Kyrgyzstan has over 50 higher education institutions, including universities, academies and specialised institutes. Most of the country’s universities were founded or reorganised after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. Kyrgyzstan was denied membership to the Bologna Process in 2007 because it was not party to the European Cultural Convention of the Council of Europe. However, the country aspires to join and therefore creates reform policies that follow the principles of the Process, and a number of universities have adopted projects to implement its requirements. It was reported in 2019 that there were about 20,000 international students in Kyrgyzstan. India sends the most students to Kyrgyzstan, followed by Kazakhstan and Tajikistan.
Bachelor’s degrees usually last four years and admission is determined by secondary school examination results. However, it should be noted that some higher education institutions have separate entrance tests for international students. Master’s programmes last for two years and admission is usually determined by entrance tests which can include examinations, testing, and interviews. Some institutions also offer Specialist degrees, which usually last for five years and is similar to an integrated degree. Students with a Master’s or Specialist degree can then apply for a doctoral programme, which usually lasts at least three years. However, the new PhD programme coexists alongside the older Soviet-era system of a two-tier doctoral degree. Both public and private institutions in the country charge tuition fees, partly due to a decrease in government subsidies.
The cost of education in both public and private institutions ranges from 250 to 5,250 euros for Bachelor’s programmes and up to 9,000 euros for Masters programmes. A limited number of state grants are available to students. About 86% of the country’s students attend public institutions. Osh State University is the most popular choice for international students and fees per year for international students there are about $900 per year. However, fees at the American University of Central Asia can reach over $6,000 per year. Medical and healthcare programmes are the most popular programmes for international students.
Information for International Students
International students are advised to contact their university of choice directly for admission information. International students are usually required to provide a copy of their birth certificate, a copy of their passport, copies of relevant educational diplomas, and academic transcripts. Most programmes are taught through Russian, or, less often, through Kyrgyz. Some institutions, such as the University of Central Asia, offer programmes in English and other languages. Kyrgyzstan is generally a safe country for international students, though a number of countries evacuated their citizens from the country after violent unrest in 2010 affected a number of major universities.