Universities in Andorra

Universities in Andorra by City:

Sant Julià de Lòria

About universities in Andorra

Andorra, a small independent country of 78,000 perched in the high Pyrenees Mountains between Spain and France, has only one university. Established in 1997, the University of Andorra (Universitat d’Andorra in the national language of Catalan) is a new addition to the higher education community in Europe. Prior to its founding, prospective university students from Andorra had to look elsewhere, such as neighboring France and Spain, for their educational opportunities.
The University of Andorra is a small school, with only 1,309 students in its various degree programs. It offers undergraduate (bachelor’s) degrees in nursing, computer science, business, and education, as well as a graduate nursing degree and a PhD in computer science. The majority of its educational offerings, however, are online, administered through the Center for Virtual Studies. The CVS offers online courses in a number of fields, and is especially strong in Catalan language, literature, and history. It also has many professional improvement programs for working adults who want to learn how to do their jobs better.
Andorra is a member of the European Higher Education Area or EHEA, which means its degree offerings and educational structure are coordinated with those of other countries in Europe. Due to the fact that Andorra had no native system of higher education prior to 1997, the requirements of the EHEA have not been particularly onerous – unlike some countries, whose unique systems of higher education had to undergo major overhauls in order to conform to European regulations, these regulations were incorporated at the ground level in Andorra. Its degree system is the same 3-tiered system (bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, doctoral degrees) that is prevalent throughout Europe and the Americas.
Part of Andorra’s reason for joining the EHEA, as well as a salient goal for the founding of the University of Andorra, was to reverse old trends and make Andorra a destination for foreign students. Rather than sending their brightest high school graduates to other countries for college, Andorran educational authorities hoped to draw students from all over Europe to study in their country. This has proved difficult, largely due to the fact that the language of instruction in Andorra is Catalan, a minority language spoken by very few people in Europe. Catalan-speaking students in northern Spain sometimes come to Andorra to study, but most students do not wish to learn a relatively low-profile foreign language in order to come to the country for college. Thus, the University of Andorra is caught between two goals: one is to make itself relevant as a university on the continental stage, and the other is to be a bastion of Catalan language and culture, a pillar of this unique ancient society of northern Spain and the Pyrenees. The majority opinion among university leaders is that the second goal is more important than the first. Thus, Andorra’s system of higher education will likely continue to be a small but fiercely independent mainstay of the unique culture of this small, mountainous principality.

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