Doctoral schools in Poland

The higher education reform, which was introduced by the new Act of 20 July 2018 - Law on Higher Education (Law 2.0, also known as the Constitution for Science), has brought a number of changes to university management, the education of students and doctoral students, and the conduct and evaluation of scientific research.

Doctoral students and young scientists

  • a new model of doctoral education - doctoral schools,
  • scholarships for every doctoral student,
  • new solutions to improve the quality of doctoral dissertations,
  • parental leave for doctoral students,
  • new rules for granting the right to confer the doctoral degree.

As regards doctoral studies, the Act introduces doctoral schools that can be run by universities and scientific institutes with at least the B+ scientific category in two disciplines, and in the transitional period by entities authorised to confer the doctoral degree, which is assumed to completely change the model of educating doctoral students in Poland from a mass model to an elite and pro-quality one. The schools has begun their operation since a.y. 2019/2020 (the first cohort recruited under the new rules), which means that doctoral students who had started their doctoral studies before the 2019/2020 academic year will continue their studies under the former rules.

Doctoral students who commence their studies at doctoral schools are required to complete up to 60 hours of teaching practice per year. In contrast, doctoral students continuing their studies under the old rules are required to complete up to 90 hours of teaching practice per year.

A doctoral student may not be employed as an academic teacher or researcher. However, this prohibition does not apply to employment for the purpose of carrying out a research project. After a successful mid-term evaluation, this prohibition no longer applies.

It will be possible to obtain the doctoral degree both during doctoral school training and in an extramural mode. Doctoral theses under the old rules were allowed until 30 April 2019 (and must be completed by 31 December 2023), and under the new rules - available from 1 October 2019 (proceedings for the award of the doctoral degree weren't initiated in the period 1 May - 30 September 2019).