Albania

Albania is a country in Southeast Europe.

RegionSouthern Europe
CapitalTirana
LanguageAlbanian
Population 2,845,955
Expenditure on higher education2,2 %
Unemployment13,94 %
EuroUniversities in top 1000
EuroUniversities in top 2500
EuroUniversities in top 5000
EuroUniversities in top 10000
Students98,400
Foreigner students1,3 %
Enrollment rate in higher education79,9 %

European Country Ranking
South-European Country Ranking
YearOverallResearch EmploymentInnovationInternationalizationInfrastructureEducational potential
202070,5114,41214,1610,679,89,48
201963,6510,212,19,5112,549,89,5
201867,7410,31214,2211,319,910,01
201761,7410,48,215,1813,115,79,15
201662,5110,512,414,7210,045,79,15
201574,517,7312,415,4612,997,058,87
Statistics of the higher education

Bachelor

Bachelor degree (Bachelor) (3 years, 180 ECTS), EQF 6;

Branches of Study

Business administration and Law, Arts and Humanities and Social Sciences are the most popular domains in the first cycle of higher education.

Overall, the most popular field of study is Business Administration and Law, which attracts more than one quarter of all students.  This is followed by Health and Welfare and Arts and Humanities with 10% of newly enrolled students. This pattern is also true in public HEIs, with the exception that almost one fifth of students at Bachelor level enroll in Arts and Humanities and one tenth in Engineering, Mathematics and Statistics.

Admission Requirements

The Law on higher education provides that  from academic year 2016-2017 onwards higher education institutions examine and admit their applicants based on the average grade of Matura exam and other criteria defined by each institution.  The relevant Decision of Council of Ministers states that the minimum average grade to be admitted to first cycle higher education programmes and to integrated first and second cycle ones is 6 (the grading system varies from 4 to 10 with 5 being the lowest pass rate). Average grade is calculated as an average of the following indicators: average of all final yearly marks for all years of high schools; simple aritmetic average for all  marks received in the five state matura exams. The universities have defined the ranking/selecting criteria based on average grade of subject groups, e.g. higher average grade of biology for admission in medicine study programmes.

The entire process runs online.

Curriculum

Curricula content is provided by departments of the institution and its specialists. The responsible person for the subject/module provides the number of hours to be devoted to lectures, seminars, exercises, laboratory work based on ECTS number.

Each curriculum is based on national standards, which include defined objectives determined by the set of knowledge, and competences a student must acquire by the end of a study programme. The general objectives in terms of knowledge and competences are the same for similar study programmes offered by different higher education institutions. Institutions themselves set the specific objectives.

Students may also choose optional topics and interdisciplinary activities organized by certain departments (e.g. knowledge on law, economics, foreign languages, IT, telematics).

As established by the new law on higher education the study programmes will be encoded at the national level and the same programmes should have a 70% similar content in all HEIs at the national level (80% for the Teaching study programme).

Teaching Methods

Higher education teachers have to organize their lectures in compliance with the curriculum but the teaching methods they should use are not prescribed.

Progression of Students

Students can move on to the next year of studies once they have completed their obligations in terms of obtaining the sufficient number of ECTS as provided in the regulation of each HEIs.

The student can pass a particular exam at any time within the dates/periods scheduled in advance by each HEI. Regulations of each HEI provide for further promotion specifications of students.

Employability

Cooperation between universities and enterprises has started only recently. Many universities use this cooperation for student placements in enterprises, especially for students in engineering, medicine and agriculture. Some universities organize training courses to update the knowledge of enterprise employees such as teacher training, nursing training, economics training, etc. Some training is organized within Tempus projects and within the framework of other bilateral assistance projects. As provided by the new law on higher education, employability of students will be considered as a parameter for the ranking of universities, as well as an indicator for the assessment of performance in relation to funding of Albanian HEIs.

Student Assessment

Student’s exam performance is expressed by grades 4 (failed) to 10 (excellent). Higher education institutions may also establish other, non-numerical grading systems by relating the ratio of such grades (percentage) to the one expressed by grades from 4 to 10. Diploma supplement contains this as well. Statutes and regulations of higher education institutions provide for more specifications on student assessment.

