Bologna process

Bologna process

The purpose of the Bologna process (or Bologna accords) is to create the European higher education area by making academic degree standards and quality assurance standards more comparable and compatible throughout Europe, in particular under the Lisbon Recognition Convention. It is named after the place it was proposed, the University of Bologna in the Italian city of Bologna, with the signing in 1999 of the Bologna declaration by Ministers of Education from 29 European countries. This was opened up to other countries signatory to the European Cultural Convention of the Council of Europe; further governmental meetings have been held in Prague (2001), Berlin (2003), Bergen (2005) and London in Spring 2007.

Before the signing of the Bologna declaration, the Magna Charta Universitatum had been issued at a meeting of university rectors celebrating the 900th anniversary of the University of Bologna – and thus of (Western) European universities – in 1988. One year before the Bologna declaration, education ministers Claude Allegre (France), Jürgen Rüttgers (Germany), Luigi Berlinguer (Italy) and the Baroness Blackstone (UK) signed the Sorbonne declaration in Paris 1998, committing themselves to "harmonising the architecture of the European Higher Education system".

The Council of Europe together with the members of the Europe Region of UNESCO have jointly prepared the Lisbon recognition convention on recognition of academic qualifications as part of the process, which has been ratified by the majority of the countries party to the Bologna process.


Current signatories and thus members of the "European Higher Education Area" are [ [ Bologna for Pedestrians, The Council of Europe Internet Portal.] ] :

* from 1999: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom
* from 2001: Croatia, Cyprus, Liechtenstein, Turkey
* from 2003: Albania, Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Holy See, Russia, Serbia, Republic of Macedonia
* from 2005: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine
* from May 2007: Montenegro

This makes Monaco and San Marino the only members of the Council of Europe which did not adopt the Bologna Process (although they might consider joining once France and Italy have implemented it). All member states of the EU are participating in the process. Other countries eligible to join the initiative are Belarus and Kazakhstan.

The following organisations are also part of the follow-up of the process: ESIB, EUA, EURASHE, EI, ENQA, UNICE as well as the Council of Europe, the European Commission and UNESCO. Other networks at this level include ENIC, NARIC and EURODOC.

Rejected countries/entities

Four countries or entities applied to be included in the Bologna process, but were rejected so farFact|date=June 2008.

Kyrgyz Republic

Although the Kyrgyz Republic ratified the Lisbon Recognition Convention in 2004, it is not a State party to the European Cultural Convention of the Council of Europe, and there is – as far as is known – no consideration of expanding the geographical scope of this Convention. It therefore seems clear that the Kyrgyz Republic is not eligible to join the Bologna Process under the criteria defined in Berlin.

Northern Cyprus

Northern Cyprus is not recognized as an independent political entity by any member of the Bologna Process except Turkey. It is therefore not a member of any international intergovernmental organisation, and it is not a party to the European Cultural Convention of the Council of Europe. Therefore, "North Cyprus" is not eligible to join the Bologna Process under the criteria defined in Berlin.


Israel is not a party to the European Cultural Convention of the Council of Europe under which it does, however, have observer status. Hence, Israel participates in the meetings of the Council of Europe's Steering Committees under the European Cultural Convention – such as the CDESR – as an observer. While Israel is not a part of geographical Europe, it is a part of the UNESCO Europe Region. Israel is also a signatory party to the Lisbon Recognition Convention. Under the criteria defined in the Berlin Communiqué, it seems clear that Israel is not eligible for access to the Bologna Process.

Republic of Kosovo

Kosovo is not a party to the European Cultural Convention of the Council of Europe. It's status under public international law is disputed, although several states have recognised Kosovo as a state. Therefore, Kosovo cannot become a member of the Bologna Process at the time being. [ [ Applications for accession to the bologna process] ]


The basic framework adopted is of three cycles of higher education qualification. As outlined in the "Bergen Declaration" [ [ The framework of qualifications for the European Higher Education Area] ] of 2005, the cycles are defined in terms of qualifications and ECTS credits:

* 1st cycle: typically 180−240 ECTS credits, usually awarding a Bachelor's degree.
* 2nd cycle: typically 90−120 ECTS credits (a minimum of 60 on 2nd-cycle level). Usually awarding a Master's degree.
* 3rd cycle: Doctoral degree. No ECTS range given.

In most cases, these will take 3, 2, and 3 years respectively to complete. The actual naming of the degrees may vary from country to country.

One academic year corresponds to 60 ECTS-credits that are equivalent to 1,500-1,800 hours of study. The new model comes closer to the North American and Japanese systems. It gives greater weight to practical training and to intensive research projects. The way credits are measured reflects how hard a student has worked. The new evaluation methods reflect not only a student's performance on exams, but also his or her lab experiments, presentations, hours spent on study, innovation capacities, and so forth.


