Research Overview » Romania


The Romanian education system is structured on 3 levels for undergraduate/postgraduate studies:
1st level is corresponding to bachelor degree,
2nd level is corresponding to master’s degree,
3rd level is corresponding to doctor’s degree.

Doctoral program constitutes a higher education and research form carried on in higher education institutions that organize doctorate studies. The doctorate is organized in higher education institutions and in scientific research institutions, according to the law approved by the Ministry of Education, Research and Youth, on the basis of the accreditation criteria, named Institutions organizing Doctoral Studies. Each University elaborates its own

Regulations for the organization and carrying on of doctorate studies, according to the law, which are approved by the university Senate / or the Scientific Council. (Tenure, associate or consulting professors or senior researchers of rank 1 with a doctor’s degree may be Directors of doctoral program. The quality of Director of doctoral program is conferred through an order of the Minister of Education and Research upon proposal of a University based upon evaluation criteria.)

The Arts are compound by Fine arts and decorative arts and design, Music, Theatre, Choreography, Cinematography and media.

Normally doctoral studies last 3 academic years. 

Status of Doctoral Studies in Romania

Six Romanian art academies have independent university status (National University of Art, National University of Music, University of Art and Design Cluj-Napoca, Caragiale Academy (theatre & film), Ion Mincu University (architecture), University of Arts Iasi); others exist as faculties within universities.

More than 100 PhDs were awarded in visual arts and fine/applied arts at National University of Art (UNAB, Bucharest) since the Art PhD programme started in 1990; there are also PhD programmes in the arts at University of Art and Design Cluj-Napoca and National University of Music. In music there is a distinction between a scientific PhD and a professional DMA; the PhD in fine arts is a regular PhD degree, but unlike other doctoral studies, it is open only to students with a bachelor/master in art.


The salary for doctoral researchers is € 300 / month approx. Funding mainly comes from the National University Research Council (CNCSIS). The ESF is funding a project Doctoral Studies in Romania – Organization of the Doctoral Schools in which the National University of Art is a partner.


The methodology of admission is set by each university, according to university autonomy, on the basis of general criteria elaborated by the Ministry of Education, Research and Youth.

The admission to doctoral studies depends on the results of an admission competition organized annually by the University for its area of doctoral studies. Usually, the Ph.D. admission contest is held before the beginning of the academic year, in the respect of UNAB the contest takes place in September. A candidate can participate in the admission contest for any field of doctoral studies regardless of the field in which he/she has received his/her bachelor’s or master’s degree. In this respect UNAB methodology of admission both for Master and Doctoral studies underline the fact that for a professional PhD can apply only candidates who have an art bachelor or master degree. The other candidates can apply to a Scientific PhD. The candidates have to prove his/her linguistic competence in an internationally relevant language. The required level of linguistic competence is established by each University.

Doctoral studies (both professional and scientific) are full-time since 2011. The admission competition is held both for state-sponsored and self-sponsored applicants, in accordance with the law regulations. The admission competition consists of one exam - a general examination. It includes a written text on subjects announced to the doctoral supervisor and an interview, in which the candidate presents his/her proposal for the doctoral thesis. Through this examination the candidate proves his/her research abilities, scientific approach, ability to decide the bibliography, etc.

An advanced academic training program and a scientific research program are carried out under the guidance of a doctoral supervisor chosen by the candidate.

The advanced academic training program

The advanced training program has to be accomplished in the first two semesters of doctoral studies. The advanced academic training program includes a disciplinary training module in the doctoral student’s field of expertise and a complementary training module. Within the disciplinary training module, the doctoral student must attend in total 3-4 courses from the doctoral school’s academic curriculum, during the two semesters of the advanced academic training program. The exams of these courses must be passed. Within the complementary training module, the doctoral student must also elaborate on a scientific project plan for the doctoral thesis, under the guidance of the doctoral supervisor. (The advanced academic training program must be designed in a way that the doctoral student can achieve at least 30 transferable credits in each of the two semesters allotted to the program.) It ends with the public presentation of the PhD plan by the doctoral student. The plan and the research skills acquired by the doctoral student within the advanced academic training program are evaluated by an examination board with the doctoral supervisor as president.

