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Chapter 1: Higher Education System

Section 1.1: Schematic Description of the Higher Education System

Section 1.1 Romania

The Romanian higher education system is structured as follows:

  • 1st cycle, BA (bachelor’s degree) – 3 years (or 4 years for some programs, such as engineering)
  • 2nd cycle, M.A.(master’s degree) – 2 years
  • 3rd cycle, Doctoral degree – 3 years.

EU sectoral regulated professions can include even 5 or 6 years, such as for Medical, Pharmaceutical, Dental, Veterinary or Architectural studies, with master’s degree included.

According with their assumed academic mission, the accredited universities in the national education system are classified into four categories:

  1. Advanced Scientific Research and Education Universities
  2. Education and Scientific Research Universities
  3. Universities of Education and Artistic Creation, and
  4. Universities focused only on education.

The national higher education system comprises all accredited higher education institutions. A higher education institution authorized to operate provisional becomes part of the national higher education system only after accreditation. For more information you can also visit the website of the Romanian Agency for Quality Assurance in Higher Education www.aracis.ro and https://www.edu.ro

Section 1.2: Description of Higher Education System

Higher education is organized in universities, academies, institutes, schools of higher education, referred to as higher education institutions and universities.
The Law no. 288/2004, with the subsequent modifications and completions, regulates the organization of the university studies on three cycles, namely Bachelor’s Degree Programmes, Master's Degree Programmes, and Doctoral studies.

All Bachelor's and Master's Degree Programmes use the ECTS system for both accumulation and transfer:

  • The 1st cycle (Bachelor's Degree Programme) includes a minimum of 180 and a maximum of 240 ECTS and is finalised with the level 6 of European Qualifications Framework; more specifically, one year of Bachelor's Degree Programme corresponds to 60 ECTS, while a Bachelor's Degree Programme typically takes 3-4 years to complete, depending on the field and area of specialisation. The length of the Bachelor's Degree Programmes in Engineering, Law and Theology is 4 years.
  • For professions regulated by European norms, bachelor (BA/BSc/BEng) and master studies (MA/MSc/MEng) can be provided as part of a 5 to 6 year full-time programme of study, thus diplomas are recognized as master's degree (the following fields of study are considered: Medicine - 360 ECTS, Dentistry - 360 ECTS/, Pharmacy 300 ECTS, Veterinary Medicine - 360 ECTS, Architecture - 360 ECTS, Architecture of inside - 300 ECTS, Design of product - 300 ECTS).
  • 2nd cycle (Master's Degree Programme) includes a minimum of 90 and a maximum of 120 transferable study credits and takes 1 - 2 years to complete. In order to access the 3rd cycle (PhD level), 300 ECTS are needed.
  • The 3rd cycle (PhD/Doctoral studies) may include at least 60 ECTS; Full-time or part-time doctoral studies correspond to 3 years' work time. Some Doctoral Schools use ECTS only for the first year of advanced studies.

The Master’s degree programmes are differentiated in professional Master’s degree programmes, scientific research Master’s degree programmes and didactic Master’s degree programmes. Similarly there are differences between the two existing types of Doctoral programmes: scientific and professional PhDs.

Section 1.3: Number of Higher Education Institutions

Higher education institutions (HEIs) in Romania are either public or private. The Romanian higher education system includes 101 HEIs: 54 public (state) accredited higher education institutions, 30 private accredited HEIs, and 7 private provisionally authorized HEIs. (A HEI authorized to operate on a temporary basis becomes part of the national HE system only after accreditation. A provisionally authorized HEI has no right to organize graduation exams.) https://www.edu.ro/institutii-invatamant-superior

The nomenclature of academic areas and specializations /university study programs accredited or authorized to operate on a temporary basis, the structure of higher education institutions, geographical locations, the number of transferable credits for each university study program, the form of education or the language of instruction, and the maximum number of students who can be enrolled, proposed by the quality evaluation agencies that evaluated each program, are established annually by government decision.

