Recognition of certificates for academic purposes

Recognition of a secondary school certificate obtained abroad for purposes of admission to first cycle studies or long cycle (magister) studies in Poland

Foreign documents of education may be recognised in Poland on the basis of international agreements or – if there are no such agreements – according to the regulations on nostrification.

International agreements

Bilateral agreements 

Poland is a party to the following bilateral agreements on the equivalence of education:

  • Poland – Slovakia (signed in July 2005), in force since 1st February 2006
  • Poland – Czech Republic (signed in January 2006), in force since 1st November 2006

and the following bilateral agreements on the recognition of education for academic purposes:

  • Poland – Austria, signed in Vienna on 23rd January 1995
  • Poland – Germany, signed in Warsaw on 23rd July 1997
  • Poland – Lithuania, signed in Vilnius on 9th March 2005
  • Poland – Ukraine (signed in April 2005), in force since 20th June 2006
  • Poland – Belarus (signed in April 2005), in force since 12th December 2005
  • Poland – France (signed in May 2008), in force since 26th January 2009
  • Poland – Libya, signed in Tripoli on 8th September 1987 (agreement to be denounced)

Apart from that, Poland was bound by some bilateral and international agreements on equivalence in education which have already been denounced. Credentials issued during the effective period of these agreements can be recognised on their basis. This refers to credentials from the following countries:

  • Armenia (credentials issued before 6 August 2004)
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina (credentials issued before 1 February 2006)
  • Bulgaria (credentials issued before 24 July 2005)
  • Croatia (credentials issued before 24 January 2006)
  • Cuba (credentials issued before 6 August 2004)
  • Estonia (credentials issued before 13 April 2006)
  • Hungary (credentials issued before 24 July 2005)
  • Kazakhstan (credentials issued before 29 September 2005)
  • Kyrgyzstan (credentials issued before 6 August 2004)
  • Latvia (credentials issued before 8 March 2006)
  • Macedonia (credentials issued before 8 February 2006)
  • Moldova (credentials issued before 6 October 2005)
  • Mongolia (credentials issued before 6 August 2004)
  • Montenegro (credentials issued before 24 January 2006)
  • North Korea (credentials issued before 6 August 2004)
  • Romania (credentials issued before 6 August 2004)
  • Russian Federation (credentials issued before 25 September 2005)
  • Serbia (credentials issued before 24 January 2006)
  • Slovenia (credentials issued before 24 January 2006)
  • Syria (credentials issued before 1 December 2006)
  • Uzbekistan (credentials issued before 6 August 2004)
  • Tajikistan (credentials issued before 8 December 2005)
  • Vietnam (credentials issued before 6 August 2004)

Also credentials from nonexistent countries such as Czechoslovakia, German Democratic Republic, USSR and Yugoslavia are recognized on the basis of the respective bilateral agreements signed with these countries.

International conventions 

In December 2003 Poland ratified the Council of Europe/UNESCO Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education in the European Region signed in Lisbon, on 11th April 1997. The Lisbon Recognition Convention entered into force in Poland on 1st May 2004.

Until 6th August 2004, Poland was also bound by the Prague Convention signed in Prague on 7th June 1972. The Parties to the Convention were: Bulgaria, Hungary, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, German Democratic Republic, Cuba, Mongolia, Poland, Romania, Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, and (since 1987) North Korea.

Regulations on nostrification: 

School certificates

Higher education diplomas (1st, 2nd and long cycle university degrees)

If your certificate does not come within any international agreement, its equivalence with a relevant Polish school certificate can be stated only by means of nostrification, pursuant to the Regulation of the Minister of Education and Science of 6th April, 2006, on the Nostrification of School Certificates and Maturity Certificates Obtained Abroad (Journal of Laws No. 63, Item 443).

Nostrification of school certificates and maturity certificates is conducted by local educational authorities having jurisdiction over the applicant’s place of residence or (if the applicant has no such place of residence) the local authorities having jurisdiction over the head office of the institution where the applicant applies for admission. Click here to view the list and addresses of the local educational authorities.

Recognition of higher education obtained abroad for purposes of admission to second cycle studies in Poland

If your degree does not come within any international agreement, its equivalence with the relevant Polish university degree can be stated only by means of nostrification, pursuant to the Regulation of the Minister of Education and Science of 24th February 2006, on the Nostrification of Higher Education Diplomas Obtained Abroad (Journal of Laws of 3rd March, 2006).

What is nostrification? 

Pursuant to Para. 7.1 of the above-mentioned regulation, a foreign degree holder applying for admission to a second cycle study programme in Poland may be exempted from the nostrification procedure provided that their degree entitles them to pursue studies at the next appropriate university level in the country of issue. The decision on exemption belongs to the council of an organisational unit of the institution in which the qualification holder applies for admission. Exemption from nostrification does not imply issuing a certificate of equivalence.

Recognition of higher education obtained abroad for purposes of admission to post-graduate, non-degree studies in Poland

If your degree does not come within any international agreement, its equivalence with a relevant Polish university degree can be stated only by means of nostrification, pursuant to the Regulation of the Minister of Education and Science of 24th February, 2006, on the Nostrification of Higher Education Diplomas Obtained Abroad (Journal of Laws of 3rd March, 2006).

What is nostrification? 

Pursuant to Para. 7.1a of the above-mentioned regulation, a foreign degree holder applying for admission to a postgraduate non-degree study programme in Poland may be exempted from the nostrification procedure. The decision on exemption belongs to the council of an organisational unit of the institution in which the qualification holder applies for admission. Exemption from nostrification does not imply issuing a certificate of equivalence.

Recognition of higher education obtained abroad for purposes of admission to third-cycle (doctoral) studies or initiating the doctoral research in Poland

If your degree does not come within any international agreement, its equivalence with a relevant Polish university degree can be stated only by means of nostrification, pursuant to the Regulation of the Minister of Education and Science of 24th February, 2006, on the Nostrification of Higher Education Diplomas Obtained Abroad (Journal of Laws of 3rd March, 2006).

What is nostrification?

Pursuant to Para. 8 of the above-mentioned regulation, a person applying for admission to a third cycle study programme at a Polish higher education institution or a doctoral programme offered by an academic research institution, or for initiating the doctoral proceedings at either of the above mentioned types of institutions, may be exempted from the nostrification procedure provided that they hold a university degree:

  • obtained in a country being a member of EU, EFTA or Swiss Confederation, or party to the Lisbon Convention
    and
  • entitling them to pursue studies at the doctoral level in the country of issue.

The decision on exemption from nostrification belongs to the council of an organisational unit of the institution in which the degree holder applies for admission. Exemption from nostrification does not imply issuing a certificate of equivalence.

© Ministry of Science and Higher Education (with slight amendments)


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