North Macedonia National Overview

Updated in June 2018 by Prof. Zoran Pehcevski, Dean of Faculty of Music at S.s Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje

Overview of Higher Music Education System

Professional music training is carried out in the public higher music education institutions – faculties and academies within the universities. Diplomas are issued according to the Bologna Process and they must also include a Diploma Supplement. Currently, there are 35 bachelor study programmes running. The current system came into being via the implementation of the Bologna process and the ECTS system which has been implemented in our institution (Faculty od music – Skopje) in 2005. The higher music education falls under the Ministry of education and science in Macedonia and the government exists in the music education to the extent of checking if the guidelines or frameworks given by the Law for higher education are implemented and respected accordingly. The legal provisions are generally prescribed for the overall higher education system , and there are only a few that relate to music education, most often with regard to the specific conditions in the procedures for the selection of teachers and mentors.
Governance: as a Faculty of music-Skopje is a part of the University “Ss. Cyril and Methodius” in Skopje, the elections of the governance are regulated by the Law for higher education and the Statute of the University. There are the following bodies at our Faculty: Dean of the Faculty, Dean administration (consistent of the Dean, vice Dean and all Heads of departments) and the Teaching Scientific and Artistic Council (consistent of all professors employed at the Faculty).

Total number of institutions
Total number of music students

The university “SS. Cyril and Methodius” in Skopje, has two transaction accounts within the treasury of the Republic of Macedonia. One is called the budget account and the Ministry of education and science approves the funds for salaries of Faculty of music art employees and expenses for central heating of the building. The other account is managed by the faculty’s administration where all revenues from tuition and other type of payments are received as well as where all other expenses are incurred. Around 70% of the revenues received on the latter account is from payments related to teaching activities. The rest is from transfers from the rectorate of University “SS. Cyril and Methodius” in Skopje, Ministry of culture, projects/concerts/performances for other institutions and rent of concert hall.

When both accounts are seen in total, government funding is around 65% of all funds received for 2017. Tuition fees comprise of around 25%. 10% of the funds are from above-mentioned activities of Faculty of music art, not related to any studies, such as concerts, projects, transfers, rent etc.


According to our Law on Higher Education the study programs for the first cycle of studies at least consist: 1. The name of the study program in Macedonian and English language according to Fraskati classification. 2. The elaboration of the justification of the study program with supporting documents, referring to the domestic and strategic documents on the United Nations and the proven consultation with the relevant potential jobseekers in relation to the employabilty. 3. European dimension of the study program through comparative presentation of contents with the same or similar study programs of at least three relevant universities. 4. The necessary qualifications of the teaching and associate staff from the appropriate scientific field for the performance of the subject contents for which they are selected. 5. The burden expressed in the ECTS and, if provided, preparatory courses. 6. Requirements for enrollment in the study program especially for: regular, part-time and foreign students who include courses relevant to the study program, entrance examination with clear, unambiguous and accurate content of the exam, its duration, performance and assessment. 7. Description of the academic profile: objectives of the study program, teaching subjects, and academic and professional knowledge, skills and abilities acquired through the completion of the study program in accordance with the National Framework for Higher Education Qualifications. 8. Rules governing modules, compulsory and elective subjects and their description of: the purpose of the subject and learning outcomes in accordance with the National Framework of Higher Education Qualifications, the detailed content of the subject by chapters and units with the learning outcomes for each chapter, the burden of the subject expressed in the ECTS, a detailed description of the teaching and working methods of the subject, the interconnection of the subjects, and the necessary preconditions for listening and passing the subject. 9. Rules regulating the writing of written exams, assignments, essays, seminar work, projects, diploma work and other written activities that cover at least content, size, way of writing and other relevant requirements. 10. Rules governing the manner of assessment and description of the evaluation of the achievements of the student as well as the possibilities for selecting subjects at universities in Macedonia and abroad. 11. Rules governing practical teaching (and work experience for part-time students), its performance, benefits, connection with the learning outcomes of the study program and subjects, as well as assessing the achievements of the practical teaching. 12. Deadlines for completing the envisaged activities of the study program. 13. Rules, possibilities and conditions for part-time study of the study program. 14. Contents of the Diploma Supplement that is issued with the completion of the study program. 15. Jobs according to the applicable ISCO classification of occupations for which the student is qualified to work at an initial level. 16. Scientific fields for study programs of the second cycle of academic and professional studies, for which the adequate passage is provided by completing the appropriate study program from the first cycle of studies.

