Studying in Slovenia
Organisation of studies
1. Academic year
In Slovenia the academic year starts in October and lasts until the end of September the next year. It is divided into two semesters: the winter semester usually runs from October to January and the summer semester from February to the middle of July.
The organisation of studies is defined by a study programme.
The Higher Education Act additionally regulates undergraduate study programmes that last for 30 weeks in the academic year and comprise the minimum of 20 and the maximum of 30 hours of lectures, seminars and practical classes per week. If the programme includes also practical training then it can last up to 42 weeks per academic year but the total student workload must not surpass 40 hours per week. In some cases studies can also be organised part-time, which means that the organisation and the time schedule of the lectures, seminars and exercises is adapted to the possibilities of students, who are unable to attend the studies full-time (for example because they are employed).
2. Methods of teaching
Higher education institutions use different teaching methods – lectures, seminars, practical classes, preliminary exams and written assignments. Lectures are usually given to a large group of students, while the seminars and practical classes are usually offered to a smaller group of students. The studies also demand a lot of individual and preparatory work from each individual student. The methods are defined with the study programme.
3. Tests and exams
The rules and procedures of the examination policy are set in detail by the constitution of higher education institutions. As a rule, courses end with examinations, which can be oral, written or both. Usually the examinations are held at the end of each semester during the four week examination period (January-February and June-July) and in September prior to the beginning of a new academic year.
Students finish their studies with oral defence of a their thesis paper. The examination takes place at the end of the final year and it is conducted by a board of examiners in front of which the candidate defends his/her thesis paper. Before they can take this examination, students must fulfill all other obligations set by the study programme.
4. Grading system
In Slovenia there is a unified grading system used in higher education:
10 = excellent (percentage of knowledge: 91 – 100 %),
9 = very good (81 – 90 %),
8 = very good (71 – 80 %),
7 = good (61 – 70 %),
6 = satisfactory (51 – 60 %),
5 - 1 = fail (less then 51 %).
5. Language of instruction
The language of instruction is predominantly Slovenian. Many higher education institutions are already offering some lectures also in English (mostly postgraduate studies) and we expect that the number of this type of study programmes will rise.
6. Credit system
All study programmes accredited after April 2004, are measured in credit points according to ECTS (European Credit Transfer System). One credit point represents 25-30 student working hours; one academic year can last from 1500 to 1800 student working hours.
Students from EU member states, like Slovene students, pay tuition fees only for part-time studies, while full-time studies are free. Foreign students from non-EU member countries pay tuition fees regardless on the type of studies.
As a rule, the tuition fee is paid in a lump sum for each academic year. The payment of the tuition fee also covers the compulsory health insurance.
The Ministry of Education, Science and Sport issued a decree on the level of tuition fees for foreign students and Slovenians without Slovenian citizenship in 1995, setting out the highest and lowest fees, and within this range, higher education institutions calculate the fees for individual study programmes.
Tuition for full-time undergraduate study:
- up to $1,500 in euro equivalent for one year in social science study programmes;
- up to $2,000 in euro equivalent for one year in natural science, technical and arts study programmes.
Tuition fees for full-time undergraduate study are generally paid upon the enrolment at the faculty in the full amount for one academic year. Faculties also use the tuition fees for undergraduate study to arrange and pay for basic health insurance for the foreign student.
Tuition fees for undergraduate studies do not need to be paid by:
- citizens of European Union Member States,
- foreign citizens with permanent residence in Slovenia who themselves or their parents/guardians are liable for tax in Slovenia,
- foreign citizens from one of the countries with which Slovenia has concluded relevant bilateral agreements,
- foreign students for whom based on an individual request the faculty has agreed to waive or reduce the fees,
- Slovenians without Slovenian citizenship with Slovenian government grants.
8. Access for foreign students (enrolment)
a) General and specific requirements
Access requirements are defined by a study programme. General admission requirements are set by the Higher Education Act: for study programmes leading to a university degree is ‘matura’ (an external examination taken at the end of a 4-year secondary school programme), for postgraduate programmes the condition is a university degree from corresponding field of studies for master studies and master degree from corresponding field of studies for doctoral studies. In case of certain study programmes specific requirements are demanded, which may include a talent test of artistic skills or psychophysical abilities (sports). Whether the requirements for admission to an undergraduate or postgraduate study programme are meet is decided by the competent body of higher education institution. Higher education institutions have the right to organise a preparatory study year for foreigners who do not fulfill all the admission requirements.
