The system of benefits in Poland

The system of financing the doctoral life It is very complicated. This is due to the parallel existence of doctoral studies and doctoral schools, which were introduced by 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.) [1] there are currently at least several scholarship and grant systems. Both doctoral and doctoral students have a problem related to the survival and conduct of research. The aforementioned problem concerns foreign doctoral students to a similar degree as Polish doctoral students.    

There is a universal scholarship in doctoral schools, which is awarded to all doctoral students. This is a good solution compared to doctoral studies. However, it should be remembered that due to rising inflation, the inability to work as an academic teacher, the scholarship may be insufficient for a dignified life. This may particularly affect foreign PhD students, who do not necessarily have to be aware of the issues of prices and wages in Poland. Another issue is the scholarship for doctoral studies. It is not obligatory for all doctoral students and you have to fight for it. ” Theoretically, there are many types of scholarships (e.g. PhD scholarship, pro-quality scholarship, scholarship for the best PhD students), but there are many PhD students who do not receive them. People studying for doctoral studies have the option of employment as an academic teacher (e.g. assistant), but often this is only an illusory possibility, as it depends on the university’s staff policy

The last issue is the issue of grants and student loans. They apply to all doctoral students, regardless of the mode of education. Despite the theoretically large grant offer, many grants are unavailable for PhD students, because the possibility of obtaining them is reserved for people who have at least a doctoral degree, often even higher. Moreover, even if doctoral students met the grant criteria, competition for them discourages young scientists, including foreign doctoral students. When it comes to student loans (for doctoral students), foreign doctoral students must meet both the requirements for foreigners under the Education Act and meet the criteria for each doctoral student to be granted a loan. Therefore, this method of financing the PhD stage is extremely inaccessible to foreigners.

To sum up, the system of financing doctoral studies in Poland is not accessible to foreign doctoral students. It is complex and requires tough competition to obtain benefits. Moreover, rising inflation and a decline in the real value of scholarships may be an additional factor discouraging foreign doctoral students from taking up employment in Poland.

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 12.11.2021

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.

[1] Ustawa z dnia 20 lipca 2018 r. Prawo o szkolnictwie wyższym i nauce,  Dz. U. 2018 poz. 1668, z późn zmianami,, ostatnie wejście 12.11.2021