Ranking system 2019: Decreased number of students; better career realization of graduates


In 2019 the number of students in higher education institutions in Bulgaria continues to decrease. The labor market realization of the graduates is improved and the scientific publications grow in numbers. Those are the main conclusions in the new edition of the Bulgarian University Ranking System. (https://rsvu.mon.bg).

Improvement of labour market realization of graduates has turned into a lasting trend according to the results of the Ranking System for 2019. Nevertheless, the average income, unemployment and applicability of the acquired degree of graduates varies significantly for  the different professional fields and higher education institutions (HEI), as well as for the level of degree acquired.

According to data in the Ranking System the share of registered unemployed people among students who have graduated Bulgarian higher education institutions in the last 5 years is around 2,20%. In 2018 this percentage was around 2,44% and in 2013 it was above 4%. The share of graduates who are not socially insured in Bulgaria is dropping form 25% in 2014 to less than 20% in 2019. Following this trend, the percentage of graduated students who work in positions requiring higher education is now 50,30% . For comparison, in 2018 that percentage was 49,26% and in 2014 it was 46%.  More than 60% of the Master degree graduates work in positions that require higher education degree, while Bachelors working in such positions are 36%. The average insurance income of graduates is also going up, reaching 1297 BGN against 1151 BGN in 2018 and only 867 BGN in 2014.

The lowest unemployment rate (under 1%) and the highest level of applicability of the degree acquired (above 90%) is observed among the graduates of “Medicine”, “Pharmacy”, “Stomatology” and “Military Sciences” for yet another year. Only three professional fields have unemployment rate above 3%:  “Social Work” (3,50%), “Psychology”(3,40%) and “History and Archaeology”(3,06%), compared to 9 professional fields in 2018 and 38 in 2014. “Tourism” remains the professional field with the lowest applicability of degree acquired for graduates (20,41%).

Students graduated from “Informatics and Computer Science”, “Mathematics”, and “Research, extraction and development of ores and minerals” earn the highest average insurance income. The graduates in “Informatics and Computer Science” in “St. Kliment Ohridski” Sofia Univeristy have the highest average insurance income for another year.

The highest average secondary education GPAs is held by the first year students enrolled in “Medicine” (5,63), “Pharmacy” (5,51) and “Stomatology” (5,51), while students in “Metallurgy”(4,38) are accepted with the lowest average secondary education GPA.

This Ranking System edition points out again significant differences in the average income, unemployment levels and applicability of degree acquired by graduates in the same professional field depending on the higher education institution attended. In many professional fields, even those with the highest number of students like “Economics”, “Administration and Management” and “Informatics and Computer Science”, the values of those indicators may be twice as higher or lower.  The average income of graduates in the fields of military defense, medicine and education differs less by higher education institution.  The realization on the labour market of the graduates in “Medicine”, “Health Care”, “Pedagogy” and “Military Science” is very similar without consideration of the particular higher education they have graduated from.

The data in the Ranking system displays continuing improvement of the number of scientific publications, produced by Bulgarian HEIs, and also of the number of citations corresponding to these publications. The “St. Kliment Ohridski” Sofia University, the medical universities in Sofia, Plovdiv and Varna, and the University of Chemical Technology and Metallurgy in Sofia are the Bulgarian HEIs that have the highest h-indexes according to the international databases – Scopus and Web of Science.

The total number of students enrolled in Bulgarian HEIs has decreased with approximately 17% between 2014 and 2019. The share of decrease during the last 5 years is higher than 30% in 15 professional fields. The two professional fields with the highest number of students – “Economics” and “Administration and management”, are among them.  At the same time, there are 5 professional fields in which the number of students has increased with approximately 30% or even more. The highest increase in number of students is in “Medicine” (76%), “Military Sciences” (60%), “Stomatology” (41%), “Pedagogy” (36%) and “Veterinary Medicine” (26%). The five professional fields with the highest number of students enrolled remain the same as in 2018 – “Economics” (37 909), “Administration and management” (16 584), “Pedagogy” (14 864), “Medicine” (11 737) and “Law” (9 389).

The share of foreign students among all students in Bulgaria has increased from 4% in 2013 to almost 7% in 2019. The highest shares of foreign students are observed in “Medicine” (55%), “Stomatology” (40%) and “Veterinary Medicine” (29%).

Approximately 13% of the students in the country are enrolled in private HEIs, but that share varies for the different professional fields. The highest share of students in private HEIs is observed in “Theatre and Cinema Art” (above 60%), “Theory of Arts” (above 60%), “Administration and management” (about 40%) and “National Security” (about 40%).

The Ranking system compares the score of 51 HEIs in 52 professional fields based on dozens of indicators, measuring different aspects of the HEIs work,  including teaching and learning process and environment, science and research, welfare and administrative services and prestige, as well as the career development, labour market relevance of the graduates and the regional importance of the HEIs. The custom rankings in the current edition of the Ranking system are based on data from a number of sources including the HEIs themselves, the National Evaluation and Accreditation Agency, the AdminUni module which is a part of the education information system, the National Social Security Institute and the international scientific databases Scopus and Web of Science.

Users are welcome to explore the predefined ranking of higher education institutions by professional fields on the interactive page of the Ranking System (https://rsvu.mon.bg). They also have the opportunity to create their own custom ranking according to their interests and preferences with all the data and functionalities of the Ranking system.

The Ranking System includes information on the most common professions among graduates of every professional field in every higher education institution in Bulgaria. It also includes a list of majors that every higher education institution offers. The web site of the Ranking System was improved and updated in 2019.

The Ranking System’s aim is to support future students in their efforts of taking a well informed decision and help them navigate the diverse opportunities for education that higher education institutions in Bulgaria offers.  

The Ranking System is available in Bulgarian and English at https://rsvu.mon.bg

The Bulgarian University Ranking System and the data included in it are updated for 2019 by a procurement of the Ministry of Education and Science by “IOO- S” Consortium, comprised of Open Society Institute – Sofia  and Sirma Solutions.