Section 1.4: Number of Students in Higher Education

  • Number of students enrolled in 2016-2017 is 531586 students
  • Number of students divided by type of institution (state/private)
Number of students   2016/2017 
Bachelor programmes
405,638
State
350,149
Private
55,489
Master programmes
103,827
State
92,838
Private
10,989
Doctoral and postdoctoral programmes
19,154
State
18,885
Private
269
  • Number of foreign students enrolled in full degree programmes
Number of students 2016/2017
 
Total
Romanian students
Foreign students
Bachelor programmes
405,638
381,952
23,686
State
350,149
328,593
21,556
Private
55,489
53,359
2,130

For the academic year 2016-2017, 94.2% of all students enrolled in undergraduate studies are Romanian and 5.8% are foreign students. Compared with previous years, the share of foreign students is slightly increasing in state education and relatively constant at the level of private higher education. Most foreign students come from Europe (63.7%), Asia (22%) and Africa (12.6%).
Foreign students at URL: https://studyinromania.gov.ro/Study_in_Romania_in_Numbers

According to the „Erasmus +” Dashboard for the academic year 2016-2017:

Section 1.5: Structure of Academic Year

The academic year starts in the first week of October. As Romanian higher education institutions are autonomous, they may decide on the academic schedule. Each year is divided into two semesters. Each semester lasts 14 weeks. The students have a summer holiday (typically from July until late September), a Christmas holiday, an Easter holiday (associated with the Orthodox Easter) and a short holiday (usually one week) at the end of the first semester. Examinations (oral or written) take place at the end of each semester. A re-examination period is typically scheduled before the beginning of the new academic year.

Section 1.6: National Qualifications Framework (or Similar)

In Romania, with the adoption of the new Law of National Education in 2011 was established the National Qualifications Authority (NQA), an institution under the authority of the Ministry of National Education. NQA act through the development, monitoring and implementation of the National Qualifications Framework in Higher Education (NQF), in line with the European one - EQF, and through the management of the National Qualifications Register for Higher Education (NQR). NQR for HE is the main instrument of the NQA, an online platform that includes information about all the qualifications which the universities in Romania grant students.


National Qualifications Framework in Higher Education (NQF) is a unique tool that sets qualifications structure and ensure national recognition and compatibility, international comparability of qualifications acquired in higher education system.

The matrix of the National Qualifications Framework in Higher Education integrates, depending on the qualification levels and on the generic descriptors, the professional competences and transversal competences through detailed level descriptors.

Academic qualifications are based on setting goals and learning outcomes in terms of professional competencies / specific competences / transversal competences that students have to acquire at the end of a university study programmes - Bachelor's, Master’s or PhD, which will be completed in the Diploma Supplement.
Each qualification in the National Register of Qualifications in Higher Education is defined in terms of learning outcomes related to the qualification levels for higher education: level 6 for Bachelor's Degree Programme, level 7 for Master's Degree Programme and level 8 for PhD/Doctoral studies, according to the NQF in HE. www.anc.edu.ro

Section 1.7: Learning Outcomes in Higher Education

HE-curricula in Romania is based on learning outcomes. The university study programmes ensure the consistency between the acquired learning outcomes in higher education and the competences related to occupational skills existing in the Romanian Occupation Classification or the International Standard Classification of Occupations (ISCO-08). The learning outcomes of the study programme are also detailed on the Diploma Supplement.

By registering qualifications in the NQR for HE, all the learning outcomes gained in the higher education system can be recognized and related to the occupations in the labour market and the consistency of qualifications and titles is ensured. The learning outcomes will be completed according to the methodology of their own institution, carried out in compliance with the NQA instructions on the methodology of writing learning outcomes for higher education institutions.

Accredited higher education institutions and those authorized to operate on a provisional basis are required to register and update the data in NQR for HE. New or revised university study programmes for enrolling in NQR are also required (mandatory) to contain learning outcomes correlated with the skills required by the labour market. The external methodology of evaluation of The Romanian Agency for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ARACIS) requires as a minimal standard for accreditation of a programme the requirement to have the examination and evaluation of students’ performance based on the learning outcomes.

