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PhD Study in Romania - A Guide for 2019

Romania is an increasingly popular destination for international PhD students, with stunning countryside, affordable living costs and a unique culture befitting its location at the crossroads of south-eastern Europe. There are currently over 25,000 international students in Romania, drawn by its low tuition fees and globally-recognised qualifications.

This page will give you an overview of what you need to know about PhD study in Romania, from fees and funding to applications and visas.

PhD opportunities in Romania – what’s on offer for 2019?

Romania has long been one of the most ethnically diverse countries in Europe, with a population that includes Hungarians, Romani, Germans, Ukrainians and Turks alongside Romanians. This cosmopolitan nature is reflected in the country’s higher education system, where courses are taught in languages including English, French, German, Romanian and Hungarian.

The Romanian economy has undergone rapid growth in recent years and is now a burgeoning hub for tech and communications industries. Studying a PhD in Romania represents an excellent opportunity to make the most of this dynamism, as well as to spend time in one of Europe’s most fascinating countries.

With that in mind, these are just a few of the reasons to consider Romania for your PhD adventure:

  • State-funded PhD places – If you’re an EU, EEA or Swiss national you can apply for one of Romania’s government-funded PhD places. Otherwise, tuition fees are relatively affordable.
  • Affordable living costs – Romania is one of the most affordable countries in Europe to live in.
  • Multilingual study opportunities – Romania’s diverse linguistic background means that it offers chances for multilingual study that few other countries can match.
  • Location at the heart of south-eastern Europe – Sharing borders with five other countries, Romania is well-placed for travel fans.

PhD Study in Romania - Key Details
Universities 93
Nobel Prize Winners 4
Oldest University Alexandru Ioan Cuza University (1860)
International Students 25,824
PhD Length 3 years
Representative Fees €1,270
Academic Year October to July

PhD life in Romania

Want to know more about life for international PhD students in Romania? Our detailed guide covers everything from accommodation and living costs to culture and entertainment.

Romanian universities

The Romanian university system follows a similar structure to other European countries, adhering to the three-cycle Bologna Process of Bachelors, Masters and PhD programmes. This also means that Romanian universities use ECTS credits when organising their syllabuses, making it easy to recognise the value of courses across the continent.

Universities in Romania are either public or privately-run. Some offer specialist education in subjects like Economics and Medicine, while others focus on technical and vocational subjects.


Top 5 Romanian Universities in 2020
University THE 2020 QS 2020 ARWU 2019
Babeş-Bolyai University 801-1000 801-1000 701-800
Bucharest University of Economic Studies 801-1000 - -
Alexandru Ioan Cuza University 1001+ - -
University of Bucharest 1001+ 801-1000 901-1000
Grigore T. Popa University of Medicine and Pharmacy 1001+ - -
Information in this table is based on the latest Times Higher Education World University Rankings, QS World University Rankings and Academic Ranking of World Universities. Visit their websites for more information.

Romanian university cities

Romania is home to several vibrant student cities. Along with the bustling metropolis of Bucharest, smaller cities like Cluj-Napoca and Iași have thriving student populations that give the towns a youthful atmosphere.

PhD structure

PhDs in Romania usually take three years to complete (180 ECTS credits) and consist of an independent research project along with a structured academic programme.

There are two main kinds of doctoral degree in Romania:

  • Scientific doctorates place emphasis on the discovery of original academic knowledge. Despite the name, they can be taken in Arts and Humanities as well as Science subjects.
  • Professional doctorates focus on the Arts and Sports, with candidates working on artistic creations or sports performances.

Doctoral students usually take a number of academic modules related to their discipline over the course of the programme, usually chosen in conjunction with a PhD supervisor. As part of the PhD, you may also be required to publish academic articles on a relevant journal.

The doctoral thesis is another important part of a Romanian PhD, requiring the production of an original piece of academic research.

Supervisors

When applying for your PhD at a Romanian university, you should pick a supervisor who matches your academic interests. They’ll be an invaluable source of support, advice and expertise during your degree.

Assessment and examination

You’ll normally have to defend your thesis publicly. This will be organised by your supervisor, who’ll set up an independent committee consisting of themselves and reviewers from inside and outside your university.

After debating your thesis, the committee will vote on the standard of your work, and if you pass you’ll be granted the title of doctor.

