Higher education in Montenegro


The higher education system in Montenegro

Recent policy updates, major reforms and related news

Relevant projects and initiatives

TAMs and SPHERE seminars organised in 2018

Relevant links


The higher education system in Montenegro

After signing the Bologna Declaration in 2003, the structure of the educational process was altered by introducing three cycles of studies and the European Credit Transfer System ECTS as a measure of the scope of studies.

The reformed higher education system is characterized by quality assurance and continuous quality control, the introduction of “diploma supplement” as an accompanying document that describes the study program and acquired knowledge, skills and competences, increase in student and academic staff mobility, recognition of acquired qualifications and degrees in accordance with the Lisbon Convention, engaging students as partners in educational process and decision-making system and developing the lifelong learning concept.

The area of higher education is regulated by the Law on Higher Education, whose last amendments were adopted in June 2017, and they relate to:

  • the introduction of a new 3 + 2 + 3 study model, being the dominant one in the European Higher Education Area, instead of the previous 3 + 1 + 1 + 3 model;
  • free bachelor and master studies at public higher education institutions, i.e. the University of Montenegro, starting from 2017/2018 academic year for bachelor studies. Studies of the second cycle, i.e. master studies according to the reformed study model, will be free of charge as of 2020/2021;
  • the introduction of a new higher education funding model, the so-called contractual model;
  • mandatory practical instruction comprising 25% of total student’s workload by course, i.e. a year, depending on the learning outcomes for a particular study programme;
  • establishment of the Agency for Control and Quality Assurance of Higher Education.

All of the strategic objectives for further higher education development have been formulated in the Strategy for the Development of Higher Education 2016-2020, and they include:

  • improving the quality of higher education and creating competitive staff
  • harmonizing education with the labour market needs
  • improving scientific and research work and increased level of participation in EU projects
  • internationalization of higher education
  • lifelong learning
  • Establishing a sustainable funding model.

Higher education in Montenegro can be acquired at the university, faculty, art academy and college. Higher education institutions can be established as public or private. A public institution is founded by the government. A private institution may be established by a national and foreign legal entity or natural person.

Study programmes that can be implemented at institutions are:

  • bachelor, comprising 180 ECTS
  • master (postgraduate), comprising 120 ECTS
  • doctoral, comprising 180 ECTS points.

Study programmes may be interdisciplinary and organized from at least two fields.

Undergraduate and postgraduate study programmes can be accredited as academic and applied.

Doctoral study programmes can be accredited as academic.

First cycle programmes (undergraduate studies) take three years, and the majority of study programmes comprise 180 ECTS. In accordance with the Law on Higher Education, first-cycle programmes can also be organized as integrated bachelor and master programmes comprising 300 ECTS points, or 360 ECTS points. Persons who obtain a degree by completing integrated bachelor and master studies are entitled to apply directly to doctoral studies.

Programmes in the field of regulated professions (Medicine, Dentistry, Architecture, Pharmacy, Medical College of Vocational Studies) have been harmonized with a special European Union regulation governing the field of regulated professions, i.e. Directive 2005/36EC and Directive 55/13EC.

Persons who complete the first-cycle programmes (academic and applied study programmes) have an option to continue education on second-cycle programmes.

Each study programme has to include practical training, as well as learning outcomes for the scientific area to which the relevant study programme belongs, i.e. competences for performing the relevant activities. Practical trainings make at least 25% of total student’s workload by course, i.e. a year, depending on the learning outcomes for an individual study programme.

The condition that each higher education institution needs to meet in order to be able to carry out study programmes and enrol students is to have an accreditation certificate issued by the Agency for Control and Quality Assurance of Higher Education and a license to work issued by the Ministry of Education. Among other things, the Agency:

  • conducts the procedure of study programme accreditation and issues a certificate on accreditation of the study program
  • conducts the procedure of higher education institution external evaluation and issues a certificate on reaccreditation of the higher education institution based on the reaccreditation report
  • carries out periodic assessment of quality of licensed higher education institutions’ work, following the request of an authorized body of institution or the Ministry
  • establishes the list of experts for accreditation of study programmes, or reaccreditation of institutions based on a public call
  • ranks higher education institutions.

Activities of improvement and development of higher education are conducted by the Council for Higher Education.  Members of the Council are appointed from among the eminent experts in the area of higher education, science, arts, from among students and the area of economy, social matters and other relevant areas. Representatives from among students are appointed for a period of two years.