The Bologna process was a major reform created with the claimed goal of providing responses to issues such as the public responsibility for higher education and research, higher education governance, the social dimension of higher education and research, and the values and roles of higher education and research in modern, globalized, and increasingly complex societies with the most demanding qualification needs.

With the Bologna process implementation, higher education systems in European countries are to be organized in such a way that:

* it is easy to move from one country to the other (within the European Higher Education Area) – for the purpose of further study or employment;
* the attractiveness of European higher education is increased so many people from non-European countries also come to study and/or work in Europe;
* the European Higher Education Area provides Europe with a broad, high quality and advanced knowledge base, and ensures the further development of Europe as a stable, peaceful and tolerant community benefiting from a cutting edge European Research Area;
* there will also be a greater convergence between the U.S. and Europe as European higher education adopts aspects of the American system.


The new changes were closer to the UK and Ireland's models than that used in most of Continental Europe. In many countries the process was not implemented without criticisms.

Economic aspects

There is much scepticism and criticism of the Bologna process from the side of academics. Thus Dr Chris Lorenz of the Free University of Amsterdam has argued that:

"the basic idea behind all educational EU-plans is economic: the basic idea is the enlargement of scale of the European systems of higher education, ... in order to enhance its 'competitiveness' by cutting down costs. Therefore a Europe-wide standardization of the 'values' produced in each of the national higher educational systems is called for." Just as the World Trade Organization and GATS propose educational reforms that would effectively erode all effective forms of democratic political control over higher education, so "it is obvious that the economic view on higher education recently developed and formulated by the EU Declarations is similar to and compatible with the view developed by the WTO and by GATS." [ [ The Dutch universities and the Bologna Process] ]

Academic aspects

In much of continental Europe, the previous higher education system was modelled after the German system, in which there is a clear difference of vocational and academic higher education. This mostly has an impact on the old engineer's degrees. The conflation of the two types of degrees can be counterproductive in the following cases:
* The vocational three-year degrees are not intended for further study, so those students who also want to advance to a master's degree will be at a disadvantage.
* The master's degree effectively becomes the minimum qualification for a professional engineer, rather than the bachelor's degree.
* The academic three-year degrees prepare only for continuing towards master's, so students who enter the workforce at that point will not be properly prepared. Yet they would have the same academic title as the fully trained vocationally educated engineers (see: Fachhochschule).

The end-result of the change is that the agreements between professional bodies will require reevaluation in some cases as qualifications change.

Other reforms as riders

The Bologna process has been implemented concurrently with other reforms, which have been attached as "riders" to the implementation itself. These reforms go far beyond the minimum provisions necessary to implement the Bologna process, and include introducing tuition fees, overhauling departments, and changing the organization of universities. These reforms have been criticized as unnecessary, detrimental to the quality of education, or even undemocratic.

For example, in Finland, the official goal was to improve students' performance and to enable them to gain diplomas faster by introducing stricter standards. However, students feel that the workload has increased, and the new standards lead to a micromanaged and too narrow curricula (so-called "putkitutkinto").Fact|date=September 2008 The Bologna process is said to lead to universities being "diploma factories".Fact|date=September 2008 Also, for example at TKK, most students (85%) fail to achieve the official goal of 120 credits in two years — the average is 81 credits. The number of students failing to achieve the minimum credits to receive student benefit has risen 40% following the implementation of the process. [ [ Polyteekkari – Vain harva uuden tutkintorakenteen opiskelija saavuttaa asetetut opintopistemäärät ] ]

Part of the explanation is that student life in Finland tends towards ample extracurricular activities. The silent agreement has been that the gain in life experience and extended personal networks more than makes up for the increased study time. Because these personal networks include alumni in influential positions, students have long been able to resist attempts to improve their nominal studying performance by the sacrificing extracurricular activities. The Bologna process as a pan-European effort has extended over and above these student/alumni networks.

Effects by state

Contrary to popular belief, the Bologna Process was not based on a European Union initiative. It constitutes an intergovernmental agreement, between both EU and non-EU countries. Therefore, it does not have the status of EU legislation. Also, as the Bologna Declaration is not a treaty or convention, there are no legal obligations for the signatory states. The (extent of) participation and cooperation is completely voluntary. This can be regarded both as a positive and as a negative thing. On the one hand, one could say that this "bottom-up" voluntary convergence does justice to the sovereignty of the states, which is especially important in the field of education. On the other hand, the avoidance of EU structures can be regretted for democratic reasons. The Bologna Declaration can be said to be a deal done in a smoke-filled room, by governmental officials, without any participation of the European parliament. Also the involvement of the national parliaments has been limited.

