(Common feature)

The European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) is closely linked to the duration of the courses, the content of the curricula and the duration of the educational cycles – bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral.

The Bologna Agreement introduces a 3-level system of higher education with specific content, relevant teaching methods and duration appropriate to these conditions:

First degree – is a 3-year course of study, upon completion of which students receive a bachelor’s degree;

  • teaching methods in this degree include: lectures, exercises, independent preparation, project development; compulsory and elective courses.
  • content in this degree acquires basic knowledge necessary for mastering the profession, and practically acquires skills to apply this knowledge in solving and performing more basic professional tasks.

Second degree – is a 2-year course of study, which is an upgrade for students who have obtained a bachelor’s degree, and which they complete with a master’s degree – awarded upon successful defense of a master’s thesis:

  • teaching methods include theoretical courses, seminars, assignments, internships, research projects, development of a diploma thesis; compulsory and elective courses
  • while bachelor’s programs due to their basic nature are more uniform, monolithic, master’s programs offer a wide variety of content and forms:

– master’s programs that logically follow directly from the bachelor’s degree are called integrated master’s programs;

– for a small group of specialties, first and second degree are compulsorily bound and merged (medicine, veterinary medicine, law, architecture, etc.) and end directly with a master’s degree.

– there are also master’s programs aimed at working professionals, called executive master’s degrees, which allow a wide variety of different flexible modes of study: entirely online, evening and weekend hours, part-time.

– for various reasons, almost all master’s programs accept candidates with bachelor’s degrees from fields other than the master’s degree in order to: add additional content to the bachelor’s degree; or be used as a springboard to move in a new direction.

Third degree – a 3-year course of study, which students complete after successfully defending a dissertation with a doctoral degree:

  • dominant cognitive methods for mastering the profession in this educational form are: independent work, literary reviews, research and experimental methods;
  • a distinctive feature of the third degree is the contributory nature of the dissertation in an academic and professional context, technological, social or cultural, for the progress of a knowledge-based society.

Common feature of the curriculum:
The academic curriculum must cover all curriculum components provided for in the Bologna Declaration. However, there may be differences in emphasis on fields of study and/or types of educational objectives.

Minimum requirements (in ECTS) for education
for independent professional practice in psychology

1 ECTS is equivalent to 25 hours of active learning (i.e. “study load”) – classroom and independent work.Another measure is the hours of engagement – 750 hours per semester.

For the Bulgarian Higher Education in Psychology, 1 ECTS is equivalent to 30 hours of active learning (i.e. “study load”) – classroom and independent work.

The requirements should be understood as follows:

  1. The largest part of the 1st phase should be devoted to theoretical courses and skills training in psychology; however some part should be reserved for methodology and non-psychological theory (e.g. philosophy or sociology) which is normally considered relevant for the study of psychology. It is suggested that the part spent on theoretical courses and skills training, plus orientation and academic skills should be between 125 and 135 units (over 2 years). Within the theoretical courses and skills training the largest part should be devoted to individual behaviour. The behaviour of people in groups and society should receive a minimal coverage of 20 units each.
  2. Methodology should have a coverage of at least 30 units; non-psychological theory between 15 and 25 units. Taken together, these curriculum components should account for 45 to 55 units.
  3. Within the 2nd phase approximately 60 units (1 year) should be spent on theoretical courses, seminars, assignments etc. The curriculum should be balanced to ensure that sufficient attention is being paid to the study of individuals, groups and society.
  4. 15-30 units should be devoted to an internship (“stage”) and 15-30 units to a research project or thesis. These two activities should cover a maximum of 60 units (1 year).
  5. At least 60 units (1 year) should be spent on supervised practice. (It is not organized by the university, but by the graduate psychologist after completing his education, but if possible, the university can organize all or part of the supervised practice.)
  6. A paper or a dissertation or thesis is not deemed necessary for the first phase, because the Bachelor’s Degree is not considered to lead to a qualification for independent practice. However, a research-based dissertation is required for the second phase and will often take the form of a Masters thesis or dissertation.
  7.  Basic requirements of the European Certificate of Psychology – EuroPsy are:
    – University training in psychology 5 or 3 + 2 years (or 4 + 1 / 1.5, but mandatory 300 credits), in accordance with the content requirements of the EuroPsy curriculum for bachelor’s and master’s degrees;
    – one year of supervised practice (not a university commitment);
    – commitment to a Code of Ethics and Deontology.

The assessment of the level of training of specialists before receiving a EuroPsy certificate for independent practice is made on a 4-point scale:

1 2 3 4
Basic knowledge and skill present, but competence insufficiently developed Competence for performing tasks but requiring guidance and supervision Competence for performing basic tasks without guidance or supervision Competence for performing complex tasks without guidance or supervision