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ENIC UKRAINE
National Information Centre
of Academic Mobility

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HIGHER EDUCATION LEVELS AND DEGREES

With the adoption of the Law of Ukraine «On Higher Education» in 2014, there were changes in the structure of educational levels and degrees of higher education. The main changes were related to the degrees of Junior Specialist, Specialist and Сandidate of Sciences, which were replaced by the degrees of Junior Bachelor, Master and Doctor of Philosophy/Doctor of Art. These changes were implemented gradually. So the last admission to the Junior Specialist programs took place in 2019, to the Specialist programs - in 2016, to the Candidate of Sciences programs - in 2015.

The structure of modern system of higher education includes the following higher education levels:

  • initial level (short cycle) of higher education
  • first (bachelor's) level
  • second (master's) level
  • third (educational-scientific/educational-artistic) level.

Obtaining higher education at each level implies successful completion of higher education program, which is the basis for awarding the appropriate higher education degree:

  • Junior Bachelor
  • Bachelor
  • Master
  • Doctor of Philosophy/Doctor of Art.

Junior Bachelor`s degree is an educational or professional degree obtained at the initial level (short cycle) of higher education and awarded by a higher education institution after successful completion of higher education program of 120 ECTS credits. If the junior bachelor degree is obtained on the basis of professional prehigher education, a higher education institution has the right to recognize and transfer ECTS credits, the maximum amount of which is determined by the standard of higher education.

A person has the right to apply for the junior bachelor's degree programs provided that he/she has complete general secondary education.

Bachelor's degree is an educational degree obtained at the first level of higher education and awarded by a higher education institution after successful completion of an educational-professional program of 180-240 ECTS credits. If the bachelor's degree is obtained on the basis of junior bachelor degree or professional junior bachelor degree, a higher education institution has the right to recognize and transfer the ECTS credits, the maximum amount of which is determined by the standard of higher education.

A person has the right to apply to the bachelor degree programs provided that he/she has complete general secondary education.

Master's degree is an educational degree obtained at the second level of higher education and awarded by a higher education institution (scientific institution) after successful completion of the relevant educational-professional or educational-scientific program. The volume of the educational-professional master's program is 90-120 ECTS credits, the volume of the educational-scientific program is 120 ECTS credits. The master's educational-scientific program shall include a research (scientific) component of at least 30 percent.

A person has the right to apply to the master's degree programs provided he/she has a bachelor's degree.

The master's degree in medicine, pharmacy or veterinary specialization is obtained on the basis of complete general secondary education, junior bachelor degree, professional junior bachelor, or junior specialist in the relevant specialty. If the master's degree in medicine, pharmacy or veterinary specialization is obtained on the basis of complete general secondary education, the volume of the program should be 300-360 ECTS credits. In cases when the master's degree in medicine, pharmacy or veterinary specialization is obtained on the basis of junior bachelor or professional junior bachelor, a higher education institution can recognize and transfer ECTS credits, the maximum amount of which is determined by the higher education standard.

Doctor of Philosophy Philosophy is an educational and at the same time scientific degree obtained at the third level of higher education on the basis of master's degree. The degree of Doctor of Philosophy is awarded by a specialized scientific council of a higher education institution or scientific institution based on the results of successful completion of the relevant educational-scientific program (four years) and public defense of dissertation. The volume of the educational component of the educational-scientific program of the Doctor of Philosophy is 30-60 ECTS credits.

Doctor of Art is an educational and creative degree obtained at the third level of higher education on the basis of master's degree. The degree of Doctor of Art is awarded by a specialized higher education institution’s council in the field of art after successful implementation of the relevant educational program (three years) and public defense of the art project. The volume of the educational component of the educational and creative program of Doctor of Art is 30-60 ECTS credits.

"The system of higher education levels and degrees before 2014 and during the transition period"

Professional (Technical and Vocational) Education

Professional (Technical and Vocational) Education as a component of the educational system of Ukraine is a training system for qualified workers and junior specialists (provided that the accreditation is properly done ).

