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Study in Bulgaria

With a long and rich history, Bulgaria is home to the first written Slavic language, which is now spoken in several other countries. Over the past decade Bulgaria has transformed itself into a modern country. From a largely agricultural economy in the mid 1900’s to a scientific and technological economy in the present day. With centuries of experience, Bulgaria will provide any international student with a quality higher education.

Why Study in Bulgaria?

Higher education in Bulgaria follows a traditional system. There are three levels of study; bachelor’s, masters and doctoral. Higher education institutions are divided into three different types. These are universities, specialised higher schools and colleges. The academic year runs from September to June, similar to many other countries. An average bachelor’s degree will take 4 years, and a masters degree will take one or two years.

Many institutions in Bulgaria are internationally recognised, and have strong faculties. You will find 1 of Bulgaria’s universities in the 2019 QS World University Rankings. This is Sofia University, which is ranked in the 801-1000 group. In recent years, studying medicine in Bulgaria and other European countries has become increasingly popular. To cater for this interest, there are several medical universities in the country, and most offer courses in English.

About Bulgaria

Officially the Republic of Bulgaria, Bulgaria is located in southeastern Europe and is home to over 7 million people. It shares land borders with five other countries, and sits on the Black Sea. Inhabitation of Bulgaria dates back to around 6,500 BC, with the country since being under the rule of several different states. Bulgaria was ruled by the Communist Party from 1946 to 1989, but is now a democracy.

Bulgaria is a member of the European Union, NATO and the United Nations, as well as other international organisations. You will find an abundance of cultural attractions to keep you busy in your downtime. There are plenty of museums, art festivals and musical festivals. Some Bulgarian people feel strongly about religion, with the majority identifying as Orthodox Christians. Life in Bulgaria tends to revolve around the cities and urbanised areas. In the 2011 Census, 72.5% of the population lived in urban areas.

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Cost of Studying and Living in Bulgaria

Bulgaria uses the Lev (BGN) as its currency.

The tuition fees you have to pay at Bulgarian universities will depend on what sort of degree you choose to study. On average, you should expect to pay between BGN 5,600 and BGN 16,000 per year for a degree. If you wish to do a one-year foundation style course, this will be around BGN 5,000. If you are from an EU/EEA country or Switzerland, you are eligible for the Bulgarian tuition fee loan. Students from any other country may be eligible for a scholarship to help with funding.

Bulgaria is one of the cheapest countries in Europe, and this is shown in the living costs. On average, you should budget for around BGN 12,300 per year. This accounts for accommodation, groceries, travel and other necessities. Another cost that students need to consider is health insurance. If you are an EHIC card holder, you will be able to access the same healthcare as Bulgarian citizens at the same price. If you are from any other country, you will require health insurance for your stay in Bulgaria. If you have health insurance in your home country, you should check if it is valid in Bulgaria. If you do not have health insurance or your policy will be invalid, you need to purchase an appropriate policy. Your institution will be able to provide you with guidance.

If you are from an EU/EEA country, you will be able to apply for a part-time job without seeking any further permissions. If you are from any other country, you will need to apply for a work permit before you are able to get a part-time job. You should not rely on a part-time job to fund your studies. Knowledge of Bulgarian would be beneficial if you do wish to get part-time work.

Visas

Depending on where you are from, you may need a visa to study in Bulgaria. If you are from an EU/EEA country, you will not need a visa to enter Bulgaria. You will however, need to register with the police to obtain a national identity card and temporary residence. If you are from any other country, you will need to obtain a student visa (D-type) to study in Bulgaria. This can be applied for either online or at the Bulgarian embassy/consulate in your home country. Once you have arrived you will have to apply for a residency permit. This permit is valid for one year, and will need renewing each year you are staying in Bulgaria.

Language

The official language of Bulgaria is Bulgarian.

The majority of institutions in Bulgaria offer courses in both Bulgarian and English. If you are studying in a non-native language, you may be required to provide evidence of your language proficiency. If you do not meet the required standards, you may be able to take a language course to help you improve.

Even if you are studying in English, you should try to learn as much Bulgarian as you can. This will not only make your everyday life easier, but is also a skill that looks great on your CV/resume! Speaking with the locals and other students is a great way to practice.

Cities

Sofia

The capital and largest city of Bulgaria, Sofia is home to over 1.23 million people. The city sits at the foot of the Vitosha Mountain and is in the centre of the Balkan Peninsula. There has been human habitation in Sofia since around 7000 BC. The Boyana Church is located in the city, and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

22 of Bulgaria’s 51 higher education institutions are found in Sofia, along with 109,000 students. One of these is Sofia University, which was founded in 1888. This institution has a number of research and cultural departments. These include its own publishing house, botanical gardens, a space research centre and a medical school, among others. The Technical University Sofia is also located in the city, and offers courses in Bulgarian, German, English and French.

Plovdiv

An important economic, transport, cultural and educational centre, Plovdiv is home to over 341,000 people. Through most of its recorded history, Plovdiv has been known in the West as Philippopolis. The city was built on seven syenite hills, and is therefore sometimes called ‘The City of the Seven Hills’.

The city has six universities, as well as other types of higher education institutions. One of these is Plovdiv University (Paisii Hilendarski), which is a public university with around 18,000 students. Plovdiv University is the city’s leading cultural and scientific institution, with nine faculties.

Institutions in Bulgaria

Browse higher education providers in Bulgaria on the map or select from the list to learn more

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