According to our Law on Higher Education for the second cycle of studies, the academic studies in the field of arts consist of two parts: master thesis and public performance of a work of art or an exhibition.

According to our Law on Higher Education the study programs for the third cycle of studies mainly encompasses active research work under mentorship and includes: organized academic training, containing advanced and professional courses, independent research project under mentorship (doctoral project), international mobility, at least one week stay, lectures and other types of communication activities, publications in international scientific journals and active participation in international assemblies in connection with doctoral thesis, and preparation and public defense of doctoral work on the basis of of this doctoral project. Doctoral studies in the field of art consist of two parts of a doctoral thesis and a public performance of a work of art or an exhibition.
The balance between the study of the instrument and other subjects is that students who study at the instrumental departments have also a theoretical subjects (for example: solfeggio, music harmony, history of music) and the others, also have an instrumental subjects (for example: piano, vocal technique).

Lectures are given both ways, one-on-one (for the main subjects-instrument, vocal performance, conducting, composition) and in big classes or groups (for all others subjects).

Genres The Faculty of Music – Skopje offers study programs in: classical music, popular genres and ballet pedagogy.
2-cycle system

1st cycle takes 4 years (eight semesters)
2st cycle takes 1 year (two semesters)

Bachelor of music in music theory and pedagogy
Bachelor of music in music theory and pedagogy – Choral conductor
Bachelor of music in music theory and pedagogy – Folk instruments performer
Bachelor of music in music theory and pedagogy – Sonology
Bachelor of music in composition
Bachelor of music in conducting
Bachelor of music in musicology
Bachelor of music in ethnomusicology
Bachelor of music in flute performance
Bachelor of music in oboe performance
Bachelor of music in clarinet performance
Bachelor of music in saxophone performance
Bachelor of music in bassoon performance
Bachelor of music in trumpet performance
Bachelor of music in french horn performance
Bachelor of music in trombone performance
Bachelor of music in tuba performance
Bachelor of music in percussion instruments performance
Bachelor of music in vocal performance
Bachelor of music in piano performace
Bachelor of music in accordion performance
Bachelor of music in harp performance
Bachelor of music in violin performance
Bachelor of music in violа performance
Bachelor od music in violoncello performace
Bachelor of music in double bass performance
Bachelor of music in guitar performance

Bachelor of arts in ballet pedagogy – classical ballet
Bachelor of arts in ballet pedagogy – contemporary dance
Bachelor of music in arranging – popular genres
Bachelor of music in vocal performance – popular genres
Bachelor of music in saxophone performance – popular genres
Bachelor of music in double bass performance – popular genres
Bachelor of music in guitar performance – popular genres
Bachelor of music in percussion instruments performance – popular genres

no information
Entry requirements 1st cycle
– original diploma from graduating secondary education (high school);
– a notarized birth certificate;
Additional Documents for foreign students:
– copy of passport;
– certificate of passed exams in Macedonian language as a foreign language (TEMAK), issued by the Center for testing and Certifying Macedonian as a Foreign/Second-Language
– (CETIS MAK) medical certificate, issued by the Public health institution – Health post of the Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje.
Entry requirements 2nd cycle

– Original diploma from graduating higher education – first cycle of studies.
– Notarized birth certificate and document for citizenship;
– Certificate for knowing one of the three world languages (English, French or German)
Additional Documents for foreign students:

Nostrified diploma from graduating higher education – first cycle of studies (if received abroad) and notarized.

