Higher Education in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia Herzegovina's higher education system comprises nine universities (University of Sarajevo, University of Tuzla, University of Mostar, University of Banja Luka, University "Džemal Bijedić" of Mostar, University of East Sarajevo, University of Bihac, University of Modern Science-CKM and the University of Zenica) with some 90 faculties, which are treated as higher education establishments, and art academies. University degrees are acquired at the faculties and arts academies. There are 22 private higher education institutions and the law on higher education (passed in July 2007) treats private and public higher education institutions equally.

Under the new law, university education is organized according to the system of transferable points and has three levels:

The undergraduate courses typically last for three to four years and bring 180 to 240 ECTS points. Upon the completion of the undergraduate courses, students are awarded the title of Bachelor of Arts or Science.
Postgraduate courses, which last for two years, carry 120 ECTS points and award the degree of Master of Art or Science.

PhD courses can be taken after completing a postgraduate university course. They typically last three years, and the academic title of Doctor of Science or Doctor of Arts is awarded upon completion.

The university can also offer postgraduate specialist courses which last for one to two years, by which one can acquire the title of a specialist in a certain specialist field such as medicine.

In accordance with laws and regulations, higher education institutions are funded by the corresponding RS or FBIH authorities. Higher education activities are thus governed by either RS or FBIH legislation, with the state level Ministry of Civil Affairs assuming the task of coordinating the higher education activities of the two entities.

One of the main prerequisites for reform was the adoption of the higher education law in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Following its adoption, many challenges such as the establishment of ENIC institutions and a financing council will need to be addressed. Reforms within universities themselves will represent a challenge -- for example, the introduction and implementation of the ECTS and diploma supplements, as well as other Bologna process initiatives.