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Bulgaria Higher Education System

Structure of the Higher Educational System in Bulgaria
Admissions to Higher Education in Bulgaria
Types of Higher Education Institutions in Bulgaria
Cycles of Higher Education in Bulgaria
 


Higher education is provided exclusively by colleges and universities. In accordance with the Higher Education Act, they are all self-governing and autonomous institutions.

The objective of higher education in Bulgaria is to train specialists of high qualifications above the secondary school level and to develop science and culture. Currently the tertiary education system includes 51 higher schools which under the Higher Education Act are state owned and private, including universities, specialized higher schools and self-contained colleges. There are 37 public (25 universities, 11 specialized higher schools and 1 self-contained college) and 14 private higher schools (5 universities, 2 specialized higher schools and 7 self-contained colleges). The academic year is divided into two semesters and typically includes 32 academic weeks. The exact date of the academic year beginning and end is set by the respective higher school.

As a result of the active participation in the Bologna process the following key characteristics have been introduced in Bulgaria: • 3-degree higher education system:

1.Bachelor – comprises two levels – “professional bachelor in ….” (ISCED 5B) and “bachelor” (ISCED 5A);
2.Master (ISCED 5A);
3.Doctor (ISCED 6);

• A credit accumulation and transfer system;
• European diploma supplement.

Bulgaria is actively working on building up appropriate environment for modernizing the higher education system, taking into account the demands of society and the businesses. Good practices are examined and disseminated. Possibilities for introduction of new managerial models have been investigated targeted to better financial consolidation/strengthening of higher education institutions.


Types of Higher Education Institutions

Higher schools include universities, specialized higher schools and self-contained colleges.

A university is a higher school which provides training in a wide range of subjects in professional areas within at least three of the four major branches of science - humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and technical sciences; offers bachelor's, master's and doctor's degrees in the respective major branches of science; has ample scientific and artistic potential and through its activities contributes to the development of major branches of science and culture. A higher school offering academic courses in one or two major branches of science or culture may be a university with its appellation signifying its specific nature.

A specialized higher school conducts scientific research or artistic and creative activities and offers courses of training in one of the major areas of science, arts, physical culture, and military science. Its appellation shall signify the specific area in which it trains specialists. These higher schools may also offer training for acquisition of the educational and qualification degree of "master" and the educational and academic and academic degree of "doctor".

A self-contained college shall provide training for acquisition of the educational and qualification degree “professional bachelor in ……..”. The college shall have full-time faculty, holding at least a half of the classroom teaching and practical exercises in each specialty.

A college may be also established within the structure of a university or of a specialized higher school accredited for the professional areas or majors of regulated professions for which instruction shall be offered. The college shall provide training at the educational and qualification degree “professional bachelor in ……..”.

Training in doctoral programmes shall also be performed in Research Organizations such as Bulgarian Academy of Science, Agricultural Academy, etc.


First Cycle Programmes


Bachelor Programmes

The normal length of a Bachelor programme is four years in accordance with the curriculum and requires acquisition of at least 240 ECTS. Bachelor programmes are offered by universities and specialized higher schools in all fields of study. The instruction for the bachelor's degree in accordance with the curriculum shall provide comprehensive training or specialised professional training in professional areas and specialties.

Branches of Study The normal length of a Bachelor programme is four years in accordance with the curriculum and requires acquisition of at least 240 ECTS. Bachelor programmes are offered by universities and specialized higher schools in all fields of study. The instruction for the bachelor's degree in accordance with the curriculum provideс comprehensive training or specialised professional training in professional areas and specialties.

Admission Requirements

In order for students to be admitted to a bachelor programme they must have succesffully completed secondary education and state matriculation examinations.

Higher schools may hold a general entrance examination or recognise the results of the entrance examination given at another higher school. With a decision of the Academic Board, higher schools may admit applicants without any entrance examination provided that the applicants have successfully passed the state matriculation exams under the Level of Education, General Education Minimum and Curriculum Act.

Applicants who have successfully partaken in the admission competition to a higher school shall be admitted under easier terms and conditions as established in the higher school's Rulebook in any of the following cases:

• applicants who scored equally;
• disabled persons with long-term disabilities and reduction of the ability to work by 70 percent or more;
• disabled war veterans;
• orphans;
• mothers of three or more children;
• twins where both have concurrently applied to the same higher school and for the same professional area and one of them has been admitted.

