Universities in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Universities in Bosnia and Herzegovina by City:

Banja LukaSarajevoTuzla

About universities in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina, also written as Bosnia-Herzegovina or simply Bosnia, is a country in Southeastern Europe with a population of just under 4 million.  The capital, which is also the most relevant city in terms of commerce and education, is Sarajevo.  Geographically, the country is bordered almost entirely by Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro, save for 12 miles of coastline on the Adriatic Sea.  Bosnia-Herzegovina was formerly one of the six entities that comprised the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, but the region gained its independence following the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s.

Being that Bosnia-Herzegovina has only been an independent nation for 20 years now (since March of 1992); the strides they have made in their system of higher education have been truly impressive.  At the public level, the system consists of eight universities, 90 higher education institutions called “faculties” and several art academies.  There are also more than 20 private colleges and universities operating under the same new academic structure as the public institutions.

That new academic structure, along with several other reforms to the higher education system in Bosnia and Herzegovina, was directly preceded by the Higher Education Law of 1997.  This law, which is similar to education laws passed in countries throughout Europe, was borne from the Bologna process, and one of the changes it prompted was the implementation of the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System, or ECTS.  This system is designed to bring the universities and faculties in Bosnia-Herzegovina into harmony with institutions in other European nations, and for several years now this credit scheme has been the standard for comparing the study attainment of university students across all nations in the European Union, as well as other participating European countries.  In essence ECTS awards 60 credits per academic year, totaling between 1500 and 1800 hours of total study time.  This same system is now the standard for schools and universities in every participating European country and has facilitated student transfer and progression throughout the continent.

Besides transferrable credits, the other notable change the law of 1997 set in motion was a change to the structure of the degree system, which in Bosnia and Herzegovina now has three distinct levels:
  • The first level consists of all undergraduate coursework, and spans 3 to 4 years depending on the field of study.  Once this is completed, with a student earning between 180 and 240 ECTS credits, the student is awarded either a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degree.
  • The second level consists of graduate level studies, or programs that lead to a Master of Arts or Science.  There is very little flexibility at this level, as each of these programs, regardless of the subject, consists of 2 full academic years and 120 ECTS credits.
  • Very talented students who have earned a Master’s Degree have the option of continuing their education and pursuing a PhD-level or Doctorate Degree.  These programs can vary significantly in length depending on the field of study, and can span anywhere from 3-6 years.
Certain professions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, such as Law, Medicine, Dentistry and others, require a post-graduate specialist degree.  These programs are offered only in the public and private universities and require a combination of academic studies, theoretical and applied research and in many cases, an internship of some kind.

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