Section 1.8: Admission Requirements to Higher Education

The platform „Study in Romania” is unique gate access centralized information on study opportunities in Romania. https://www.edu.ro/studiaza-in-romania According to the Methodology for receiving of foreign citizens at university studies programmes and their tuition fees starting with the academic year 2017 – 2018, approved by Ministerial Order no. 3473/2017, the enrolment in university study programmes is conditioned by passing the admission exam / admission contest and obtaining the letter of acceptance for studies issued by the Ministry of National Education (MEN), the Department of International Relations and European Affairs (DGRIAE). For the purposes of this methodology, foreign citizens are persons who have the nationality of a non-European Union State. The state guarantees to the citizens of Romania equal access to all levels and forms of higher education; The same rights as for Romanians shall be accorded to nationals of other Member States of the European Union, States belonging to the European Economic Area and the Swiss Confederation.

For the study programmes in which the education process takes place in Romanian language, the admission is conditioned by the knowledge of the Romanian language; Foreign citizens can be enrolled in the preparatory year for the Romanian language within the higher education institutions. The Ministry of National Education, through DGRIAE, are supporting the entries of the third-country nationals to study undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate in Romania; DGRIAE processes the dossiers of the students studying on their own expenses, and also processes the dossiers belonging to young people nominated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Economy, Trade and Business Environment, as scholars of the Romanian state, issuing letters of acceptance for studies, respectively registration provisions.
The admission procedure requires that the candidates, the citizens from non-EU countries, have to send their dossier directly to the chosen university which evaluates the dossier, and communicate to the MEN, DGRIAE, the list of those persons proposed for the issue of the letter of acceptance to studies, The MEN sends the letters of acceptance to the higher education institutions and, where appropriate, to the diplomatic missions.

The registration of the foreign citizens will be made by the decision of the rector, according to the schedule established by the host higher education institution, and according to the legislation in force. The issuing of the study visa is under the authority of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The access to Bachelor's Degree Programmes is based on the baccalaureate diploma; the access to Master's Degree Programmes is based on the bachelor degree (BA/BSc/BEng).

Also, only the graduates of the master’s degree programmes or equivalent studies have the right to participate in the admission to the PhD programs.

The National Centre for Recognition and Equivalency of Diplomas (CNRED) is the national authority in charge of recognition and validation of diplomas obtained abroad or in Romania. Higher education institutions also verify documents related to prior studies, based on the existing legal framework. CNRED evaluates and recognizes study documents held by EU citizens, the European Economic Area and the Swiss Confederation for further studies in Romania, as well as those owned by citizens of the non-EU to access the labour market in Romania. https://www.cnred.edu.ro/en/higher-education

Section 1.9: Grading System

The Diploma Supplement gives the specific information on grading scheme and, if available, grade distribution guidance, such as: Grades are integer numbers and given on a scale from 10 (the highest grade) to 1 (the lowest grade); the lowest passing grade is 5; the passing overall average grades for the class of .../..., field of study ..., study programme in ..., are: ... lowest average: ... (out of 10) and highest average ... (out of 10), the degree holder is ranked ... out of ... graduates.

The ECTs related to a discipline are received by a student only if he has passed the exam of that discipline. The average grades per academic year, and the arithmetic mean of the study years with two decimals and without rounding off, are filled in by the awarding institution that must check the legality of all information provided in the diploma and diploma supplement.