Applicants who are winners at national or international competitions completing their secondary education in the year of the competition and medal winners at Olympic, worlds and European championships shall be admitted without any entrance examination and beyond the annual number of students to be admitted under the Decision of the Council of Ministers where the entrance examination for the specialty they apply for corresponds to the subject-matter of the competition or championship.

At the proposal of the Minister of Physical Education and Sports and following a decision of the academic council with the higher school medal holders from Olympic, World and European Championships may be admitted without entrance examination beyond the established under the Decision of the Council of Ministers annual number of admitted students.

Higher schools announce the admission terms and conditions before the 31st of March of each year.

Curriculum

Under the provisions of the Higher Education Act Higher schools in Bulgaria enjoy academic autonomy which includes academic freedom, academic self-government and inviolability of the territory of the higher schools. Besides other characteristics the academic self-government finds expression in independent choice of faculty, admission requirements and forms of training students and postgraduates. Overall state requirements are set for acquisition of the different degrees – Professional Bachelor in…, Bachelor and Master. There are also state requirements set for certain regulated professions (Health Care for example).

The subjects are taught in Bulgarian but there are certain programmes taught in foreign languages, mainly English, French and German.

Teaching Methods

The forms of higher-school instruction are full-time, part-time, evening attendance and correspondence (distance) courses. Organizational matters are subject of the Academic autonomy and shall be treated in higher school's Rules of Operation (Rulebook) in compliance with the Law. Teachers are supposed to use their own teaching methods in accordance with the certain discipline/module.

Usually the organisation forms vary from formal lectures for the entire course and practical exercises for smaller groups to seminars, self-preparation (at laboratories, libraries, through papers, homework, and others), projects work; etc. Typically the teaching is structured in disciplines and/or modules and different materials such as books, audio-visual and other assistant materials are used. The new technologies in class (such as computer-assisted teaching, e-learning, etc.) are increasingly being used.

Progression of Students

This field is subject of the Academic autonomy and shall be treated in higher school's Rules of Operation (Rulebook) in compliance with the Law.

Employability

There are student on-spot internships and practices implemented in the curricula of certain specialties.

Student internships and practices are also organized and conducted under projects funded by the Operational program “Human Resource Development” of the European Social Fund.

Centers for Career Development have been established in 47 out of 51 higher schools. In process of establishment are centers for career development in two higher schools. An information system to support the professional orientation of students was established in one of the Academies without Centers for Career Development. These centers provide information on available job positions; register students and alumni in order to find suitable positions for training and work practices; organize company presentations to students for educational practices on spot and job positions, etc.

Student Assessment

The basic form of knowledge assessment at higher schools is the written examination, unless the specific features of the subject and/or module require otherwise. The written materials from the checking of the knowledge and skills shall be stored for at least a year after the conduct of the assessment. Students' knowledge and skills shall be graded on the basis of a six-grade system comprising of: Excellent (6.00), Very Good (5.00), Good (4.00), Fair (3.00) and Poor (2.00). Any higher school shall have the right to introduce through its Rules of Operations different grading system whereas it shall be required to ensure comparability with the above mentioned grades The grade of at least Fair (3.00) is required for an examination to be successfully passed.

The course of studies shall be completed with a final state examination or defence of a diploma thesis. The state examination or the diploma thesis defence shall be conducted pursuant to the state diploma-granting requirements before a state board of examiners made up of habilitated persons having academic rank.

Higher schools provide a Credit transfer and accumulation system for grading the knowledge and skills acquired by the students in the course of studies. The system is based on 60 credit points per academic year or 30 credit points per semester, allocated by subjects and/or modules in accordance with the curriculum of the specialty and the educational and qualification degree, or another number of credit points compatible with this system. The objective of the system is to provide students with an opportunity to choose subjects, self-preparation and mobility on the basis of mutual recognition of certain periods of studies, which correspond to elements of the curriculum of the speciality and the educational and qualification degree. Credit points shall represent the grading of the obligations which students have to fulfill in a certain subject or module as part of the overall obligations required for the successful completion of an academic year or semester. Credit points in each specialty shall consist of the total number of lectures, practical exercises and seminars, self-preparation (at laboratories, libraries, through papers, homework, and others), examinations passed and other forms of grading as established by the higher school. Credit points may also be awarded for participation in practical courses or course or diploma papers, where these activities constitute elements of the curriculum. The credit points under shall be awarded to students who have successfully completed the respective subject and/or module through an examination or another form of grading.

