March 9th, 2018
Armenia regained its independence in 1991 following the collapse of the Soviet Union, and set out to reclaim autonomy of its higher education system. State universities redesigned the system from one-cycle programs to two-cycle bachelor and master level programs to be in line with other major systems in the world.
The Republic of Armenia is one of the 48 countries that joined the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) and the Bologna Process by signing the Bergen Communiqué in 2005. Armenia has since implemented most of the initiatives agreed on by the ministers of education of the member states.
Armenia hosted the Secretariat of the Bologna Follow-up Group from 2012 to 2015 followed by the Ministerial Conference and the Fourth Bologna Policy Forum in 2015.
1. Higher education in Armenia is provided by public and private institutions of higher education.
2. State higher education institutions function under the purview of several ministries but most are under the supervision of the Ministry of Education and Science (MES).
3. Higher education is provided by:
4. The following institutions function in Armenia:
- 26 State Universities (are autonomous, not-for-profit state entities)
- 40 Private Universities, among them
- 31 Accredited Universities
- 83% of state universities and
- 76% of non-state universities are located in Yerevan,
- others in 8 provinces (Marzes) of Armenia
5. Other Ministries and Bodies:
- Ministry of Defense (oversees 2 HEIs)
- Ministry of Policy (oversees 1 HEI)
- Ministry of Emergency Situations (oversees 1 HEI)
- Mother See of Holy Etchimiadzin (oversees 1 HEI)
6. Universities provide undergraduate, postgraduate and supplementary education in various branches of humanities, natural sciences, science and technology, as well as scientific research.
10. Institutes provide specialized and postgraduate academic programs and scientific research in a number of scientific, economic and cultural branches.
7. Academies are responsible for the development of education, science, technology and culture in an individual sphere and offer programs preparing and re-training highly qualified specialists in an individual field, as well as postgraduate academic programs.
8. Conservatories prepare specialists in the field of music, providing qualification development and postgraduate academic programs.
9. Unified Secondary School Final Examination: In accordance with the Law on Education and the Law on Higher and Postgraduate Education, the centralized admission examinations to HEI has been replaced by the unified secondary school final examinations which are held at “knowledge assessment centers” and the basis for admission and selection.
10. Academic Year: The academic year is typically comprised of two semesters, beginning in September which is comprised of 2 semesters and ending in May with 20 and 22 weeks of duration respectively. Mid-term exams are held in October and March of the respective semesters and final exams are held at the end of each semester.
11. Contact hours: Though the formal weekly workload that students are expected to cover differ by the type of program and institutions, Bachelor degree programs require between 28 to 32 hours per week (sometimes up to 36), Master degree programs require between 16 to 18 hours and postgraduate (Doctorate) programs between 4 to 8 hours per week.
12. Credit System: Armenia adopted the European credit transfer and accumulation system (ECTS) in 2011.
13. Assessment: Examinations and tests are used to assess students’ learning outcomes. Grading systems vary among institutions with some using the 5, 10 or 20 -point marking scales, or 4 scale A-F letter grading.
14. Assessment in State HEIs: Final evaluation of graduates is conducted by state examination committees which includes the comprehensive examination on specialty as well as defense of graduation work (diploma project, thesis or dissertation) or schemes.
15. Bachelor’s degree programs in preparing specialists requires 4 years, while for medical specializations it is 5 years. The 4-year Bachelor’s degree program ends with a final overall assessment and defense of final paper. The Bachelor’s qualification allows the graduate the right to practice the specialization (except medicine) and access to the next cycle-the Master’s degree.
16. Specialist Diploma programs are in the general humanities and social sciences, mathematics, natural sciences and special professional disciplines, and provide graduates with the professional skills for employment purposes. The Specialist Diploma programs are 5 years in duration, while in the arts and physical education they are 4 years in length. The Specialist Diploma is awarded on successful completion of the coursework with a final overall assessment, including the defense of a diploma thesis. (The 5-year Specialist Diploma programs are being phased out.)
17. Master’s degree programs require the Bachelor’s or Specialist Diploma degree for admission and awarded on completion of a minimum one year of education. The Master’s degree provides access to Doctoral studies.
18. The Doctor of Philosophy degree program requires the Master’s degree or the 5-year Specialist Diploma and entrance examination for admission. The Doctor of Philosophy degree requires a minimum of three years of study and successful defense of a thesis based on original research.
Sources & Helpful Links:
The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.