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Procedure for awarding the doctoral degree in Poland

    The procedure of awarding the doctoral degree is important from the point of view of every doctoral student, including foreign doctoral students. Undoubtedly, its successful completion by defending a doctoral dissertation and awarding a doctoral degree should be the goal of every doctoral student in the doctoral school and doctoral studies The entry into force of the Act of July 20, 2018, the Law on Higher Education and Science (ustawa z dnia 20 lipca 2018 r. Prawo o szkolnictwie wyższym i nauce, Dz. U. 2018 poz. 1668, z późn.) introduced a new mode of awarding doctoral degrees. The new regulations are a challenge for all doctoral students, especially foreign doctoral students

    At the beginning, it should be noted that the regulations on awarding doctoral degrees to foreign doctoral students do not differ significantly from the procedure for awarding doctoral degrees to Polish doctoral students. However, due to the transitional provisions, a situation has arisen where the old procedures coexist with the new ones. While the old procedures apply only to doctoral studies, where the doctoral procedure was opened under the old rules, the new procedure applies to doctoral students from doctoral schools and doctoral students from doctoral studies who open on the new rules. Such legal status can be complicated even for Polish doctoral students who are lawyers. A foreigner, even more so, may have a problem with proper interpretation of the law.

    Another important issue in terms of awarding a doctoral degree to foreigners is the relationship between the doctoral dissertation supervisor and the doctoral student. Due to the complicated nature of Polish regulations, the promoter should, in particular, take care of a foreigner who may have a problem with this. Unfortunately, very often the promoter is of little help to doctoral students, especially if he would have to go beyond the scope of his duties, e.g. by explaining the legal provisions. Therefore, such an obligation should be specified in the act.

    In summary, the regulations governing the award of the doctoral degree do not distinguish doctoral students by nationality. However, foreign doctoral students may have problems with their proper application. The help of the doctoral dissertation supervisor and understanding on the part of the university authorities will be necessary here.

    Marta Sokołowska

    Local Ambassador for PhD Students’ Rights


    ustawa z dnia 20 lipca 2018 r. Prawo o szkolnictwie wyższym i nauce, Dz. U. 2018 poz. 1668, z późn. Zmianami, ostatnie wejście 10.11.2021

    Ministerstwo Edukacji i Nauki. (2020), Konstytucja dla Nauki w języku angielskim. Retrieved from last entrance: 15.11.2021

    The article was written in connection with the project „Local Ambassador for Doctoral Students’ Rights” which is organised by the Polish National Association of Doctoral Candidates with funding from the Ministry of Education and Science as part of the public task „Organising and animating activities for the academic community” in 2021.

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