b) Enrolment procedures
The number of available places is limited for all study programmes. The places available for new applicants are announced by the higher education institutions each year in a pre-enrolment announcement separately for undergraduate and postgraduate study programmes. For students from EU member states, the enrolment procedures are the same as for Slovene students. The available places for these students are included in the quota for Slovene students. For foreigners from non EU countries the number of study places available is set additionally and must not exceed 5% of full-time or 50% of part-time study places for an individual study programme. If the number of applicants exceeds the available number of study places, applicants are selected according to the same criteria and procedure as Slovene students. If study places reserved for citizens of the Republic of Slovenia and EU member states remain vacant, foreigners from non EU states can also register for those places.1. GENERAL CONDITIONS FOR ENROLMENT IN THE FIRST YEAR OF STUDY: Successfully completed appropriate secondary education (To enrol in university study programmes, the candidates must have a recognised national exit exam, like the Slovene matura or American SAT) or final examination before 1 June 1995. To enrol in professional higher-education programmes, the candidates must have a recognised final examination, vocational certificate or national exit exam.); Knowledge of Slovenian language (For some study programmes the candidates must pass the Slovene language examination.); Completed recognition procedure for secondary-school certificates obtained abroad. Some study programmes require the candidates to pass a test of artistic aptitude or psychophysical capacity. 2. EVIDENCE OF FULFILMENT OF ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS Notarised copies of birth certificates, certificate of citizenship, passport or personal identity card. Notarised copies of the secondary school exit certificate and its Slovenian translation. All the graded subjects of the last two years, including the corresponding marks, must be specified in the certificate. All documents have to be translated by an officially authorised translator. Decision on recognition of certificates obtained abroad. The recognition procedure determines the equivalent Slovenian certificate to the certificate issued abroad. The procedure is carried out by University of Maribor. 3. RECOGNITION OF CERTIFICATES OBTAINED ABROAD The Act on Recognition and Assessment of Education (Uradni list RS No. 73/04) introduces a modern system of recognition of foreign certificates and diplomas and assessment of certificates and diplomas obtained in Slovenia and abroad, taking into account the procedures and criteria, of the principles of education system reforms, as well as, respecting and continuing the tradition of transparency provided for by the previous Act regulating the recognition of foreign school certificates (Zakon o nostrifikaciji v tujini pridobljenih šolskih spričeval). International conventions ratified by the Republic of Slovenia, in particular the Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education in the European Region (Lisbon 1997), and the Bologna process creating a single European higher education area, based on the Bologna Declaration (signed by the Ministers of Education from 29 countries, including Slovenia, on 19 June 2003), form a new and more efficient basis for international academic cooperation processes and exchanges for the recognition of education. The establishment of a transparent recognition system for a quick and efficient exercise of individual rights arising from certificates and diplomas is facilitated by unified and openly designed criteria and frameworks, making it possible to take into account individual legal interests and enable the holders of certificates and diplomas to exercise their individual rights arising from such certificates and diplomas at the national and international level. This in particular concerns two fundamental rights resulting from education: the right to continue education at a higher or the same level as proven by the certificate or diploma and the right to enter the labour market. As a result of the above-mentioned “double nature” of recognition, the new Act introduces two procedures. The recognition procedure with a view to access to education enables applicants to exercise their right to education or retraining, while the procedure of recognition with a view to access to employment gives applicants a possibility to enter the Slovene labour market and use their foreign vocational and technical education titles or their professional and academic titles. Assessment of education is envisaged by the Act to facilitate the exercise of any other possible rights based on school certificates and diplomas or an individual’s educational achievements. It enables applicants to claim such rights or implement them through the procedure (for example the right to a scholarship or registration with the employment office). The subject of recognition under this Act is education forming part of the education system of a particular country or several countries and leading to some level of education or its part. (Source: Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology, 2006)For more information please contact:Education Recognition Unit Trg OF 13 1000 LJUBLJANA Tel.: (01) 478 47 45 (if calling from abroad: 00 386 1 478 47 45) Fax.: (01) 478 47 24 (if calling from abroad: 00 386 1 478 47 24) E-mail: email@example.com Website: www.mvzt.gov.si/index.php ENIC/NARIC: www.enic-naric.net
9. International Student Office
Every higher education institution that accepts foreign students has an International Relations Office or a person in charge of dealing with international relations. It is recommended to establish contacts with this office prior to the enrolment in order to get detailed information on the application procedures and other necessary data.
This information on studies in Slovenia is taken from the publication Slovenia, the Belly Button of Europe, where you can also find other useful and important information on student life, exchange studies and Slovenia in general.