Although the Bologna Declaration was created outside and without the EU institutions, the European Commission plays an increasingly important role in the implementation of the Process. The Commission has supported several European projects (the Tuning project, the TEEP project) connected to quality assurance etc. Most countries do not currently fit the framework – instead they have their own time-honoured systems. The process will have many knock-on effects such as bilateral agreements between countries and institutions which recognise each others' degrees. However, the process is now moving away from a strict convergence in terms of time spent on qualifications, towards a competency-based system. The system will have an undergraduate and postgraduate division, with the bachelor degree in the former and the master and doctoral in the latter.

In mainland Europe five year plus first degrees are common, with some taking up to eight years not being unheard of. This leads to many not completing their studies; many of these countries are now introducing bachelor-level qualifications. This situation is changing rapidly as the Bologna Process is implemented.

Depending on the country and the development of its higher education system, some introduced ECTS, discussed their degree structures and qualifications, financing and management of higher education, mobility programmes etc. At the institutional level the reform involved higher education institutions, their faculties or departments, student and staff representatives and many other actors. The priorities varied from country to country and from institution to institution.


The situation in Austria is similar to that in Germany: the traditional "lowest" degrees are the Magister and the Diplom-Ingenieur, which can be obtained after at least four to six years of study. However, beginning with the year 2000, many curricula have already been converted into separate bachelor ("Bakkalaureat", although this term will be replaced by "Bachelor" in most studies by 2007) and master ("Magisterstudium") programmes, with nominal durations of six semesters (three years) and three to four semesters (1.5–2 years), respectively. With few exceptions (e.g. studies of human and veterinary medicine), all university curricula will be remodeled to this format within the next years.

Enrollment in a doctoral programme generally requires a master's level degree in a related field. The nominal duration of doctoral programmes is two or three years, but the actual time to graduation varies considerably and is generally longer than that.


In Belgium the candidate's degree took 2 years (in some cases 3), with an additional 2 to 3 years (in some cases 4) to obtain a license. This has been replaced by an academic bachelor's degree of 3 years and a master's degree of 1 or 2 years (in some cases 3 or even 4). The professional (non-academic) graduate degree has been replaced by a professional bachelor degree of 3 years.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina has not passed new higher education law (as of summer 2008), but universities (and faculties within universities) have started reforming already.


In Croatia, the implementation of the Bologna process started in the academic year 2005/2006. The existing academic degrees were generally transformed like this:
* The degree granted with a "diploma" was transformed into a baccalaureus (in Croatian: "prvostupnik") and the programmes were usually shortened from 4 years to around 3.
* The degree granted with a "magisterij" was mostly eliminated or transformed into a master's degree, achieved after two additional years of study.
* The degree of "doktorat" (PhD, remains, but it can be received after 3 more years, i.e. 8 years in total.

Therefore, the typical length of studies is now 3 years for Bachelor or "Baccalaureus", then 2 years for Master or "magistar", and then 3 years for Doctor of Science or "doktor znanosti". In local use, there is a distinction in titles between vocational degrees and academic degrees at the baccalareus level (the academic degrees holders add univ. before their title, denoting a university programme). A distinction is also made between engineering programs and other programs at levels below PhD – engineering program graduates append "engineer" ("inženjer" – ing.) to their title. It is not yet officially clear how those differences map to the arts and science differentiation present in the Anglo-American system. It is expected that most faculties issuing engineering degrees will translate them as science degrees.

There are several notable exceptions:
* The first higher education degree in economics still lasts four years, while the master's degree in economics is obtained after an additional one year (this refers only to University of Zagreb's Faculty of Economics).
* Medicine and medicine-related studies do not assign a baccalaureus degree and instead last 6 or 5 years like before.

The translation system put into law for holders of the old degrees, however, recognises that they were more comprehensive then the scaled down programs that are replacing them in the new system and thus the translation goes as follows:
* "diploma" holders translate into masters ("magistar inženjer" for engineering diploma holders and "magistar" for others)
* the old master's degree holders title is grandfathered into the new system ("magistar znanosti" – master of science) and is considered and intermediate title between the new master's degree and a doctor's degree for local use, and is expected to go into disuse as the title holders either gain a PhD (which is available under mostly generous terms compared to new masters) or with their demise, since there is no way to gain the title under the new system.
* doctor's degrees are not translated, but rather remain the same as in the old system

In May 2008 around 5000 students protested against the ineffective implementation (weak funding, unclearly defined new rules etc.), and thus poor results of the Bologna reform. [ [ Studenti: Mi smo prva bolonjska degeneracija – NACIONAL ] ]


Before the adaptation to international standards, the lowest degree that could be obtained at universities in Denmark were equivalent to a Master degree (Kandidat). Officially, Bachelor's degrees has been introduced after 3 years university studies, but very few choose to stop at this stageFact|date=October 2007, without the additional 2 years required to obtain a Masters degree. Various medium length (2-4 years) professional degrees have been adapted so they now have status as professional bachelor's degrees (3½ years), and opposed to academic bachelor's degrees they are considered to be "valid" degrees.


