall be treated in higher school's Rules of Operation (Rulebook) in compliance with the Law. Teachers are supposed to use their own teaching methods in accordance with the certain discipline/module.

Usually the organisation forms vary from formal lectures for the entire course and practical exercises for smaller groups to seminars, self-preparation (at laboratories, libraries, through papers, homework, and others), projects work; etc. Typically the teaching is structured in disciplines and/or modules and different materials such as books, audio-visual and other assistant materials are used. The new technologies in class (such as computer-assisted teaching, e-learning, etc.) are increasingly used.

Progression of Students

This field is subject of the Academic autonomy and shall be treated in higher school's Rules of Operation (Rulebook) in compliance with the Law.


There are student on-spot internships and practices implemented in the curricula of certain specialties.

Student internships and practices are also organized and conducted under projects funded by the Operational program “Human Resource Development” of the European Social Fund.

Centers for Career Development have been established in 47 out of 51 higher schools. In process of establishment are centers for career development in two higher schools. An information system to support the professional orientation of students was established in one of the Academies without Centers for Career Development. These centers provide information on available job positions; register students and alumni in order to find suitable positions for training and work practices; organize company presentations to students for educational practices on spot and job positions, etc.

Student Assessment

The basic form of knowledge assessment at higher schools is the written examination, unless the specific features of the subject and/or module require otherwise. The written materials from the checking of the knowledge and skills shall be stored for at least a year after the conduct of the assessment. Students' knowledge and skills shall be graded on the basis of a six-grade system comprising of: Excellent (6.00), Very Good (5.00), Good (4.00), Fair (3.00) and Poor (2.00). Any higher school shall have the right to introduce through its Rules of Operations different grading system whereas it shall be required to ensure comparability with the above mentioned grades The grade of at least Fair (3.00) is required for an examination to be successfully passed.

The course of studies shall be completed with a final state examination or defence of a diploma thesis. The state examination or the diploma thesis defence shall be conducted pursuant to the state diploma-granting requirements before a state board of examiners made up of habilitated persons having academic rank.

Higher schools shall provide a Credit transfer and accumulation system for grading the knowledge and skills acquired by the students in the course of studies. The system shall be based on 60 credit points per academic year or 30 credit points per semester, allocated by subjects and/or modules in accordance with the curriculum of the specialty and the educational and qualification degree, or another number of credit points compatible with this system. The objective of the system is to provide students with an opportunity to choose subjects, self-preparation and mobility on the basis of mutual recognition of certain periods of studies, which correspond to elements of the curriculum of the speciality and the educational and qualification degree. Credit points shall represent the grading of the obligations which students have to fulfill in a certain subject or module as part of the overall obligations required for the successful completion of an academic year or semester. Credit points in each specialty shall consist of the total number of lectures, practical exercises and seminars, self-preparation (at laboratories, libraries, through papers, homework, and others), examinations passed and other forms of grading as established by the higher school. Credit points may also be awarded for participation in practical courses or course or diploma papers, where these activities constitute elements of the curriculum. The credit points under shall be awarded to students who have successfully completed the respective subject and/or module through an examination or another form of grading.


Higher schools shall issue the following documents for education and training:

  • Diploma degree in higher education "professional bachelor in ..."," bachelor " or " master" and annexes thereto;
  • European Diploma Supplement;
  • Certificate of qualification;
  • Certificate recognized specialty in the health care system for post-graduate education;
  • Certificate of successful completion of preparatory course for professional and language training in Bulgarian for foreigners - undergraduate and graduate students;
  • Certificate of professional qualification;
  • Certificate of professional teaching specialization;
  • Certificate for additional training or specialization.

The higher schools alone determine layout and arrange printing of the documents.