Higher Education Institutions


All higher education institutions are required to end some of their key courses with examinations. There may be several independent examinations or tests in separate parts of a subject. Usually, oral and written examinations are held at the end of each semester during the examination session. Students sit examinations on each subjects eparately. Not all courses end with examination: some of them take a different form of assessment, or “credit”. The performance assessment period covers either one semester or one academic year. To successfully complete a semester (or a year), a student must attain the pass mark (at least “satisfactory”) for all assessments and examinations in the subjects covered by the curriculum and obtain performance assessment credits for all integrated placements.

Grading: Each HEI identifies its grading scale in its Study Rules. The most common scale comprises the following marks:

5 very good (bardzo dobry)
4 good
3 satisfactory
2 unsatisfactory/fail
credit/pass (zaliczenie)

Sometimes the plus symbol or decimal is used to modify the numerical grades.

It must be pointed out at this time that grades awarded according to the scale are not directly transferable to the ECTS credits.

ECTS credits

In addition to the grading scale, there are HEIs in the European CreditTransfer System (ECTS) under which a certain number of credits is allocated to a given subject, independently of marks awarded. To complete a year successfully, the student has to collect 60 credits (30 per semester).

The ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) is the standard adopted by all universities in the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) in the process of convergence between Europe’s higher education systems. Since 2007, all Polish higher education institutions have been required to use ECTS for both credit transfer and accumulation within their degree programmes. The ECTS credits allow foreign students’periods of study at HEIs in Poland to be recognized.

Formore information on the adjustment to the Bologna Process and ECTS credits please visit: http://www.ehea.info/(EuropeanHigher Education Area); www.bologna2009benelux.org (TheBologna Process, official website).


In order to graduate, students are required to:

  • pass a performance assessment for all subjects, integrated placements and practical work sessions, and pass all examinations covered by the study programme set for a given field of study;

  • present,at an appointed date, a diploma project and attain a pass mark forthat project;

  • pass the diploma examination.

Upon graduation, the student receives a diploma of completion of studies in a specific field of study together with a Diploma Supplement (copy of the diploma translated into a foreign language, describing the degree, level and specialisation).

Academic calendar

The academic year in Poland is divided into two semesters of 15 weeks each – the winter and the summer semester. The winter semester starts in October and ends in mid-February, with a break of about ten days for the Christmas holidays. The examination session usually takes two or three weeks, beginning in January. The summer semester starts in mid-February and ends in June, with a one-week break for Easter. Summer holidays last for three months from the beginning of July to the end of September, but only for those students who passed all exams within the summer examination session (two-three weeks in June). Those who failed take the exams again in September.

In Poland, graduates of institutions of higher education receive the following degrees:

  • Licencjata degree obtained on completion of the professional higher education course lasting 6-8 semesters; or Inżynier(Engineer) – a degree obtained on completion of the professional higher education course in a field of engineering, lasting 7-8semesters (I degree studies);
  • Magisterthe way to obtain a degree is to complete a 3-4 semesters course (IIdegree studies) for holders of the I degree or to complete along-cycle programme, which lasts from 9 to 12 semesters;
  • Doktor (Doctor,PhD) – a degree awarded to one who passed doctoral examinations and submitted and successfully defended a doctoral thesis. Those wishing to apply for the academic degree of doctor must hold a Master’s degree or an equivalent degree. Nowadays, many higher education institutions run doctoral studies, lasting no more than 8 semesters (PhD level – III degree studies).

Law on higher education in Poland: