The Higher Education System in Romania:
Facts and Figures

· There are 112 universities and colleges of higher education in Romania, public and privat. All the 54 state universities and colleges receive funding from the central government. Accredited private institutions can also compete for government funds.

· In Romania around 1.5% percent of young people enter higher education. There are over half a million full-time and part-time students in higher education.

Estimated student flows by the academic year 2002-2003* thousand persons









Total students of which:

  • public sector
  • private sector






















Source: Higher education in a learning society. Ministry of National Education and CEPES/UNESCO, Bucharest, 1998, p.21

· Undergraduate and graduate programs are offered in all fields of study.

· Most undergraduate courses last four years. Long cycle programs are offered by universities and short cycle ones by university colleges. The duration of programs varies by specialisation. Science, humanities, economic and social sciences, law and communication sciences require eight semesters for long cycle programs. Engineering, agriculture and forestry take ten semesters and architecture, medicine and veterinary sciences require 12 semesters. Short cycle programs are four semesters for the social sciences and six semesters for all other fields.

· The duration of graduate programs varies by format (with PhD, part time: 5 years, full time: 3 years; with MA, part time: 2 years, full time 1 year)

· Teaching methods within universities and colleges consist of lectures, seminars, student essays, research activities and other such approaches. The individual department and sometimes the individual instructor decides on the appropriate mix of such approaches and on the textbooks or other instructional materials to be used.

· The academic year commonly runs from 1 October through June and is divided into semesters of approximately 14 weeks each. National standards set the total class time per week at 24 to 28 hours.

· The Romanian grading system is from 1 to 10, with 10 the highest mark and 5 the minimum pass.

· Admission to higher education is dependent on performance in the entrance exam.

· Almost one-third of all public university students and over one-half of private university students attend classes in Bucharest, the capital city; however, the location of the institution does not indicate the origin of students since students frequently migrate from their home city to attend tertiary education elsewhere.

· Almost one-third of all public university students and over one-half of private university students attend classes in Bucharest, the capital city; however, the location of the institution does not indicate the origin of students since students frequently migrate from their home city to attend tertiary education elsewhere.


In structure, the tertiary education sector consists of both private and public institutions of six types:

The post-secondary institutions’ programs are divided into short-term (ending in the diplomă de absolvire/graduation diploma) and long-term education (diplomă de licenţă/licensure diploma). The university colleges operate in connection with the universities. Universities can develop short-term programs in any of the specialisations for which they have authorisation for long-term courses.

Graduate programs:

Management and finance

Tertiary education, like many other public functions in Romania, has long been centralised. However, since 1989 a series of steps have been taken to promote a more appropriate balance between central and institutional interests.

Ministry of Education: its role is increasingly of facilitation and co-ordination, rather than of overt control and detailed planning. The Ministry establishes the amount of state funding to be allocated to each institution. Institutions may decide for themselves the internal allocation of the funds they are given, have complete autonomy over creation and expenditure of their own resources and have the right to charge fees on students. Internal institutional sources include revenues from service and research activities, contributions from individuals and economic agencies and fees paid by students.

Within institutions, there is a distinction between academic management and institutional administration. Academic management is primarily the responsibility of the academic staff, in the form of the Senate, faculty councils, assisted by the rector, vice rector, deans and other administrators. Student organisations also participate in this form of management.

Financial aid for students comes in the form of merit scholarships, study scholarships and grants-in-aid. The first two are awarded on the basis of academic performance while the last is need-based and related to the student’s social status.

Accredited private institutions may compete with state institutions for state financed development and research fund.

The Romanian approach to higher education emphases market relevance, internal competition for state resources, support for entrepreneurial efforts and a focus on student issues (including equity concerns).


· Accreditation of higher education institutions is a two-stage process. In the first stage the institution applies for authorization for temporary operation. When temporarily authorized to conduct educational activities, higher education institutions can organized entrance exams and enrol students. After three generations of their students have graduated, the institutions can apply for accreditation. Accredited institutions can organize graduation exams (licensure and diploma exams) and can issue diplomas that are endorsed by the Ministry of Education.

· Quality maintenance is achieved through recurrent assessments carried out by the National Council for Academic Evaluation and Accreditation, the activity of which is monitored by the Parliament.

Romanian students and scholars in the US

Foreign students in the US in 1998/99: 490,933 (2% increase)

The leading East-Central European countries in terms of enrolment figures:

Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, Former Yugoslavia, Hungary

Romanian students in the US:

in 1997-1998: 1,951 (16.9%)

in 1998-1999: 2,233 (14.5%)

Romanian scholars in the US:

in 1997-1998: 277 (8.2 %)

in 1998-1999: 315 (13.7 %)


Useful resources:


www.bibl.u-szeged.hu/oseas/europe.html, see Info on European and NIS educational systems

Prepared by: Mihaela Arsene, marsene@fulbright.kappa.ro

Back to Romanian Education
Back to Educational Systems
Back to OSEAS-Europe home page