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Third-cycle (PhD) programmes


7.Higher education

7.5Third-cycle (PhD) programmes

Last update: 28 March 2024

Organisation of Doctoral Studies

Doctoral study programmes are carried out by licensed higher education institutions with university status in compliance with the Law on Higher Education, in the following areas:

  • natural sciences

  • technical and technological sciences

  • medical sciences

  • social sciences

  • human sciences

  • agricultural sciences

  • interdisciplinary sciences

Doctoral studies take three study years (six semesters), i.e. the total study programme comprises 180 ECTS points. The study programme of doctoral studies is divided into study years and semesters. The scope of the study programme is 60 ECTS in one study year, i.e. 30 ECTS in one semester. Doctoral study programme can be implemented solely at the higher education institutions that have the status of university.

Admission Requirements

Enrolment in doctoral studies is carried out on a competitive basis, according to the results achieved on master’s academic studies, in compliance with the law and statute of institution.

More detailed conditions, criteria, method, procedure and the level of compliance of master’s study programmes for enrolment in the first year of doctoral studies are prescribed by a professional body of institution.

Candidates who have acquired a diploma with the academic title of Master within suitable areas of science/arts, or an academic diploma of regulated professions after gaining at least 300 ECTS points are entitled to enter the competition for enrolment in doctoral studies. Each candidate is obliged to file an application and evidence of meeting the admission requirement. Enrolment in doctoral studies requires the candidate to speak one foreign language.

A foreigner may enrol in a doctoral studies programme under the same conditions and criteria as a Montenegrin citizen, after having their diploma from the previously completed cycle/grade/level of studies recognized.

Status of Doctoral Students/Candidates 

By enrolling in doctoral studies on the basis of a public call for applications announced by the university in accordance with the license, a person acquires the status of a PhD student. Both employed and unemployed persons have the right to apply for doctoral studies admission. PhD students are required to pay tuition fees. As an exception, PhD students who have been engaged by the university as associate staff on the basis of public call announced by the institution in accordance with the statute, are exempt from paying tuition fees.

If there are still available places in student dormitory after the admitting students of undergraduate studies, the right to accommodation and food at an economic price can also be acquired by PhD students who are not employed, who receive education outside their place of residence, and have enrolled the semester of the appropriate year of study for the first time without changing the study programme.

In order to provide support to students of master’s and doctoral studies, the Ministry of Education, Science and Innovation co-finances scholarships for PhD students that meet the criteria prescribed in the Public Call in the amount up to 1,000.00 EUR, in accordance with the criteria of the Call for co-financing tuition fees for master’s and doctoral studies in the country and abroad and the travel expenses for study visits abroad, which is published annually.

PhD students who are employed and those who have the status of unemployed persons are entitled to health care.

Supervision Arrangements

Study programme for doctoral studies is implemented through:

  • teaching process

  • scientific and research or artistic work

  • development and defence of PhD thesis or PhD artistic project.

The PhD study programme is implemented as follows: - Semester I includes four subjects; - Semester II includes one subject and research work that is relevant to the thesis (initial research); - Semesters III, IV and V include research work; - Semester VI includes the preparation and defence of the doctoral thesis. Lectures in Semesters I and II range from 12 to 20 hours a week during 16 (15+1) weeks of teaching and consultations, in accordance with the defined curriculum. Examinations are valued by maximum 40 ECTS points. PhD thesis is valued by maximum 140 ECTS points, out of which initial research is valued by maximum 20 ECTS points, application and thesis development by maximum 90 ECTS points, and the preparation and defence of the PhD thesis by maximum 30 ECTS points.

Teaching process is conducted through lectures, seminars, consultations and other determined forms of teaching. Teaching at doctoral studies can be performed by academic staff holding academic title, which has achieved adequate results in the field being taught.

As a rule, mentor is appointed from among the available associate and full professors, i.e. senior research associates and scientific advisors, within the narrow scientific/artistic field of the PhD thesis, engaged in the implementation of the PhD study programmes.  

Besides these, a mentor must meet the following additional requirements: 1) Within the area of natural sciences and mathematics, medical, technical-technological and agricultural sciences, a person who has published at least five original scientific papers in journals on the SCI/SCIE list can be appointed as mentor; 2) Within the area of social and human sciences, a person who has at least three original scientific papers in journals on the SSCI or A&HCI list can be appointed as mentor; 3) Within the area of arts, a person who has at least five representative references which have been determined as a condition for promotion to academic title at the University may be appointed as mentor. One mentor may work with maximum three students at the same time.

In case of a multidisciplinary theme, a student may have one additional mentor (two co-mentors in total).

Each mentor for PhD thesis or doctoral artistic project is obliged to assist the student in the selection of the methods of scientific or artistic research work, the relevant literature, preparing the structure of thesis, defining the research activities and planning the time frame for the research which can be used to monitor the progress of the student, as well as to provide him/her with professional assistance.


PhD students are mainly engaged at universities as teaching and research associates. Contracts with PhD students engaged as associates are concluded for periods of three years, yet not longer than seven years. If a teaching associate is a person who has gained a scientific title of Doctor of Science, the contract is concluded for a period of up to five years.

Through the development of PhD thesis, i.e. their scientific-research paper, students cooperate with the business sector, i.e. with business enterprises.

Certain number of PhD students is employed in scientific research institutes.

Statistical data on the number of PhD students and the number of students who have completed their PhD studies and obtained the title of Doctor of Science are recorded and kept by the Statistical Office of Montenegro - MONSTAT.


Knowledge, competences and skills of students are monitored and assessed during the teaching activities, whereas the final grade is formed on exam. The exam is taken after the lectures have been completed, i.e. after all teaching activities prescribed by the curricula have been carried out. Research work is assessed through each individual student’s activity as defined by the institutional rules on doctoral studies and the curriculum, which are expressed in ECTS points.


After completing a doctoral study programme, i.e. defending the doctoral thesis, student is awarded by diploma on the completed programme, acquiring thus a PhD degree.

At the end of the studies, along with the diploma of Doctor of Science/Arts, a Diploma Supplement is issued providing a more detailed insight into the level, content, system and rules of study and the results achieved during those studies.

The content of diploma and diploma supplement is bilingual, in Montenegrin and English language. If a student studies in the language of minorities, then diploma and diploma supplement is issued in the language of minorities as well. The content of diploma and supplement diploma is prescribed by the Rulebook on the content and form of diploma and diploma supplement, keeping the register of students, records and contents of public documents issued by the university and institutions of higher education.

Qualifications acquired after completing doctoral studies comprising 180 ECTS points are classified in level VIII of National Qualification Framework.