Section 1.10: Tuition Fee System for International Students

While maintaining the academic standards of quality, Romanian universities have some of the lowest tuition fees and living costs in the European Union.
According with the Government Ordinance no. 22/2009 approved with amendments by Law no. 1/2010, the minimum amount of tuition fees in foreign currency for citizens who study on their own expense in Romania, from non-EU countries, as well as those that are not part of the European Economic Area and the Confederation Swiss, are in the following table:

Domain  of university study
Bachelor’s Degree Programmes, Master's Degree Programmes, and residency (euro/month)       
Postgraduate, Doctoral studies                                       (euro/month)       
Technical, agronomic, sciences, mathematics and applied mathematics, sports
270 
290  
Architecture
350
370
Socio-human, psychology, economic
220
240
Medicine
320
340
Music and arts
420
440
Musical interpretation, theater
750
770
Movie
950
970
According the law in force, the Postgraduate study programs are: a) Advanced scientific research post-doctoral programs; b) Postgraduate training programmes and continuing professional development; c) Postgraduate professional programmes. The specific form of postgraduate medical education is the residency.
The tuition fees are charged for the entire duration of the academic year, including for the internships provided in the curriculum.

Section 1.11: Graduation Requirements and/or Qualification Awarding Requirements

The bachelor's finalisation exam consists of two requirements, as follows: the evaluation of fundamental and specialized knowledge, and the presentation of the bachelor's thesis / diploma project. The diploma awarded is called a Bachelor's degree, Engineer's degree or, as the case may be, a diploma of urban architect, and contain all the information necessary to describe the graduate program, including the form of education followed and the title obtained.

Master's degree programmes, organized on the basis of Law no. 288/2004, with the subsequent modifications and completions, are finalized with a dissertation examination which consists of presenting the dissertation thesis. The diploma awarded after the promotion of a master's degree programme, including the dissertation thesis, is called a master's degree and includes all the information necessary to describe the graduated program. It is also accompanied by a supplement to the diploma.

The doctoral diploma is granted on the basis of the title of doctor awarded by order of the Minister of National Education, after evaluation of the doctoral thesis by National Council for Attestation of University Titles, Diplomas and Certificates (CNATDCU). www.cnatdcu.ro.

Section 1.12: Relevant Current and Prospective Reforms in Higher Education

In relation to the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy, the 2020 target for tertiary education undertaken by Romania is that at least 26.7% of people aged between 30 and 34 have completed tertiary studies.

The National Strategy for Tertiary Education 2015-2020 aims at improving tertiary education attainment, quality, and efficiency, and at making higher education more relevant to labour market needs and more accessible to disadvantaged groups.

The vision for the development of tertiary education in Romania 2015-2020 is developed as an inter-related structure of support and pillars, which will be supported by several short, medium and long-term measures and initiatives.

The strategy focuses on four main areas of action:

  1. strengthening the governance, funding, monitoring and evaluation of tertiary education ("support conditions");
  2. Tertiary education attainment - encouraging and supporting wider disparities in tertiary education, especially for under-represented groups;
  3. High-quality, adaptive and relevant programs - improving the quality and relevance of tertiary education;
  4. Strategic engagement with industry - developing commitments to the economy, especially labour market and innovation / entrepreneurship.

Chapter 2: Quality assurance in Higher Education

Section 2.1: Quality Assurance Body in Higher Education

Romania was the first country in South-East Europe to set up a national quality assurance (QA) framework for higher education and a public agency to continuously monitor the quality of the Romanian higher education programmes. The Romanian Agency for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ARACIS) was established in 2005 and is an autonomous public institution of national interest.
The National Education Law 1/2011 allows HEIs to request the external evaluation from another Quality Assurance Agency that is listed in the European Quality Assurance Agency Register (EQAR).
ARACIS provides evaluation and accreditation of both higher education institutions and programmes, for public and private universities.
ARACIS is member of the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA) and also included in the European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education (EQAR).
http://www.aracis.ro/nc/en/aracis/ 

Section 2.2: Quality Assurance System

 

  Study programme Institution Further explanation 
Voluntary x x Evaluation of study programs and higher education institutions is done periodically at the initiative of the Ministry of National Education or of the universities.
Compulsory Please tick. x x By legal disposition, all accredited study programmes and institutions must undergo a periodical evaluation, every five years, to be granted the re-accreditation.
Regularity (years) X5 X5  
External x x  
Internal x x Each university has the obligation to carry out the internal evaluation at intervals of no more than 5 years.
Further information:
The main mission of ARACIS is the external quality evaluation of the Romanian higher education institutions, at the level of study programs, as well as at the institutional level.
By legal disposition, all accredited study programmes and institutions must undergo a periodical evaluation, every five years, to be granted the re-accreditation.