Among other things, the Council:

  • analyzes the state and achievements in higher education and offers expert proposals to the Ministry of Education and the Government of Montenegro
  • prescribes the conditions and criteria for appointment to academic titles
  • provides opinion on the amount of resources required for funding public higher education institutions and students of these institutions, for each academic year
  • provides opinion on the number of students and the amount of resources required for funding students attending programmes of public interest at private higher education institutions, for each academic year
  • provides opinion on regulations in the field of higher education
  • cooperates with higher education institutions in terms of quality assurance and quality improvement.

The Government determines the number of students to be financed from the budget of Montenegro for a certain study programme, in accordance with the number prescribed in the license of the public institution. In the procedure of giving approval to the call for enrolment in study programmes, the decision is made by the Government, following the proposal of the public institution's management body.


Recent policy updates, major reforms and related news

2018 policy updates and reforms

In accordance with the Law on National Vocational Qualifications, the Ministry of Education has adopted a Rulebook on the content and form of Europass documents and the manner of filling them out

Europass documents are the integral part of this Rulebook and are also published on the Europass website.

Pursuant to Article 109 of the Law on Higher Education, the Ministry of Education has adopted the Rulebook on amendments to the Rulebook on the criteria, method, conditions and compensation amount for exercising rights to dormitory accommodation and board, student loan, scholarship and transport allowance. The amendments to the Rulebook, among other things, prescribe that upon completion of studies, students with disabilities are released from the obligation to repay their student loan entirely, regardless of the length of their studying and the overall performance during the studies, as well as that a student with disabilities is entitled to transport allowance amounting to 100% of the price ticket. The criterion related to accommodation in dormitories has been altered in such a manner that dormitories allocate, within their accommodation capacities, up to 5% of the facilities for the accommodation of students with disabilities, students of the Roma and Egyptian population and users of material family support according to the regulations on social protection.

At its session held on 1 March 2018, the Parliament of Montenegro appointed Council for Higher Education, on proposal of the Government, in accordance with Article 12, paragraph 1 of Law on Higher Education . The Council is composed of seven members appointed for a period of four years.

Pursuant to Article 5, paragraph 1 of Decision establishing the Agency for Quality Control and Quality Assurance in Higher Education (Official Gazette of Montenegro, 78/17), the Steering Board of the Agency for Quality Control and Quality Assurance in Higher Education adopted Statute of the Agency for Quality Control and Quality Assurance in Higher Education, at its session held on 11 January 2018. The Statute regulates in more detail the scope of work of the Agency for Quality Control and Quality Assurance in Higher Education, its composition, manner of work and decision-making of the governing body, competences of the managing body, manner of adopting acts and other matters of significance for the work of the Agency. The Government of Montenegro gave approval for the Statute at its session held on 18 January 2018, point 22.

Pursuant to Article 13a and Article 13d, item 5 of Law on Higher Education , and in conjunction with Article 5, paragraph 3 of Decision establishing the Agency for Quality Control and Quality Assurance in Higher Education , Rulebook on internal organization and job classification of the Agency for Quality Control and Quality Assurance in Higher Education was adopted by the Steering Board at its session held on 26 January 2018.

The Government of Montenegro gave approval for the Rulebook on internal organization and job classification of the Agency for Quality Control and Quality Assurance in Higher Education at its session held on 8 February 2018, point 26.

2017 policy updates and reforms

In order to improve the quality of higher education and ensure independence and transparency of work, the Decision on the establishment, for the first time, of the Agency for the Control and Ensuring Quality of Higher Education has been adopted.

Feasibility study for the introduction of an adequate system for the prevention of plagiarism in Montenegro has been prepared and presented by an expert engaged within the project "Higher Education and Research for Innovation and Competitiveness". The study was done in accordance with the goals of the Higher Education Development Strategy 2016-2020 in order to complete the necessary documentation for quality assurance in higher education. It also includes activities for implementing the proposed model.

Pursuant to the Law on Higher Education, the establishment of a Working Group for the drafting of the Law on Academic Integrity was proposed within the Study. In drafting the Law expert assistance will be provided by foreign experts hired by the Council of Europe within the framework of the Project "Strengthening Integrity and Fighting Corruption in Higher Education", Horizontal Facility Actions in Montenegro.

The Parliament of Montenegro adopted Law on Amendments to the Law on Higher Education' 'on 29 June 2017. The essential goal of amendments to the Law is handling the problem of discordance between education and labour market needs, which further leads to unemployment rate increase.