Certification

The respective higher education institution is the responsible authority for certification. Upon completion of each higher education level, the student receives the relevant diploma. The student also receives a diploma supplement, which contains information regarding the level, type and content of studies successfully completed, in compliance with the format of the European diploma supplement. The diploma template and the related supplement for each study programme should be registered in the State register of diplomas and certificates for higher education and scientific research, which is administered by Ministry of Education, Sports and Youth. HEIs can issue only the diploma and supplements whose templates have been registered previously in the above-mentioned State register.

Second Cycle Programmes

  1. Master of Science degree [Master i Shkencave] or Master of Arts degree [Master i Arteve] (2 years, 120 ECTS), EQF 7d) 
  2. Professional Master degree [Master Profesional] (1,5 years, 60-90 ECTS), EQF 7;
  3. Master of Science or Master of Arts degree in integrated study programmes of the second cycle [Master i Shkencave ose Master i Arteve në programme të integruara të studimeve të ciklit të dytë]. (5 or 6 years, 300 – 360 ECTS), mainly in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, veterinary studies, architecture and law, EQF 7;
  4. ‘Executive Master’ study programmes (Master Ekzekutiv), which offer a high-level scientific and professional education. It has a normal duration of one or two academic years and it is organised in 60 or 120 credits, EQF 8. They are finalized with a graduation thesis and in conclusion, the ‘Executive Master’ (Master ekzekutiv) degree is conferred for the relevant attended educational field.

Branches of Study

In Albania, the second cycle study programmes include ‘Master of Science’ [Master i Shkencave], ‘Master of Arts’  [Master i Arteve] and ‘Professional Master’ [Master Profesional]. They correspond to level 7 of Albanian Framework of Qualifications and EQF 7.

Master of Arts and Master of Sciences have the same criteria and modalities in order to obtain a diploma of this level. The difference of these programmes consists in the fact that ‘Master of Arts’ degree is conferred by higher education institutions, which offer education in the area of arts while master of science from other institutions. These two  study programmes provide the graduates with in-depth theoretical knowledge as well as with scientific research training in respective fields.  These programmes cannot have less than 120 credits following the first cycle study programmes. Their normal duration is two academic years. They are completed with a graduation thesis and in the end ‘Master of Science’ degree is conferred for the relevant educational area.

There are two categories of such programmes:

  • Programmes which are conducted with not less than 120 credits following the first cycle and with a normal duration of two academic years;
  • Integrated study programmes with 300 and 360 credits and a normal duration of five and six academic years. These integrated study programmes in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, veterinary, architecture and law (integrated study programmes in law are established by the new law of higher education and other bylaw acts. 

Admission Requirements

Admission to the second cycle of study programmes is possible for those candidates that have completed  a first cycle  study programme. The admissibility criteria are set by the basic unit, which offers the programme and may slightly change from one higher education instituion to the other. Integrated study programmes are excluded from the present rule. The main unit and ESC set the criteria for the latter. Higher education institutions may recognize the credits acquired in ‘Professional Master’ second cycle study programmes, with the aim of transferring them to ‘Master of Science’ study programmes. Higher education institutions send to ESC the list of enrolled students at the beginning of the academic year.

It is important to note that one of the admission criteria to a Master of Science degree is the knowledge by the candidate of one out of five foreign languages of the European Union (English, French, German, Italian and Spanish), certified by internationally recognized examinations.

Curriculum

The curricula are developed at the institutional level. Study programmes consist of compulsory and optional subjects. The standard instruction language is Albanian, but the higher education institutions may organize examinations, some parts or an entire study programme in a minority language or another foreign language, which has to be declared by the HEI in the application submitted for licensing.

Teaching Methods

Higher education teachers have to organize their lectures in compliance with the curriculum but the teaching methods they use are not prescribed.

Progression of Students

Students can move on to the next year of studies once they have completed their obligations in terms of obtaining the sufficient number of ECTS as provided in the regulation of each HEIs.

The student can pass a particular exam at any time within the dates/periods scheduled in advance by each HEI. Regulations of each HEI provide for further promotion specifications of students.

Employability

Idem with the bachelor section on employability.

Student Assessment

IDEM as bachelor cycle.

Certification

Professional Master, Master of Arts or Master of Sciences Diploma. The fist two programmes have a one year duration while the second has a two year duration. 

Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

The third cycle study programmes of higher education in Albania include the following forms:

  • ‘Executive Master’ study programmes (Master Ekzekutiv);
  • ‘Specialization Diploma’ (Diplomë specializimi);
  • Doctoral studies (Studimet e doktoratës);  

The third cycle study programmes includes the ‘Executive Master’ study programmes, the long-term specializing study programmes as well as the doctorate studies in reference to level 8 of Albanian Framework of Qualifications, EQF 8. ‘Executive Master’ study programmes offer a high level of scientific and professional education. They have a normal duration of one or two academic years and are organized in 60 or 120 credits. They are completed with a graduation thesis and the ‘Executive Master’ degree is conferred for the relevant educational field.

Long-term specializing study programmes are vocational oriented programmes that offer a specialised professional knowledge. They last at least two academic years with not less than 120 credits. They are completed with a comprehensive training examination or with a graduation thesis. At the end, a ‘Specialization Diploma’ (Diplomëspecializimi) is conferred for the relevant educational field. 

Organisation of Doctoral Studies

Doctoral studies are designed as individual programmes intended to promote independent research in the field provided by the basic unit or the main unit. They rely on scientific research and creative activities. Doctorate studies last not less than three academic years and not more than five academic years. Doctoral studies lead to the degree of ‘Doctor’ (Doktor). Higher education institutions provide themselves for the criteria of annual assessment for the progress of candidates and the work carried out in research. Higher education institutions, which meet the criteria for offering doctorate studies, apply for funding to National Agency of Scientific Research and Innovation or other funding institutions.

Doctoral studies are conducted on a full-time basis within the basic unit or on a part-time basis in those cases when the doctorate candidate is employed as academic staff in another higher education institution or as research staff in an institution of basic or applied research. When doctorate studies are carried out in collaboration with other higher education institutions, some parts of the research project may be implemented in collaborating institutions.

The basic unit provides the number of doctorate students and the research project of each doctorate student must relate to the unit research activities.

In order to conduct doctoral studies, the student may benefit funds from other subjects or be self-funded.

Admission Requirements

Admission to third cycle degree programmes is possible for those candidates who hold a ‘Master of Science’ or ‘Master of Arts’ degree and meet the admissibility criteria, provided by the higher education institution. An additional criterion to access a third cycle study programme is the knowledge by the candidate of one out of five foreign languages of the European Union (English, French, German, Italian and Spanish), certified by internationally recognized examinations, in compliance with the respective directive of Ministry of Education and Sports. If the individual has obtained a degree in one of the aforementioned languages, the obtained degree is an evidence for meeting the criterion. The basic units provide the admissibility criteria in the third cycle study programmes pursuant to quality standards provided by the State and made public.

Higher education institutions transmit the list of graduates in the third cycle programmes to the line ministry in order to be entered in the State register of scientific degrees and academic credentials.

Status of Doctoral Students/Candidates

Doctoral studentsare all entitled as PhD candidates.

Supervision Arrangements

PhD programmes are drafted by universities and the arrangement with supervisors are drafted by Higher education institutions.

Employability

Information same with previous sections

Assessment

Being the final part of studies, PhD thesis is assessed on the basis of its scientific or artistic significance and contribution to the relevant field. It represents an independent scientific research paper. Each higher education institution sets the general rules for the application procedure and PhD thesis defence, which apply to all its departments.

Certification

Once students have completed all their examination obligations and have defended their PhD thesis, they receive the diploma stating their official title “Doctor”, (Doktor).

Mobility in Higher Education

Student Mobility

Erasmus +

An “Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Albania on the participation of the Republic of Albania in “Erasmus+”: the Union programme for education, training, youth and sport” has been signed in 29 June 2014. So Albania has been entitled from January 2014 to participate in some centralized actions such as Capacity building projects or Ex Tempus projects, Jean Monnet, some Credit and Programme mobility actions and in some networks such Europass, EQF, Euroguidance, Eurydice, E-twinning. 

Moreover, the National Tempus Office was transformed into National Erasmus+ Office (NEO) as requested by the Directive EAC/Dir C/D(2014) of DG Education and Culture (European Commission) and as established by the Decree of Council of Ministers no 821, 26 November 2014  „On some amendments and addenda of Decree no. 639, date 7.9.2011, of council of ministers, “On reorganization of National Tempus Office.”

The National Erasmus+ Office has covered all supporting and promotion activities related to the new Erasmus+ Calls for proposals in  Higher education open Partner countries.

Erasmus Plus University Cooperation

Cooperation in student and teacher mobility and project activities with Member States of the European Union are carried out within the framework of the Erasmus Plus Programme. The higher education institutions receive students based on bilateral agreements.

