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Slovenia, Academic Career Structure




Competitiveness: Being Slovenia a small post-socialist country with population 2 million, it has a relatively rich academic tradition. According to the QS World University Ranking 2011-12, the University of Ljubljana (the largest in the country) ranks between the top 551-600 academic institutions worldwide.

Openness to non-nationals: In general, Slovenian academia is closed to foreigners. There are exceptions in the hard sciences. As for SSH, the emerging private academic institutions are gradually starting to offer positions to non-nationals.


Postdoc: There are a number of available doctoral and postdoctoral positions for foreigners in Slovenia. Annual calls for applications are regularly published on the website of the Slovene Human Resources Development and Scholarship Fund.

Entry positions: After completing a PhD, it is common in Slovenia to ask for the habilitation to become a docent (Assistant Professor). 

Career requirements/progress: Habilitacija (habilitation) is a mandatory requirement in Slovenia, both for entry positions and to advance in the academic career.

Temporary/permanent positions: Please contact us if you can provide relevant information.

Salaries: Employees in academia are Slovenian civil servants and therefore their salaries are determined by the law. Click here for more details.

Gender: Although Slovenia is relatively successful among post-socialist countries in limiting the gender gap; this is less evident with respect to employment in academia. In fact, women represent only 35% of the academic body.

Universities and research institutions: In 2010 there were 3 public, 1 private and 1 international university, consisting of 50 faculties, 2 colleges and 5 associated institutions. Recently, a number of private higher education institutions (samostojni visokošolski zavodi) were established. There are currently 15 private faculties and 15 private colleges, ad their number is growing.

Job postings: Each Slovenian university posts its own job advertisements, which are accessible through their websites. Another possibility is a search engine offered by the Slovenian Agency for Employment (only in Slovenian). 




Higher Education in Slovenia  

The system of higher education system is regulated by the Higher Education Act (Zakon o visokem šolstvu, ZViS). The system is undergoing unrelenting reform. The last two rounds (in 2004 and in 2006) have been inspired by the Bologna Process and introduced a three-cycle system.

Following these reforms, universities were transformed from associations of independent faculties into integrated institutions. New legislation provided for important changes in the structure of the higher education system, the establishment of single higher education centres, the division of a few extended faculties into smaller faculties and the implementation of the Diploma Supplement. The law also innovated in the funding system providing for different state financial sources.

Until March 2010, the Council of Higher Education was an independent body responsible for the accreditation of programmes and higher education institutions. This was substituted by the Slovenian Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education. The Agency performs professional and developmental tasks in the field of higher education and regulatory tasks for the purpose of external quality assurance in higher and tertiary vocational education. External quality assurance includes accreditations of higher education institutions and study programmes, including external evaluation. The Agency performs, as being within its original competence, tasks that are in the public interest to assure permanent, professional and independent support for quality assurance and quality enhancement in higher education.

Presently, a binary pattern is emerging in the Slovenian higher education with programmes based on the division between academic studies and professionally-oriented studies.

Higher education institutions have a comprehensive course offer as well as research and artistic activities.


Career Curriculum

Positions at universities are determined by law (Zakon o visokem šolstvu, Higher Education Act) and are the following:

  • Doktor Znanosti, equivalent to a PhD holder
  • Lektor, equivalent to a Lecturer and often associated to linguistic fields
  • Asistent, equivalent to a Lecturer
  • Docent, equivalent to an Assistant Professor
  • Izredni Profesor, equivalent to a Professor
  • Redni Professor, the highest rank, equivalent to a Full Professor 

In professional colleges the following teaching positions are also available:

  • Predavatelji, equivalent to a Junior Lecturer
  • Višji Predavatelj, equivalent to a Senior Lecturer

Requirements for Positions

In order to start and obtain a PhD (Doktorat Znanosti) one must have completed either a first-degree Diploma or an MA (Magisterij). In the first case doctoral studies last for 4 years, in the second for 2 years.

Lektor and Asistent positions require an MA, while the 3 professorial positions (Docent, Izredni Profesor and Redni Profesor) require a PhD. In both cases, one has to show also pedagogical skills.

Academic staff is elected on the basis of criteria and regulations set by the university. Advancement in the academic career takes place through the process of habilitacija (habilitation). One has to undergo the process once every 5 years until s/he reaches the position of full professorship.

The habilitation process’s first step consists of writing an application, which includes the CV, the diplomas as well as a systematized bibliography of the candidate. The university, where the habilitation process is started nominates a commission (usually this has 3 members, who are Full Professors), which assesses that the candidate fulfills the minimal requirements for each position – a PhD, a number of relevant publications, teaching and supervisory experience.

The Senate of the Council of Higher Education is responsible for the habilitation and gives its consent to appointments at higher education institutions, which are not part of any university.

The habilitation is, however, no warranty that the successful candidate will actually land a position at a Slovenian university. It is not uncommon that scholars with higher denominations are employed in lower positions (e.g. an Associate Professor working as an Assistant Professor), or, even, that researchers who obtained a habilitation operate outside academia altogether.

Additionally, Slovenian academia is opening up only slowly. Being Slovenia a small country, selection procedures are often non-transparent and there are clear preferences for internal candidates.


Research Career

Please contact us if you can provide relevant information.


Barriers to Career Advancement

The habilitation is only one step towards entering or advancing in Slovenian academia. The main problem is the availability of positions. These are determined and financed by the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology. Effectively it can happen that scholars have the habilitation for a higher post but they continue to be stuck on a lower position (e.g. an Associate Professor working as an Assistant Professor) for long periods of time.


Job Security

As in most Continental European academic systems (and the Slovenian one presents major traits of the Austrian and German ones) job security, once a candidate has been appointed for a permanent position, is basically for life.

In theory, the collective agreement distinguishes between light and serious breaches of the contract; and only the latter can lead to the termination of the employment relationship. Among serious contractual breaches, the collective agreement considers the unlawful use or abuse of public property; unjustified underperformance three months in a row; abuse of sick leave and similar. In practice, however, it is very difficult to fire an employee in a permanent professorial position. If the disciplinary commission decide to lay off the employee nonetheless, he/she is given a 4-month notice.


Contracts and Duties

A number of collective agreements, e.g. the Collective Agreement for the Employment in Education and Training in the Republic of Slovenia (Kolektivna pogodba za dejavnost vzgoje in izobraževanja v Republiki Sloveniji), regulate the rights and duties of employees in academia in Slovenia.

Once the contract is signed between the employee and the employer, for all the position from docent upwards, there is a 4-month probation. A commission consisting of three members and nominated by the dean (or rector) evaluates the employee and prepares a report on his fitness for the post.

With respect to the duties and obligations, the collective agreement is of course vague and does not indicate them for each position. Hence, individual contracts complement the many details. Other aspects of the contact are instead spelled out fairly precisely: disciplinary measures, legal responsibility, health and safety at work, yearly holidays and leaves of absence.

With respect to yearly holidays, most of them coincide with the summer and winter closures. However, the total amount depends on: seniority – between 19 days for less than 3 years of employment to 25 days after 25 years of employment; educational attainment – 6 days for professorial positions; more days for particular personal circumstances (disability, childcare etc.); 5 days for employees aged 50 or more. The collective agreement also foresees paid and unpaid leaves of absence for various familial and other obligations, as well as for continuing education and training.


Sabbatical Opportunities

The universities in Slovenia autonomously draft their statutes and therewith determine the time and financial means available for sabbatical leaves.

The University of Ljubljana, for example, grants up to 12 months of sabbatical every 6 years of continued work. During their sabbatical, employees are supposed to engage in additional training in Slovenia or abroad.

The application for a sabbatical has to be submitted one year in advance and the decision is taken by the dean and the rector, who have to find a substitute during the leave.