Technical and vocational education is a complex of teaching and organizational arrangements aimed at helping people to acquire knowledge, abilities, and skills in their chosen vocational area.

The procedures, conditions and forms of technical and vocational education are stipulated by the Law of Ukraine on Professional (Technical and Vocational) Education.

Technical and vocational education is acquired in vocational educational institutions after basic secondary or complete general secondary education. However, students who, due to their health, family circumstances, or other valid reasons cannot acquire complete general secondary education at the same time with vocational studies, or who do not have basic secondary education, or persons who need social assistance and rehabilitation, can still acquire vocational qualifications in professions, the list of which is determined by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine.

The study modes can be full time, part-time, hybrid, extramural, distance learning, on the job training, and individual pace studies.

Students who have basic secondary education can acquire upper secondary education at a vocational education institution at the same time as acquiring a profession.

Types of technical and vocational educational institutions:

  • vocational educational institution of a specific specialization profile
  • vocational school of social rehabilitation
  • higher vocational school
  • vocational lyceum
  • vocational lyceum of a specific specialization profile
  • vocational school of arts
  • technical and vocational school of arts
  • higher technical and vocational school of arts
  • agro-industrial school
  • higher agro-industrial school
  • school-factory
  • technical and vocational education center
  • vocational education center
  • production training center
  • training and re-training center for workers
  • vocational training facility
  • training center and so on.

The academic year at technical and vocational institutions may not exceed 40 academic weeks. During the term of study, students are required to pass current, subject-oriented, intermediate, and final assessments. The forms and times of final assessments are determined by a study plan, and include:

  • qualification test that meets specific vocational qualification requirements for graduates of a technical and vocational program;
  • state qualification exam or defending a graduation project / creative project.

Levels of technical and vocational education

Technical and vocational education has three levels that are reflected in respective qualification levels, specialization complexity levels, and educational levels. Each level has its theoretical and practical components, completion of which leads to Qualified Worker and Junior Specialist awards in accordance with their acquired professional knowledge, abilities, and skills.

There are three attestation levels of technical and vocational institutions according to the levels of offered technical and vocational education.

The technical and vocational programs are designed in a way to provide graduates with the opportunity to progress from first to second and third qualification levels. The qualification levels (together with classes, categories or groups of qualifications) are assigned to graduates of technical and vocational programs according to the State List of Professions for Training of Qualified Workers in Technical and Vocational Educational Institutions.

The first level. The first level of technical and vocational education leads to technologically elementary professions, that require simple actions and operations. It allows working with previously studied subjects, objects, performing specific actions and operations, and working under supervision.

The first level programs provide accelerated skills training for students of the technical and vocational schools of the first attestation level and may include individual or group training in manufacturing and service sector.

Educational institutions of the first attestation level may include:

  • educational centers of certain professional streams
  • professional schools
  • industry centers
  • automobile training centers
  • other similar educational institutions.

Education at the first attestation level does not require basic or complete general secondary education for admission and is carried out according to curricula and training programs approved by the relevant local authorities.

The duration of studies is determined by programs and curricula but should not exceed one year.

Education at the first level ends with a qualification attestation (exam). Graduates who successfully pass the qualification attestation are awarded a qualification of skilled worker in an acquired profession of the corresponding class or category of a qualification and are issued a certificate of the approved format.

The second level. The second level of technical and vocational education leads to mastering professions of medium technological complexity in various branches of economy. The qualification allows to perform typical actions, production operations independently from memory or with the help of technological maps, instructions, drawings or other documentation, withing timeframes and according to quality requirements.

Training is carried out in professional educational institutions of the second attestation level and typically requires basic secondary education for entry.

Technical and vocational institutions of the second attestation level include:

  • vocational and technical profile schools
  • vocational art schools
  • art technical and vocational schools
  • agrobusiness schools
  • schools-factories
  • educational and production centers
  • other similar educational centers and institutions.