Certification

Higher schools shall issue the following documents for education and training:

1. Diploma degree in higher education "professional bachelor in ..."," bachelor " or " master" and annexes thereto;

2. European Diploma Supplement;

3. Certificate of qualification;

4. Certificate recognized specialty in the health care system for post-graduate education;

5. Certificate of successful completion of preparatory course for professional and language training in Bulgarian for foreigners - undergraduate and graduate students;

6. Certificate of professional qualification;

7. Certificate of professional teaching specialization;

8. Certificate for additional training or specialization.

The higher schools alone determine layout and arrange printing of the documents.


Short-Cycle Higher Education


Branches of Study

The typical length of a "Professional Bachelor in…" programme is three years in accordance with the curriculum and requires acquisition of at least 180 ECTS. "Professional Bachelor in…" programmes are offered by self-contained colleges, colleges within universities and specialized higher schools in many fields of study such as Health Care, Tourism, Economics, Arts, etc. The instruction for the professional bachelor's degree in accordance with the curriculum provides specialized professional training in the respective professional areas and specialties.

Admission Requirements

People who have completed secondary education that gives them access to edudcation in higher schools (e.g. who have successfully passed the state matriculation exams) are eligible to apply for "Professional Bachelor in..." programs.

Higher schools may hold a general entrance examination or recognise the results of the entrance examination given at another higher school. With a decision of the Academic Board, higher schools may admit applicants without any entrance examination provided that the applicants have successfully passed the state matriculation exams under the Level of Education, General Education Minimum and Curriculum Act.

Applicants who have successfully partaken in the admission competition to a higher school shall be admitted under easier terms and conditions as established in the higher school's Rulebook in any of the following cases:

• applicants who scored equally;
• disabled persons with long-term disabilities and reduction of the ability to work by 70 percent or more;
• disabled war veterans;
• orphans;
• mothers of three or more children;
• twins where both have concurrently applied to the same higher school and for the same professional area and one of them has been admitted.

Applicants who are winners at national or international competitions completing their secondary education in the year of the competition and medal winners at Olympic, worlds and European championships shall be admitted without any entrance examination and beyond the annual number of students to be admitted under the Decision of the Council of Ministers where the entrance examination for the specialty they apply for corresponds to the subject-matter of the competition or championship.

At the proposal of the Minister of Physical Education and Sports and following a decision of the academic council with the higher school medal holders from Olympic, World and European Championships may be admitted without entrance examination beyond the established under the Decision of the Council of Ministers annual number of admitted students.

Higher schools announce the admission terms and conditions before the 31st of March of each year.

Curriculum

Under the provisions of the Higher Education Act Higher schools in Bulgaria enjoy academic autonomy which includes academic freedom, academic self-government and inviolability of the territory of the higher schools. Besides other characteristics the academic self-government finds expression in independent choice of faculty, admission requirements and forms of training students and postgraduates. Overall state requirements are set for acquisition of the different degrees – Professional Bachelor in…, Bachelor and Master. There are also state requirements set for certain regulated professions (Health Care for example).

The subjects are taught in Bulgarian but there are certain programmes taught in foreign languages, mainly English, French and German.

Teaching Methods The forms of higher-school instruction are full-time, part-time, evening attendance and correspondence (distance) courses. Organizational matters are subject of the Academic autonomy and shall be treated in higher school's Rules of Operation (Rulebook) in compliance with the Law. Teachers are supposed to use their own teaching methods in accordance with the certain discipline/module.

Usually the organisation forms vary from formal lectures for the entire course and practical exercises for smaller groups to seminars, self-preparation (at laboratories, libraries, through papers, homework, and others), projects work; etc. Typically the teaching is structured in disciplines and/or modules and different materials such as books, audio-visual and other assistant materials are used. The new technologies in class (such as computer-assisted teaching, e-learning, etc.) are increasingly being used.

Progression of Students

This field is subject of the Academic autonomy and shall be treated in higher school's Rules of Operation (Rulebook) in compliance with the Law.

