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Second-cycle programmes


7.Higher education

7.3 Second-cycle programmes

Last update: 9 June 2022

The master studies correspond, usually, to a number of credits between 90 (60 by exception) and 120, a master semester corresponding to a number of 30 study credits. The total length of the 1st cycle (undergraduate studies) and 2nd cycle (master studies) has to correspond to at least 300 transferable study credits.

Branches of study

Master-degree studies aim at extending competences into certain areas of specialisation. Master-degree studies take 2-4 semesters to complete, are finalized by a dissertation and recognised through a Diploma de Master (Master’s Diploma).

Admission requirements

Admission to higher education for every cycle of academic studies – first degree (bachelor), master, and doctorate – is organised in accordance with the admission methodology of each university, with the observance of the legislation in force.

For all cycles of academic studies, the number of places funded from the state budget is set by a Government Decision. Every public higher education institution is allocated by an Order of Minister a number of places funded from the state budget for which they can organise admission. Besides these places, public higher education institutions are authorised to admit a number of students who accept to pay tuition fees (Law 441/2001). The Ministry of National Education and Scientific Research  approves each year the exact number of places at every higher education institution for which students pay a tuition fee based on the proposals of the university senates and in compliance with the academic standards for evaluation and accreditation. The tuition fees are established by the senates.


Curricula are established autonomously by the higher education institutions, according to the national strategies for higher education development and the national academic standards. According to the provisions of the law regarding higher education institutions accreditation and diploma recognition, the higher education curricula have to include compulsory, optional and facultative subjects. Compulsory and optional subjects belong to any of the following categories: fundamental, profile/specialisation and complementary subjects.

For each reference domain and specialisation of study recognized by the law, the higher education institutions establish educational plan. The educational plan is a complex document comprising duration of studies, subjects by type and year of study, types of activities, number of allocated periods by subject and activity, examinations, and number of credits allocated, etc.The structure and content of the educational plan regarding subjects, activities and number of periods has to comply with the national academic standards. The final curricula for each subject are elaborated by the higher education institutions departments according to these specific standards, analysed by the departments’ councils, and approved by university senates. A number of higher education institutions provide complete tuition in a foreign language for certain specialisations.

As a rule, for all education levels, education and training is provided in Romanian. The persons belonging to the national minorities have the right to study and be instructed in their mother tongue at all levels and forms of education as well as in all types of education – providing there is a sufficient demand. In consequence, study lines in Hungarian and German for students belonging to these national minorities are organised in several higher education institutions. At the same time, the Education Law states that learning of Romanian, as the official language, is compulsory for all Romanian citizens, irrespective of their nationality.

Teaching methods

The teaching-learning activities have to comply with the national academic standards for each reference domain and specialisation.The teaching-learning activities for most academic subjects include lectures (theoretical courses), seminars, laboratory classes, practical activities and projects Lectures, usually delivered to a large number of students, provide the basic knowledge in a specific field of study. Seminars are devoted to a thorough study of the themes approached in lectures and require an active participation of the students. Laboratory classes, taught to small groups of students, are devoted to research activities and practical training under the supervision of a tutor. For certain specialisations practical activities – in the form of field work, scientific research, teaching practice, etc. – are required. Teachers are free to choose their own teaching methods. During all the teaching-learning activities, according to the specificity of the specialisation and subject, professors use a variety of teaching methods that may include:

  • Expository methods (description, explanation, etc.) and conversational methods (conversation, heuristic conversation, questioning on a special subject, etc.) – mostly during lectures.

  • Exploratory learning methods such as direct exploration of objects and phenomena (systematic and independent observation, experiments, practical work, etc.) and indirect exploration (problem solving, demonstration through pictures, films, etc.) – mostly during seminars, laboratory classes and practical activities.

  • Project preparation and presentation.

The teaching aids used in higher education depend on the specialisation and subject. Teaching through ICT is used on an extensive scale for modelling, designing, calculating, presentations, information acquisition, communication, etc. In higher education institutions as well as in numerous universities campuses students have full-time free of charge access to public computers connected to Internet.

Progression of students

The organisation of the higher education process using the transferable credit system has begun during the 1998/1999 academic year. This mode of organisation makes possible the use of an analytical evaluation system that assesses the time and effort necessary to carry on the activities composing the education process. Moreover, it has advantages both for the mode of organization and its management and for its validation in other universities in Romania and abroad. Thus, a year of study as a full-time student is the equivalent to an average of 60 credits. The maximum number of transferable credits in the ECTS (European Credits Transfer System) is set by the council of each faculty. If a student attends a study period in other higher education institutions (domestic and/or abroad), according to the regulations set by each institution, the credits obtained will be recognized.

