Higher Education Levels and Scientific Degrees

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:

  1. initial level (Short cycle)
  2. first (Bachelor) level
  3. second (Master) level
  4. third (Educational and Research/ Educational and Creative) level
  5. research level

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:

  1. Junior Bachelor diploma
  2. Bachelor diploma
  3. Master diploma
    Diploma of Junior Bachelor, Bachelor, and Master shall contain the name of a higher education institution (research institution) that issued the document (if education was acquired at a standalone division of a higher education institution (research institution), also the name of that standalone division) and qualification that comprises information about the attained level of higher education, specialty and specialization, and in some cases also professional qualification.

    Supplement to the diploma is an inseparable part of a Junior Bachelor diploma.

    For a diploma of Bachelor, Master, Doctor of Philosophy/ Doctor of Arts there is a diploma supplement produced according to the European standards, which contains structured information about the completed course of study. Diploma supplement contains information about the holder’s learning outcomes comprising course titles, received grades and number of attained ECTS credits as well as details of the national higher education system in Ukraine.

  4. Doctor of Philosophy/Doctor of Arts Diploma
    Diploma of Doctor of Philosophy/ Doctor of Arts, Doctor of Sciences shall contain the name of a higher education institution (research institution) in which the training took place, the name of a higher education institution (research institution) in whose specialized Academic Council (specialized council for conferring the degree of Doctor of Sciences) the seeker defended research/ arts achievements, and name of qualification.

    The Doctor of Philosophy qualification name shall contain the name of the degree, field of knowledge and/or specialty. If the dissertation research is conducted in associated or related fields, Doctor of Philosophy and Doctor of Sciences degrees shall be conferred in the lead field with the indication of cross-disciplinary nature of work.

    The Doctor of Arts qualification name shall contain the name of the degree, specialty and, in some cases, the name of specialization.

    The degree of Doctor of Arts is conferred by the specialized council for conferring the degree of Doctor of Arts at a higher education institution specialized in art upon successful completion by the seeker of a higher education degree of a relevant educational and creative programme and public defence of a creative art project under a procedure determined by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine.

    The period of Doctor of Arts programme within post-graduate art studies is three years. The volume of the education component in an education and creative programme for Doctor of Arts is 30 to 60 ECTS credits.

  5. Doctor of Sciences Diploma
    Doctor of Sciences is a second research degree acquired by a person at the research level of higher education on the basis of Doctor of Philosophy degree and stipulates acquisition of the highest competencies in the area of development and implementation of research methodology, engagement in original research, achievement of scientific results that provide solutions to an important theoretical or applied problem, have nationwide or global significance and are published in academic ournals.

    Doctor of Sciences degree is awarded by a specialized Academic Council of a higher education institution or research institution on the basis of results of public defence of research achievements represented by a dissertation or published monograph, or by a body of articles published in the national or international reviewed specialized journals the list of which is subject to approval by the central government agency on education and science.

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).