Employability

There are student on-spot internships and practices implemented in the curricula of certain specialties.

Student internships and practices are also organized and conducted under projects funded by the Operational program “Human Resource Development” of the European Social Fund.

Centers for Career Development have been established in 47 out of 51 higher schools. In process of establishment are centers for career development in two higher schools. An information system to support the professional orientation of students was established in one of the Academies without Centers for Career Development. These centers provide information on available job positions; register students and alumni in order to find suitable positions for training and work practices; organize company presentations to students for educational practices on spot and job positions, etc.

Student Assessment

The basic form of knowledge assessment at higher schools is the written examination, unless the specific features of the subject and/or module require otherwise. The written materials from the checking of the knowledge and skills shall be stored for at least a year after the conduct of the assessment. Students' knowledge and skills shall be graded on the basis of a six-grade system comprising of: Excellent (6.00), Very Good (5.00), Good (4.00), Fair (3.00) and Poor (2.00). Any higher school shall have the right to introduce through its Rules of Operations different grading system whereas it shall be required to ensure comparability with the above mentioned grades The grade of at least Fair (3.00) is required for an examination to be successfully passed.

The course of studies shall be completed with a final state examination or defence of a diploma thesis. The state examination or the diploma thesis defence shall be conducted pursuant to the state diploma-granting requirements before a state board of examiners made up of habilitated persons having academic rank.

Higher schools provide a Credit transfer and accumulation system for grading the knowledge and skills acquired by the students in the course of studies. The system is based on 60 credit points per academic year or 30 credit points per semester, allocated by subjects and/or modules in accordance with the curriculum of the specialty and the educational and qualification degree, or another number of credit points compatible with this system. The objective of the system is to provide students with an opportunity to choose subjects, self-preparation and mobility on the basis of mutual recognition of certain periods of studies, which correspond to elements of the curriculum of the speciality and the educational and qualification degree. Credit points shall represent the grading of the obligations which students have to fulfill in a certain subject or module as part of the overall obligations required for the successful completion of an academic year or semester. Credit points in each specialty shall consist of the total number of lectures, practical exercises and seminars, self-preparation (at laboratories, libraries, through papers, homework, and others), examinations passed and other forms of grading as established by the higher school. Credit points may also be awarded for participation in practical courses or course or diploma papers, where these activities constitute elements of the curriculum. The credit points under shall be awarded to students who have successfully completed the respective subject and/or module through an examination or another form of grading.

Certification

Higher schools shall issue the following documents for education and training:

1. Diploma degree in higher education "professional bachelor in ..."," bachelor " or " master" and annexes thereto;

2. European Diploma Supplement;

3. Certificate of qualification;

4. Certificate recognized specialty in the health care system for post-graduate education;

5. Certificate of successful completion of preparatory course for professional and language training in Bulgarian for foreigners - undergraduate and graduate students;

6. Certificate of professional qualification;

7. Certificate of professional teaching specialization;

8. Certificate for additional training or specialization.

The higher schools alone determine layout and arrange printing of the documents.

Organisational Variation

Higher schools can organize distance learning for acquiring higher education degrees (Professional Bachelor in ..., Bachelor and Master), Doctor's degree, and qualification of specialists with higher education. Admission of undergraduate and graduate students in distance training is conducted within the approved number of students under the Decision of Council of Ministers. Admission to distance learning takes place under state requirements. Distance learning is equal to the regular form of education regarding the content of the curriculum, required number of credits for the degree, diploma for completed education and degree and professional qualification. The organization and implementation of distance learning are settled in the the higher schools' Rulebooks.


Second Cycle Programmes


Branches of Study

Instruction at the second level, up to the master's degree, provides profound fundamental training in combination with specialization in a particular major. The completion of the following requirements is needed for the acquisition of Master's educational and qualification degree: • at least 300 credits in accordance with the curriculum with a minimum length of studies of five years; • at least 120 credits after the acquisition of a professional bachelor's educational and qualification degree; • at least 60 credits after the acquisition of a bachelor's educational and qualification degree.

Admission Requirements

People who have completed secondary education that gives them access to edudcation in higher schools (e.g. who have successfully passed the state matriculation exams) or who have acquired a "Professional Bachelor in..." or a Bachelor degree are eligible to apply for a Master degree programs.

