Doctoral schools in Poland

Doctoral school is a new form of education towards obtaining a doctoral degree. It was established on the basis of the Act of 20 July 2018, the Law on Higher Education and Science (Journal of Laws of 2023, item 742, as amended), also known as the Constitution for Science.

The main purpose of instituting doctoral schools is to improve of the quality of doctoral students' education in Poland and to change education to an elite standard.

A person who holds a master’s degree or its equivalent may be admitted to a doctoral school. Education in a doctoral school is free of charge. Moreover, every doctoral student being educated in a doctoral school receives a scholarship (monthly stipend).

Doctoral schools began operating in the academic year 2019/2020. PhD students who were inaugurated before that continue their studies in accordance with the previous regulations. Those who cannot study in doctoral schools may still have the opportunity to prepare a doctoral dissertation through an extramural (self-study) method.

Instead of a university-wide policy of PhD studies, separate regulations for particular doctoral schools, sanctioned by the senates or scientific councils, respectively, were introduced. They specify, among others, the following matters:

doctoral school system,
rights and responsibilities of doctoral students,
terms and conditions of didactic classes,
procedures regarding research plans,
midterm evaluation.