Higher education is defined as a combination of systematized knowledge and practical skills, ways of thinking, professional, world-view and civic qualities, moral and ethical values, other competencies acquired in a higher education institution (research institution) in a relevant subject area towards a particular qualification at higher education levels which, in terms of their complexity, are higher than the level of complete general secondary education and governed by Law of Ukraine No. 1556-18 "On Higher Education" dated 28 September 2017.
This Law establishes the main legal, organizational, and financial principles of functioning of the higher education system, creates conditions for increased cooperation of public authorities and businesses with higher education institutions on the principles of autonomy of higher education institutions, combining education with science and production to train competitive human capital for high-tech and innovative development of the country, personal fulfilment, meeting the needs of society, the labour market and the state for qualified specialists.
Ukrainian legislation on higher education is based on the Constitution of Ukraine and is comprised of the Laws of Ukraine "On Education", "On Research and Technical Activity" and other regulations as well as international treaties of Ukraine that were signed in accordance with a procedure prescribed by law.
Ukrainian citizens are entitled to free higher education that may be received at state-owned and municipal higher education institutions on a competitive basis according to the high education standards if a citizen pursues a certain higher education degree for the first time using the funds from the state or local budget.
Ukrainian citizens who have not completed their study pursuing a certain education degree and using the state or local budget funds shall have the right to pursue the same higher education degree free of charge once again, provided that they return to the state or local budget the money spent on services of training specialists, according to a procedure approved by Resolution No. 658 of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine dated 26 August 2015.
Specialists with higher education are trained according to a relevant education or research programme at various levels of higher education:
These levels are regulated by the National Qualifications Framework (a systemic description of qualification levels structured around competencies), which is intended to be used by executive authorities, institutions and organizations implementing the state policy in the area of education, employment, social and labour relations, and by educational institutions, employers, other legal entities and individuals to elaborate, identify, correlate, recognize, plan and develop qualifications.
A document certifying higher education (academic degree) is issued to a person who has successfully completed a relevant education (research) programme and passed attestation.
The following types of documents are established to certify higher education (research degree) in the relevant levels:
A state-recognized document certifying higher education shall be issued by a higher education institution for the accredited programme of study only. For non-accredited programmes, higher education institutions produce and issue their own documents certifying higher education according to the procedure and in the form as established by the higher education institution’s Academic Council.
State-recognized documents certifying higher education for persons who study on the state-sponsored basis shall be produced by higher education institutions and issued at the state budget expense, and for persons who study using funds provided by individuals or legal entities the cost of documents certifying higher education shall be included in their tuition fees. The upper-limit cost of state-recognized documents certifying higher education and the list of information to be contained in such documents shall be established by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine.
If a person obtains higher education under programmes of study agreed between higher education institutions, including foreign institutions, the higher education institutions shall have the right to produce and issue joint diplomas in the form established by joint decisions of Academic Councils of such higher education institutions.
If a person obtains higher education under two specialties (specializations) simultaneously, a higher education institution shall have the right to produce and issue a dual diploma in the form established by its Academic Council.
Information about issued diplomas shall be entered by higher education institutions, except military higher education institutions, to the Unified State Education Electronic Database (which comprises the Registry of Higher Education Institutions, Registry of Documents Certifying Higher Education, Registry of External Independent Assessment Certificates, and Registry of Student Identity Cards).