Definition of the key terms

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Guide to terminology usage in the field of credentials recognition and mobility in Cuba

Recognized university institutions.

Included here are all the universities in the country that have been created by the resolutions in force of the Council of State and Council of Ministers.

Also included are the Municipal University Sites (SUM) that are located in 169 municipalities in the country and are methodologically linked to the university of each of their provinces. The studies here are through courses having programmed meetings and that are within the same professional fields as those of the university.

Branches of knowledge and disciplines

The branches of knowledge and disciplines are those used by the National University Evaluation and Accreditation Commission.

  • Branches of knowledge

    • Technical Sciences

    • Natural and Mathematical Sciences

    • Agricultural Sciences

    • Economic Sciences

    • Social and Humanistic Sciences

    • Pedagogy

    • Medical Sciences

    • Physical Culture

    • Arts

  • Disciplines according to the branch of knowledge

Technical Sciences




Mechanical Engineering

Electrical Engineering

Automation Engineering

Telecommunication Engineering

Information Technology Engineering

Chemical Engineering

Industrial Engineering

Hydraulic Engineering

Civil Engineering

Nuclear Engineering


Biomedical Engineering

Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Design

Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology Science

Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science

Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics

Physical Engineering

Bachelor’s Degree in Physics

Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry

Bachelor’s Degree in Radiochemistry

Bachelor’s Degree in Geography

Bachelor’s Degree in Biochemistry

Bachelor’s Degree in Biology

Bachelor’s Degree in Microbiology

Bachelor’s Degree in Food Sciences

Bachelor’s Degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences

Bachelor’s Degree in Nuclear Physics

Bachelor’s Degree in Meteorology

Economic Sciences

Bachelor’s Degree in Economy

Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting

Bachelor’s Degree in Tourism

Social and Humanistic Sciences
Bachelor’s Degree in History

Bachelor’s Degree in Marxist-Leninist Philosophy

Bachelor’s Degree in History of Art

Bachelor’s Degree in Law

Bachelor’s Degree in Social Communication

Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism

Bachelor’s Degree in Arts

Bachelor’s Degree in Library and Information Science

Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology

Bachelor’s Degree in Social-cultural studies

Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology

Bachelor’s Degree in Heritage Preservation and Management

Bachelor’s Degree in Russian Language

Bachelor’s Degree in English Language

Bachelor’s Degree in German Language

Bachelor’s Degree in French Language

Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish Language

Bachelor’s Degree in Sign Language

Bachelor’s Degree in International Affairs

Pedagogic Degrees

Medical Sciences
Medical Doctor

Bachelor’s Degree in Dentistry

Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing

Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Psychology

Bachelor’s Degree in Health Technology

Physical Culture
Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education


Plastic Arts

Dramatic Arts


Audiovisual Media Arts

Agricultural Sciences

Agronomic Engineering


Agro-industrial Processes

Forestry Engineering

Veterinary Medicine

Engineering in Agricultural Mechanization

Agricultural Engineering


The Republic of Cuba is divided into 14 provinces:

Havana (the country’s capital and the capital of the Provinces of Havana and of the City of Havana), Pinar del Río (provincial capital), Matanzas (provincial capital), Santa Clara (capital of the Villa Clara Province), Cienfuegos (provincial capital), Sancti Spíritus (provincial capital), Ciego de Ávila (provincial capital), Camagüey (provincial capital), Las Tunas (provincial capital), Holguín (provincial capital), Bayamo (capital of the Granma Province), Santiago de Cuba (provincial capital), Guantánamo (provincial capital), and Nueva Gerona (capital of the special municipality of the Isle of Youth).

In all provinces, including the special municipality of the Isle of Youth, there is at least one University and several University sites; in all cases the governing body is the corresponding State Central Administration Entity.

Types of certifications in Cuban Higher Education


A type of certification of studies completed at the higher education or undergraduate or post graduate levels.

In the case of the undergraduate level it validates the acquisition of the necessary skills for an appropriate performance in an occupation or profession (Degree of B.A. or B.S., Engineer, Medical Doctor, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and Architect)

Degree of BA or BS: It is obtained after completing a Bachelor’s degree in any of the modalities offered. Its duration is generally of 5 years. These professionals are trained for social service, some with an increased research component in their training. These are graduates of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Economic Sciences, Humanistic Sciences, Social Sciences, Pedagogy, Arts and Physical Culture. In the field of Medical Sciences, the degree is awarded to Dentistry, Nursing, Health Technology and Health Psychology. Within the Technical Sciences it corresponds to Industrial Design and Information Design.