For training for acquiring a Master degree shall admit persons who have completed secondary education, giving them access to education in high schools, e. g. who have successfully passed the state matriculation exams or persons who have acquired Professional Bachelor in… or a Bachelor degree.

Applicants who have successfully partaken in the admission competition to a higher school shall be admitted under easier terms and conditions as established in the higher school's Rulebook in any of the following cases:

• applicants who scored equally;
• disabled persons with long-term disabilities and reduction of the ability to work by 70 percent or more;
• disabled war veterans;
• orphans;
• mothers of three or more children;
• twins where both have concurrently applied to the same higher school and for the same professional area and one of them has been admitted.

Applicants who are winners at national or international competitions completing their secondary education in the year of the competition and medal winners at Olympic, worlds and European championships shall be admitted without any entrance examination and beyond the annual number of students to be admitted under the Decision of the Council of Ministers where the entrance examination for the specialty they apply for corresponds to the subject-matter of the competition or championship.

At the proposal of the Minister of Physical Education and Sports and following a decision of the academic council with the higher school medal holders from Olympic, World and European Championships may be admitted without entrance examination beyond the established under the Decision of the Council of Ministers annual number of admitted students.

Higher schools shall announce the admission terms and conditions before the 31st of March of each year.

Curriculum

Under the provisions of the Higher Education Act Higher schools in Bulgaria shall enjoy academic autonomy which shall include academic freedoms, academic self-government and inviolability of the territory of the higher schools. Besides the other characteristics the academic self-government shall express in independent choice of faculty, admission requirements and forms of training students and postgraduates.

Overall state requirements are set for acquisition of the different degrees – Professional Bachelor in…, Bachelor and Master. There are also state requirements set for certain regulated professions which are mainly with five to six-years length of study and required acquisition of minimum 300 credits (Medicine, Dental Medicine, Pharmacy, Veterinary Medicine, Architecture, Law).

The subjects are taught in Bulgarian but there are certain programmes taught in foreign languages, mainly English, French and German.

Teaching Methods

The forms of higher-school instruction are full-time, part-time, evening attendance and correspondence (distance) courses. The organisation matters are subject to the Academic autonomy and shall be treated in higher school's Rules of Operation (Rulebook) in compliance with the Law. Teachers are supposed to use their own teaching methods in accordance with the certain discipline/module.

Usually the organisation forms vary from formal lectures for the entire course and practical exercises for smaller groups to seminars, self-preparation (at laboratories, libraries, through papers, homework, and others), projects work; etc. Typically the teaching is structured in disciplines and/or modules and different materials such as books, audio-visual and other assistant materials are used. The new technologies in class (such as computer-assisted teaching, e-learning, etc.) are increasingly used.

Progression of Students

This field is subject of the Academic autonomy and shall be treated in higher school's Rules of Operation (Rulebook) in compliance with the Law.

Employability

There are student on-spot internships and practices implemented in the curricula of certain specialties.

Student internships and practices are also organized and conducted under projects funded by the Operational program “Human Resource Development” of the European Social Fund.

Centers for Career Development have been established in 47 out of 51 higher schools. In process of establishment are centers for career development in two higher schools. An information system to support the professional orientation of students was established in one of the Academies without Centers for Career Development. These centers provide information on available job positions; register students and alumni in order to find suitable positions for training and work practices; organize company presentations to students for educational practices on spot and job positions, etc.

Student Assessment

The basic form of knowledge assessment at higher schools is the written examination, unless the specific features of the subject and/or module require otherwise. The written materials from the checking of the knowledge and skills shall be stored for at least a year after the conduct of the assessment. Students' knowledge and skills shall be graded on the basis of a six-grade system comprising of: Excellent (6.00), Very Good (5.00), Good (4.00), Fair (3.00) and Poor (2.00). Any higher school shall have the right to introduce through its Rules of Operations different grading system whereas it shall be required to ensure comparability with the above mentioned grades The grade of at least Fair (3.00) is required for an examination to be successfully passed.

The course of studies shall be completed with a final state examination or defence of a diploma thesis. The state examination or the diploma thesis defence shall be conducted pursuant to the state diploma-granting requirements before a state board of examiners made up of habilitated persons having academic rank.

