Branches of study
The first cycle includes academic and professional higher study programmes. The duration is defined in years (three to four years) and credits (180 to 240 ECTS). According to the Decree on the introduction and use of the education and training classification system, the programmes are classified at level 6/2. A year of study allows a student to earn 60 credits. Each credit corresponds to between 25 and 30 hours of work on the student's part or 1,500 to 1,800 hours per year. This is offered to students of all fields by the ISCED classification or the relevant decree (8 common and 22 specific fields). In practice, a large selection of programmes of both types lasts three or four years. There are fewer four-year than three-year programmes, which fall within the fields of art, sociology and the education of teachers.
The study programmes are mostly single disciplines, but individual subjects may also be selected from other disciplines. Only study programmes that fall within the field of educating teachers, pedagogical science and humanities are double-subject (for example, two foreign languages or a foreign language and geography, history, and so on). There is an increasing share of elective courses and increased mobility of students and teachers among higher education institutions in Slovenia and abroad.
According to the Higher Education, access to academic study programmes is granted to candidates who passed the general matura (national upper secondary school graduation examination) or the final examination before 1 June 1995, or vocational matura in the relevant programme leading to an upper secondary professional qualification from the same professional field, provided these candidates passed an examination in one of the general matura subjects. Access to professional study programmes is granted to candidates who completed the matura or final examination under the relevant secondary professional education programme leading to a professional qualification, specified by the study programme. Admission requirements are determined in more detail by individual study programmes. To apply to certain study programmes, especially those in the artistic fields, architecture and sports, it is necessary to complete a test of talent (for example, in art or music) or demonstrate the required physical and mental fitness. Art academies may determine that students who do not fulfil the general requirements for admission may still be admitted to their study programmes if they are extraordinarily artistically gifted.
Equivalent certificates received abroad are also accepted.
According to the Criteria for transferring between study programmes, access to specific first-cycle professional study programmes and specific first-cycle academic study programmes can be granted to graduates from short-cycle higher vocational education programmes from the same or similar field of study. Such students may continue their studies in the second year. If the difference between the two programmes is too significant, students must complete bridging exams (either before applying to a new programme or later on) as well as meet other criteria, such as practical training.
Enrolment in study programmes leading to a formal degree, which are provided by public higher education institutions and private higher education institutions holding a concession, is carried out through the public call for enrolment. There is a single call for enrolment in undergraduate study programmes and study programmes receiving concessions offered by private higher education institutions, regardless of the mode of study. The call for enrolment must be published by the competent ministry at least six months before the beginning of the new academic year.
The calls for enrolment in undergraduate study programmes must be published by universities and independent higher education institutions on their websites or other websites, or the daily press – at least four months before their beginning.
In cases of limited admission, students are selected based on their success at the general matura or the vocational matura examinations (or the former final examination) as well as their overall success in the last two years of upper secondary school. Marks in specific upper secondary school subjects may also be taken into account. The criteria for selection are more specifically determined by the individual study programme.
The number of available admission places is decided by the higher education institutions themselves. Those institutions that are either public or possess state concessions must receive approval from the Government of the Republic of Slovenia on their choice. The registration-admission procedure is centralized and defined by the relevant regulations.
Application for admission is conducted by higher education admission services at universities. Candidates submit digital applications for enrolment in the first and second-cycle study programmes through the eVŠ (Record and Analysis system for higher education in the Republic of Slovenia) web portal, so the procedure is carried out through a single web portal for both public and private higher education institutions. The selection procedure for enrolment in public higher education institutions and private higher education institutions with a concession is carried out by the admission information services. In the application, each candidate lists three study programmes of choice in order of specific priority order. They are admitted to the first study programme for which they meet all the relevant requirements.
The regulations for the admittance of foreigners (citizens of countries that are not EU member states) and Slovenes without Slovenian citizenship are determined through ministerial statutes. In such cases, as much as 10 % of the available admission places for full-time study are available.
Partially adjusted enrolment procedures apply to all candidates who pass matura during the autumn term; i.e. candidates from EU member states who completed their secondary education in another country. During the admission procedure for enrolment in an undergraduate study programme, candidates may request special needs status. This status may be granted by the competent body of the university and/or independent higher education institution upon individual request and submission of supporting documents. If the candidates failed to enrol during the regular selection procedure but meet the criteria for enrolment in the study programme, while achieving at least 90% of the minimum points required for selection, they are included in the list of subsequently accepted candidates.