Education at the second level is carried out according to state standards of technical and vocational education. Students can acquire complete (profile) general secondary education at the same time as obtaining a profession.

The duration of study:

  • 1.5 years for applicants with the complete general secondary education
  • 4 years for applicants with basic secondary education, they also need to obtain upper secondary education during this time
  • 2 years for entrants with basic secondary education (or even without it in some exceptional cases), that do not plan to obtain upper secondary education.

Education at the second level ends with a qualification attestation (exams). Graduates who successfully pass the qualification attestation are awarded a skilled worker qualification with the corresponding category or class of qualification and are issued a diploma of the approved format.

The third level. The third level of technical and vocational education leads to complex qualifications and specialties with high use of scientific and technological knowledge in various branches of economy, which allows to independently perform complex operations and productions, design activity algorithms in unusual situations based on the knowledge gained and previously learned typical actions.

Training is carried out in the technical and vocational educational institutions of the third attestation level, that include:

  • higher professional schools
  • higher art technical and vocational schools
  • agricultural higher education institutions
  • technical and vocational education centers
  • training and retraining centers
  • other similar educational institutions.

Education at the third level is carried out according to the state standards. The duration of study should not exceed 2 years.

Training ends with a qualification attestation (exams). Graduates are awarded a skilled worker qualification in the acquired profession with the corresponding category or class of qualification and, if the course was properly accredited, the Junior Specialist diploma of the approved format.

Post-diploma education of qualified workers is carried out at technical and vocational educational institutions of all attestation levels according to relevant curricula and training programs and includes various forms of advanced training and retraining.

Curricula and training programs are developed by institutions based on the state standards and are approved by the local education management bodies in agreement with the customer.

The duration of study is determined by programs and curricula, but should not exceed one year.

The graduates of the post-diploma programs pass a qualification attestation and are awarded an education document of approved format.


Documents on technical and vocational education

Graduates of technical and vocational education institutions who are awarded a skilled worker qualification in an acquired profession with the corresponding category of qualification are issued a Skilled Worker Diploma.

Graduates who complete general secondary education are also issued the Certificate of Complete General Secondary Education.

Graduates of professional training courses, who successfully pass qualification attestation are issued

Certificates of Awarding or Advancing of a Worker Qualification.

Graduates of accredited higher professional programs, who are awarded the Junior Specialist qualification are issued the Junior Specialist diploma.

The technical and vocational education graduates with special educational needs, who successfully pass a qualification attestation (exams) are awarded skilled worker qualification in an acquired profession with the corresponding category and are issued the Certificates of Awarding of a Worker Qualification.


Historical profile:

Professional (Technical and Vocational) Education up to 2018


This information has been produced with the financial assistance of the Council of Europe. The views expressed herein can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of the Council of Europe.

COMPLETE SECONDARY EDUCATION

The profile (or field-specific) secondary education (10th-12th years*) is the third level of complete general secondary education. The upper secondary program is designed to help students create a holistic world view, develop their learning, research and communication skills, ability to process information and apply the acquired knowledge in everyday life.

Profile secondary education is available in academic or vocational streams:

  • academic stream is based on a combination of the content of education, determined by the state standard for profile secondary education, and in-depth study of individual subjects, taking into account the abilities and educational needs of students, aiming at the continuing education at higher levels;
  • vocational stream is market-oriented, based on a combination of the general content of education, defined by the state standard of profile secondary education, and a vocational training component, taking into account the abilities and needs of students.

The educational content and program requirements in upper secondary school are defined by three levels:

  • mandatory learning outcomes defined by the state basic and complete secondary educational standard;
  • profile level with the content determined in the curricula approved by the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine;
  • academic level with the curricula focused on the areas related to the profile subjects (for example, physics in the chemistry-biology specialization stream).

A general education stream is provided for students who have not decided on the direction of specialization.