The rationalization of enrolment policy, monitoring of labour market developments, cooperation with employers as well as there current analysis of supply and demand ratio will result in additional harmonisation of enrolment policy with labour market needs while avoiding to generate oversupplied qualifications. Working towards the best solutions in the process of amending the Law on Higher Education, aside from using the results obtained through labour market surveys, reports on external evaluation of higher education institutions conducted by EUA-IEP, the Ministry of Education has made extensive consultations with representatives of relevant institutions which are directly or indirectly involved in higher education policy development. Moreover, in order to arrive at the best solutions, an analysis of practices used in the Region and beyond has been conducted, with regard to the areas which were the subject of amendments to the law.

New study model 3+2+3 at the University of Montenegro 

The study model at University of Montenegro www.ucg.ac.me has been reformed, replacing the existing one 3+1+1+3, with 3+2+3, with the exception of regulated professions.


Relevant projects and initiatives


Higher Education Institutions from Montenegro are currently involved in 15 ongoing CBHE projects, and are coordinating three important CB HE projects. 

University of Montenegro is a coordinator of the newly selected structural regional project MARDS aimed at reforming doctoral education in Montenegro and Albania through establishment of doctoral schools in the natural as well as social sciences.

Faculty of Law of the University of Montenegro has been implementing national project CABUFAL aimed at curricula refreshment, boosting of international cooperation and improving human, technical and library resources, of special importance for Montenegro, surpassing the level of inter university cooperation, its impact to be reflected on the society on the whole

For the very first time, one national project PH-ELIM is coordinated by private university - University of Donja Gorica. The project is aimed at establishment of master study programme in the field of Public Health Law, Health Management, Health Economics and Health Informatics. However, its relevance is far from being just reflected on HEIs, but will have wider societal impact.

Within the Erasmus+ International Credit mobility action, 227 mobility projects have been selected within the period 2015-2018, with total grant of 5,6 million Euro for students’ and staff mobility. In order to boost students and staff mobilities, UoM and UM have developed rulebook(s) on mobility that will help further internationalization of HEIs from Montenegro and improve its attractiveness.

There is initiative to establish Erasmus Student Network, and get connected with similar students organizations from Europe. The process of establishment is currently under way.

To foster internationalization, the plan of HEIs in Montenegro is to gradually introduce study programmes in English, to be able to take part in EM joint master programme, and other initiatives related to joint programmes creation.

The Balkan Institute for Science and Innovation (BISI) has been established as a result of strategic cooperation between the University of Montenegro (UoM) and Université Côte d’Azur (UCA), France.

Montenegrin universities have been also participating in structural IPA projects (Cross Border, MED, SEE), collaborative FP7 projects, as well as several FP7 CSA projects. Higher Education Institutions  took part in WB loan project “Higher Education and Research for Innovation and Competitiveness (HERIC)”, aimed at  strengthening the quality and relevance of higher education and research in Montenegro through reforming the higher education finance and quality assurance systems.

All the projects financed, through Erasmus + or other donors, reflect the strategic goals in the higher education field.  Inter-project collaboration and exchange have been taking place between a range of similar projects.


TAMs and SPHERE seminars organised in 2018


HERE seminar (TAM) “The positioning and distinguishing of applied sciences in Montenegrin education system”, December 5-6, 2018


HERE seminar (TAM) “Status of doctoral candidates EEc/WBC vs EU or wider”, November 19, 2018




HERE Seminar: Research-based teaching and learning: From national and institutional policies to practice, Podgorica, Montenegro, May 28-29, 2018

HERE seminar (TAM) “Recognition of Prior Learning”, November 29-30, 2017                                


HERE regional seminar “A magic triangle of Higher Education in Western Balkan region: Funding Model – Research Capacity – Quality of PhD Studies“, September 25-26, 2017 


HERE seminar (TAM) “Internationalization of Higher Education”, December 7, 2016


HERE seminar (TAM) “Modularization of curriculum”, April 26, 2016 



Relevant links


HERE section of NEO website http://www.erasmusplus.ac.me/?page_id=5777&lang=en

List of HEREs on NEO website http://www.erasmusplus.ac.me/?page_id=5777&lang=en

HERE event pages http://www.erasmusplus.ac.me/?page_id=5633&lang=en 

Erasmus+ CBHE projects in Montenegro http://www.erasmusplus.ac.me/?page_id=5748&lang=en

Ministry of Education http://www.mps.gov.me

Council for Higher Education http://www.svo.gov.me

Agency for Control and Quality Assurance of Higher Education http://www.akvo.gov.me/en/agency?alphabet=lat

University of Montenegro http://www.ucg.ac.me/

University Mediterranean http://unimediteran.net/index.php/mne/  

University Donja Gorica http://www.udg.edu.me/

Adriatik University http://www.univerzitetadriatik.com/pocetna.htm