In general, it takes 3 academic years to complete bachelor studies (6 semesters), whereas master studies, depending on the field of studies, last from 1,5 to 2 academic years (3 or 4 semesters accordingly).
There are English courses available for international students, so you don't have to speak Polish. If you prefer to study in Polish you will have to complete a Polish language course before you start studying.
Students with proved Polish origin (having "karta polaka") may apply for budget-funded studies on the same basis as Polish citizens. A list of scholarships provided by the Polish government and other organizations is available at: www.buwiwm.edu.pl. Other scholarship offers may be available in certain Universities. You should check it out in a course search engine and in the International Students office of the University of your choice.
To qualify all international applicants must first meet the minimum requirements for entry into higher education in their own country, have a matriculation certificate or equivalent document; command of English (at least on an intermediate level) is also required.
Some departments of the arts, physical education, departments preparing students for the teaching profession, medical and technical universities may organize additional aptitude tests.
All graduating from Polish institutions of higher education receive a Diploma Supplement. The Supplement is available free of charge and is issued in Polish, and on request in other languages (English, German, French, Spanish or Russian). Since Poland ratified the Lisbon Convention on Recognition of Degrees in 2004 recognition of Polish diplomas has become easier inter-nationally.
In most cases the academic year at Polish universities consists of 2 semesters of 15 weeks duration each.
Fall semester starts in the beginning of October and lasts till mid-February, with two-week break for Christmas holidays and with a one-week vacation period in February. Spring semester starts in mid February and lasts till the end of June, with one-week break for Easter holidays. Summer vacation lasts from the beginning of July to the end of September.
You do not need to because universities offer a large variety of study programmes in English. Nevertheless, you may learn Polish either for private everyday use for the time you stay in Poland, or for joining a university course in Polish. Courses of Polish language and culture or survival Polish with orientation programmes are organized by most universities hosting foreign students. This type of course can last for a few weeks just before the academic year or can run throughout the whole semester.
In case you choose Polish as the language of your studies, however, you will be required to prove your proficiency in Polish before you start your studies. Foreign students wishing to pursue studies in Polish are required to have a command of Polish, allowing them to understand lectures and other forms of tuition at universities see www.polonicum.uw.edu.pl.
Information on Polish language certificates is provided by the State Commission for Certification of Command of Polish as a Foreign Language (www.buwiwm.edu.pl).
EU/EEA students do not need any Polish visa, however upon arrival to Poland they should apply for a temporary residence permit if they stay in the country longer then 90 days. Non EU/EEA students need to arrive in Poland with a student's visa obtained at a Polish Embassy or Consulate in their country of residence. It is important to remember that visas are granted for a maximum of three months. In order to extend the stay in Poland, it is necessary to apply for a residence permit for specified period of time in Voivodeship office. For further assistance students are strongly urged to contact the International Relations Office of their university. More practical information about: coming to Poland, legalizing your stay, medical care and insurance, driving license, addresses of diplomatic missions of in Poland is available at www.msz.gov.pl (Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs).
Medical care in Poland is not free of charge. Health insurance is mandatory for all students for the entire duration of their stay in Poland. The students from non-EU/EEA countries are recommended to buy medical insurance in their home country or immediately after their arrival in Poland. Otherwise students are required to pay for any health service they get. Foreign students are also advised to purchase third party liability insurance and accident insurance.
EU citizens staying in Poland are legible for free health service, providing they present their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).
EU citizens not having insurance in their country of residence and non-EU citizens may sign insurance agreement with the Polish Health National Fund (NFZ - Narodowy Fundusz Zdrowia) and purchase insurance for the monthly fee of 40 PLN.
Under bilateral agreements the citizens of the U.K., Sweden and Slovakia are entitled to free medical care. Under an agreement with the Czech Republic Czech students are entitled to necessary medical care in cases of sudden illness or accident.
More information can be found on The National Health Fund website: www.nfz.gov.pl.
All international students may apply for scholarships within bilateral agreements on direct cooperation offered through Bureau for Academic Recognition and International Exchange (www.buwiwm.edu.pl) to one of the following countries: Albania, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Belarus, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Columbia, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Korea, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Syria, Switzerland, Sweden, Tajikistan, Taiwan, Tunisia, Turkey, the Ukraine, USA, Uzbekistan, the United Kingdom, Venezuela, Vietnam.