Ukraine

Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. In accordance with the Article 53 of the Constitution of Ukraine everyone shall have the right to education. For regulation of the higher education, the following laws are relevant: (Law on Higher Education (2002, 2014), Law on Education (1996, amended 2014), Law on Research and Scientific and Technical Activities (1992, 2015). In the field of higher education, the contribution to the development of a lifelong learning system has been made through the implementation of the Tempus project “A Network for Developing Lifelong Learning in Armenia, Georgia and Ukraine” 2013-2016. In the framework of this project, a recommendation for a LLL regulatory framework including the principles for organizing LLL programmes has been developed and four LLL centres have been established/modernized at the Higher Education Institutions (HEI)-partners. The incorporation of LLL in the higher education system is envisaged in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine.

RegionNorthern Europe
CapitalKiev
LanguageUkrainian
Population42,030,832
Expenditure on higher education2,9 %
Unemployment8,1 %
EuroUniversities in top 1000
EuroUniversities in top 2500
EuroUniversities in top 5005
EuroUniversities in top 100016
Students1,586,700
Foreigner students3,8 %
Enrollment rate in higher education75,4%

European Country Ranking
North European Country Ranking
YearOverallResearch EmploymentInnovationInternationalizationInfrastructureEducational potential
202075,6815,513,114,8211,4410,99,92
201970,6912,413,211,3812,8710,99,94
201873,7912,513,114,8811,971110,34
201769,5512,610,415,6213,337,99,7
201670,112,713,515,2711,037,99,7
201579,0118,0613,515,7913,218,929,53
Statistics of the higher education

First Cycle Programmes.

First cycle studies are offered at all types of higher education institutions in Ukraine. A condition for entering a first-cycle study programme is the completion of 11-year compulsory secondary education and succeeding at the Independent External Evaluation as an entry exam.

Branches of study.

The List of Fields of Study and Program Subject Areas in Higher Education was approved by a Decree of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine in April 2015. There are 27 Fields of Study and 114 Program Subject Areas (detailed fields) in Higher Education. The List mainly corresponds to the International Standard Classification of Education Fields (2013). Bachelor studies are organized at universities, academies, institutes and colleges, and can last either three or four years (180 or 240 ECTS). Upon completion of this level of studies, the student receives a Bachelor degree. Bachelor degree corresponds to 6th qualification level of National Qualifications Frameworks of Ukraine. A Bachelor study programme can include a final thesis that the student has to defend at the end of his/her studies depending on the specific study programme curriculum.

Admission Requirements.

The completion of a (11-year) compulsory secondary education programme and the acquisition of a relevant Independent External Evaluation certification are the general prerequisite for joining a Bachelor programme. Additional specific admission conditions and procedures are individually regulated by the higher education institutions themselves. Most institutions organize admission campaign in June and July usually. The ranking of the candidates depends on both the results of the Independent External Evaluation and the success in the previous level of education. The number of new admissions is individually determined by each higher education institution, but such a number may not exceed the one specified in the license. For the public higher education institutions the government defines the number of students to be enrolled in the first year of the study programmes and financed from the State budget.

Curriculum.

Higher education institutions are autonomous in the creation and content of their respective educational curricula. However, there are some general rules regarding the curricula prescribed by the Ministry of Education and Sciences and the National Agency for Quality Assurance in Higher Education. HEI should indicate the list of obligatory courses that ensure development of the compulsory (transferable and specific/subject) competencies / learning outcomes and optional courses (25% of the total number of ECTS credits) in every curriculum. Some elements of the study programmes are broadly defined by the Law on Higher Education and the national regulations (e.g. the higher education standards, the regulation on academic mobility, the percentage of elective subjects).

Teaching Methods.

There are no specific rules for the first cycle studies regarding the teaching methods. The higher education teachers have to organize their lectures in compliance with the curriculum but the teaching methods they should use are not prescribed. HEIs’ teachers are free to choose their own teaching methods in line with academic freedom. Teaching materials such as books and audio-visual materials are commonly used in the teaching process and usually are provided to students free of charge.