% of students who continue with 2nd cycle 15% – 20% approximately
3rd cycle
The introduction of the third cycle-doctoral studies as real studies by leaving the current way of acquisition of PhD title and following the developed European universities, was one of the most important reform in the higher education in Ss Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje. The concept of the organization of doctoral studies in the School of Doctoral Studies is one of the basic characteristics of the integrative action of the University. The doctoral studies last three years, which amounts to 180 ECTS credits. The study programmes consist of: Training for research work, Teaching, Application, Preparation and Defense of doctoral dissertation.
At the Faculty of music there is 3rd cycle programme for Music interpretation and composition, in which the doctoral dissertation consists of two parts: performance and doctoral thesis. Depending on the choice of the programme for the performance part and the theme for the thesis, there are open possibilities for carrying out an artistic research based on the artistic practice.
Credit point system
The Ss. Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje uses the credit transfer system in all its subjects
Internationalization Students at our faculty apply for competition for the Erasmus + programme-individual mobility for the students and teaching staff, which is every year published by the University. There is a limited number of mobility allocated for all universities in Macedonia, but that number is constantly increasing.
Quality assurance
All studies and departments are accredited by the National Board for Accreditation and Evaluation of the Higher Education in Macedonia.
The internal method of quality assurance is provided by drawing up a self-evaluation report every 3 years at least. This process is obligatory according to the Law for the Higher Education.
At the end of each semester all the students are required to submit a completed questionnaire regarding the teachers and the courses they attended. They are further analyzed and the outcomes are included in the self-evaluation report. Also, the results from the questionnaires are included in the report of the Review Committee in the Procedure for selecting the teaching-scientific title of the candidates applied for the open competition.
Republic of Macedonia has been a Governmental Member of EQAR since 2015.
There are no registered agencies based in the country at the moment.
As member of the European University Association (EUA), the Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje (and by that also the Faculty of Music which is a part of it), working in accordance with the EUA Institutional Evaluation Programme and following the guidelines for implementation of self-evaluation and external evaluation, underwent three evaluation processes in the past period: external evaluation in 2003, the first subsequent evaluation in 2008, the second one in 2011, the fourth carried out in 2014, and the last one, follow-up evaluation carried out in 2017. All the external evaluations were carried out by the Institutional Evaluation Programme, which is substantially compliant with the European standards and guidelines, by an external expert team, nominated by the European University Association in Brussels.
Almost all students graduate at the Faculty of Music – Skopje, most in the 4 year period (8 semesters), however, there are a few students who take more time to graduate. When they graduate, they receive a diploma as a confirmation of their knowledge and received the needed requirements in order to work as instrumentalists, vocal-singers, music pedagogues, to be part of symphonic or chamber orchestras, musicologists, ethnomusicologists, music critics, program editors in mediums, etc.
Academic Year
Overview of the Pre-College Music Education System
There are several possibilities in Macedonia to be musically trained prior to entering higher education.

Types of Pre-College Education

Music school
There are four Music and Ballet High Schools in Macedonia (Skopje, Stip, Bitola and Tetovo-with its Departement in Struga), which are aimed at preparing the students for entering/enrolling the Higher Music Education institutions-Faculties and Academies. They are primarily focused at getting a solid musical education and therefore in their teaching programs dominate music subjects (instrumental and vocal performance and theoretical).
There are also about 15 Primary Music Schools in which children/pupils attending elementary schools acquire additional music education lasting 9 years, and consisting of teaching them to play an appropriate instrument, solfeggio and music theory. The highest age limit for children allowed for enrollment at the primary music school is set at no more than 9 years old.
Lessons in both the Primary Music Schools and High Music Schools are given one-on-one for the instrumental/vocal subject and in groups or big classes (depending on the number of pupils enrolled) for subjects like sofeggio and music theory.
Private Music School
There are also Private Music Schools that gain popularity over the time, in which the programmes are not so formal and strictly determined as those in the public music schools, which are compiled and approved by the Bureau for Development of Education (Body of the Ministry of Education and Science). Also the enrollment policy is not as restrictive as the one in the public schools, so they cover and attract more age groups.
Music Gymnasium
Private tuition

Additional Information

Students entering Higher Music Education
The students that enroll in higher music education usually come from music high schools, however, there are some that go to regular high schools and then enrol at the Faculties of music arts in Macedonia.
Special Facilities for Talented Students at Pre-College Level

Students participate at state music competitions for young musicians, the International competition “Ohrid pearls“ in Ohrid and on many other International competitions

Ohrid summer festival, Skopje jazz festival, International summer camp for young musicians-Strumica, Jeunesses Musicales Macedonia, Skopje summer festival, orchestras of the National institutions Macedonian Philharmonics and Macedonian Opera and Ballet.