Higher Education in Argentina

Argentine higher education system is based, since its conception during the colonial period, on the old and dogmatic Spanish higher education system, which is basically a Continental education system (opposed to the Anglo-Saxon Model). A historic event took place in the Reforma Universitaria de 1918, a highly-popular series of reforms that took place in the oldest university of the Country, the Universidad de Córdoba that finally paved the way to the modernization of the Argentinian higher university systems as it is known nowadays. Since its foundation, it was focused on the teaching of Professions offering Professional degrees.

It is divided in three levels .
Tertiary Education level: 1- to 3-years degrees related to education or technical professions like Teachers, Professorship, Technicians.

University level: 4- to 6-years Professional education taught at Universities offering many different degrees Licentiate, Engineer's degree, Medic Title, Attorney Title, Professorships, Translation degrees, etc.

Post-graduate level: This is a specialized and research-oriented education level. It is roughly divided in a first sub-level where a Specialist degree can be obtained in a 12-18 months period or Master's degree, requiring 24-30 months and an original research work and a higher sub-level where a Doctorate degree could be achieved.

One important aspect is that Public universities at Tertiary Education level and at University level are tuition-free and open to anyone. Although it is not required to pay any kind of fee at universities, hidden costs of education, like transportation and materials, are often neglected and a lack of a well-developed and widespread scholarship system makes it hard for students from low-income families to enroll in public universities: for each eight students from the 20% upper-income class, there is only one student from the 20% lower-income class. In contrast, post-graduate education requires some form of funding and it is generally not free.

Additionally, financial pressure to freshman college students force them to join the work force before graduation, thus it is very common for young students to have full-time jobs and at the same time study at the University. This is considered beneficial because when the students graduate they already have working experience, though this could also be one of the causes of the high ratio of dropouts.

College education
Argentina maintains a network of 39 National universities, financed by the Ministry of Education since 1946. Private and parochial universities are also abundant, numbering 46 among the active institutions and they enroll about a sixth of the collegiate student body (see University reform in Argentina and List of universities in Argentina). Summing up, over 1.5 million students attend institutions of higher learning in Argentina, annually (roughly half the population of college age).

Argentina does not have a standard and common system of examination after high school, thus admission to universities is strictly defined by each university. Moreover, a steady degradation in primary and secondary education created a huge difference between the required level to enter a university and the level achieved by the high school students. Some universities like University of Buenos Aires cope with this issue by creating a 1-year shared program called CBC that students need to complete in order to join the university.

Graduate School
The doctoral fields of study in Argentina are generally research-oriented doctoral studies, leading mostly to the awarding of the degrees of Doctor of Philosophy, Doctor of Science, Doctor of Medicine, and Doctor of Law, among others. Enrollment in doctorate programs in Argentina is available to candidates having earned a Licentiate, Professorships Engineer's degree or Master's degree in a related area of study.

Doctoral fields of study mostly pertain to one of five fields of knowledge: Applied Sciences, Basic Sciences, Health Sciences, Human Sciences and Social Sciences. The doctoral studies offered by the Argentine universities include multiple fields and do have national and international validity of the degrees granted.

Academic regulations governing doctorates, and their corresponding fields, in Argentina prescribe that all graduate courses must be accredited by the National Commission for University Evaluation and Accreditation. This entity stands as a public and decentralized body working under the jurisdiction of the Department of Education, Science and Technology. It administers the process of evaluation and accreditation for all doctorate programs, and is responsible for the institutional evaluation of all such programs at a national level. Graduate programs, including the Doctorados (PhDs), set standards per guidelines set forth by the Ministry of Science and Technology, together with the Universities Council.

Additionally, external evaluations of the doctoral programs are carried out by the National Commission for University Evaluation and Accreditation, or private entities created to that effect, together with the participation of academic peers. Argentine institutions of higher education provide further accreditation by international establishments to many of their courses of studies.