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. It depends on the rules of the HEIs. The list of obligatory and optional courses is prescribed in the study programme. The student can pass a particular exam at any time from the moment the lectures related to it are finished, up to the start of the next year lectures. HEIs determine the conditions for students to retake exams, including the number of attempts to pass them.

Employability.

While cooperation between higher education institutions and employers is not formally regulated in Ukraine, this issue has been recognized as a very important one in the recent years. Some HEIs have included special courses for development of transferable competences as well as internship programme into their curricula. Some universities organize internship for students in cooperation with state authorities, in order for students to experience work in public administration. In addition, some HEIs have career guidance centres, which help students to find jobs or improve their qualifications in order to increase their employability. On the other hand, there are some companies, mostly in the IT sector, which appreciate the competences of students graduating from certain faculties and offer them jobs immediately after – and sometime even before – graduation. The implementation of several Tempus projects contributed to strengthen cooperation between business and higher education and establishment of the students’ services.

Student Assessment.

The success of students is continuously evaluated. A ratio of points earned through the pre-examination obligations and those earned at the exam is determined in the study programme. The student assessment scale is defined by the HEIs themselves. Typically, student’s performance is expressed from grades 1 (failed) to 5 (excellent) or from 30 points minimum (failed) to 100 points maximum (excellent). Higher education institutions may also establish other, non-numerical grading systems by relating the ratio of such marks to the one expressed through grades from 1 to 5.

Certification.

The authority responsible for certification is the higher education institution. Upon completion of the first level of higher education, the student receives a diploma with his/her relevant title/qualification (Bachelor degree, field of study and program subject area). The student also receives a Diploma Supplement, which contains information regarding the level, type and content of the studies successfully finished (including the learning outcomes, the grades and the number of ECTS earned).

Second Cycle Programmes.

Branches of Study.

In Ukraine, Master studies can be organized by universities, academies and institutes. The length of studies at this level is either one and a half or two years (90 or 120 ECTS). In order to enrol at a Master programme, students must have completed a Bachelor programme. To complete a Master study programme, the student has to write and defend a Master thesis at the end of his/her studies. The length of integrated studies in the fields of Veterinary Medicine and Health (studies of Medicine, Pharmacy) at Master level is either five or six years (300 or 360 ECTS). Master degrees correspond to the 7th qualification level of the National Qualifications Frameworks of Ukraine.

Admission Requirements.

Admission requirements and procedures at this level of studies are regulated by the individual higher education institutions themselves. HEIs’ Admission requirements should be developed in line with the Admission guidelines by the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine. A general condition for those entering the second cycle of studies is that they have completed the first cycle of studies and obtained a diploma. Another condition is additional exam if it is prescribed by the particular institution. The completion of a (11-year) compulsory secondary education programme and the acquisition of a relevant Independent External Evaluation certification are the general prerequisite for joining an integrated Master study programme in Medicine. Additional specific admission conditions and procedures are individually regulated by the higher education institutions themselves. The admission procedure starts with the advertisement by the higher education institution announcing the number of students that can be enrolled in each particular study programme, the eligibility details, the candidate rating criteria and the rules governing the competition procedure. The number of new admissions is individually determined by each higher education institution, but such a number may not exceed the one specified in the license. For public higher education institutions, the Government defines the number of students to be enrolled in the first year of the study programmes financed from the State budget.

Curriculum.

The curriculum is designed at the institutional level. Higher education institutions are autonomous in the creation and content of their respective educational curricula. However, there are some general rules regarding the curricula prescribed by the Ministry of Education and Sciences and the National Agency for Quality Assurance in Higher Education. HEI should indicate the list of obligatory courses that ensure development of the compulsory (transferable and specific/subject) competencies / learning outcomes and optional courses (25% of the total number of ECTS credits) in every curriculum. Some elements of the study programmes are broadly defined by the Law on Higher Education and the national regulations (e.g. the higher education standards, the regulation on academic mobility, the percentage of elective subjects). The language of teaching and learning is Ukrainian, but the higher education institution may organize examinations, some parts or an entire study programme in a minority or another foreign language.

