Serbia joined the Bologna Process in 2003. The adoption of the Law on Higher Education supporting the implementation of Bologna Process followed in 2005. This law formally introduced the European Credit Transfer System, three-cycle system of study and diploma supplement.
According to the Law on Higher Education, every study program is defined through the number of ECTS. Each course within the study program is valued through the number of ECTS. Total sum of ECTS varies from a minimum of 180 for three year programs) to a minimum of 240 ECTS for four year programs at the Bachelor academic or Bachelor vocational level. At the master level a number of ECTS may vary from minimum of 60 to 120 ECTS depending on the length of the program (one or two year). Programs at the PhD level comprise at least 180 ECTS.
All students in the Republic of Serbia are full-time students (part-time students are not envisaged by the Law on Higher Education). Their status (budget-financed or self-financed) is determined only by the source of financing of their studies. Student status is achieved through merit-based ranking, determined by the number of ECTS accomplished during previous school year, or total score on the entrance exam for bachelors.
Foreign degree-seeking students pay full tuition which varies depending on the study field they pursue.
The academic calendars are determined each year at institutional level, meaning that higher education institutions may have different calendars during the same academic year. The teaching part of an academic year consists of two semesters:
- First semester usually starts in the beginning of October and ends in mid-February;
- Second semester usually starts at the end of February and ends in the beginning of June.