Romania’s oldest university was founded in 1860, and, up to today, 95 are available for students across the world. Divided into institutes, public and private universities, academies or military colleges, they offer a range of courses from arts to computer science and sports to law. These can differ in their specialisation, admission or didactic approaches. The country’s largest university, Babes-Bolyai University of Cluj-Napoca, has a total number of students of 44,726 of which 1,192 are foreigners (2.6%) while, nationally, international students make 6.1% coming from a range of 125 countries, a percentage that is increasing every year. One of the reasons for that is that starting from the 2018/19 academic year, a foundation year in Romanian is now available. Moreover, according to the World University Rankings 2020, 9 Romanian universities are in the top 2000 world universities with high scores in international outlook. More information is also available on the Ministry of Education’s website that is updated regularly (https://edu.ro).
The different levels of study available are Bachelor’s (licență), Master’s (master), and PhD (doctorat). At an undergraduate level, courses are designed to offer a minimum of 180 and a maximum of 240 credits. Pursuing a Bachelor’s degree can be done full-time, part-time (frecvență redusă) or at distance, achieved in three (for humanities, social or economic studies, law, etc.), four (for engineering, religious studies or agriculture), five (for pharmacy) or six (for medicine) years. In the same way, Master’s degrees offer a minimum of 60 and a maximum of 120 credits. Such programs have a general duration of one or two years, for part-time studying. Also, Integrated Master’s are offered especially in Architecture or Medicine where students can finish the first two cycles at once. Doctoral studies can be extended up to five years, but they last in general for three years offering 60 credits per year.
Admission procedures usually differ from university to university. However, Romanian students apply at university with their high school diploma (Diploma de Bacalaureat) which means a minimum requirement of finishing the 12th grade (equivalent to the A-levels in the UK). Depending on the course, an admission exam will also need to be passed. For courses in foreign languages, students must prove their capabilities through their Baccalaureate or other equivalent certificates. Students from an EU, EEA country or Swiss Confederation will have their diploma checked at the National Centre for Recognition and Equivalence of Diplomas in Romania (CREDR). They would also need to provide a valid passport, copies of previous studies (postgraduate) translated in either Romanian, English, French or German, medical certificate (to assure applicants do not suffer from contagious diseases) and a language certificate (except where the course is taught in their native language). Non -EU, EEA and Swiss students will have to first have their documents approved by the Ministry of Education. In their application, they must complete a form and offer copies of the same documents previously mentioned. An admission fee will also need to be paid. Universities have their own timetable, but the application process takes mainly during the summer while the academic year starts on the 1st of October. Courses are mostly taught in Romanian, but a diversity of languages is also used at universities. Over half of them offer at least some courses in English, French, German or Hungarian (two of them particularly only use Hungarian).
In terms of fees, every university sets its own figures for Romanian, EU, EEA and Swiss citizens and international students. Therefore, tuition fees range between 420 and 6,200 euros per annum. To illustrate, Babes-Bolyai University of Cluj-Napoca had the following figures for the 2018/19 academic year. On average, Arts, Music, Theatre or Medicine courses tend to be the most expensive at 1,260 euros per year. Similarly, doctorate studies have the highest tuition fees doubled from Bachelor’s and Master’s. Non- EU, EEA or Swiss citizens pay approximately 300 euros per month.
Universities in Romania are situated in large cities like Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, Brasov or Iasi, full of spirit and history. Accommodation is offered, but students are welcomed to rent places since 300 to 500 euro/month should be sufficient for both rent and living. Therefore, studying here is both affordable and enriching, Romania being a country known for its diverse culture and multinational environment.