There are over 40 higher education institutions in Albania, both public and private, and include universities, university colleges, academies and higher vocational colleges. There are more private universities than public institutions in Albania. The quality of private institutions is closely monitored by the Albanian government after a number of these became known as “diploma factories” and were subsequently closed. Eighteen private institutions were closed and 13 suspended in 2014 alone. Students who wish to study in Albania are advised to check the website of the Albanian Education Ministry, though this is only available in Albanian, at http://arsimi.gov.al.
Albania signed the Bologna Accord in 2003 and is a member of the European Higher Education Area. The country has standardised its degrees in accordance with this. Bachelor’s degrees (Diplomë) take three years, Master’s degrees (Diplomë e Studimeve te Thelluara pasuniversitare) take between one and two years and PhD degrees (Doktor I Shkencave) usually take at least three years. Part-time study and distance learning are also available. The most popular discipline in Albania is Business Administration and Law, which is estimated to attract more than 25% of all students. All higher education applicants must have completed secondary education, but each institution may set additional admission criteria. Admission to certain programmes has certain additional requirements, for example, a Master of Science degree or a PhD programme, requires the knowledge of one of five European languages (English, French, German, Italian or Spanish). Most degrees are taught through the Albanian language though a limited number of courses are taught through English or French.
Higher education institutions charge tuition fees, and these constitute a significant part of their funding. Institutions are permitted to set their own tuition fees. Scholarships and grants are provided by the Albanian government. The country’s students engaged in mass protests in 2018 and 2019 against perceived corruption in the country’s higher education and also to demand lower tuition fees and more investment in public education. Annual tuition fees at the time ranged from $180-$2900, in a country with high levels of unemployment. The government later cut tuition fees and pledged to invest in the country’s student accommodation.
Information for International Students
Though the cost of living in Albania is low, the country remains an unusual destination for international students. For further information, they are advised to check with their institution of choice. International student admission is based on school examination results and all international students applying for a course taught in Albanian will be required to sit a language exam. International students from a wide variety of countries are allowed to enter Albania visa-free for a period of up to 90 days, but a student visa will be required for longer periods.