 

Section 2.3: Link Programme Authorisation with Quality Assurance

The Romanian Agency for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ARACIS) is carrying out its activity according to the best international practices, which are taken in its own Methodology and whose implementation is focused towards quality assurance and evaluation of the Romanian higher education, as part of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA).

ARACIS working methods and external methodology are thus in line with the revised European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ESG).

The national education system comprises all accredited higher education institutions. A higher education institution authorized to operate provisional legal procedures in force, becomes part of the national higher education system only after accreditation. For more information visit the website of the Romanian Agency for Quality Assurance in Higher Education, www.aracis.ro.

Throughout the external review the Agency verifies the compliance by the evaluated study-programme with the criteria and standards set legally. In case all criteria are met accordingly, the study-programme/institution is empowered to either enrol students and deliver courses (in case of provisional authorization) or to enrol students, deliver courses and organize final examinations and deliver degrees at the end of each Bologna cycle (in case of accreditation).

Based on the actual capacity of the respective study-programme, the agency also establishes the maximum number of students permitted to be enrolled for each year of study.
http://www.aracis.ro/nc/en/aracis/  
By a government decision yearly are validated: the nomenclature fields and specializations / study programs, and the structure of institutions of higher education and private accredited or provisionally authorized, with the following specifications:

  • undergraduate fields of study and specializations / study programs accredited or authorized to function temporarily,
  • geographic locations of deployment,
  • number of transferable study credits for each academic program,
  • in education and language teaching
  • maximum number of students that can be enrolled

The lists of the higher education institutions in Romania, accredited civil higher education, accredited military higher education, accredited private higher education, institutions private higher education institutions authorized to function temporarily: https://www.edu.ro/institutii-invatamant-superior 

Chapter 3: Credit System in Higher Education

Section 3.1: Description of Credit System

ECTS credits allocation is based on the student workload needed in order to achieve expected learning outcomes.
Credit allocation is in line with international university practice, following the ECTS methodology, according to which 60 credits represent the numerical equivalent for the normal workload of the average student during a university year, and 30 credits correspond to a semester.

Allocation of credits refers to all disciplines (compulsory, optional and optional) offered in the curriculum, including practice, internships, as well as license works, dissertations, diploma projects.
In allocating the number of credits for each discipline / activity is exclusively considered the amount of work (workload) required by the average student for the discipline / activity, relative to the total amount of work required to promote a full year of study.

The amount of student's work refers to the physical presence classes at the organized didactic activities (courses, seminars, practical works, workshops, etc.), but also the individual study hours, the elaboration of papers, research, etc., necessary to achieve the formative objectives of the discipline.
In accordance with the Methodological Guide on Writing Learning Outcomes, a credit comprises 25-30 hours of teaching and individual study hours; for uniformity in the university environment, the Methodological Guide recommends a multiple of 5 credits per module / discipline, respectively 125-150 hours of teaching, hours of practice and individual study hours.

Credits are awarded only after the successful completion of the required activity and the proper evaluation of the results understood as sets of acquired competencies, namely what the student knows, understands and is able to do following the attendance of the respective discipline.

Section 3.2: Credit Transfer System(s)

ECTS – European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System

Section 3.3: Additional Information

Implementation of ECTS in Romania: the first methodological recommendation on how to implement ECTS in Romanian universities was issued by the Ministry of Education even before signing the Bologna Declaration in 1998 and the implementation of ECTS has been updated by the regulation in 2005, as the Romanian higher education was reorganized into the three Bologna study cycles.