Teaching Methods.

There are no specific rules for the second cycle studies regarding the 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. HEIs’ teachers are free to choose their own teaching methods in line with academic freedom. Teaching materials such as books and audio-visual materials are commonly used in the teaching process and are usually provided to students free of charge.

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. It depends on the rules of the HEIs. The list of obligatory and optional courses is prescribed in the study programme. The student can pass a particular exam at any time from the moment the lectures related to it are finished, up to the start of the next year lectures. HEIs determine the conditions retake exams, including the number of exam passage attempts.

Employability.

While cooperation between higher education institutions and employers is not formally regulated in Ukraine, this issue has been recognized as a very important one in the recent years. Some HEIs have included special courses for development of transferable competences as well as internship programme into their curricula. Some universities organize internship for students in cooperation with state authorities, in order for students to experience work in public administration. In addition, some HEIs have career guidance centres (some established within Tempus projects), which help students to find jobs or improve their qualifications in order to increase their employability. On the other hand, there are some companies, mostly in the IT sector, which appreciate the competences of students graduating from certain faculties and offer them jobs immediately after – and sometime even before – graduation. The implementation of several Tempus projects contributed to strengthen cooperation between business and higher education and establishment of the students’ services.

Student.

Assessment The assessment of students is a continuous process based on the pre-examination activities and the students’ success at the exam. Students earn a certain number of ECTS for each activity they conduct during the studies.

Certification.

The authority responsible for certification is the higher education institution, research institution. Upon completion of the second (Master) level of higher education, the student receives a diploma with his/her relevant title/qualification (Master degree, field of study and program subject area). The student also receives a Diploma Supplement, which contains information regarding the level, type and content of the studies successfully finished (including the learning outcomes, the grades and the number of ECTS earned).

Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes.

Organization of Doctoral Studies Doctoral studies (PhD) are organized at universities, academy, institutes and last four years. To enrol in a doctoral programme, the student must have completed a Master course. PhD programmes involve an educational component (30-60 ECTS), extensive scientific research activities and the publication of papers in scientific journals. A PhD thesis is the final part of the doctoral study programme. The preparation, procedure and conditions for the defence of the PhD thesis are defined by the general act of each particular higher education institution in line with the regulations of the Ministry of Education and Science. The institution where the PhD thesis is defended has the obligation to make the thesis and the abstract (synopsis) available to the public on its web site, alongside a printed version of the work, which needs to be available in the institution’s library, at least 10 days prior to the defence of the thesis. Each HEI is obliged to establish a digital repository containing electronic versions of all defended theses (dissertation), abstracts (Ukrainian – Autoreferat, short description of dissertation’ content), along with the theses expertise reports submitted by the relevant experts commissions and opponents, the data about the respective mentors/supervisors, opponents and commission members. All of the foregoing documentation must be made available to the public. A copy of each thesis has to be sent to the central repository of the Ministry of Education and Science. Some elements of the PhD programmes are broadly defined by the Law on Higher Education and the national regulations (e.g. the higher education standards, the guidelines on PhD studies, regulation on academic mobility, the percentage of elective subjects). For example, the curriculum for PhD studies needs to include an educational component lasting 30-60 ECTS credits. Higher education institutions are autonomous in the creation and content of their respective educational curricula. However, there are some general rules regarding the curricula prescribed by the Ministry of Education and Sciences and the National Agency for Quality Assurance in Higher Education. HEI should indicate the list of obligatory courses that ensure development of the compulsory (transferable and specific/subject) competencies / learning outcomes and optional courses (25% of the total number of ECTS credits) in every curriculum. The PhD degree corresponds to 8th qualification level of the National Qualifications Frameworks of Ukraine.

