The frequency and methods of assessing students’ achievements differ according to the field of study. In some cases, a system of partial examinations taken after each semester has been introduced, in other cases one comprehensive examination after each completed part of studies is prescribed, mostly at the end of a certain module. Study outcomes at higher education institutions are assessed mainly by a system of credits or points. The credit system (European Credit Transfer System) has been encouraged since it allows completed parts of studies to be recognized, thus contributing to transfer ability within the system.
Higher education institutions offer accredited degree programs at three levels:
Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral, as well as lifelong learning courses. Higher
education institutions can be either university or non-university types. Traditional university-type institutions may offer all types of degree programs while non-university institutions are characterized by providing mainly Bachelor’s degree programs. The documents confirming the completion of studies and the right to the appropriate academic title are the higher education diploma and the supplement to the diploma.
BACHELOR’S DEGREE PROGRAMS
are 3 to 4 years in duration and constitute the first level of higher education. The study program must be completed with a final state examination, which usually includes the presentation and defense of a thesis. Successful graduates may enter the labor market or continue their studies in follow-up Master’s programs in related fields.
MASTER’S DEGREE PROGRAMS
may either follow on from Bachelor’s programs as follow-up Master’s programs (1 to 3 years), or they may be full programs (4 to 6 years). Programs focus on the acquisition and application of theoretical knowledge, and on the development of creativity and talent. Graduates in Master’s programs have to take a final state examination and publicly present and defend a thesis. Studies in medicine, veterinary medicine and hygiene are completed by a demanding state examination, including the presentation and defense of a rigorous thesis.
(normally last 3 years) are intended for graduates from Master’s programs and focus on independent creative work in research, development or the arts. Doctoral studies are completed by way of a state doctoral examination and the public presentation and defense of a doctoral thesis (dissertation) based on original work, which must have been published or admitted for publishing.