Since 2002 all Bachelors (honours) degrees have been three-year courses in Estonia (4 years if students enrolled before 2001). Masters courses take two years and doctorates four years. The Masters degree is always a postgraduate degree.


In the Finnish pre-Bologna system, the higher education was strictly divided between the universities and polytechnics. In universities, the degrees were divided in most fields into a three-year degree "kandidaatti", which was followed by the two-year upper degree "maisteri". In these fields, the Bologna process causes no changes. The degrees retain their former domestic names but in English usage, Bachelor and Master are used to describe the degrees.

In the field of engineering, the universities did not offer bachelor-level degrees, but only a 5½-year master's program ("diplomi-insinööri"). This program has now been divided into a three-year bachelor-level degree "tekniikan kandidaatti" and a two-year master-level degree "diplomi-insinööri", for which the English names are Bachelor of Science (Eng) and Master of Science (Eng), respectively. A corresponding change has also been made in the military higher education, where the officer's degree was divided between a bachelor's and master's program.

Only medicine retains its non-standard degree structure, where the Licentiate — higher than Master's, less extensive than Doctor of Medicine degree — serves as the basic degree. A six-year program of at least 360 ECTS credits leads directly to the degree Licenciate of Medicine ("lääketieteen lisensiaatti"). There is an intermediate title (but curiously, not an academic degree) of "lääketieteen kandidaatti", and there is no Master's degree. Licentiates of Medicine may continue to Doctor's degree.

The degrees from polytechnics are considered Bachelor's degrees in international usage. However, in domestic usage, bachelors transferring from polytechnics to universities may be required a maximum of 60 ECTS credits of additional studies prior emabarking the master's level studies. In conjunction with Bologna process, the polytechnics have obtained the right to award master's degrees. However, such programs remain rather minor phenomenon. The polytechnic master's degree does not qualify for doctoral studies.

The Finnish postgraduate education retains its non-standard two-level degree structure. The Licenciate's degree ("lisensiaatti") may be undertaken after circa two years' postgraduate study. This degree requires the coursework of the doctoral degree but has much less stringent thesis requirements. The Doctor's degree, with a full dissertation, takes about four years to complete. Most Finnish universities encourage their post-graduate students to skip the intermediate licenciate degree.

In grading, Finnish universities may use their own 5-point system (0 fail, 5 best), which can be criterion-referenced rather than norm-referenced, and where ECTS points given are not affected by the grade.


In France the first qualification, called the "baccalauréat", ends the secondary education and allows students to enter University. It is then followed by the "Diplôme d'études universitaires générales" or "DEUG", which takes two years, followed by a third year, the "licence". The "licence" is the equivalent of the UK BA. After the "licence", students can choose to enter the "maîtrise", which was a one-year research degree. The maîtrise may be followed by either a work-oriented one-year degree, the "diplôme d'études supérieures spécialisées" or "DESS", or a one-year research degree, the "Diplôme d'études approfondies" or DEA. The DEA is one year of preparation for a doctorate, and can be considered equivalent to a M. Phil.. After DEA, students may pursue a "doctorat", which takes at least three years.
Higher education in France is also endorsed by higher education establishments dedicated to specific domains. As an example, the "Diplome d'ingénieur" is awarded to students realizing five years studies in state recognized "Ecoles d'ingénieurs", especially the Grandes Ecoles. These degrees are usually preferred to university degrees due to the selection of students entering, in contrast to the fact that public universities are legally obliged to accept any students passing High School.

The "baccalauréat" and the "doctorat" status are unchanged in the new Bologna system, but the "DEUG" and the old "licence" are merged in a new, three-year, "licence", as the "maîtrise", the "DESS" and the DEA in a "master" of two years, which can be work-oriented ("master professionnel") or research-oriented ("master recherche"). The "Diplôme d'ingénieur" degree is still separated from the university degree but students owning such a degree may lawfully claim a "Master" degree as well. [ [ WENR, March/April 2004: France ] ]

Strikes occurred in France in 2002-2003 [ [ Strikes against LMD reforms in France] ] and 2007 [ [ Strikes against private fundings of Universities in France] ] against the reforms.


In Germany the process is already underway, many subjects of the humanities and social studies can be completed with a B.A. and many subjects of the natural sciences with a B.Sc. at an increasing number of universities. The Bachelor's degree in engineering can be a B.Eng. or a B.Sc., depending on the focus of studies. The new postgraduate Master's degrees (M.A., M.Sc., M.Eng. and other) are seen as equivalent to the old five year first degrees "Diplom" (one subject, can be in all sciences) and "Magister Artium" (interdisciplinary, common in social and cultural sciences). The number of old degree courses is declining and they will be replaced by the new degrees up until 2010 in some states.


Greece joined the Bologna Process from the very beginning in 1999. Since 2007, more intensive steps towards the establishment of the European Higher Education Area were completed.

During the years 2006 – 2007, the Greek government led by New Democracy, with the consent of PASOK, tried to implement the declaration of Bologna through massive reforms aiming at the university system. These actions led to universities being taken over by the students, massive protests, police violence and riots. These reactions led to the failure of the constitutional change of the article 16 that prohibits the founding of private universities and also blocked the reform in the laws regarding the internal workings of universities.

In 2008 a group of engineering schools in Greece took steps to silently implement parts of the Bologna declaration. The daily "Eleftherotypia" wrote on 18 March 2008 that the major engineering schools in Greece will issue certificates to all their graduates recognizing their diplomas as masters level degrees. [ [,id=88156912 Ελευθεροτυπία - Μάστερ από τα Πολυτεχνεία] ] Engineering studies in Greece last 5 years and by identifying the corresponding diplomas as masters, the schools silently adopt Bologna's directive that the undergraduate studies should be at least 3 years long, thus leaving room for master level studies in the 5 year period required for an engineering degree in Greece. Engineering schools in Greece objected to the Bologna process for years, [ [ Δυναμικό "όχι" στην υποβάθμιση της Ανώτατης Παιδείας είπαν Πρυτάνεις, Καθηγητές ΑΕΙ, Μηχανικοί και Φοιτητές ] ] which might explain the silent adoption of the process.


In Hungary, the Bologna system will be applied to those starting their university education in September 2006. From this year, only 108 majors will be available for selection (instead of more than 400 in the previous year), out of which six are exempt from the Bachelor vs. Master division: lawyer, physician, dentist, veterinary, pharmacist and architect.

According to an online poll [ [ Országos Felsőoktatási Információs Központ ] ] (query date: 24-FEB-06) of the National Tertiary Education Information Centre [] 65% of the voters think it was unnecessary to adopt this system. Its unpopularity first of all comes from the fact that the new system provides much less guarantee for students to get a practically useful Master's degree because many of them will be dismissed after the three years' Bachelor education. It's also not popular that students are supposed to take up more unrelated subjects in the first three years at several majors, due to the much more reduced number of majors.

:"Source in Hungarian:" []


In Ireland most honours bachelors degree are three to four years with master's and doctorates being broadly similar to the UK. Ordinary bachelors degrees are also first cycle qualifications. The masters degree is always a postgraduate degree, either taught or achieved through research. The generic outcomes for Irish degrees are spelled out in the National Framework of Qualifications published in 2003.


Italy seems to fit the framework since the adoption, in 1999, of the so-called "3+2 system".

The first degree is the Laurea triennale that can be achieved after 3 years of studies.

Students can then complete 2 more years of "specialization" which lead to the Laurea Magistrale. The "Laurea Magistrale" corresponds to a Master's Degree, and gives access to 3rd cycle programmes (doctorates). It should not be confused with Italian "Masters", less popular 2nd cycle degrees which do not give access to doctorates: "First Level Masters" can be pursued by those who hold at least a "Laurea triennale" degree, while "Second Level Masters" require a "Laurea Magistrale" before entry.

Exceptions to the "3+2 system" are the "unique cycle degrees": "medicine" (6 years, plus a postgraduate specialization), "pharmacy", "veterinary science", "architecture" and "law" (5 years).

The "dottorato di ricerca" (doctorate) requires 3 or 4 years of work.

Republic of Macedonia

Macedonia became a member of the Bologna Process in 2003, having started with the changes in the higher education system much earlier in 2000 when the Ministry of Education and Science passed the new Law on Higher Education. The Law requires universities to start introducing the ECTS and designing study and subject programs according to the principles of the Bologna process.

The existing academic degree granted with a "diploma" was transformed into a baccalaureus and the programmes were shortened from 4 years to around 3. The degree granted with a "magisterium" is transformed into a master's degree, achieved after 5 years of study. Medicine and medicine related studies still last 6 or 5 years. The degree of "doktorat" (PhD, remains but it can be received after 3 more years, i.e. 8 years in total: 3 years (Bachelor or "Baccalaureus") + 2 years (Master) + 3 years (doctor of science or "doktor na nauki").

The implementation of the Bologna process/ ECTS on the Law Faculty "Iustinianus Primus"-Skopje: [] .


Republic of Moldova adhered to the Process of Bologna in 2005.


In Montenegro, the implementation of the Bologna process started in the academic year 2007.

The Netherlands

The old "HBO" (polytechnical education) has moved to the bachelor / master system. It generally requires four years of education to obtain a Bachelor degree at these institutions. After these four years, graduates can apply for a master program at a university. These master programs generally require one to two years to complete.

Previously there used to be a "propedeuse" (propaedeutics) (1-2 year) followed by three or four years of further studies to obtain a "doctoraal" degree (drs, ir or mr); not to be confused with the doctoral degree (dr) which furthermore requires the writing of a dissertation and several scientific publications and may be comparable to a PhD. This process is now replaced with the "twee fase structuur" with a Bachelors of three years and a Masters of one, two, or three years.


Education in Poland starts at the age of 7 with 6 years of primary school (Polish Szkoła podstawowa). Next is the lower secondary level consists of 3 years in middle school (Gimnazjum), starting at age 13/14, ends with an exam). This is followed by upper secondary level, which gives the students several options, the most common being the 3-year Liceum Ogólnokształcące or 4 years Technikum (technical school). Both end with a maturity examination (matura), and may be followed by several forms of upper education. The Polish equivalent of an Associate's degree, Bachelor of Arts degree or Bachelor of Science degree (given by a university) is claimed to be licencjat, while in a technical university (Politechnika) one gets the title of Engineer (inżynier). Magister is claimed to be the Polish equivalent of Master's degree. Doktor is the Polish equivalent of a doctoral degree (Ph.D.). However, some British universities (such as LSE) currently require a magister (which is already considered to be a Master's degree) or a licencjat from 2003 onwards with an average grade of 4+ (5 being the maximum grade and thus very difficult to average) British universities are also requesting that entrants for BA programs have very high matura scores (i.e. a minimum mark of 90%). It should also be noted that a Magister can be completed part-time (usually with classes every weekend or every other weekend) in five years in total.


Due to the pan-European Bologna Process, after 2005 new "licenciatura" (licentiate) degrees were organized at both university and polytechnic institutions of Portugal – they are now a first study cycle (3 or 4 years depending on the course and institution) offered by Portuguese institutions of higher education, and are the only requirement for any applicant who wish to undertake the second study cycle which awards a master's degree. Some new Bologna courses are integrated 5-year programmes or more, awarding a single master's degree (joint degree), a common practice in medicine, a 6-year programme, and some other fields taught at the universities. In engineering, although the use of two separated cycles, only having the masters' degree (2nd cycle of study) one can be a full chartered engineer. The new master's degrees attained after 5 or 6 years of successful study, corresponds to the same time duration of many old undergraduate degrees known as "licenciatura", while the new "licenciatura" attained after 3 or 4 years of successful study corresponds to the time duration of the old "bacharelato" (a discontinued degree awarded by polytechnics, in use between the 1970s and early 2000s) or the old 4-year "licenciatura" (awarded by the universities which awarded also 5 or 6-year "licenciatura" degrees depending on the course). Both the old and new master's degrees are the first graduate degree before a doctorate, and both the old and new "licenciatura" degrees are undergraduate degrees. Before the changes, the "licenciatura" diploma (4 to 6-year course) was required for those applicants who wished to undertake (the old) master's and/or doctorate programs but admission were only allowed for "licenciatura" degree owners with grades over 14 (out of 20). After the changes introduced by the Bologna process, the master's degree is conferred at the end of a programme roughly equivalent in time duration to many old "licenciatura" programmes. However, the Bologna process was elaborated in order to attain an improved education system based on the development of competences rather than on the transmission of knowledge. Its goal was the development of a reformed and modernized system of easily readable and comparable degrees, aimed to simplify comparison between qualifications across Europe through a total reorganisation of curricula and teaching methods in every new cycle of study. The flexibility and transparency provided is oriented to enable students to have their qualifications recognised more widely, facilitating freedom of movement around a more transparent EHEA (European Higher Education Area) which is based on two main cycles: undergraduate (1st cycle of study) and graduate (2nd cycle of study); as well as providing postgraduate degrees (3rd cycle of study) for advanced applicants aiming the doctorate degree.

As of 2007, critics allege that this was not achieved as many institutions relabeled their old "licenciatura" as the new master's without making any substantial alteration to the curriculum. The changings creating 3 to 6 years new licenciaturas and master's degrees that correspond to either 4 to 8 years of study in the previous model, has generated considerable confusion among some people and institutions. It is also alleged that many of those master's degrees offered by certain institutions, were not designed to prepare the students for further study (3rd cycle).


Romania made major steps towards the European Higher Education Area by reorganizing the entire education system. The new structure was approved by the National Rectors Council in November 2003 releasing on 5th of November 2003 the Declaration of the National Higher Education Conference.