Engineer: It is obtained after completing an Engineering specialty, generally after five years. The students are basically trained to solve problems in production and services, as well as in the application of science and technology to production. It is obtained by the graduates of Technical Sciences (except for the cases of Industrial Design and Information Design) and Agricultural Sciences (except for Veterinary Medicine).

Doctor: It is obtained after completing studies in Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, generally after 6 and 5 years respectively.

Architect: It is obtained after completing the corresponding undergraduate studies.

A degree includes the certification of certain modalities of academic postgraduate studies (Master’s degree and Specialty) that recognizes a scientific level acquired and skills obtained both in research and for improving occupational competence for the professional performance required by a post of employment or a group of related working posts.

Master’s degree

It corresponds to the process of postgraduate training that provides the university graduates with a broad scientific culture and advanced learning in their corresponding fields of knowledge; it also provides a greater capacity for teaching, science, innovation or artistic creation according to the economic, social and cultural development needs of the country. It is focused on the creative capacity of the students; hence research, innovation and artistic creation activities constitute 50% of the total number of credits.

An academic credit is a quantitative and qualitative unit of expression that assesses the results obtained by considering their depth, volume and the intensity of the work performed by the student to achieve the goals expressed in the programs. The accumulative academic credit system facilitates the organizational flexibility of the curriculum, the transfer and mobility of the students, professors and researchers, the comparison and homologation of the studies carried out between different institutions. The credits are awarded when the objectives of the planned activities have been completed. The Academic Committee has the authority of estimating the duration of the validity or expiry of the credits, as long as they do not surpass five years after being awarded.


It provides updating, in-depth studies, and the improvement or broadening of working skills for professional performance required for a working post or related working posts, according to the needs for economical, social and cultural development of the country. The credits required to achieve this aim must surpass 50% of the total number of credits of the program. It is targeted towards covering the demands expressed by the interested bodies in the use of this postgraduate modality. It is conceived as a joint undertaking between the requesting bodies and the higher education institutions or centers authorized for academic postgraduate degrees, which actively participate in the design, implementation and quality control of the specialty.


This certification refers to the scientific degree achieved by studying a discipline and carrying out research activities that include the preparation, defense and approval of a dissertation, thus enabling the person to perform independent and original research (such as that of Doctor of Science and Doctor of Science of a certain specialty).

Doctor of Science (of a certain specialty)

It is awarded to the graduates of a higher education level, who meet the requirements and have passed the evaluations corresponding to the programs established within a process that ends in the defense /-before an examining board – of a thesis demonstrating scientific maturity, the ability to independently face and solve scientific and technological problems, as well as having in-depth theoretical and practical knowledge in the corresponding field.

Doctor of Science

It is awarded to the Doctors of Science of a certain specialty that have carried out highly specialized work in their field of knowledge, requiring the defense of a thesis before a competent examining board, which must contain the solution and the extension of the solution to problems of a scientific nature, being considered as a contribution to that specific field of knowledge and a scientific and technical contribution to the country.


Certificates acknowledge the successful fulfillment of professional learning activities (courses of study and training courses for postgraduate, diplomas and postdoctoral education).

Courses of study

They enable the basic and specialized learning of university graduates, and are based on the organization of a set of subject matters that address relevant research results or important issues so as to complement or update the knowledge of the professionals receiving them. Their minimal extension is of two credits.

Training courses

They enable the basic and specialized training of university graduates, particularly in acquiring skills and dexterity and in learning and introducing new procedures and technologies in order to complement, update, improve and reinforce knowledge and practical skills.


Its purpose is the specialization in a particular field of performance, while favoring the acquisition of knowledge and academic, scientific or professional skills at any stage of development of a university graduate, according to the needs of their professional or cultural training. It is composed of a system of courses of study or training courses and other teaching forms that are linked together, and end with the preparation and defense of a study before an examining board. The minimal extension of each diploma is of 15 credits.

Types of university institutions authorized to award higher education degrees


Higher Institute

Higher Education Institutes have faculty members, a number of students and their distribution in the different Schools and Departments, as well as in study Centers, University sites, and other units included in them. They cover a part of the array of Sciences or Humanities. They have postgraduate and scientific research activities that are well structured through programs and projects that are regularly implemented. They have their own faculty formed by full-time professors, part-time professors, graduate students that are being trained and teaching assistants. They are subordinated to different Ministries and their highest academic authority is that of the Rector.

