Higher education in Moldova

The higher education system in the Republic of Moldova

Recent policy updates, major reforms and related news

Projects and initiatives

TAMs and SPHERE seminars in 2016 and 2017

Relevant links


The higher education system in the Republic of Moldova

According to Article 35 of the Constitution of the Republic of Moldova, the right to education is a fundamental right of every citizen. The access to education is equal, free and merit-based, and the state education is free and secular.

The national education sector is regulated by the Education Code, in force since 23 November 2014, which sets the legal framework of legal relations concerning planning, organisation, functioning and development of the education system in the Republic of Moldova.

The “Education 2020” strategy is the main policy document in the area of education. It sets the medium-term tasks and objectives for education development and defines the priority development, directions and orientations of the education system in the Republic of Moldova. Therefore, the Ministry of Education has developed its sector strategies and annual action plans based on those stipulated in the strategy.

In the Republic of Moldova, higher education is optional and represents the highest level of education. Any person who holds a high school (lyceum) diploma can benefit from higher education. Free higher education, funded from the state budget, can be accessed only once for each cycle of higher education, within limits of available places. At the same time, the citizens of the Republic of Moldova can benefit from studies with mixed funding, as well as studies for a fee.

Higher education is performed on two channels – academic and advanced professional – and is structured in three cycles (with exception of medical and pharmaceutical education):

Cycle I – Bachelor (3-4 years; 180-240 credits);

Cycle II – Master (1.5-2 years; 90-120 credits, 30 credits for each semester);

Cycle III - PhD (3-4 years; 180 credits).

The medical and pharmaceutical education is organised exclusively as full-time education, with a duration of 4-6 years. Each semester corresponds to 30 transferable study credits.

Higher education in the Republic of Moldova is provided by universities, academies and institutes. All enjoy the status of university autonomy, and this entitles them to set their own education programmes, human resource policies, and to manage their budget.

According to the State Budget of the Republic of Moldova for 2017, 6,78% of GDP was allocated to the Education sector.


Recent policy updates, major reforms and related news

 In 2005, Moldova joined the Bologna process. With the launch of this process, the country has assumed responsibilities and has been actively involved in the reform and modernisation process of higher education, in order to align it with European standards.

Thus, the Government of the Republic of Moldova approved, on 14th of November, 2014, the Education Development Strategy for 2014-2020 “Education 2020”. The strategy sets out seven strategic development directions (DS) for the education sector, oriented towards access, relevance and quality:

  • To enhance life-long access to and participation in education and professional development;
  • To ensure the relevance of studies for life, active citizenship and career success;
  • To integrate efficiently information technologies in education;
  • To develop, support and motivate academic staff so as to ensure quality education;
  • To design and institutionalise an efficient quality evaluation, monitoring and assurance in education;
  • To improve resource management in education;
  • To ensure social cohesion so as to offer quality education.

 Another key document that regulates the domain is the Code of Education, that has replaced the old 1995 Law on Education. After adopting the new Code of Education, several changes have been introduced in higher education in Moldova, aimed at modernising the system and aligning it with European standards. These changes include the development of new university curricula or the organisation of the internal and external quality evaluation and monitoring system, by establishing the National Agency for Quality Assurance in Professional Education.

The primary responsibility for implementing the objectives of the strategy falls on the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Moldova.


National reforms in Higher Education


- Authorisation of operation of doctoral schools and doctoral programmes within higher education institutions, consortia, national and international partnerships (Government Decision No. 1024 of 06.09.2016);

- The approval of the Methodology of external quality evaluation for provisional authorization and accreditation of vocational education and training, higher education and lifelong learning study programs and institutions. (Government Decision No. 616 of 18.05.2016, http://lex.justice.md/md/364908/);

- Ministry of Education regarding the participation of students in quality assurance (Ministry order nr. 738 of 05.08.2016, goo.gl/SXh20M).


- Authorisation of operation of 43 doctoral schools as part of higher education institutions (Government Decision No. 816 of 11.11.2015, http://goo.gl/W236bC);

- Approval of the Regulation on organisation of cycle II Master studies (Government Decision No. 464 of 28.07.2015, http://lex.justice.md/md/356044/);

- Amendment to the Nomenclature of Professional Development Domains with new specialties (amendment of 21.05.2015 to the Law No. 142 of 07.07.2005, http://goo.gl/i3NR3E);

- Approval of the Regulation on the organisation and functioning of the National Agency for Quality Assurance in Professional Education (Government Decision No. 191 of 22.04.2015, http://goo.gl/lduVRn).


- Approval of the Regulation on the organisation of cycle III PhD studies. As a result, higher education institutions can set up doctoral schools. The doctoral study programmes are developed as part of higher education in continuation of cycle II studies (Government Decision No. 1007 of 10.12.2014, http://lex.justice.md/md/356044/);

- Approval of the Regulation on the functioning of student self-governance structures (Order No. 969 of 10.09.2014, http://goo.gl/FDFbJw);

- Establishment of the National Agency for Quality Assurance Professional Education (Government Decision No. 652 of 13.08.2014, http://goo.gl/3pagfp);

- Adoption of the new Education Code – legal framework regulating the design, organisation, functioning and development of the education system in the Republic of Moldova, in force since 23.11.2014 (CODE No. 152 of 17.07.2014, http://lex.justice.md/md/355156/);

- Amendment to the Nomenclature of Professional Development Domains with new specialties (amendment of 11.04.2014 to the Law No. 142 of 07.07.2005, http://goo.gl/i3NR3E);

- Approval of the Framework Regulation on the participation and organisation of student and academic staff mobility at national and international levels (Government Decision No. 56 of 27.01.2014, http://goo.gl/FjRWuX).