The new legislation of June 2004 (No. 288/2004) stipulates the reorganization of the university studies, in accordance with Bologna declaration and Prague 2001, Berlin 2003 ministerial meetings, in three main cycles: Bachelor, Master and Doctoral. The implementation begun with the 2005-2006 generation of students and consists in a short-term higher education (180 ECTS) after which the student receives a "diploma de absolvire" or a long-term higher education (240-360 ECTS) after which one can receive an engineer diploma, "diploma de inginer", (300 ECTS), architect diploma, "diploma de architect", (360 ECTS) or bachelor "diploma de licenţă" in other fields (240-360 ECTS). The first stage of the higher education can be followed by an advanced studies program (60-90 ECTS) in the same field as the diploma obtained after a long-term higher education, giving the student a diploma for advanced studies "diploma de studii aprofundate". Master studies last for 2 to 4 semesters (60-120 ECTS).


The Russian higher education framework was basically incompatible with the process: the generic "lowest" degree in all universities since Soviet era is the "Specialist" which can be obtained after completing 5-6 years of studies. Since the mid-90s, many universities have introduced limited educational programmes allowing students to graduate with a Bachelor's degree (4 years) and then earn a Master's degree (another 1-2 years) while preserving the old 5-6 year scheme. In October 2007 Russia enacted a move to two-tier education in line with Bologna process model. [cite web | url= | title=Putin signs law on two-tier higher education system-1 | publisher=RIA Novosti, October 25, 2007 | language=English | accessdate=2008-10-08 | year=2007] The universities inserted a BSc diploma in the middle of their standard "specialist" programs; transition to real MS qualification has not been completed yet.

It's worth mentioning that even though "Specialists" are eligible for post-graduate courses ("Aspirantura") as well as Masters are, Bachelors are not. "Specialist" degree is now being discontinued, so new students don't have this option. At the same time, while "specialist" education was free, the MS part of six-year program is not; students graduating in 2009–2010 will have to pay for what was free to their predecessors. The labor market regards BSc diplomas as inferior to "classic" education, thus MS stage remains mandatory for most graduates.cite web | url= | title=Bolonsky prozess: katastrofa ili panacea("Болонский процесс: Катастрофа или панацея") | author=Guriyev, Sergey | year=2007 | publisher=Vedomosti, October 20, 2007 | language=Russian | accessdate=2008-10-08 | year=2007 ]


In Serbia, the implementation of the Bologna process started in some schools in 2005. The existing academic degree granted with a "diploma" was transformed into a baccalaureus and the programmes last for 4 or, in some cases, 3 years. The degree granted with a "magistratura" was mostly eliminated or transformed into a master's degree, achieved after 5 years of study. Medicine and medicine related studies still last 6 or 5 years. The degree of "doktorat" (PhD) remains.

Currently, there is a lot of turmoil in the Serbian education system. The implementation of the Bologna process spawned a lot of problems, with one of the major problems being the introduction of very high tuition fees in public universities under the cover of the process. The fees, which are in some cases extremely high, have caused unrest among the student population. Currently, there isn't a single benefit of the Bologna process in SerbiaFact|date=March 2007. Because Serbia is not a part of the ERASMUS program, the students find it hard or even impossible to transfer between the European universities, thus have no use of their ECTS credits.


The structure of university degrees in Spain is quite different from the Anglo-Saxon model.

For years it has had two kinds of initial degrees: 3-year "Diplomatura" or "Ingeniería Técnica" (technical engineering) degrees and 4, 5 or 6-year "Licenciatura" or "Ingeniería" degrees. These two kinds of degrees used to be completely separate, the former leading to a medium-level technical profession (like Nursing, Social Work, School Teaching, medium-level Engineering, etc.) and the latter giving access to higher-level professions or academic disciplines (Physics, Chemistry, History, Psychology, Medicine, Sociology, Philosophy, Economics, higher Engineering, etc.) and opening the path to the Doctorate. Although the "Diplomatura" degrees used to be a sort of blocked path, over the years the possibility was opened to go on (with an extra year or half-year of study) to the last two years of a "Licenciatura" usually in a related but different field. But a "Diplomatura" has never been the exact equivalent of a BA/BSc, nor the "Licenciatura" that of an MA/MSC.

The new degrees have started for the master's level in 2006, and are scheduled to start at the undergraduate level in 2008. The new degrees will be: "Graduado" for the Bachelor's degree, after 4 years of study; "Master" with an extra year or two; and "Doctor" for the doctorate.

The reform will also mean the end of a long standing Spanish tradition of centralised definition of degrees, both in their names and in a large part of their contents. Universities will have a very large autonomy to define their programmes and the name of their degrees, and will have to account for the results by means of an evaluation and accreditation process.


A bill proposing new regulations in the field of Higher Education was presented to Parliament in 2005. The new system came into force in July 2007. In the new system of degrees there will be two degrees of different lengths in each cycle.
* First cycle :
** Högskoleexamen 2 years (eng. translation University Diploma)
** Kandidatexamen 3 years (eng. translation Bachelor's degree)
* Second cycle:
** Magisterexamen 1 year (eng. translation Degree of Master, 1 year, sometimes called "Swedish master's degree")
** Masterexamen 2 years (eng. translation Degree of Master, 2 year, for example from an International Master's programme)
* Third cycle:
** Licentiatexamen 2 years (eng. translation Degree of Licentiate)
** Doktorsexamen 4 years (eng. translation Degree of Doctor).

