Higher education field is regulated by the Law on Higher Education.
In Montenegro higher education can be acquired in the higher education institutions: universities, faculties, art academies and higher schools. Higher education institutions can be established as public or private.
Montenegro has been a full-fledged member of the Bologna Process/ European Space for Higher Education – EHEA since 2003.
Following study programmes can be implemented in public and private higher education institutions:
- Bachelor (Undergraduate), 180 ECTS
- Master (Postgraduate), 120 ECTS
- Doctoral, 180 ECTS.
Changes in the higher education system introduced by the latest amendments to the Law on Higher Education include:
- New model of studies 3+2+3, as the dominant model in the European Higher Education Area, instead of the former model of 3+1+1+3
- Bachelor and Master studies free of charge in the public higher education institutions starting from 2017/2018 for Bachelor studies; second cycle studies, i.e. Master studies in the reformed model of studies, will be free of charge from 2020/2021;
- New model of higher education financing, the so-called contract model; it includes contracts on financing for implementation of study programmes, which will potentially ensure higher allocations from the budget, but more responsibilities too;
- Compulsory practical classes at the level of at least 25% of the total load of students by subjects, i.e. by year, depending on the learning outcomes for each study programme;
- Establishment of the Agency for Control and Quality Assurance of Higher Education
All strategic goals for further development of higher education have been elaborated in the Strategy for development of higher education 2016-2020. They include:
- improving the quality of higher education and producing competitive human resources;
- harmonizing education with labour market needs;
- improving research and participation in EU projects;
- Internationalization of higher education;
- life-long education;
- establishing sustainable financing model.
Programmes in the first cycle (Bachelor studies) are organized as three-year programmes of 180 ECTS for most of the study programmes. Those who complete the programmes of the first cycle (academic and applied programmes) will have an opportunity to continue education in the programmes of the second cycle, which is, among other things, a requirement for enrolment in doctoral studies, i.e. the third cycle. According to the Law on Higher Education, programmes of the first cycle can be organized as integrated Bachelor and Master programme of 300 i.e. 360 ETCS. Persons who acquire diplomas when they complete integrated Bachelor and Master studies can be directly enrolled in doctoral studies.
Programmes in the field of regulated professions (medicine, dental medicine, architecture, pharmacy, high medical school) are aligned with the special piece of legislation of the European Union governing regulated professions, i.e. the Directive 2005/36EC and Directive 55/13EC.