Study programmes are autonomously prepared and accepted by higher professional institutes. The compulsory components of the study programmes are determined by the Higher Education Act with the details defined by the Criteria of accreditation and evaluation of higher education institutions and study programmes.
The general goals of first-cycle study programmes are determined by the relevant law. By design, they are divided into professional and academic study programmes. The former are designed to be more of a practical nature, while the latter are more theoretical.
The first-cycle professional study programmes enable students to profit from occupational knowledge. This qualifies them to use scientific methods in the solving of demanding professional and work-related problems. They acquire skills to communicate with and among professionals, pass professional criticism and assume responsibility, learn to take initiative and make independent decisions as well as skills to manage. The obligatory component of these study programmes is the practical education students receive working in an appropriate environment.
First-cycle academic study programmes provide students with professional knowledge through the study of theoretical and methodological concepts. This qualifies them to convey and utilize the theory in practice and the solving of professional and work-related problems. In this way, they seek out new sources of knowledge and utilize scientific methods. They acquire skills to communicate with and among professionals, pass professional criticism and assume responsibility, learn to take initiative and make independent decisions as well as skills to manage complex activities. A component of these programmes could potentially include practical education in a working environment or collaboration in research work.
The Act also specifies the obligatory components necessary in both types of first-cycle study programmes. These include:
- General information about the programme (name, level, type, and duration)
- Definition of the basic programme objectives or the general and subject-specific competences, which students acquire through the programme
- Information concerning the international compatibility of the programme
- Information concerning the international cooperation of higher professional education institutions
- Syllabus with the credit assessment of the study obligations recommended by the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) and the proportion of elective components within the programme
- Admission requirements and the selection criteria in the case of limited admission
- Criteria for the recognition of knowledge and skills acquired before enrolment into the programme
- Forms of assessment
- Criteria for progression through the programme
- Criteria for transfer between programmes
- Requirements for the completion of the study; the requirements necessary to complete individual sections of the study programme if the programme consists of many components, and
- Professional title to be received by the law.
The components of accreditation of study programmes are specified in detail by the Criteria on accreditation of higher education institutions and study programmes. The document also specifies the components of the joint study programmes.
According to the stated rules, the study programmes are created and adopted by the senate of the university, namely upon the proposal of the senate of the university member or the senate of the independent higher education institution. All programmes shall be accredited by the SQAA for higher education at intervals of seven years.
Joint study programmes are study programmes leading to a degree, which are adopted by a higher education institution and implemented in cooperation with one or several higher education institutions from the Republic of Slovenia or other countries. Besides statutory provisions, the criteria for the design and adoption of joint study programmes, adopted by the SQAA, also apply to these study programmes.
Students who complete all study requirements under the joint study programme leading to a degree receive a joint degree which lists all the higher education institutions involved in the provision of the study programme. A joint degree is a formal document. The content and form of the joint degree and the diploma supplement are laid down by the participating higher education institutions.
The language of instruction is Slovenian. Parts of the study programmes may be provided in a foreign language (usually English) if they involve visiting higher education teachers or a greater number of foreign students have enrolled in the programme.
The methods of teaching at higher education institutions are not prescribed. The choice of method is made by the competent senate and the teachers themselves. The Senate accepts and is responsible for the preparation of study programmes, while the execution of individual subjects is the responsibility of higher education teachers. Besides traditional forms of teaching, such as lectures, seminars, and theoretical and laboratory training, other methods, including essays, projects, and group work, are increasingly being utilised. Case studies and new informational technology (especially in the case of long-distance study) are also being more commonly used.
The didactics of higher education is offered to higher education teachers as a supplementary study programme and workshops are also organized for fully employed teachers in higher education institutions. Specialized departments of pedagogical and didactic study also issue methodical and didactic handbooks.
Textbooks and study materials may be borrowed via the system of higher education libraries (libraries at higher education institutions, National and University Library, Central Technological Library) against an annual membership fee, as well as via the Internet.
Progression of students
To progress to the next year, students must complete all obligations of their study programme (tutorials, preliminary exams, seminar papers, examinations, practical training, etc.). It is only possible for a student to progress to the next year of study without having fulfilled their obligations under exceptional circumstances (motherhood, illness, the status of an elite athlete, appointment to a professional body of a higher education institution or student organisation, and so forth). The progression is then endorsed by the study commissions at the higher education institutions upon reviewing the supporting documents.
During their studies, students can repeat a year once or transfer to another study programme or study option because they did not fulfil their study requirements.