- Amendment to the Nomenclature of Professional Development Domains with new specialties (amendment of 28.06.2013 to the Law No. 142 of 07.07.2005, http://goo.gl/i3NR3E).


Projects and initiatives

 1. Title: Development of Quality Assurance in Higher Education in Moldova – QUAEM (http://gesi.sozphil.uni-leipzig.de/quaem/welcome/)

General objective:

To make the existing QA structures at Moldovan HEI functional by integrating QA into the strategic development of the universities and by supporting Moldova to develop its own QA system on all levels.


  • Creating and strengthening quality assurance departments within the partner universities; establishment of quality assurance networks at the national level;
  • Training of teaching and administrative staff from partner universities in the field of quality assurance in higher education;
  • International accreditation of three study programs at partner universities;
  • Developing the Quality Assurance Guidelines;
  • Strengthen the capacity of the Ministry of Education in evaluation and accreditation of study programs and the National Agency for Quality Assurance;
  • Elaboration of the Quality Assurance Strategy in higher education institutions.

2. Title: Création réseau universités thématiques en sciences appliquées et sciences économiques en Moldavie - CRUNT (http://crunt.utm.md/)

General objective:

Modernization of Moldovan higher education by renovating the teaching methods by use of e-learning. Creating a digital network within Moldovan higher education institutions.


  • Creating the MOODLE inter-university network for online courses and placement of 400 courses on the platform;
  • Creating and equipping classrooms for distance learning;
  • Training of 800 Teachers in Distance Learning Technology;
  • Using online courses of approximately 19,000 students;
  • Developing the "Good Online Training Practices" material.

 3. Title: Enhancing University Autonomy in Moldova - EUniAM (http://www.euniam.aau.dk/about-euniam/)

General objective:

Enhancing the university autonomy in the Republic of Moldova by proposing legislative changes to the higher education legal framework.


  • Launching legislative proposals on academic, organizational, financial and staff autonomy by: i) elaboration of collection methodology, analysis and interpretation of collected data, ii) proposing the university autonomy framework for Moldova; iii) conducting public hearings on the proposed framework;
  • Training of administrative staff from partner universities in university autonomy;
  • Internal reorganization of partner universities;
  • Updating the University Charter document by including the university autonomy component;
  • Participation in the elaboration of the Education Code (components related to university autonomy);
  • Setting up the Scientific Council as new governing body in universities;
  • Propose the legislative project "Restructuring the higher education sector in the Republic of Moldova ", which provides for the decrease of the number of universities; division and separation of management responsibilities from the governing ones; strengthening research activities; university financing on two directions: teaching and research.

4. Title: Fostering Sustainable and Autonomous Higher Education Systems in the Eastern Neighbouring Area - ATHENA (http://www.athena-tempus.eu/)

General objective:

To contribute to the development, reform and modernisation of higher education systems in the Eastern Neighbouring partner countries Armenia, Moldova and Ukraine.


  • Elaborating of a study on the autonomy and financing of higher education in the universities of Moldova, Ukraine and Armenia;
  • Strengthen the political dialogue on institutional and financial autonomy;
  • Training of teaching and administrative staff through mobility training;
  • Developing recommendations for improving management in higher education institutions.

In 2016, National Erasmus+ Office in Moldova organized a national seminar "Impact evaluation of the TEMPUS projects implemented in Moldova on higher education system". About 50 program coordinators and partners in TEMPUS projects conducted over the years in our country shared their experience within a round table. Find out more here: goo.gl/xCqWDf.


TAMs and SPHERE seminars in 2016 and 2017

1. „Human Resources Management at Higher Education Institutions”  TAM (March 23, 2017) - goo.gl/f1bSVr

Key subjects:

- Key performance indicators of human resources in higher education;

- Diversity and task combination;

- Linking of research activities with teaching activities;

- Standardizing academic work;

- The practice of universities from the European Union and Moldova.

2. “Supervising doctoral students - good practices” TAM (December 1, 2016) - goo.gl/QVN3cr

Key subjects:

- The interaction between the student and the mentor;

- Intellectual property rights;

- The peer-review approach;

- Doctoral study internationalization;

- Cluster research activity.

 3. “University Governance Structures after one year of functioning: evaluating challenges and accomplishments” TAM (September 7, 2016) - goo.gl/sqW6Qv

Key subjects:

- Recommendations for improvement of university governance structures;

- Accomplishments and challenges of the first year activity;

- Examples of governance in Europe.

 4. “Internationalization in Higher Education. Role of International Relations Offices in the Moldovan HEIs – support or leadership” TAM (April 25, 2016) - goo.gl/f0p8Jp

Key subjects:

- Successful modalities of setting partnerships and attracting international students;

- Elaboration of internationalization strategy;

- Practical aspects of implementation of mobility projects.


Relevant links