Admission Requirements.

Admission requirements and procedures at this level of studies are regulated by the individual higher education institutions themselves. HEIs’ Admission requirements should be developed in line with the Admission guidelines by the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine. A general condition for those entering the third cycle of studies is that they have completed the second cycle of studies and obtained a diploma. The general admission requirements are an exam in line with programme subject area and foreign language proficiency at B2 (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, and Assessment). Candidates are also assessed on the basis of their average grades from the previous levels of studies, their professional skills and previous accomplishments.

Status of Doctoral Students/Candidates.

Both employed and unemployed students have equal rights in terms of eligibility for any particular programme and a state-financed status, as long as they meet all the other preconditions required. Unemployed students are entitled to all benefits and rights as those granted at the previous levels of study, namely public transport, accommodation and scholarships. Employed students benefit from such rights through their employee status.

Supervision Arrangements.

In order to organize PhD study programmes, the higher education institutions have to observe specific selection criteria applicable to PhD teaching staff. Such criteria include the number of published papers and involvement in scientific projects. A PhD mentor/supervisor can have a maximum of 5 PhD students under his/her supervision at a time.

Employability.

While cooperation between higher education institutions and employers is not formally regulated in Ukraine, there are examples of good and long lasting cooperation between universities and companies.

Assessment.

Students are assessed on the basis of their overall performance and engagement. The PhD thesis, being the final part of the studies, is assessed on the basis of its scientific or artistic significance and contribution to the field in question. It represents an independent scientific research paper. Each higher education institution sets its general rules of application procedure and PhD thesis defence in line with the regulations of the Ministry of Education and Science.

Certification.

Once the student has completed all of their examination obligations and defended their PhD thesis, they receive a diploma stating their official title – Doctor of Philosophy. The competent certifying authority is the higher education institution where the PhD studies took place. The authorities responsible for the assessment standards are the Ministry of Education and Science and the National Agency for Quality Assurance in Higher Education.

Organizational Variation.

According to the Law on Higher Education, Aspirantura is a special unit of HEI that provides organisational support for PhD studies. National University “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy” created the first Doctoral School in Ukraine in the frame of Tempus projects and shared its experience with other Ukrainian HEis.

Mobility and Internationalisation in Higher Education.