Exceptionally successful students have the opportunity to progress more rapidly. The professional bodies of higher education institutions decide upon this in the best interest of the student. Higher education institutions also determine the number of times a student may take a particular examination. It is generally decided that they can take an examination up to three times, the fourth time requiring the lodging of a provisional request. All study programmes must be designed in such a way that students can fulfil all of their obligations within the time provided in the official duration of the programme.
By law, a student, who did not repeat a year or transfer to another study programme or study option, is entitled to an additional year for the completion of the remaining study requirements.
Higher education institutions must cooperate with employers to prepare and modernise study programmes. The Criteria of accreditation and evaluation of HEs and SPs determine that every application for the accreditation of a new study programme must include:
- Analysis of graduates’ career opportunities provided by the employment office or the competent chamber, employer associations or other institutions competent for the professional fields of the study programme, and
- Agreements and contracts with enterprises on the placement of the foreseen number of enrolled students.
The participation of employers is also foreseen for placement in the work environment where placement mentors work. Work placement is compulsory for first-cycle professional study programmes and recommended for first-cycle academic study programmes. Mentors are specifically trained for their work with students and constitute a significant link between the studies and the specific work environment.
Universities and higher education institutions can establish career centres which function as a platform for the exchange of information among higher education institutions, employers and students.
Employers participate in the preparation of study programmes and provide for the implementation of work placement. Career opportunities for first-cycle graduates include state-regulated professions (e.g. construction, healthcare, education, agriculture and traffic) that are governed by regulations. However, the evaluation of graduates who completed first cycle study programmes has not been implemented yet; therefore the national programme for the following period foresees the review of possible system solutions.
The workplaces in career classes that may be occupied by graduates of the first cycle study programmes are specified by the Public Employee Act.
The assessment scale is determined by the statutes and internal regulations of higher education institutions. The methods of assessing knowledge, the exam periods and terms, the number of possible retakes for examinations, the process of applying for exams and cancelling said applications, the possibilities to complete examinations in advance, fulfilling study obligations in the case of interrupted studies, and so on are also determined by the high education institutions. More detailed regulations concerning the evaluation and assessment of knowledge are specified by the study programme and the individual subjects.
Students are evaluated using an assessment scale numbered from 1 to 10. The lowest positive grade is 6 and the highest is 10. Individual student assignments and obligations may also be assessed with the marks 'pass' or 'fail' or 'pass with distinction'. Due to the variations in teaching methods, the forms of assessing knowledge also vary. Students may be assessed regularly (with preliminary exams, tutorials, discussion groups, seminar papers, project work and so on), mostly based on written and oral examinations upon the completion of lectures. The study programmes define how these individual marks form the final grade. Upon the completion of a first-cycle study programme, students must compose a thesis paper. In the case of art studies, the written work must be supplemented by a presentation, concert, art performance, exhibition, project presentation, etc.
The examiner present at the examination is, as a rule, a teacher of the subject, unit or module in question. If the students are retaking the examination, they are assessed by a commission, which consists of at least two teachers. The diploma examination is also carried out before a commission.
Higher education institutions issue a degree (diploma) to the graduates and confer professional titles by the Professional Titles and Academic Science and Art Titles Act. Typical professional titles for graduates from first-cycle study programmes are: “diplomirani… (UN)” and “diplomirani… (VS)”, while other titles are also possible, e.g. “professor… (UN)”.
Graduates who graduated after the 2000/2001 academic year also receive a diploma supplement together with their degree. Since 2008, the diploma supplement has been issued by the Higher Education Act and the Rules on the diploma supplement issued by the competent minister for higher education. The diploma supplement is free of charge and written in Slovenian and one of the official languages of the EU (usually English). It includes information on:
- Their higher education qualifications
- Level of education
- Study and success of the graduate
- Potential for the continuation of study and employment
- Higher education system in Slovenia.
Students, who complete all study requirements under the joint study programme, receive a joint degree, which includes the names of all higher education institutions participating in the provision of the study programme. The joint degree is a formal document. The content and form of the joint degree and diploma supplement is defined by the participating higher education institutions.
Recognition of higher education qualifications in the Republic of Slovenia is governed by the Assessment and Recognition of Education Act while it is based on the Act Ratifying the Convention on the Recognition of qualifications concerning higher education in the European region. The ENIC-NARIC centre operates within the ministry responsible for higher education with the role of the national information centre under the provisions of the Convention. The centre's main responsibilities include collecting and submitting information on the Slovenian education system and foreign education systems, administration of procedures and issuing of opinions on education by the law, preparation of public information for users, international cooperation in ENIC-NARIC networks and broader international cooperation.