All degrees and qualifications are described using learning outcomes.

In July 2007, a new system of credits compatible with the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System, ECTS, was introduced, where one academic credit point ("högskolepoäng") in the new system corresponds to one ECTS credit point, or two thirds of a credit point in the old system ("poäng").

Some Swedish universities have decided to introduce the ECTS standard grading scale for all students, while others only will use it for international students. However, since so called criterion-referenced grading is practiced instead of relative grading in the Swedish educational system, the 10%, 25%, 30%, 25% and 10% distribution of the students among A, B, C, D and E will not be obeyed.

Some universities have decided to only give grade Failed or Passed (F or P) at certain courses, for example internship and thesis projects, or at some assignments, for example laboratory exercises.



[ Bologna Process]


Since the mid-90s, Ukraine took steps to reform its education frameworks in consistence with the Bologna process. By mid-2000s, most Universities grant lower Bachelor's degree (about 4 years) and higher Master's degree (about 6 years). In the Soviet times the only degree was "Specialist", which is discontinued by now. "Masters" are eligible for post-graduate courses. The post-graduate system ("Aspirantura") has not been reformed, with Kandydat nauk and Doktor nauk degrees being granted.

United Kingdom

The UK is unusual in that graduates with a Bachelor's (Honours) degree can undertake doctoral studies without first having to obtain a Master's degree.Fact|date=October 2007 Support for this is widespread in the UK because it costs students less to obtain a Ph. D, both in terms of time and money, than in other EU countries. Opponents argue that a Master's degree experience is required to train the student for their doctoral studies – both in practical techniques and enhanced knowledge of a field.

England and Wales

The first academic degrees in England and Wales available to undergraduates students are either a three-year ("Honours") Bachelor's degree, or a four-year degree equivalent to a three-year Bachelor's plus an integrated one-year Master's, or a three-year degree plus a year spent in employment ("sandwich courses") or in a foreign university. Postgraduate Master's degrees generally take only one additional academic year to complete beyond the initial 3-year Bachelor's degree. Note, however, that the academic year for postgraduate Master's programmes in UK usually lasts twelve months (full-time). A research doctorate leading to the Doctor of Philosophy degree may be completed after 3 or 4 years of additional full-time study.


Scottish students can leave school and enter University at age seventeen with national Higher Grade certificates, as Scottish university courses generally last a year longer than in England and Wales. It is often possible for school students to take Advanced Highers, equivalent to English A-levels, and join the courses at the second year.

A unique aspect is that the Ancient Universities of Scotland issue a Master of Arts as the first degree in humanities.

Bologna process seminars

Several Bologna process seminars have been held as of October 2008.

The first seminar devoted to a single academic discipline was held in June 2004 in Dresden, Germany: its title was "Chemistry Studies in the European Higher Education Area". [ eurodoctorate] (PDF 140KB)] The same seminar also approved Eurobachelor.



* Kertz-Welzel, Alexandra. "Motivation zur Weiterbildung: Master- und Bachelor-Abschlüsse in den USA." Diskussion Musikpädagogik 29 (2006): 33-35.

See also

* European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System
* Education by country
* Chemistry Quality Eurolabels

External links

* [ Bologna Process Secretariat 2005-2007]
* [ National Unions of Students in Europe – Bologna Process Committee]
* [ ENIC-NARIC network aims at improving academic recognition of diplomas and periods of study in Europe]
* [ The internationalisation of the German education system] – by the German Education Server
* [ "The Bologna Process from a Norwegian Perspective"] Bologna Bergen Summit 2005. Norwegian perspective on the ten lines of action for the Bologna Process
* [ "Bologna for Pedestrians"] Council of Europe
* [ "Bologna Process"] Admissions Officers' and Credential Evaluators' (ACE) professional section of the EAIE – European Association for International Education. Includes updates on implementation from individual countries.
* [ "Bologna Process"] European University Association. Analysis of Bologna Process, trends in education and background information with numerous reports in pdf format to download.
* [ "Guide to the Bologna Process"] The UK Higher Education Europe Unit. UK perspective the ten lines of action for the Bologna Process.
* [ "The Bologna Process and Australia: Next steps"] Australian Department of Science, Education and Training. Link to pdf file for full report on DEST analysis of Bologna Process and impact on Australian education.
* [ The Bologna Process] , "World Education News and Reviews", compilation of articles.
* [ Bologna Process in Romania]
* [ EUROSTUDENT website] Presents relevant data on aspects of student life in 23 European countries

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