The Ukrainian Government approved the new Law on Higher Education in 2014, marking a major turning point for the higher education system. The reforms are wide-ranging and include provisions that will bring the Ukrainian universities closer to the Bologna Process – that is, with common European standards for higher education – and facilitate also the recognition of foreign degrees and faculty. Although today there is no particular national strategy in Ukraine for the internationalization in higher education, the demand for it is increasingly becoming a conceptual necessity. The reform process related to internationalization is underway at Ukrainian universities as they seek to internationalize curricula, open international degree programmes, encourage students to study abroad and attract foreign students to their campuses. In other words, higher education institutions are engaged in international activities despite the lack of any formal strategy at national level. Along with that, there is a strong need to define what is meant by internationalization in the context of the Ukrainian society and the Law, to figure out how to develop a proper action plan. There are opportunities for Ukrainian HEIs for international cooperation and many universities have established bilateral and multilateral cooperation agreements with universities in the EU and other regions. This cooperation is mostly directed at exchange of students and academic staff, joint training and research activities, and study visits. The efficiency of such cooperation depends mainly on the capacity of the HEIs and their staff (knowledge of foreign languages, expertise and experience, participation in international projects, etc.). As a rule, international cooperation is based on partnership agreements signed by HEIs and implemented according to an annual plan. Several EU-funded projects under the Tempus, Jean Monnet and Erasmus Mundus programmes have encouraged the internationalization and European studies process at Ukrainian universities while disseminating this experience nationwide for over 20 years becoming a strong soft diplomacy instrument. Various international educational programmes are open to Ukrainian HEIs. This allows the development of projects in cooperation with HEIs all over the world. Ukrainian HEIs participate in the following EU programmes: Tempus, Erasmus Mundus, 7th Framework Programme, Erasmus+ and Horizon 2020. Bilateral programmes with different countries (United Kingdom, China, France, Germany, Japan, Poland, USA) are also established. Numerous scholarships and grants to study abroad and set up collaboration strengthen international collaboration between HEIs and continue contributing to internationalization, implementation of reforms and, ultimately, influencing economic growth. The principal obstacles for the increase of mobility at all levels of education in Ukraine are those relating to financing and legislation on the foreign staff employment and students enrolment. 8.1 Student Mobility In 2015, the regulation for implementing academic mobility was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. It establishes and facilitates academic mobility for Ukrainian students in the territory of Ukraine or abroad, as well as for foreign students into the territory of Ukraine. Erasmus+ offers new possibilities for Ukrainian HEIs for participating, among other, in International Credit Mobility (ICM) and Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degrees (EMJMD). Ukrainian HEIs have been participating in a significant number of Erasmus Mundus partnership projects in the past. This participation resulted in acquiring an appreciated experience within the European academic and cultural context. The established Erasmus Mundus Alumni Network in Ukraine has a valuable impact on the development of academic mobility and international cooperation of universities in general. In Ukraine, there is a fairly established recognition procedure in line with the Lisbon Convention. The improvement of the system for recognition of foreign degrees is one of the most important features of the mobility process that the Ukrainian government has been working on. The recognition for the purpose of employment is assigned to the ENIC/NARIC Ukraine that has been founded within the Ministry of Education and Science, while the recognition for the purpose of further education has remained under the responsibility of the HEIs themselves.

Academic staff mobility.

Ukraine has actively participated in the Tempus programme since 1993, when it joined the first call of Tempus II phase (1994-1998) until the last call of this action in 2013. The projects carried out in Ukraine at that time focused on improvement of university governance and management, upgrading existing curricula and the development of new courses and programmes and the professional development of university teachers in various disciplines. The programme priorities had been changing during the reform implementation and in accordance with the needs of the labour market. They have covered the majority of subject areas as well as strengthened cooperation between higher education and society during over 20 years. Tempus Programme has been the largest financial instrument to support capacity building of the teaching staff through mobility periods abroad for learning and exchanging best practices. HEIs are indeed responsible for the organization and coordination of staff mobility in the education system in Ukraine. The Erasmus Mundus programme, with its three actions, has been another significant resource for providing teaching and staff mobility. The regulation for the implementation procedure of academic mobility approved by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine establishes and facilitates the procedure of academic mobility for Ukrainian academics.

Other Dimensions of Internationalization in Higher Education.

European, Global and Intercultural Dimension in Curriculum Development
Ukraine has entered the Bologna process by the adoption of the Bologna Declaration in 2005. The agenda for the development of higher education in Ukraine is to build a model intended to become a tool for global dialogue, internationalisation and providing human rights education, enhancing the quality of higher education as a response to the challenges posed by social diversity. Curricula at tertiary levels education should include the European, global and international dimensions such as the European foreign languages, history, geography, literature, cultural studies, etc. Those should allow students to acquire multilingual and multicultural skills and exercise active citizenship beyond the national boundaries.

Bilateral Agreements and Worldwide Cooperation.

Bilateral agreements.

Many HEIs in Ukraine have established bilateral cooperation agreements with universities in the EU countries, the USA, Canada and other regions. As a rule, international cooperation is based on partnership agreements signed by HEIs and implemented according to an annual plan. This cooperation is aimed at enhancing the higher education quality, increasing the number of students and academic staff mobility (incoming and outgoing) and focuses on training and research. Sometimes it also aims at establishing joint or double degree programmes. Ukraine has signed intergovernmental international agreements on the mutual recognition of educational documents, degrees and academic titles with countries from different regions mostly from the EU; the list of agreements is placed on the Ministry of Education and Science web-site.

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.