Erasmus Mundus

Higher education institutions in Albania have been participating in many Erasmus Mundus projects, especially in that part of the programme which supported the academic cooperation and exchanges of students and academics through the establishment of exchange networks between higher education institutions from the Western Balkans and the EU. The Erasmus Mundus partnerships have had a systemic impact on international cooperation of Albanian universities.

The most active HEIs involved in  Erasmus Mundus action 2 partnerships are the University of Tirana, Agricultural University of Tirana, Polytechnic University of Tirana, University “Aleksander Moisiu” of Durres, University “Aleksander Xhuvani” of Elbasan, University “Fan Noli” of Korça, University “Luigj Gurakuqi” of Shkodra, University “Eqerem Çabej” of Gjirokastra, University “Ismail Qemali” of Gjirokastra and European University of Tirana. Seven university exchange networks have been funded (some of them are still running): BASILUES, JoinEU-SEE, SIGMA, ERAWEB, EUROWEB, TECH-WB and SUNBEAM.

From 2014, there are two new partnerships (exchange networks) with the participation of institutions from Albania: TECH-WB and SUNBEAM, while two previously existing networks, SIGMA A and EUROWEB, acquired funding for an additional period. During the last years, around 268 Albanian students have benefited from mobility exchanges in the framework of the above-mentioned programmes, at Bachelor and PHD level and around 80 academic and administrative staff have benefited from mobility for training purposes.

In addition, during the past ten years, more than 140 students from Albania were awarded scholarships to attend Erasmus Mundus Joint Master and PhD courses at prestigious EU universities.

CEEPUS Student Mobility Programme

The CEEPUS Programme (Central European Exchange Programme for University Studies) aims to enable higher education institutions (universities, colleges) of member countries to receive visiting professors, to exchange students, to organise language and professional courses, summer universities thus strengthening professional and personal relationships among Central European scholars empowering and developing Central Europe. The programme is based on the cooperation of higher education institutions in the member countries. The costs of the CEEPUS programme are paid by the governments of the host countries by covering the costs of living and the grants of CEEPUS grant holders. Within the framework of the programme, all members define quotas (scholarship months) in every academic year; that is, they declare the number of months for which they host foreign students and teachers.

Within CEEPUS programme Albania has at its disposal 130 months of mobility for students and teachers.

Central European Initiative

The Central European Initiative (CEI) is the oldest and largest intergovernmental forum for regional cooperation in Europe, with an observer status in the General Assembly of the United Nations. The initiative gathers 18 member states.

The CEI University Network (CEI UniNet) is a contribution of the CEI to higher education in order to enhance cooperation among universities and other institutions of higher learning in Central, Eastern and South Eastern Europe. This is done through the mobility of students and teaching staff at post – graduate level. Mobility is promoted through the implementation of Joint Programmes such as PhD and Master’s courses, financed through annual calls for proposals. Summer schools, Seminars and Workshops are also supported provided that they envisage a teaching element, a minimum duration of one week and an awarding certificate.

Academic Staff Mobility

Erasmus+

Within the framework of the Erasmus Plus Agreements for International Credit Mobility approved in the first and second rounds of the 2015 call, students and the staff of Albanian universities have continued the implementation of short term Exchange projects for study purposes (from 3 to 12 months) and  teaching or training exchanges (5 days to a month) at EU universities.

Other Teacher Mobility Pogrammes

Numerous teacher or researcher mobility programmes are provided internationally by universities or private foundations. These include for example, the Fulbright, Soros scholarships as well as programmes for visiting fellows based on agreements between universities. The Jean Monnet Programme of the Community programmes supports the mobility of excellent university professors in the topic of finances and economics. As already mentioned, the CEI University Network also provides opportunities for the mobility of teaching staff.

European Higher Education Organization is a public organization carrying out academic, educational and information activities on higher education in Europe.

The EHEO general plan stresses that:

  • Higher education systems require adequate funding and, as an investment in economic growth, public spending in higher education should be protected.
  • The challenges faced by higher education require more flexible governance and funding systems, which balance greater autonomy for education institutions with accountability to stakeholders.

Thus, EHEO plans:

  • improve academic and scientific interaction of universities;
  • protect the interests of universities;
  • interact more closely with public authorities of European countries;
  • popularize European higher education in the world;
  • develop academic mobility;
  • seek funding for European universities.