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The introduction of the bachelor -master -doctor degree system in Bulgarian universities: A case study

Snejana Ivanova Slantcheva, University of Massachusetts Amherst


The on-going higher education reform movements in Central and Eastern Europe have been seriously challenged by the numerous difficulties in the period of political, economic, and social transition in these countries. The reform of higher education in Bulgaria involved a radical restructuring of the degree system. The 1995 Law on Higher Education mandated the implementation of a policy for the introduction of the bachelor-master-doctor structure. The new degrees were to replace the traditional mono-phased system of higher education. The policy's main objective was to facilitate the effective adaptation of the Bulgarian institutions of higher education to the changing demands of the post-communist society. This project analyzed the introduction of the bachelor-master-doctor structure in Bulgarian universities. The study focused on the relationship between the narrow legislative framework directing the implementation of the new policy and the outcomes of this policy at the institutional level. The institution chosen for the case study was “St. Kliment Ohridski” University of Sofia. ^ The findings of the study revealed a direct connection between the prescriptive and regulatory normative base for higher education and the consequences of the implementation of the policy for the introduction of the new degrees. Through the 1995 Law on Higher Education, the State established restrictive control over the university functioning and governance. At the institutional level, the findings revealed little university initiative and creativity in preparing the new bachelor study plans and providing different arrangements to students and faculty. ^ As a result, the introduction of the three-tier system of education brought little change in a number of important aspects of the university functioning. The way in which bachelor programs were created did not affect the qualitative nature of the process and the contents of study but merely the quantitative aspects of the degrees such as the number of years, the course hours, and the institutions which could offer them. In practice, old study plans and programs were reshuffled and then re-ordered within the new tiers. A mode of thinking and organization inherited from the past was framed in a new hierarchically ordered structure that led to little qualitative change of higher education. ^

Subject Area

Higher education

Recommended Citation

Slantcheva, Snejana Ivanova, "The introduction of the bachelor -master -doctor degree system in Bulgarian universities: A case study" (2000). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9978555.