Studies structure in Bulgaria
The higher education system in Bulgaria comprises various forms of programs upon the completion of the secondary level. The legal frame for founding of higher education institutions is set by the Law of Higher Education. According to Article 9 of this Law, the Parliament (Narodno sabranie) plays the key role in decision making about matters, concerning the network of higher education institutions in the country. The Parliament (Narodno sabranie) is entitled to establish, transform and close the educational organizations on the grounds of a proposal by the Ministry council. In the recent 4 years the higher education network was object of important changes and transformations.
At present the higher education system unites universities, specialized institutions of higher education (academia, institutes) and colleges.
The universities are those educational institutions for higher learning, which ensure education in a wide spectrum of specialties, at least in three of the four main scientific areas (humanities, science, social and technological studies). The universities have enough own research capacity and equipment to contribute to the progress in the main areas of science and culture. These institution for higher learning are entitled to teach students to all degrees ( ISCED’97 Levels 5А, 6).
The specialized institutions of higher education are engaged in teaching and research in one or more main areas of science, art, sports and defense. The name of the specialized higher school indicates the main specialties of its curriculum. This type of educational institutions for higher learning are also entitled to teach students to all degrees ( ISCED’97 Levels 5А, 6).
The colleges offer a relatively shorter and vocation-oriented training (ISCED’97 Level 5В). These are the former semi-higher institutes, which have undergone different transformation. Actually most of them are part of the universities and use their equipment. There are also some independent colleges, which can meet the necessary academic and material conditions on their own.
The qualifications, acquired at the higher military schools, meet all the requirements of the education at civil institutions for higher education. So beside the title of the military specialty, the qualification encloses also a title, corresponding to the civil specialty.
The higher education system in Bulgaria was changed in 1995 following the passage of the Higher Education Law. Under this law, universities, specialised institutions and colleges are all considered part of the higher education system.
Currently, there are 51 higher education institutions in Bulgaria. This comprises 42 universities and higher education institutions, 41 colleges within the higher school system and 9 independent colleges.
This stage of study lasts for at least four years and leads to the Bachelor's degree (Bakalavr) in many fields. However, there are some fields where the Bachelor's degree does not exist and where studies lead directly to the second stage of studies (Master's degree level). According to the most recent amendments to the Higher Education Act, the Bachelor's degree also gives access to doctoral studies with a duration of four years.
This stage of study lasts for five years after completion of secondary education or one year after obtaining the Bachelor's degree. Students usually must complete a thesis and pass a state examination. The former Diplom za Visse Obrazovanie, awarded before the 1995 law, is officially regarded as being equivalent to the Master's degree. The Magistr enables students to take a three-year university course for a doctorate (the Doktor). If a student has already obtained a Bakalavr, only one year of study is required to receive the Magistr degree.
This stage is the third degree in the higher education system and leads to the title of Doktor. It is obtained on the basis of individual research and following the defence of a thesis. It replaces the former Kandidat na Naukite (Candidate of the Sciences). The Higher Education Act of 1995 grants all Kandidat na Naukite holders the right to use the title Doktor.
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