Higher Education in Ukraine
Ukraine has a long and proud history of higher education, with the first higher education institutions emerging in the country as early as the 16th and 17th centuries. Starting in 1991, the country began modifying and modernizing its system to return to its roots as one of Europe's finest higher education systems after years under the totalitarian education system. Today, the country blends both academic and practical education into its course of study.
The 2002 Law on Higher Education lays out the basic framework for studying in Ukraine. Their higher education system offers four levels of achievement:
Junior Specialist: At the junior specialist level, students attain proficiency level. Students enter the Junior Specialist level after completing the equivalent of a secondary school curriculum. The junior specialist degree takes 2 to 3 years to earn a diploma.
Bachelor: The Bachelor level degree assesses a candidate's training, knowledge and proficiency in professional fields of endeavor such as economics, engineering, the arts and many other fields. It takes approximately four years to earn a Bachelor's level diploma. The Bachelor degree, according to the Ukraine Ministry of Higher Education, is the first level of basic higher education.
Bachelor Specialist or Specialist: This is one level above the Bachelor degree and requires one additional year of completion. It builds upon the Bachelor level education with additional credits in the student's chosen subject area.
Masters: A Masters Degree demonstrates innovative thinking in a subject area, and builds further upon the knowledge attained during previous educational levels. The Masters students must write and present an original paper that demonstrates his or her ability to collect, aggregate and synthesize data and knowledge in a subject. The Specialist and Masters degrees are considered a complete form of higher education in Ukraine.
The Ukraine system of higher education aims at helping students obtain practical professional experience in a chosen field. The Ukraine legislation sets for the qualifications for each position in documents such as the Directory of Qualification Characteristics.
Where to Study
Ukraine boasts some of the finest higher education institutions in Eastern Europe. With over 800 universities to choose from in both major cities and more remote areas, students are sure to find one that suits their needs. Kyiv (Kiev) is the largest city in the Ukraine and offers over a dozen fine universities dedicated to medicine, professional careers, and the arts. Institutions dedicated to mining, medicine and technology are found in Dnipro-petrovsk, a city with a population of over 1 million people.
The Academic Year
The academic year in Ukraine runs from September 1 to June 30. The academic year is divided into two semesters, fall and spring, with tuition and credits divided evenly between them.
September 1 is often called "Knowledge Day" and is considered a day on which incoming freshman are welcomed. There may be special ceremonies to welcome students.
The fall term ends in late December. Fall Examinations are held during one week in January. After Fall Examinations, students typically have a much-needed vacation lasting two weeks before returning for the Spring Semester. The same pattern is repeated in the spring, with Spring Examinations held during one week in late June.
Most universities are closed in July and August. Professors and students are on holiday. Summer sessions, common in the United States, are atypical in Ukraine.
In order to enter a Ukrainian higher education institution, you must obtain a letter of admissions and pay a fee of approximately $350 USD for a bachelor level program or $450 for masters level or higher.
Tuition is charged on a per-year basis rather than a per credit hour or course method.
What's It Like to Study in Ukraine?
Students from around the world report that the cost of living for students is moderate. Books, lodging and meals are affordable compared to other countries, and the emphasis is on academics. Students tend to be serious and focused on their studies during the academic term. They wait until the longer summer vacation for fun and frolics, preferring to learn as much as they can during the academic year.