Section 3.4: Application of Credit System in Higher Education Institutions Obligatory?

Yes, the implementation of credit system in HEI is mandatory. All Romanian universities use the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS).

Section 3.5: Number of Credits per Academic Year/Semester

One year of Bachelor's Degree Programme or Master's Degree Programme corresponds to 60 ECTS. The academic curriculum plans and organizes the workload specific to teaching, learning, practical application and examination in accordance with ECTS, expressing it in terms of transferable study credits.

Section 3.6: Number of Credits per Higher Education Cycle

All Bachelor's and Master's Degree Programmes use the ECTS system for both accumulation and transfer:

  • The 1st cycle (Bachelor's Degree Programme) includes a minimum of 180 and a maximum of 240 ECTS and is finalised with the level 6 of European Qualifications Framework; more specifically, one year of Bachelor's Degree Programme corresponds to 60 ECTS, while a Bachelor's Degree Programme typically takes 3-4 years to complete, depending on the field and area of specialisation. The length of the Bachelor's Degree Programmes in Engineering, Law and Theology is 4 years.
  • As EU regulated professions (with automatic recognition within the EU), the Pharmacy 5-year programme is the equivalent of 300 transferable study credits (ECTS equivalent), whereas the Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Medicine programmes, which last 6 years, are equivalent to 360 ECTS.
  • 2nd cycle (Master's Degree Programme) includes a minimum of 90 and a maximum of 120 transferable study credits and takes 1 - 2 years to complete. In order to access the 3rd cycle (PhD level), 300 ECTS are needed.
    The cumulative total duration of the undergraduate and master study cycle corresponds to the acquisition of at least 300 transferable study credits.
  • The 3rd cycle (PhD/Doctoral studies) in theory includes 240 ECTS; Full-time or part-time doctoral studies correspond to 3 years' work time. Some Doctoral Schools use ECTS only for the first year of advanced studies.

Section 3.7: Description of Credit Unit

University curriculum plans and organizes the workload specific to the teaching, learning, practical application and examination activities in accordance with ECTS, expressing it in terms of transferable study credits.
According to the National Education Law no. 1/2011, a transferable study credit consists of the amount of directed and independent intellectual work required for the individual completion by the student of a component of a course in a university degree program complemented with validation of learning outcomes.

Credits measure the amount of work, that is, the study time required for the student to obtain the planned results for a discipline or study program at an average level. The study time / workload required to achieve the expected results refers to all activities performed individually:

  1. participation in courses, seminars and laboratories;
  2. individual study;
  3. projects, exams and practical activities.

Credits do not measure the quality of the student's training; the quality of the student's training is assessed by the grades.
Credits are given to the student along with the promotion of discipline or activity that is independently evaluated.

In accordance with the Methodological Guide on Writing Learning Outcomes, a credit comprises 25-30 hours of teaching and individual study hours; for uniformity in the university environment, the Methodological Guide recommends a multiple of 5 credits per module / discipline, respectively 125-150 hours of teaching, hours of practice and individual study hours.
The credits are included in all school documents along with the grades obtained at the disciplines evaluations.

Section 3.8: Link between Learning Outcomes and Credits

In Romanian HEIs, the basis to award ECTS is the combination of learning outcomes achieved and student workload: student has to fulfil the prescribed workload and has to achieve the expected learning outcomes. A student is awarded credits upon achievement of the defined learning outcomes related to the educational unit/course.

The learning outcomes are formulated for all study programme components and credits are awarded only when the stipulated learning outcomes are actually acquired.

On the basis of the Methodological Guidelines on the Writing of Learning Outcomes, which is public, during the years 2018-2019, the National Qualifications Authority (NQA) prepares specialists in all university centers, able to design the study programmes based on the learning outcomes. The external methodology of evaluation of ARACIS requires as a minimal standard for accreditation of a programme the requirement to have the examination and evaluation of students’ performance based on the learning outcomes.

Last updated in 2020
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