The Bologna Process

The Bologna Process brings together a range of countries to form the European Higer Education Area (EHEA). Members of the EHEA share a common three-cycle framework that allows degrees from one country to be easily recognised within others.

Fees and funding

The Romanian Ministry of Education funds a set number of PhD places each year, and the admissions process for these places can be very competitive.

Tuition fees for self-financing EU, EEA and Swiss nationals are usually in the region of €1,270 per year. You’ll also need to pay around €1,050 in fees for your doctoral thesis defence.

Other international students can expect to pay around €300 per month in tuition fees, and somewhere between €440 and €2,000 for their doctoral thesis defence.

Funding

As mentioned above, the Ministry of Education runs a competitive scheme for state-funded PhD places that European students can apply for.

If you want to study in Romanian, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs administers a scholarship programme for non-EU students. If you don’t already know Romanian, the scholarship gives you one year to learn the language – plenty of time to get to know one of the great Romance languages!

You may be eligible for support through CEEPUS (the Central European Exchange Program for European Studies). This is an initiative to support student mobility across the region of Central Europe.

Applying for a PhD in Romania

There isn’t a centralised application portal for PhDs in Romania – instead, you should apply directly to your prospective university / doctoral school.

Entry requirements

The main condition for entry onto a Romanian PhD is a Masters degree in a relevant subject. You’ll also need to prove your proficiency in the language you’ll be taking your PhD in.

Application process

You’ll normally be asked to provide the following documents as part of your PhD application:

  • Certified copies of your Bachelors / Masters certificates
  • A research proposal
  • A copy of your passport
  • Academic / professional references

If selected, you might also have to attend an interview – over the phone or in person – about your research proposal and study plans.

You’ll usually also have to pay a small application fee of around €10.

How do I write a PhD research proposal?

The research proposal is an important part of any PhD application, regardless of where you choose to study. Take a look at our guide for some tips and advice on putting yours together.

Student visas

Romania is a member of the European Union, which means that there are different visa rules for EU, EEA and Swiss nationals compared to other international students.

Who needs a visa for Romania?

If you’re an EU, EEA or Swiss national, or you’re from one of the following countries, you don’t need a visa to enter Romania:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Hong Kong
  • Japan
  • Malaysia
  • Moldova
  • New Zealand
  • Serbia
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • United Arab Emirates
  • USA

Most Latin American countries also don’t require a visa to enter Romania.

However, once you’ve arrived in Romania you must register with the local immigration authorities. You’ll receive a registration certificate that will be valid for up to five years.

Applying for a visa

If you’re not from one of the above countries, you should begin the application process for a visa as soon as you receive a letter of acceptance from the Ministry of Education.

You’ll need to apply for a student long stay visa at a Romanian embassy or consulate in your home country.

These are the documents you’ll typically be asked to supply with your visa application:

  • Letter of acceptance from the Ministry of Education
  • Proof that you’ve paid your tuition fees
  • Proof that you have enough money to support yourself during the PhD
  • A valid passport
  • Two passport-size photos

There is a €120 processing fee for a long stay student visa in Romania.

Within 90 days of your arrival in Romania, you’ll need to register with the local general authorities for a residence permit. This permit is valid for one year and must be renewed annually.

Health insurance

If you’re from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will entitle you to access the same level of medical treatment as a Romanian citizen.

If you’re a non-European national, you’ll automatically be insured under the national health scheme once you’ve registered as a resident in Romania and a student at your university.

Please note – free medical care in Romania is only available to who are under 26. If you’re 26 or older – whatever your nationality – you’ll need to pay a monthly insurance fee of around €12.

Next steps

Once you’ve successfully defended your thesis and received your doctorate, you’ll be well-positioned to continue your career within academia or beyond. Romanian PhDs are recognised across the world and you’ll likely have engaged in some truly original research, making you a prime candidate for plenty of job roles.

Can I work in Romania after my PhD?

If you’re an EU, EEA or Swiss national, you’re free to work without a permit once you’ve finished your PhD.

Citizens of other countries will usually need to apply for long-stay visa for employment (D/AM). You can begin your application for an employment visa through the Romanian government’s online visa portal.

Find a PhD in Romania

Decided that Romania is the right destination for your PhD? Why not get started browsing some Romanian PhDs? Alternatively, you can look at our other guides to PhD study abroad.

Last updated - 01/11/2019

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