There are more than 50 higher education institutions in Bulgaria, including universities, specialised higher schools, and colleges. There are about 37 public institutions and 14 private ones. Bulgaria signed the Bologna Accord in 1999 and so is a member of the European Higher Education Area.
Bachelor’s degrees usually take between three to four years, Master’s degrees usually take a year to two years, and PhD programmes take about three years. Most courses in Bulgaria are taught in Bulgarian though courses in other languages, including English, French and German, are available. The most popular courses for international students in Bulgaria are healthcare courses like Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmacy. The courses usually take about six years, usually including a period of mandatory work experience. Each institution has different admission requirements. Evidence of language proficiency for the language of the study programme is required by all institutions, but most universities offer international students the opportunity to study these languages before entering a Bachelor’s programme, if necessary. Knowledge of Bulgarian is not mandatory and institutions usually offer courses in the language to international students.
Tuition fees for Medicine programmes taught in English are about 8,000 euros per year. This is one of the most expensive courses and international students applying for disciplines outside the healthcare sector are unlikely to spend more than 4,000 euros per year on their tuition fees. Students should note that private institutions tend to have higher fees than public ones.
Information for International Students
International students must provide translated and apostilled copies of the relevant educational diplomas. Some institutions require that international students provide medical certificates. Some institutions also require students to sit entrance examinations, for example, students seeking admission to a medical programme will be required to sit admission tests in Chemistry and Biology. International students are allowed to apply for student loans but students should note that these loans are not accepted by all HEIs and that students will have to fund their own studies. A number of scholarships are available to international students and students are advised to check with their institution for further information. Living costs in Bulgaria are low and students in the country can budget for around 500 euros per month. University dormitories cost around 45 euros per month, though private accommodation costs around 200-300 euros per month. Students should note that prices vary widely between different cities and regions. International students from EU member states do not need a visa to study in Bulgaria. Students from outside the EU may be required to apply for a student visa at their local Bulgarian embassy and will need to provide the following documents: application form, copy of passport, university acceptance letter, and photographs.