Duration of degree studies in Europe

Europe follows a model where bachelor’s studies last for 3 years and master’s for 2 years, but there are some exceptions. Learn more about the duration of degree studies in Europe and make your choice accordingly.

Higher education qualifications in Europe are structured according to three “cycles” defined as part of the Bologna process:

  • bachelor’s
  • master’s
  • doctoral studies

Study periods in Europe are calculated in the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS).

60 ECTS credits are the equivalent of a full year of study or work. Most full-time first cycle bachelor’s programmes in Europe last 3 or 4 years, or 180 to 240 credits. Second cycle Master studies last 1 to 2 years or 60 to 120 ECTS. Most third cycle doctorate programmes in Europe last 3 or 4 years with no specific ECTS range.

In addition to these general rules, Directive 2005/36/EC on the recognition of professional qualifications defines minimum periods of study in the areas of

  • medicine
  • pharmacy
  • veterinary medicine
  • architecture

In those areas, the length of studies can vary from country to country but is never shorter than the minimum requirements set up in the directive. This also means that in many of those areas, the study periods are aggregated into a period of 5 or 6 years of continuing studies.

In addition to the areas listed above, countries in Europe can agree upon their own regulated professions where minimum study periods are set. Periods of study can be prolonged if there is a possibility to study part-time or shortened, when recognition of prior learning (RPL) is applicable.

Source: European Commission | News (https://bit.ly/3ZJ7Twe)