Educational institutions. Profile secondary education is offered by lyceums - general secondary education institutions of the III level, which can also offer primary and basic secondary education. Technical and vocational institutions, pre-higher, higher educational institutions and other institutions that have a proper license, can also offer profile secondary education program.

Program duration. The period of study in upper secondary school is 2 years, and starting September 1, 2027 it will be 3 years. The number of students in a class is usually up to 30.

Classes. Classes typically go for 45 minutes.

Assessment. Students' knowledge is assessed using a 12-point system, where 12 is the highest.

Graduation. Students graduate at the age of 16-17 after the 11th grade of upper secondary school and State Final Attestation exams. The content, forms, procedure and terms of the exams are approved annually by the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine.

In the 2022/2023 academic year during martial law, students were exempted from taking the State Final Attestation exams for safety reasons.

Educational documents. Graduates who have completed the 11th grade and passed the State Final Attestation are awarded the Certificate of Complete General Secondary Education with a transcript of grades. Top graduates are awarded the Certificate of Complete General Secondary Education with Honors along with either a gold medal "for high academic achievements" or a silver medal "for academic achievements".

The gold medal is awarded to those who have all grades from 10 to 12 for semester, annual and State Final Attestation. The silver medal is awarded to graduates who have all grades from 9 (only two subjects are allowed) to 12 for semester, annual and State Final Attestation.

Profile secondary education in any stream (academic or vocational) does not limit the rights of a person to change it and gives the right to pursue further education at higher levels. Graduates of complete general (profile) secondary education have the right to apply to all higher education institutions.


* Students start the 12-year complete general secondary education program:
• Primary: September 1, 2018;
• Basic secondary: September 1, 2022;
• Profile secondary: September 1, 2027.

By 2027, the introduction of a three-year profile secondary education program is ensured by the decision of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine.


Historical profile:

Complete general secondary education up to 2018


This information has been produced with the financial assistance of the Council of Europe. The views expressed herein can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of the Council of Europe.

ASSESSMENT SYSTEM

Every student has the right to a fair, objective, independent, non-discriminatory and transparent assessment of learning outcomes.

The main types of assessment of learning outcomes of students are formative, current, final (thematic, semester, annual) assessment, state final attestation, and external independent evaluation.

Since 2000, the Ukrainian schools have been using a 12-point grading system. The assessment criteria for general secondary education was approved by Order No 329 of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine, dated April 13, 2011.

Institutions can also design and use their own grading scales, provided they have the formula to convert the institutional grades into the 12-point system, defined by legislation.

Learning outcomes in primary school are usually assessed verbally. In grades one and two verbal assessment is used for students' achievements. In grades three and four, at the choice of an educational institution, students can receive verbal or level assessments, which can be expressed both orally and in writing. The level assessment is a gradual transition from verbal assessment in primary school to point-based assessment in basic secondary school.

The verbal evaluation is expressed in the following words: "significant success", "demonstrate noticeable progress", "achieve results with the help of adults", "need attention and help", the level assessment is used as follows: "initial", "average", "sufficient" and "high".

Assessment of learning outcomes of students with special educational needs is carried out in accordance with the general evaluation criteria and individual study plan.

The object of assessment in the system of general secondary education is day-by-day study activities of pupils in class and at home.

The following test types are used for the assessment:

  • verbal (individual, in-group, quizzes);
  • written (independent work and tests);
  • graphic (work with diagrams, graphs, charts, outline maps);
  • practical (various experiments and learning projects, work with biological objects, and crafts).

The assessment system has 4 (four) academic achievement levels:

  • first level – initial (1-3 points). An answer is fragmentary, showing introductory knowledge of a subject.
  • second level – average (4-6 points). A pupil can repeat the basic material, is able to complete tasks following a model, and has elementary learning skills.
  • third level — sufficient (7-9 points). A pupil knows the essential features of notions, phenomena, and relations among them, can explain basic regularities and applies the acquired knowledge independently in standard situations, and has developed such mental capacities as analysis, abstraction, and generalization. The pupil’s answer is correct, logical, and well-reasoned, although the pupil is lacking his/her own judgments.
  • fourth level – high (10-12 points). A pupil has profound, strong, and systemic knowledge, can apply it to creative tasks, able to independently evaluate various situations, phenomena, and facts, formulate and reason his/her own opinion.

