Bulgaria is a country that offers a comfortable quality of life to students. Its multiple international academic programmes throughout the country give you a lot of choices to start and further your higher education. In this article, EDUopinions runs you through the basics of Bulgarian education. It covers the cost of studying there and the job market available upon completion of your studies. Finally, we have compiled a list of the best universities in Bulgaria with English programmes.
Is Bulgaria a good place to study?
Bulgaria is a member of the EU located in the south-east of Europe. From an academic point of view, it is known for the quality and accessibility of its education system. Indeed, the entrance requirements tend to be less demanding than in other countries in the western hemisphere. It has led the country to benefit from a great student diversity, with most international students coming from the UK, Germany, Greece, Italy, Israel, India, Turkey and Nigeria. Furthermore, several universities reinforced their international attractivity by collaborating with foreign institutions to offer double degrees.
How much does it cost to study in Bulgaria?
Bulgarian universities are on the more affordable end of the European tuition fees spectrum. This is especially the case for nationals from countries in the European Economic Area (EEA), who pay advantageous fees. Studying there costs between EUR 3,000 and EUR 4,000 per year (except medical studies which cost up to EUR 8,000). National scholarships are available, but require you to learn and speak Bulgarian.
Living in Bulgaria is relatively cheap, compared to France, the Netherlands or even Spain. Depending on whether you want to live in a student room or have your own apartment, you will pay between EUR 50 and EUR 370 per month. Including accommodation, charges, food, transportation, phone and internet bills, and leisure, you can pay as little as EUR 370 per month, and would probably never pay more than EUR 750 per month.
Can international students work there?
The economic development of the country has made it a good place to get a job, even as a foreigner. For instance, the low unemployment rate, the affordability and high quality of life, and the need for foreign expertise have attracted an important community of ex-pats. Furthermore, EEA nationals do not require a work permit. However, 50% of jobs are estimated to be acquired through word of mouth. Therefore it is essential that you get to know people while studying there, in order to secure yourself a position in the field of your choice. The job market is in need of employees in every sector, though most internationals work in business, marketing, and diplomacy.
The best Bulgarian Universities
AMERICAN UNIVERSITY IN BULGARIA – AUBG
The American University in Bulgaria – AUBG, located in Blagoevgrad is a strongly established American institution in that region of the world. It welcomes a lot of international students, with about 40 different nationalities across its student body and five continents being represented by the faculty. The main advantage of this institution is that its diploma counts as an American and European one. Furthermore, AUBG follows strong American university traditions by giving the opportunity to mix your studies with sports, arts and several other activities through the great campus facilities.
NEW BULGARIAN UNIVERSITY – NBU
The New Bulgarian University – NBU is located in Sofia, the capital city of Bulgaria. It is a private liberal arts and sciences university on a beautiful green campus. NBU has paid particular attention to its IT and management programmes which have ranked as high as second in Bulgaria on Webometrics Ranking of World Universities (currently ranked on the 5th position). It also offers amazing infrastructures such as music studios and mock courtrooms for students to apply what they have learnt in the classroom, and therefore directly assess how they are progressing.
VARNA UNIVERSITY OF MANAGEMENT
The Varna University of Management is a private, but non-profit university. Its main campus is located in Varna, but it also owns buildings in Dobrich and Sofia. All courses are given in English, and every course provides you with a double degree from the UK and Bulgaria. Furthermore, it is a partner of the Erasmus+ Programme, which gives you access to dozens of partner universities to go on exchange, receive grants, and work on various projects. Varna University of management has even built an important network of international employers in Italy, the US, the UK, France, Germany, and other countries to offer you direct work opportunities. Finally, its dynamic education has led it to become a great research centre and the most important publisher of social science papers in Bulgaria.
UNIVERSITY OF NATIONAL AND WORLD ECONOMY – UNWE
The University of National and World Economy – UNWE is the oldest economics university in the region. In 2020, it celebrated its 100th anniversary. UNWE is located in Sofia and has developed a great experience with education in economics, management and administration. As an old university, it has gained a lot of experience in providing students with improved and revised curricula. It is committed to projecting itself and its students in the future to ensure that economic philosophies can sustainably develop, whilst maintaining academic excellence.
SOFIA UNIVERSITY ST. KLIMENT OHRIDSKI
The Sofia University DT. Kliment Ohridski is the oldest university in Bulgaria. It was created in 1880 in Sofia, on a beautiful campus. It is a large institution that has diversified its educational expertise through more than a century of experience and adaptation. Therefore, this university offers outstanding courses in several fields, and also gives you the possibility to follow a life-long education after having completed a doctorate.
UNIVERSITY OF PLOVDIV PAISII HILENDARSKI
The University of Plovdiv Paisii Hilendarski, located in Plovdiv, is an international university with attractive English, Greek and Turkish programmes. The biggest faculty of this school is the economics and social sciences faculty. This institution is dedicated to the values of the European Union. In other words, it aims to train the European problem solvers of tomorrow. Nevertheless, it is still very attached to Bulgarian traditions. Therefore, this university gives you the opportunity to follow international studies while immersing yourself in the beauty of your host country.
TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY OF SOFIA – TU
The Technical University of Sofia – TU is the first and largest technical university of the country, with over 100,000 alumni. It is located in Sofia and offers the opportunity to follow degrees in collaboration with polytechnics institutions in Germany, France and Great Britain. When opting for those degrees, you are given the opportunity to follow a foundation year to learn the language of the chosen country before starting the actual degree. Such programmes automatically lead to a double diploma.
TU is more than a university. Indeed, it offers a complete environment with sports facilities and holiday homes at the seaside and in the mountains. Furthermore, it emphasises the application of theory by working with companies such as Microsoft and Siemens to offer you unique training opportunities.
We hope that this article helped you to understand your options to further your studies in a great environment. If you would like to learn more about universities around Bulgaria, check out our post about The 6 Best Universities in Eastern Europe or more generally about the 10 Best Public Universities in Europe. If you are still not sure where to study then you can get 100% free advice from one of our experts.