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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Types of higher education institutions


7.Higher education

7.1Types of higher education institutions

Last update: 27 November 2023

Higher education shall be acquired in higher education establishments, having obtained accreditation from the National Evaluation and Accreditation Agency and established under terms and procedure, determined by The Higher Education Act (HEA).

The higher education establishments are universities, specialized higher education schools and independent colleges.


The University is a higher education establishment which educates on a wide circle of specialities, of professional sectors in at least three of the four basic spheres of the science - humanitarian, natural, social and technical for the degrees "bachelor", "master" and "doctor" in the respective basic spheres of science; have academic personnel, available material base which provides the practical education in compliance with the state requirements,  possess library, a university information centre for administrative servicing of students and PhD students;  provide to the academic personnel, to the students and to the PhD students conditions for printing scientific works, textbooks, monographs, as well as for realization of inherent creative contributions; have scientific and artistic and creative potential and develop by its activity basic spheres of the science and culture; possesses a system for protection of intellectual property. Higher education establishment which carries out education in one or two basic spheres of the science or culture and meets the requirements of HEA, can be a university with a name expressing its specifics.

A higher education school that makes a significant contribution to the development of important public areas through top scientific research and has high research results, evaluated according to objective indicators, (including the number of published and referenced scientific articles in international databases, number of applications for international patents filed, number of citations in refereed and indexed journals by other authors in international databases), determined by an act of the Council of Ministers, may be designated as a research higher-education school.

Research Universities

A research university is a higher education institution which, apart from the other characteristics of the university, makes a significant contribution to the development of important public domains through state-of-the-art research. Its results are assessed according to objective indicators defined in an act adopted by the Council of Ministers.

Specialized higher schools

The specialized higher education establishment shall carry out scientific and research or artistic and creative work and shall carry out education in one of the basic spheres of the science, art, physical culture and shall meet the requirements of HEA. Its name shall express the specific sphere where it prepares specialists. This higher education establishment except for the "bachelor" degree may also educate in educational qualification degree "Master" and educational and scientific degree "Doctor".

Independent colleges

The independent college shall educate for acquiring a professional qualification of educational-qualification degree "bachelor" for obtaining of which in compliance with the curriculum are required not less than 180 credits with a term of education not less than three years - "professional bachelor in…". The college shall have an academic staff with basic employment contract which, for each specialty, carries out no less than half of the auditorium and practical classes. The persons with academic rank having basic employment contract in it shall conduct for each specialty no less than 50 percent of the lecture courses. 

A college is possible to be established within a university and a specialized higher education establishment, having obtained accreditation in professional branches or specialties from regulated professions, in which education shall be carried out. The college shall train for acquisition of educational and qualification degree of a "bachelor" for obtaining of which in compliance with the curriculum are required not less than 180 credits with a term of education not less than three years - "professional bachelor in…"

The training for educational and scientific degree "doctor" in doctor programs, which have been accredited can be carried out in the Bulgarian Academy of Science, the Agricultural Academy, the national centres for the problems of the public health and other scientific organizations.

Structure of Higher Education

Types of Higher Education Institutions in Bulgaria