Within the university autonomy, each higher education institution establishes its own promotion requirements, according to the general provisions of the law and the national standards for higher education. Students are granted the possibility to try to pass the examination for a given subject three times: regular examination, second examination and re-examination. If failing both regular and second examination (the latter performed in a dedicated session), the student may be allowed to enroll in the next year of study and sit the examination again, subject to the rector’s approval. Nevertheless, the deadline for the third examination (the re-examination) is the first regular session of the next academic year. If failing for the third time, the student has to attend once more all the teaching-learning activities related to the respective subject.

Promotion from one year of study to the next one is subject to the overall performance of the students, as assessed through the results of the examinations held in the given year of study. Students have to pass a certain percentage of the total number of examinations of a given year of study and to acquire a certain number of credits, set by the HEI internal regulations, before being allowed to enroll for the next academic year. Students that do not accomplish the minimum percentage of passed examinations established by the higher education institution are declared repeaters and have to repeat the corresponding year of study. However, professors may accept recognition of the examinations previously passed with a certain minimum mark. At the end, each student, in order to be eligible to sit for their final examination and dissertation, must have acquired a total of 180 credits corresponding to their 3-year programme, 60 credits for every academic year respectively. Certain programmes, such as those in the fields of engineering, law and theology, as well as those that are EU regulated require a 4-year period of studies and a total of 240 credits. Certain architecture programmes and the veterinary and human medicine programmes require a total of 360 credits whereas pharmacy studies, for example, require 300 credits.


In order to support educational and vocational guidance of the students and to facilitate their insertion on the labour market, in each higher education institution were established departments for career advice and employment guidance. Keeping a close link with the labour market, the departments have the following attributions:

  • To provide full information on the study programmes offered by the respective higher education institution.

  • To offer career and employment advice.

  • To ensure guidance to students willing to chose or change their vocational career.

  • To encourage graduates to affiliate into graduates’ associations meant to support higher education institutions and students’ interests in the relationship with firms, cultural communities and administrative bodies, at local and national level as well.

  • To carry out prognosis studies on the labour market, and provide information about companies needing and recruiting qualified personnel trained in higher education institutions.

  • To provide counselling, and support for the vocational training of students by maintaining a close contact with economic units.

The departments can also involve specialised teaching staff, assistant deans, students’ associations and non-profit vocational organizations in their actions and activities. A director appointed by the university’s rector heads the department.

Student assessment

Students assessment in higher education is accomplished through periodic (summative) examinations organised for each subject in the curricula. Assessments are performed in the form of oral questioning, written papers and practical examinations as well as, in some cases, project presentations. The evaluation criteria for the academic and professional performances of the students are established by the higher education institutions according to the university autonomy. The concrete requirements and evaluation criteria for each subject are regulated by the curricula (in the introductory section of each subject). Evaluations of the students’ performances during higher education are materialized for each subject in marks on a 10-level scale, 5 representing the minimum passing mark. The examination of the students for each subject is performed by a commission comprising the professor lecturing on the given subject assisted by at least one other specialist from the same chair/department. After each examination the mark assigned to the student is registered in the students’ personal indexes and the official records of the institution.

As a rule,higher education institutions organise two regular examination sessions for the students during each academic year – usually held in February and May-June respectively – and at least one second examination session in autumn, before the beginning of the academic year. The second examination sessions are organised for the students that did not attain or failed one or more examinations during the regular examination sessions. Students are granted the possibility to try to pass the examination for a given subject (regular examination, second examination and re-examination) for three times; if failed each time, the student has to attend once more all the teaching-learning activities related to the respective subject. According to the provisions of the Education Law (Law 1/2011), higher education institutions may establish certain fees for the second examinations and re-examinations in order to cover for the supplementary costs.

In the end, a student’s academic success depends on his/her performance in summational exams and continuous evaluation during seminars and workshops.


Master-degree studies are finalised through a dissertation exam during which the candidates have to present a dissertation in the specialisation of study. The minimum passing mark for the dissertation exam is 6.00. Graduation is attested through a Master studies diploma issued by the higher education institution. For higher education, the final exams have to be taken before an exam commission established for each specialisation. The exam commissions are established through decision of the rector of the higher education institution organizing the exams, based on the propositions of the faculty, college or department councils. The exam commission has to comprise at least three members with doctorate degrees and the chair has to be a professor or a lecturer.