The scientific research program 

It has the purpose of elaboration of the doctoral thesis by the doctoral student and it covers the whole duration of the doctoral studies (but can be as well from 4 to 6 semesters). The doctoral student presents his/her intermediate scientific results achieved in 2-3 written reports, which in the end will be part of the doctoral thesis. When the thesis is completed, it has to be presented to the department or research team which the doctoral supervisor is part of for a preliminary assessment. After a compulsory analysis, the department or research team decides upon recommendation of the public defense of the doctoral thesis.

The next step is the doctoral committee proposal made by doctoral supervisor. It consists of a president, the doctoral supervisor and at least three reviewers (two from another institution) who are experts in the field of studies. After the approval of this committee by the Rector of the University, each reviewer elaborates a thesis analysis paper. If all the reviewers conclude that the submitted thesis fulfills the quality requirements of a doctoral thesis, the public defense before the doctoral committee can be organized. Following the public defense, the committee assesses the doctoral thesis. If the thesis receives the mark “Very Good” or “Good”, the committee decides that the doctoral student should be awarded the scientific title of Doctor. This decision is communicated afterwards for validation to the National Council of Academic Titles, Diplomas and Certificates Attestation. On the proposal of this council, the Minister of Education, Research, Youth and Sports award the title of Doctor, by an Order. Based on this Order, the University issues the Doctor Diploma.

If a doctoral student did not succeed to finalize the doctoral thesis within the regular 6 semesters of doctoral studies, he/she can request an extension of the doctoral studies by 2-4 semesters, with the approval of the doctoral supervisor and in well-justified cases.

Joint Supervision

A doctoral student can also have two doctoral supervisors, especially if there are interdisciplinary scientific research subjects involved. Prior to choosing the second doctoral supervisor, the doctoral student must be enrolled and he/she must obtain the approval of the first doctoral supervisor.

Studies at the UNAB offer doctoral candidates access to an open academic environment that welcomes the diversity of opinions and projects.
Our students have access to European programs in the field of postgraduate studies through our connection with the New Europe College.

The prestige of our University is based on the teaching, scientific and professional research activities.  The quality of teaching, of the research and the competitiveness makes our University standard.

The Art PhD program began in 1990. In 2005 a professional PhD program with full-time or part-time attendance, having two specialties Fine Arts and Applied Arts and Design was introduced. 101 PhD students graduate their studies between 1990 and 2009: 92 with a diploma of PhD in Visual Arts and 19 with a diploma of PhD in Fine Arts / in Applied Arts. 18 professors, art theoreticians and artists, are involved in the doctoral studies. UNAB is involved in the “Doctoral Studies in Romania – Organization of the Doctoral Schools” project financed by the European Union structural fund.

The aim of the project is to promote a unified strategic approach to reforming Romanian doctoral studies in order to make sure that doctoral and postdoctoral program contribute effectively to the training of researchers with internationally recognized achievements, and thus ensure the visibility and recognition of the talent of young researchers trained in the country.

“Doctoral Studies in Romania – Organization of the Doctoral Schools” Objectives

  • Support the implementation of the doctoral education cycle (3rd Bologna cycle), which is closely and harmoniously associated with the other Bologna higher education cycles (Bachelor and Master), by improving the structure of the national doctoral education system, and building a modern and flexible institutional infrastructure, in accordance with the requirements of a knowledge-based society.
  • Develop and pilot appropriate models of integration of doctoral education programmes in the Bologna cycles, in the fields of research, development and innovation, and in the European area, by defining and developing a specific model of advanced Doctoral School, flexible in its modus operandi, and network-like.
  • Strengthen the doctoral education system by identifying and applying strategic instruments, including quality assurance mechanisms, common pillars of a successful partnership structure
  • Expand the training capacity and strengthen the cooperation within doctoral school networks by building an e-learning platform that would contribute to "supporting doctoral students and researchers to participate in doctoral programs”.


• Determining the criteria, indicators and general methodology for the domain-specific assessment of scientific research based on the current international practice
• Validating the criteria, indicators and general methodology in the Romanian scientific community
• Conducting a National Assessment Exercise involving all Romanian Universities
• Developing an e-platform to help conduct future assessment exercises

Author: Roxana Trestioreanu, National University of the Arts Bucharest