Krakow is Poland’s second-largest city with a population of about 800,000 residents. Krakow is often referred to as one of Europe’s most beautiful cities and has been a UNESCO City of Literature since 2013.
For centuries, Krakow has been a major European hub for culture, art and education. With nearly 150,000 student residents, Krakow is a vibrant and engaging city with plenty of fun-filled activities, restaurants, festivals and entertainment venues for international students to enjoy outside the classroom.
Additionally, Krakow is also a major economic hub for IT and entrepreneurial ventures. Some of the world’s leading companies including Google, IBM, UBS and HSBC Banks have large-scale operations and offices based in Krakow, and these companies frequently recruit employees from top-ranked Krakow universities.
Jagiellonian University is central Europe’s second-oldest university, having been founded nearly 700 years ago in 1364! Jagiellonian University is home to 37,000 enrolled students of which about 4,000 are international students.
The university offers degree programmes in over 85 disciplines and is also regarded as a prestigious research university. With its centuries-old heritage as a world-leading university, Jagiellonian University has built strong technical and research partnerships with top-ranked universities all over the world, and especially in Europe.
Jagiellonian University is primarily located on an urban campus in central Krakow, and its list of alumni includes Polish Prime Ministers, Vatican Popes and Nicolas Copernicus. Leading research centres at the university include the Jagiellonian Centre for Experimental Therapeutics, Malopolska Centre of Biotechnology and the Solaris Synchrotron. Jagiellonian offers a wide range of undergraduate courses in English, as well as 13 Master’s programmes in English for international students.
Founded in 1913, AGH University currently hosts over 21,000 students of which about 500 are international admits. AGH offers over 60 fields of study, with 17 fields of study being taught in English. The university is well-known for its high teaching standards and research quality, especially in Engineering.
AGH University is primarily based on a 100-acre campus in central Krakow, and the university also operates a satellite campus in Warsaw. AGH constantly updates its degree programmes according to the changing nature of the modern economy and job market, and the university ranks highly when it comes to post-graduation employment for international students.
AGH University regularly receives large-scale funding from world-leading businesses, European Union organisations and the Polish government to conduct advanced research in multiple disciplines. The university is home to many world-leading research centres including the AGH UST Academic Computer Centre CYFRONET and the Laboratory of Energy Efficiency and Building Automation.
The Cracow University of Technology, founded in 1946, is a leading public technical university home to nearly 14,000 enrolled students of which about 300 are international students.
Cracow University is especially well-regarded for its specialisations in mechanical engineering, civil engineering and computer science. Awarded the Logo Human Resources Excellence in Research by the European Commission, the university conducts advanced research in partnership with top-ranked universities as well as global companies such as Microsoft, IBM, NOKIA, Motorola, and CISCO.
Additionally, Cracow University has maintained a 30-year-long cooperation with the world-famous European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN). The university is mainly based on an urban campus in central Krakow, and operates satellite institutes all over Poland.
Located just an hour west of Krakow in the nearby town of Gliwice, the Silesian University of Technology (SUT) was established in 1945. Silesian University is home to nearly 18,000 enrolled students of which about 600 are international admits.
Silesian University currently focuses its research projects on six subjects – personalised medicine, artificial intelligence & data processing, materials of the future, smart cities & future mobility, process automation & industry, and climate & environmental protection.
Alongside its primary campus in downtown Gliwice, a charming student city with an 800-year old history, SUT operates two additional campuses in the nearby suburbs. The university maintains technical partnerships with many of the Silesia region’s large-scale employers, as the area is Poland’s primary industrial zone and the site for headquarters of multiple companies.
SUT offers degree programmes to international students in over 60 fields of study. Most bachelor programmes at the university are 3.5 years long, whereas most master’s degree programmes are 1.5 years long.
Below are the top-ranked Krakow universities for international students, with their ranks in two of the world’s most well-respected international university rankings, the QS 2022 University World rankings and the Times Higher Education 2022 Rankings.
For more information about rankings systems and methodologies see our University rankings explained guide.
|University||QS World Ranking 2022||Times Higher Education Ranking 2022||QS Rank in Poland||THE Rank in Poland|
|AGH University of Science and Technology||801-1,000||1,201+||4||9|
|Cracow University of Technology||801-1,000||1,201+||6||10|
|Silesian University of Technology||801-1,000||1,201+||11||18|
In addition to the four top-ranked universities in and around Krakow, the city also offers many top-ranked institutes specialising in various disciplines including Agriculture, Life Sciences and Business. A few of Krakow’s top-ranked institutes for international students are:
Polish universities offer extremely affordable tuition costs for international students, amounting to between 2,000 and 6,000 US Dollars per year for most degree programmes. Certain degree programmes such as MBA courses cost slightly more at 8,000-12,000 US Dollars per annum. Moreover, courses taught in the local Polish language are absolutely free, so if you can speak the language you are able to take advantage of this. Most PhD courses are also offered for free or with full scholarships to international students.
Current Polish student visa rules allow international students to work up to 40 hours a week through internships or full-time employment alongside your academic degree, and unlimited hours during academic breaks. This can help you offset tuition expenses while studying in Poland. Additionally, many Polish universities offer scholarships for international students, and you should identify such scholarships while applying to top-ranked Krakow universities.
As for living expenses, the Cracow University of Technology estimates that international students should budget between 400-500 US Dollars every month. This budget includes 150-200 US Dollars for shared accommodation, 180-200 US Dollars for food expenses, 20-25 US Dollars for public transport and another 80-100 US Dollars for utilities and miscellaneous expenses.
Krakow has a centuries-old history as an important centre for culture and politics. Having functioned as Poland’s capital until 1596, the city is full of important mediaeval-era buildings which history buffs and students of politics will enjoy exploring. Additionally, with five nature reserves and plenty of green spaces in and around the city, Krakow offers multiple outdoor areas for you to relax and enjoy Poland’s natural beauty during academic breaks.
Of course, being a student city, you will find an endless amount of venues for entertainment such as music concert halls, nightclubs and restaurants where you can let loose after a day of hard work in the classroom! Below are a few of Krakow’s must-see venues for international students:
International students can comfortably travel from their home countries to the Kraków John Paul II International Airport via major European hubs including Amsterdam, Paris and London. Moreover, Poland’s well-connected train network will allow you to explore Poland and its other major cities such as Warsaw, which is three hours away from Krakow by rail.
Tourist-favourite European cities such as Berlin and Barcelona can also be accessed conveniently by short flights from Krakow and will make for excellent weekend trips. Krakow offers a highly affordable international student experience with its world-class universities and charming city life, and it is no surprise that the Polish city is attracting more and more high-performing international students every year.
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