The Ukrainian Study Abroad Market

In this market report on Ukraine we will cover socio-economic, educational and mobility trends. According to UNESCO, Ukraine is among the most educated societies in the world with a tertiary gross enrollment ratio of 83 percent. The Ukrainian education system has a long tradition, but its reputation has suffered lately from increased quality problems. The Higher Education sector has found it difficult to adapt to changing circumstances. For one, university education is not yet employment-geared. Youth unemployment is high (19.6 percent among 15- to 24-year-olds in 2018) and far above unemployment rates of the general working-age population.

The recent annexation of Crimea and the war in Ukraine’s eastern territories have had a devastating impact on economic and political life in Ukraine, as well as its education system. While outbound student mobility has grown strongly in the country in general in recent years, it has accelerated even further since the conflict began in 2014. After doubling from 25,432 to 49,966 between 2007 and 2014, the number of degree-seeking Ukrainian students abroad has since spiked by another 54 percent to 77,219 in 2019, as per UNESCO. The outbound mobility ratio, that is, the percentage of students enrolled abroad amongst all Ukrainian students, tripled since 2012 and stood at 4.6 percent in 2017 (source: All this and more in the Market Report on Ukraine.

Quick facts

  • Population: 42 million (2020)

  • Education: 8 years compulsory

  • Academic year: September – June

Secondary education

  • Starting age: 10

  • Duration: 8 years (5 years lower secondary school, 3 years higher secondary school)

  • Enrollment numbers: 2.3 million (2019 data)
    Enrollment rate: 97%

Higher education

  • Duration: 5 – 5,5 years (bachelor 4, Master 1 – 1,5)

  • Enrollment numbers: 1.7 million (2019)

  • Tertiary enrollment rate: 83%

  • Universities/Higher Education Institutions: 664 (520 public, 144 private)

Ukrainian Education System

Secondary education

Basic secondary education lasts five years (grades five to nine) and is open to all pupils who successfully completed elementary education. The general core curriculum includes subjects like Ukrainian language and literature, foreign language, history, mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, physical education, music, and art. Assessment and promotion are primarily based on examinations. At the end of ninth grade, students sit for final state exams. Those who pass are awarded a “certificate of completion of basic secondary education” (svidotstvo pro bazovu zagal’nu serednyu osvitu).

All graduates of basic secondary education are eligible to enroll in upper-secondary school. Under the new regulations that will be in place by 2027, upper-secondary education will be three years in length (grades 9 to 12) instead of two years (grades 9 to 11). This will align the Ukrainian system with the 12-year systems found in most of the world. (Source:

Admission to Higher Education

The completion of a compulsory secondary education program and the acquisition of a relevant Independent External Evaluation certification are the general prerequisite for joining a university bachelor program. Additional specific admission conditions and procedures are individually regulated by the higher education institutions themselves. Most institutions organize admission campaign in June and July usually. The ranking of the candidates depends on both the results of the Independent External Evaluation and the success in the previous level of education.

Source: European Commission)

Higher Education

Higher education is under the supervision of the Ministry of Education and is offered by universities, academies and institutes, technical schools, colleges, conservatories (i.e. musical academies). All of these institutions offer both professionally-oriented and academic programs. There are 4 types of Higher Education Institutions in Ukraine (please see details below).

University level studies:

  • University level first stage: Bakalavr, Specialist: The academic and professional diploma of Bakalavr (BA, BEd., BMed.) is generally awarded after four years of successful study (six years for Medicine). The Bakalavr program comprises basic higher education and professional training in a given field. It is an intermediate degree. The degree (Diplom) of Specialist is awarded after five or six years of study, depending on the type of institution.
  • University level second stage: Magister: The Magister (Master’s Degree) is awarded on the basis of a Bachelor’s Degree or Specialist’s qualification generally one to two years after the first degree. Students must pass final examinations and defend a thesis.
  • University level third stage: Doctoral Degree-1: Ukraine keeps a two-degree system at doctoral level: Kandydat nauk (Candidate of Sciences, comparable to the Ph.D.), and Doctor nauk. The first qualification is obtained after three or four years of study by submitting and publicly defending a thesis and passing the required examinations. The candidate’s thesis can be prepared while following various forms of post-graduate studies.
  • University level fourth stage: Doctoral Degree-2: The  “Doctor nauk” is the highest scientific degree in Ukraine, comparable to “Habilitation” in some Western countries. It is awarded to candidates already holding a “Kandidat nauk”, on the successful presentation and defence of the “Doctor nauk” (habilitation) dissertation. The Habilitation dissertation should represent a major contribution to the development of a given field or branch of learning, and has to be published entirely or at least its main parts.
Image depicting the Ukrainian Educational System

Types of Higher Education Institutions

There are 4 types of Higher Education Institutions in Ukraine:

  1. Universities are multidisciplinary research institutions, public or private. They are further subdivided into “classical universities” and “specialized universities.
  2. Institutes and academies are specialized HEIs accredited at level III or IV that offer graduate and doctoral programs in specific disciplines. They can be part of universities.
  3. Conservatories, likewise, are specialized HEIs with level III or level IV accreditation that offer advanced programs in artistic fields.
  4. Colleges and technical schools are either stand-alone institutions accredited at level II, or part of larger HEIs accredited at level III or IV. They offer mostly applied first-cycle programs (Junior Bachelor/Specialist or Bachelor).

Latest Ukrainian Higher Education study abroad stats

At this point a total of 77,639 Ukrainian students are studying abroad (source: UNESCO). Poland and Russia are the biggest receiving nations:

Ukrainian students studying abroad
UNESCO study abroad data

IB schools in Ukraine

Upcoming Education Fairs in Ukraine

Online behaviour of Ukrainian students 

In total, there are 26 million Internet users in Ukraine and this number includes subscribers of mobile and wired connections. The vast majority (25.3 million people) use broadband access. Among such, wireless connections account for 20 million users, and 5.3 million users for fixed access.

Compared to 2017, when Ukraine accounted for 23.6 million customers, growth accounted for wireless networks. Over the year, about 2.5 million people connected to wireless networks.

The internet penetration rate in Ukraine is expected to reach 82 percent by 2022. The figures are based on an assumed average growth rate on three percent in each year from 2019 onwards. (source:

Most popular social media platforms 

Facebook is by far the most popular social media platform in Ukraine with 40% market share. (source:


Scholarships for Ukrainian students

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