Higher schools shall provide a Credit transfer and accumulation system for grading the knowledge and skills acquired by the students in the course of studies. The system shall be based on 60 credit points per academic year or 30 credit points per semester, allocated by subjects and/or modules in accordance with the curriculum of the specialty and the educational and qualification degree, or another number of credit points compatible with this system. The objective of the system is to provide students with an opportunity to choose subjects, self-preparation and mobility on the basis of mutual recognition of certain periods of studies, which correspond to elements of the curriculum of the speciality and the educational and qualification degree. Credit points shall represent the grading of the obligations which students have to fulfill in a certain subject or module as part of the overall obligations required for the successful completion of an academic year or semester. Credit points in each specialty shall consist of the total number of lectures, practical exercises and seminars, self-preparation (at laboratories, libraries, through papers, homework, and others), examinations passed and other forms of grading as established by the higher school. Credit points may also be awarded for participation in practical courses or course or diploma papers, where these activities constitute elements of the curriculum. The credit points under shall be awarded to students who have successfully completed the respective subject and/or module through an examination or another form of grading.

Certification Higher schools shall issue the following documents for education and training:

• Diploma degree in higher education "professional bachelor in ..."," bachelor " or " master" and annexes thereto;

• European Diploma Supplement;

• Certificate of qualification;

• Certificate recognized specialty in the health care system for post-graduate education;

• Certificate of successful completion of preparatory course for professional and language training in Bulgarian for foreigners - undergraduate and graduate students;

• Certificate of professional qualification;

• Certificate of professional teaching specialization;

• Certificate for additional training or specialization.


Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes


Organisation of Doctoral Studies

Doctoral Studies are offered in all fields of science and can be performed by universities, specialized higher schools or research organizations accredited for the certain program. There are full-time, part-time and independent doctoral programmes. Full-time study and independent study have a duration of up to 3 years; part-time study and distance learning have a duration of up to 4 years. In exceptional circumstances which are regulated in the statutes of the relevant institution of higher education or academic organisation, the duration can be extended, but by no more than a year. There is no differentiation in the length of study between different branches and no specific distinctions in the structure exist

Admission Requirements

Full-time and part-time doctoral students are admitted on the basis of a competition. Applicants for independent doctoral study propose for discussion to the relevant department or institute a plan of the dissertation which is developed in its main part, as well as a bibliography. Successful applicants are admitted on the basis of a decision of the faculty council or the academic council of the institution of higher education or the academic organisation. PhD students' training is based on a curriculum.

Status of Doctoral Students

The Doctoral Students/Candidates are legally considered as students. Under the provisions of Higher Education Act a doctoral student is any holder of a master's degree in preparation for earning a doctorate. The healthcare taxes for the PhD students are covered by the State.

Supervision Arrangements

The supervising of PhD students is exercised by professors or associated professors from the institution. Universities and research organizations can contract for conducting joint doctoral programs with foreign universities and research organizations and in such case a co-tutoring by supervisors from different institutions is exercised.

Employability

This field is subject to the Academic autonomy and is treated in higher school's Rules of Operation (Rulebook) in compliance with the Law.

There are certain examples of the training of PhD students on demand from the business, e. g. employees of a specific company or successful students who have shown good results in the course of study and are perspective for the employers.

Assessment

The instruction of doctoral students is based on a curriculum abided by the terms and conditions of the Higher Education Act , the Academic Staff Development Act and the Rulebook of the relevant institution. A PhD degree can be acquired by a holder of Master degree after a successful defense of a dissertation. The dissertation work must contain scientific or applied science results, which represent an original contribution to science. The dissertation work must show that the applicant has in-depth theoretical knowledge in the specialization and ability for independent research.

Certification

Third Cycle (PhD) degrees are certified with a certificate (diploma) issued by the relevant higher school or research organisation in a unified form approved by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Science. The certificate (diploma) is issued in Bulgarian; an appendix in English shall be issued upon request.

Organizational Variation

If there are any differences in the provision of alternative structures of education, (e.g. admission requirements, progression of students from one year to the next, certification or qualifications), the author should divide this section into different sub-sections. Third Cycle (PhD) organisation forms can be in the form of full-time study, part-time study, independent study or distance learning. Full-time study and independent study have duration of up to 3 years; part-time study and distance learning have duration of up to 4 years. In exceptional circumstances which are regulated in the statutes of the relevant institution, the duration can be extended, but by no more than a year.

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