If academic achievements of a pupil fail to meet any of the mentioned assessment levels, the mark “unattested (fail)” is given in this case.

When assessing the academic achievements of pupils, the following aspects are taken into consideration:

  • whether the answer is correct, logical and comprehensive;
  • knowledge quality;
  • development of general and subject-specific abilities and skills;
  • command of such mental skills as analysis, synthesis, comparison, classification,
  • generalization, conclusion, etc.;
  • ability to identify problems and resolve them, ability to formulate hypotheses and independent judgments.

The State Final Attestation exams are taken after completion of each level of secondary education: primary (in the 4th grade), basic secondary (in the 9th grade) or complete general secondary education (in the 11th) grade).

Annual assessment for every year of every level is done based on the 12-point assessment system defined by legislation, and the results are reflected in the Certificate of Achievements, which is issued to every student each year.


The chronology of the assessment system development in Ukraine

In 1935, five verbal marks are introduced in the Soviet schools: “very bad,” “bad,” “acceptable” “good,” and “very good.”

Starting from 1945, achievements of pupils in the Soviet Ukraine are assessed using a 5-point scale: "5" (high), "4", "3", "2", and "1".

In 1993, the knowledge assessment scale was reduced to four points: "5" (high), "4", "З", and "2".

Since 2000, schools in Ukraine have been using a 12-point assessment scale (where 12 is the highest).


The ratio of the 4-point and 12-point grading scales would be following

Assessment scale Grade
4-point 2- 2 2+ 3- 3 3+ 4- 4 4+ 5- 5 5+
12-point 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

This information has been produced with the financial assistance of the Council of Europe. The views expressed herein can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of the Council of Europe.

BASIC SECONDARY EDUCATION

The basic secondary school (5-9 grades) is the second level of complete general secondary education that teaches foundational skills of learning and personal growth, and prepares students for further education and specialization. Aiming at this, basic secondary schools create an environment for independent in-depth learning of specific subjects, important for the choice of further profile education.

Learning conditions at basic secondary school, as a rule, differ from the primary level: new subjects and study setting are introduced, teachers and student groups change as well. The number of students in one class may be up to 30.

Institutions. Pupils, as a rule, acquire basic secondary education in gymnasiums – general educational institutions of the II level, which can function independently or as structural units of other institutions.

Program duration. The duration of the basic secondary program is 5 years.

Classes. The duration of classes is typically 45 minutes.

Assessment. The assessment of students' learning outcomes can be done according to the 12-point assessment system defined by legislation or according to an institution's own scale at the discretion of the institution. Most often institutions use the 12-point system with grades from 1 to 12 (high).

Graduation. The 9th grade is the graduation year for students at this level. Learning outcomes are assessed by the State Final Attestation (exams). The content, forms, procedure and terms of the assessment are approved annually by the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, in the 2020/2021 academic year, graduates of basic secondary school were exempted from the State Final Attestation exams. The exemption continued for the next two years, 2021/2022 and 2022/2023, for safety reasons during martial law.

Educational document. Graduates of the basic secondary education (9th grade) are awarded the Certificate of Basic Secondary Education with transcript of grades. In cases of excellent performance (all grades are 10, 11 and 12), the Certificate of Basic Secondary Education with Honors is awarded. The Certificate of Basic Secondary Education gives the right to continue education at upper secondary schools or technical and vocational institutions.


Historical profile:

Basic secondary education up to 2018


This information has been produced with the financial assistance of the Council of Europe. The views expressed herein can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of the Council of Europe.