Gross Salaries

Gross monthly salary levels from July 2010. As for PhD candidates and Postdocs, these are average stipends for foreigners studying/researching in Slovenia paid by the Slovene Human Resources Development and Scholarship Fund (and should be partly tax-exempt). With respect to the other academic positions, their salaries are calculated according to the salary scales of equivalent civil servant positions.

Additionally to the gross sums below, Professors (and other employees) receive an additional bonus (between 0.33% and 0.5% of the basic salary) for each year of employment.


PhD Candidate






Assistant Professor



Associate Professor



Full Professor





Number of Existing Positions

The official data for the academic year 2009-10 are the latest available, however, there is no breakdown by discipline. The data show the persistence of the gender divide in academia.


Assistant Professor



Associate Professor



Full Professors





Internal Recruitment

Please contact us if you can provide relevant information.


Accessibility for Non-Nationals

The closeness of the Slovenian academic system originates from two distinct sources: i) the official language of instruction; ii) the need to have the relevant habilitation.

The official language of instruction at universities is of course Slovene, but the use of a foreign language by visiting professors is possible in parts of the academic programmes.

Lately, even the University of Ljubljana, started opening up to foreign competition by publishing (quasi-)international calls for academic positions. The main problem with these calls is, however, that they require the habilitation as Assistant, Associate or Full Professor at Slovenian institutions. This is, as mentioned above, a tiresome, over-bureaucratized and long process. In particular, it requires the certification of a foreign doctoral (or other) carried out through the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology, which discourages effectively any foreign interest for these positions.

Recruitment criteria are not so strict in the few private universities in Slovenia, which are, however, less prestigious.  


National Universities

 For a complete list of public and private academic institutions, check the dedicated web pages  of the Ministry for Higher Education, Science and Technology.

The five most relevant universities in Slovenia are:

Research Institutions

There is a number of private and public research institutions in Slovenia, which may have some available funding for foreigners. A detailed overview is available on the Slovenian Current Research Information System .

The most important research institution in Slovenia is the Slovenian Research Agency (Javna agencija za raziskovalno dejavnost Republike Slovenije – ARRS). The Agency was established in 2003 as an independent public funding organization perform tasks relating to the National Research and Development Programme and creation of European Research Area.

The ARRS is the main research financing body in Slovenia, providing funding for a considerable number of domestic and international research projects. Most of its calls are available on the Agency’s website.


Academic Unions

Slovenia is renowned for its high union density and encompassing collective bargaining. There are various unions representing public sector employees and civil servants.

The Education, Science, and Culture Trade Union of Slovenia (Sindikat vzgoje, izobraževanja, znanosti in kulture Slovenije – SVIZ) often speaks on behalf of the whole higher education sector in Slovenia.

The Independent Labour Union of the Employees at the University of Ljubljana (Neodvisni Sindikat Delavcev Ljubljanske Univerze – NSDLU) represents the employees of the main university in Slovenia.


Useful Websites

Please contact us if you can provide relevant information.


Info for History

Historical Association of Slovenia (Zveza zgodovinskih društev Slovenije – ZZDS)


Info for Economics

The Association of Slovenian Economists (Zveza ekonomistov Slovenije – ZES)

Institute for Economic Research (Inštitut za ekonomoska raziskovanja - IER)


Info for Law

Slovenian Law Association (Zveza društev pravnikov Slovenije – ZDPS)

Slovenian legal magazine Pravnik


Info for Social and Political Science

Slovenian Political Science Association (Slovensko politološko društvo – SPOD)


Postdoctoral Information

The Slovene Human Resources Development and Scholarship Fund gives postdoctoral grants and funding for research in the Humanities and Social Sciences.


Websites for Job Postings

Slovenian Agency for Employment (Zavod RS za zaposlovanje – ZRSZ), in Slovenian only.




Page last updated on 28 August 2018

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