University Center

It is an Institution of Higher education that is in a transitory organizational stage until it fulfills the conditions that would enable it to become a University or a Higher Institute.

The University Sites are parts of the infrastructure of the higher education centers (Universities, Higher Institutes, University Centers) and they are created in the municipalities of the country with the purpose of ensuring the access to university studies of persons living or working there. They can be of a Municipal nature or there may be a Municipal site with other subordinated sites at that same municipality that were necessarily created. They are established under the principle of using all the resources available in the territory to carry out the basic processes of higher education. The degree studies offered depend on the social needs of these regions.


A military Higher Education Institution in charge of teaching personnel that are specialized in fields related to this branch.

Postgraduate Studies

In the case of postgraduate studies, besides the Higher Education Institutions described above, there are Science and Technology Entities that have been authorized for this; these include national institutes, research institutes, national centers, research centers, study centers, national schools and branches of different agencies accounting for more than 200 institutions that are authorized for professional teaching and postgraduate academic training.

The higher education institutions and the authorized science and technology entities issue, register and homologate the certificates of postgraduate courses, training courses, diplomas and postdoctoral studies.

The degrees of Master of Science and Specialist are issued and homologated by the Ministry of Higher Education (or by the Administration entities of the state that are authorized to do so) and are registered by them, as well as by the Secretariat of the authorized higher education institution.

The degree of Doctor of Science is issued by the National Scientific Degrees Commission (at the proposal of the Higher Education Institution authorized for the Doctorate programs), which also homologates and registers them.

Study Modalities

The process of training professionals is performed using two study modalities:

  • On campus

  • Partially on campus

On campus modality it is appropriate for students that are not working and that are able to devote all their time to studying. The enrollment in this modality corresponds to an entry plan approved by the government in response to the demand of qualified workforce. The syllabus is conceived in fixed terms for the completion of the studies, which implies a common rate of progress for all students enrolled.

This modality is characterized by a high weekly teaching load, requiring the frequent assistance of the students to the planned academic activities, under the guidance of the professor. This does not mean that certain subjects or teaching activities may be carried out under the characteristics of the “partially on campus modality”. This modality is generally carried out at the central sites and teaching units, although some educational activities can be offered at the university sites.

(The teaching units and basic working entities are the areas where the internship is carried out ensuring that the objectives established in the study curricula and programs are met. Each degree course of each higher education center will specify the network of basic working entities and educational units of the region where the working awareness, discipline and responsibility on the job and the academic activities are incorporated to those of research as a single system. The rapid introduction in the teaching process of the latest scientific and technical achievements is promoted, thereby applying and developing them in the areas where the students carry out their practices).

Partially on campus modality: it is offered for the continuation of studies of all persons who have completed the upper secondary level, with no limits in age or others aspects. Students may or may not have employment relationships. It is characterized by a lighter teaching load than the “on campus” modality, thereby reducing the presence of the students with their professors in the educational activities. This is generally carried out at the university sites although certain activities of the curriculum may be offered at the central sites or other facilities provided for this purpose.

Depending on the teaching modality implemented, a degree course can be offered under a “partially on campus” form in certain teaching periods and under the “on campus” form in others. At the same time, when so required by the characteristics of the modality, a time limit for completing the studies may be fixed.

Table of the certification levels in Cuban Higher Education



Academic Training

Doctor (scientific degree)

Doctor of Science

Doctor of Science in a certain specialty


Second degree

First degree



Professional Development

PostdoctoraL (only for professionals with the Doctoral scientific degree)


Postgraduate training

Postgraduate course


B.S. and B.A., Engineer, Medical Doctor, Doctor in Veterinary Medicine, Architect



Data on the institution

Name: National Accreditation Committee (JAN)

Postal Address: Calle 30  No. 867-1, entre Ave. Kohly y Calle 41, Nuevo Vedado, Plaza de la Revolución Municipality

Name of the Director: Nora Espí Lacomba, Doctor in Chemical Sciences

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These information has been prepared by the Ministry of Higher Education of Cuba (MES) together with the National Accreditation Committee (JAN). The JAN is the only accreditation body for Higher Education in Cuba.

National focal point

Ing. Ana Laura Díaz Herryman



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