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Second-cycle programmes


7.Higher education

7.3Second-cycle programmes

Last update: 27 November 2023

Branches of Study

In Serbia, Master studies can be organised by universities, faculties, colleges of academic studies and colleges of applied studies. The length of studies at this level is either one or two years (60 or 120 ECTS). In order to enrol in a Master programme, students must have completed a Bachelor programme with at least 180 ECTS (if they want to enrol in a two-year Master programme) or with at least 240 ECTS (if they want to enrol in a one-year Master programme). To complete a Master study programme, the student has to write and defend a Master thesis at the end of his/her studies.

Specialist studies last for one year and can be either academic or applied. Specialist academic study programmes can be conducted at universities, faculties and colleges of academic studies. Specialist applied studies may be conducted at universities, faculties, colleges of applied studies and vocational study academies.

A specialist study programme curriculum can include a final thesis. To enrol in a specialist study programme, the student needs to have completed a Bachelor programme.

Admission Requirements

Admission requirements and procedures at this level of studies are regulated by individual higher education institutions.

A general condition for those entering the second cycle of studies is that they have completed the first cycle of studies (bachelor level) and obtained a diploma. Another condition is the passage of the exam if so is prescribed by the particular institution. Selection of candidates is based on criteria that are defined by respective higher education institutions. Most higher education institutions use the bachelor’s average grade together with entrance exam results to select candidates. Some higher education institutions impose different criteria for students who completed study programmes that are not closely related to study programme they are applying for. Those students may need to pass additional exams to become eligible to enrol. Some institutions do not organise entrance exams, but make their selection according to other criteria (average grade or other references like working experience or academic activities in the relevant field, etc.).

The admission procedure starts with the advertisement of the higher education institution announcing the number of students that can be enroled in the particular study programme, eligibility details, candidate rating criteria and regulations governing the competition procedure.

The number of students is determined by the higher education institution but it may not exceed the number set in the work permit.


The curriculum is developed at the institutional level. However, for certain professions (primary school teachers, physicians, pharmacists and similar occupations) some elements of the study programmes are broadly defined by national regulations (the Law on the Education System Foundations, Law on Medical Protection and Law on Medicines). Study programmes consist of compulsory and optional subjects.

The language of instruction is Serbian, but the higher education institution may organise examinations, some parts or an entire study programme in a minority or another foreign language.

Teaching Methods

Comparing to the first level, smaller numbers of students enrol in the second level of studies. Lectures are mostly conducted for large groups of students.

The Commission for Accreditation and Quality Assurance sets the rules and regulations prescribing maximum numbers of students who can attend lectures for every level and every branch of studies (technical and technology sciences, humanities and social sciences, natural sciences and mathematics, medical sciences, arts). The same regulation prescribes numbers of students admissible at workshops and exercises – which are generally held in smaller groups than lectures.

There are no specific rules for the second cycle studies regarding the teaching methods. Higher education teachers have to organize their lectures in compliance with the curriculum but the teaching methods they should use are not prescribed.

Teaching materials such as books and audio-visual materials are commonly used in the teaching process but they are not always provided to students free of charge. Nevertheless, students are expected to refer to those materials when preparing their exams.

Progression of Students

This part is the same as for the Bachelor studies. For more information, please see Progression of Students in Bachelor section.


This part is the same as for the Bachelor studies. For more information, please see Employability in Bachelor section.

Student Assessment

The assessment of students is a continuous process based on pre-examination activities and students’ success at the exam. Students earn a certain number of ECTS for each activity they conduct during the studies. The maximum number of points that a student can achieve is 100, out of which a minimum of 30 points has to be earned through pre-examination activities. Each student’s performance is evaluated from grades 5 (failed) to 10 (excellent).


The authority responsible for certification is the higher education institution. Upon completion of the first level of higher education, the student receives a diploma with his/her relevant professional title, average degree and the number of ECTS earned. The student also receives a diploma supplement, which contains information regarding the level, type and content of the studies successfully finished.

ENIC/NARIC Serbia (European Network of Information Centres in the European Region/National Academic Recognition Information Centres in the European Union) regulates the procedures for recognition of diplomas acquired abroad, for purposes of employment. Recognition of diplomas for purposes of continuing education is decided upon by the higher education institutions in question.