The Polish Study Abroad Market

In this market report on Poland we will cover socio-economic, educational and mobility trends. Poland’s educational success can partially be attributed to an ambitious internationalization strategy developed in 2015 by the Polish Ministry of Science. The strategy aims at more than doubling the number of international students in the country by 2025. To support initiatives such as language training and international education programs, the government has put 57.5 million euros toward the plan. Since that time Polish HEIs have increasingly offered more courses with English as the language of instruction – by one estimate even going so far as to double the number of these courses since 2015. (source:

To encourage internationalization of HEIs, the Polish Parliament has recently passed a law establishing the National Agency for Academic Exchange, modelled after the DAAD in Germany, the Dutch NUFFIC and Campus France in France. It is tasked with developing and putting in place arrangements and financial mechanisms to support higher education student and staff mobility; launching projects to support HEIs in improving the quality of programs offered; running programs facilitating the return of Polish researchers to the country; conducting information and promotion campaigns on Polish higher education; and promoting learning and knowledge of the Polish language abroad. (source: All this and more in the Market Report on Poland.

Quick facts

  • Population: 38 million (2020)

  • Education: 8 years compulsory

  • Academic year: October – July

Secondary education

  • Starting age: 13

  • Duration: 6 years (3 years lower secondary, 3 years upper secondary education)

  • Enrollment numbers: 2.4 million (2019)
    Enrollment rate: 110%

Higher education

  • Duration: 4 – 6 years (bachelor) – 1 – 2 years (Master) – 2 years (PhD)

  • Enrollment numbers: 1.55 million (2019)

  • Tertiary enrollment rate: 68%

  • • Universities / Institutions: 428

Polish Education System

The education system in Poland is governed by Acts of Parliament and ministerial regulations adopted, in particular, by the Minister of National Education, responsible for general education, vocational education and skills, and the Minister of Science and Higher Education.

The education system comprises a school education system (from preschool to post-secondary education) and a higher education system, each operating on the basis of separate legislation. There is no single or integrated adult education system.

Poland is in the process of education reform. The current and new structures of the education system exist side by side until the former is gradually replaced with the latter by the end of the school year 2022/2023 (source:

Secondary education

The junior high school (gimnazjum) covers lower secondary education and ends general basic education and lasts three years. The subjects taught are: Polish language, history, civic education, two foreign languages, mathematics, physics and astronomy, chemistry, biology, geography, fine arts/music, technology, information technology, physical education and religion or ethics. At the end of the curriculum, pupils are evaluated based on their continuing results and on an examination in humanities, science and foreign languages.

Upper secondary education begins at the end of full-time compulsory education, preparing students for entry directly into the labor-market and/or tertiary (i.e. higher) education. Upper secondary education takes many forms. (source: wikipedia)

Admission to Higher Education

Access to the Bachelor stage is dependent on a maturity certificate (świadectwo maturalne). After the introduction of the external maturity examination (egzamin maturalny) in 2005, admission to first-cycle degree programs is based on results of this examination.

Higher Education system

The Polish higher education system has been divided to three stages: Bachelor (Licencjat, Inżynier), Master (Magister), and Doctor (Doktor). This system applies to all fields of education except Law, Pharmacy, Psychology, Veterinary Medicine, Medicine and Dentistry, which are still based on two-stage system (Master and Doctor).

Bachelor (BA, Licencjat)
Obtained following the completion of 3-3,5 year-long vocational/technical college studies

Bachelor (BSc, Inżynier)
Obtained following the completion of 3,5-4 year-long college studies in technical sciences, agriculture and economy.

Master (MA, MSc, Magister)
Equivalent degrees: Master of Art, Master Engineer, Master Engineer Architect, qualified physician, dental surgeon or veterinarian. Granted following the completion of 5-6 year long uniform university studies. The MSc may also be obtained following the completion of 2-2,5 years-long supplementary master’s degree studies which may be taken by persons with a college diploma.

Doktor (PhD, Doktor)
A degree awarded to those who pass doctoral exam and successfully defend dissertation. To qualify for the academic degree of doctor one must hold a master or equivalent degree. (Source: studyinpoland)

Image depicting the Polish Educational System

Latest Polish Higher Education study abroad stats

At this point a total number of 25,092 Polish students are studying abroad in a degree course program (source: UNESCO). The most popular destination countries for students from Poland:

Polish students studying abroad
UNESCO study abroad data

IB schools in Poland

Best performing Polish Universities

Looking to partner with Universities from Poland? These are the best performing universities.

Jagiellonian University

THE Rank: 501 – 600

University of Warsaw

THE Rank: 601 – 800

Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań

THE Rank: 1001 – 1200

Upcoming Education Fairs in Poland

Scholarships for Polish students

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