Education System of Romania

Romania is situated at the junction of Central and South-eastern Europe, bordering on the Black Sea. Education in Romania follows an egalitarian system and is free of tuition fees. Education in Romania is administered and enforced by the Ministry of Education, Research, Youth and Sports.  The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is in charge of working with the MECT to enable exchange programmes in the area of education, as well as for international citizens the right and proper conditions to study in Romania. The general legal framework for the organization, regulation and functioning of education is laid down by the Constitution through the Education Law- Law 84/1995 republished, with certain amendments. The basic pillars of the Romanian educational system are:
  • Pre-school education
  • Compulsory education
  • Upper secondary education
  • Vocational education
  • Tertiary education

Romania Education History

The foundation for higher education in Romania was laid down in the 19th century.  The foremost Romanian universities were set up by Prince Al.I.Cuza- the University of Iasi in 1860, and the Bucharest University in 1864. Also, under his rule the first public education law-1864 was issued. This public education law managed the education system of Romania- from primary to university education. 
At the conclusion of the 19th century, different levels of education were managed and controlled by separate legislations:
  • Law of Primary Education, 1893
  • Law of Secondary and Higher Education, 1898
  • Law of Vocational Education, 1899
In 1924-28, new laws of organization of education were issued. In 1948, education was regulated by the state as a unitary highly centralised system. In 1989 ended the communist rule, and major reforms were introduced by the Romanian higher education institutions themselves. With the advent of this new reform, the number of student enrollment increased. 

Understanding the Romanian Education System

Pre-school Education (Kindergarten)

Kindergarten in Romania is for the children aged 3-6 (or 7) years and is optional. Public kindergartens are free, while private kindergartens in Romania are a bit expensive. 

Compulsory Education

The compulsory education in Romania encompasses 4 years of primary and 4 years of middle-school education. In Romania, compulsory education lasts for 9 years and runs from 6 (or 7) to 16 years.  This level of education is organized and managed by the Ministry of National Education. 

Primary Education

The primary education in Romania lasts for 4 years and children aged 7-11 years (6 years on request of parents) attend it. The first 4 years are taught are by one teacher only, while additional teachers teach some of the specialised subjects, such as computer study, foreign language etc.  
  • Grades: 1-4

Middle/Lower-Secondary Education (Gymnazium)

After 4 years of primary education students attend lower secondary school-Gymnasium, which lasts for 4 years. Children aged 11-15 years may go for this level of education.
  • Grades: 5-9

Secondary School System

Secondary school education in Romania covers grade 9 through 12 or 9 to 13. High school studies lasts for 4 years with 2 compulsory years, i.e. 9th and 10th grade, and 2 non-compulsory grades- 11th and 12th.  In Romania, there are Vocational secondary schools and technical secondary schools as well.  The technical secondary schools emphasize on technical education, while vocational secondary schools focus on a specific vocation. 

Upper-Secondary Education

This level of education is not compulsory and lasts for 4 years. Public upper secondary education in Romania is free of charge. 

Tertiary/Higher Education

The tertiary education in Romania is given by the public and private institutions of higher education. Romania higher education comprises of: 

University education
The university education is split up into three cycles-
  • Bachelor
  • Master 
  • Doctoral
Post-university studies

Higher Education Qualifications

The Romanian higher/tertiary education system is organised on three levels: Undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate education. 

Undergraduate Education

Undergraduate education offers 2 kinds of programmes:
  • Short-term university education: Such programmes are of 2-3 years duration.
  • Long-term university education: Such programmes are of 4-6 years in duration and offered by the universities, academies and conservatories.

Graduate Education

Graduate education programmes comprise:
  • Advanced studies: This course of study is of 1-2 years duration for university graduates, and the graduates are awarded a degree diploma after the completion of the studies
  • Master studies: The master studies are of 1-2 years duration for university graduates
  • Graduate academic studies: The duration of study for these programmes is 2-3 years  

Doctoral Studies

The doctoral study programmes are of 4-6 years duration, and provided by universities and accredited research institutes

Qualifications in University Education System

University education lasts 4-9 years depending on the study programme and the cycles, and is offered by universities, academies and post-university schools. The university higher education qualifications are: 

Bachelor degree: This is the first degree cycle and the duration of study is 3-4 years. It concludes with a “license exam”, and pupils passing the examination receive a “bachelor diploma”.

Master's degree: This is the second degree cycle and the duration of study is 1-2 years. It concludes with a “dissertation exam”, and pupils passing the examination receive a “master diploma”.

Degree of Doctor (Ph.D.): This is the highest academic degree awarded in all fields of study after 3-4 years of study and original research.

To know more about the Romanian higher education qualifications, click here.

Higher Education Institutions

The higher/tertiary education sector comprises of public as well as private institutions. Higher education institutions in Romania are of 6 types:

 University (Universitate):  The universities in Romania offer many degree programmes and awards advanced scientific and professional degrees 

 Academy (Academie): The academy is a type of a higher education institution that trains specialists, mainly in a single general field 

 Polytechnical University (Universitate Politehnică ): The polytechnical universities in Romania provide study programmes that focus on technical and practical fields.

 Institute (Institut): Such higher education institutions awards professional degrees based on study and professional experience in limited specialisations.

 University College (Colegiu Universitar ): The university colleges in Romania provides 2-3 year programmes leading to a diploma

Postgraduate schools independent from the universities

Admission Requirements

The admission requirements varies depending upon the level of study and course.

Admission to High School

Students at the end of the 8th year of school, i.e. at age 14 or 15 are required to sit for an examination known as Testarea Naţională (The National Test). This exam is taken only one time and in June.  The subjects covered are Mathematics, Literature and Romanian Language. There are some of the high schools that offer classes in a foreign language, such as German, English, Spanish or French. To gain admittance to such high schools, students are required to take a two-part examination- Grammar/Vocabulary and Speaking. 
In order to take admission into a high school, the pupils must select a list of high schools he or she wishes to go for. There are 5 types of high schools in Romania. To know more about these high schools, click here. 


Students graduating from high school must sit for a National Baccalaureate Exam (Examenul Naţional de Bacalaureat). 

Admission to Higher Education Institution

The admission procedure varies depending on the institution of higher education. Most of the institutions conduct “admission exam” in a high-school subject that corresponds to the course offered by the institution.  

Click here to get information on the admission requirements and procedure. 

Teacher Education

Teachers in Romania pre-schools must have finished 5 years of study in upper secondary teacher-training schools, after completion of mandatory education.  Primary school teachers are trained for about 2-3 years in upper secondary teacher-training schools or colleges.  Specialist teachers must have finished higher education training course, depending on the area of specialisation.

Lower secondary teachers are required to possess a diploma from a long- or short term higher education programme, depending on the subject they are teaching. Upper secondary and vocational teachers are required to have completed a long term higher education programme. Technological education is given by engineers trained in polytechnics. 
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