Georgia National Overview

Updated in November 2016 by Nana Sharikadze, Head of International Relations Department at the V.Sarajishvili Tbilisi State Conservatoire.

Overview of Higher Music Education System

Professional music education in Georgia might be characterized as “NON STOP music education”, which starts from the primary level (at the age 6/7). A total of approximately the 5 % of the age group 7-16 study music on a professional level with the aim to apply to a Conservatoire. It should be mentioned that the musical education was brought to Georgia by Russian model. However, that model was copied from Europe, particularly from Germany. German musical educational model widely developed in the Soviet countries was finally formed as an extremely powerful and successful system. Ca 98% of Higher Music Educational Institutions students have gone through the nonstop music education process.
Higher Music Education is provided by the several universities in Georgia: there is a music department at the Art University in Batumi (Adjara autonomous republic of Georgia) (specialty:  piano, Academic Singing, Orchestra, Music Theory, Choir conducting); approx 50 students and 20 academic staff)  providing studies on BA as well as MA level;  St. Giorgi Mtatsmindeli  teaching university offering the studies for BA as well as MA program (specialty: Georgian chanting; Church musicology; approx 60 students, academies staff 30 ); a Bachelor program is also offered  by the Musical College in Kutaisi (specialty: piano, Orchestra instruments, academic singing, choir conducting, approx students 20, staff academic 10); vocational studies are provided by the Gori vocational music college ( specialty: performer illustrator, academic choir conducting, ensemble and choir singer; approx students 28, staff 10).
The V.Sarajishvili Tbilisi State Conservatoire (TSC) is the main Higher Education Institution in the field of music in Georgia; Since 1924 it bears the status of State Conservatoire. It is an independent, state university‐type institutions – LEPL (legal entity of public law) and is listed in the Universities Act of Georgia among the 31 universities (12 state funded, and 13 – private) of the country. The graduates of the TSC are awarded the academic degrees (BA, MA, PhD, DM), like those of the big universities.
All the Georgian public universities have developed a new structure and completelynew curricula since 2004. There is 3 cycle structure in the majority of Georgian HEIs including TSC: 4+2+3. Consequently TSC runs the Bachelor, Master and Doctorate programs. The V.Sarajishvili Tbilisi State Conservatoire (TSC) offers classical music specializations (since 1917) including musicology; It should also be mentioned that TSC also offers 5 BA programs (performing arts – all specialties, jazz music, composition, music theory, “Music and Today “consisting of following specialties music technology, music journalism, music management); 3 MA programs(performing art – all specialties, composition, musicology ); 3 Doctorate programs (performing arts – all specialties, composition, musicological research – music theory, music history, ethnomusicology, church musicology, history and theory of performing arts). In total 465 students have been registered at TSC. 96 academic staff members have a permanent position and around 70 are invited as guest professors/teachers.
Professional music education is part of the general higher education system. Georgia joined the Bologna process in 2004 and since that time the ECTS has been implemented in all HEIs of the country including TSC. The National Qualification Framework(NQF)) system was adopted, and an internal and external QA system has been implemented. A diploma supplement has been issued in all HEIs and has been recognized by the state since 2005.
Higher Music Education falls under the Ministry of Culture and Monuments protection and gets funding from the state budget through the above mentioned ministry; although all regulations regarding the Higher Education are coming from the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia.

Total number of institutions
There are four following institutions on the higher level:
  • Tbilisi State Conservatoire - TSC (runs BA, MA, Doctorate programs)  
  • The Music Department at the Art University in Batumi with the BA/MA programs
  • St.Giorgi Mtatsmindeli teaching university with the BA/MA programs
  • Musical Collage in Kutaisi (specialty: piano, Orchestra instruments, academic singing, choir conducting, approx students 20, staff academic 10)
Total number of music students
In total approx. 750 on BA level in the whole country, ca 200 MA level; 20 on Doctoral level.
Funding The largest part of the funding (approx 90%) of Tbilisi State Conservatoire comes from the state through Ministry of Culture and Monuments protection, another part from tuition fees. Regional universities get funding by the autonomous republic state budget.
Curricula
The curricula are controlled by the state, they are registered by the Ministry of Education. Studies at the institutions providing Higher Music Education are organized in both ways one-on-one as well as group.
Genres classical music, classical composition, musicology, music technology, jazz music, music journalism, music management, church music.
2-cycle system
All the Georgian public universities have developed a new structure and completely new curricula since 2004.
There is a 3 cycle structure in majority of Georgian HEIs including TSC: 4+2+3 years:
  • 1st cycle lasts for 4 years and leads to the Bachelor Diploma of musical arts
  • 2nd cycle lasts for 2 year and leads to the Master  of music for performers;  and Master of arts science in ethnomusicology/musicology/Church musicology
Qualifications
  • 1st cycle: Bachelor of musical arts
  • 2nd cycle: Master of music for performers; and Master of arts science in ethnomusicology/ musicology/ church musicology
  • 3rd cycle: PhD; and Doctor of Music 
Entry requirements 1st cycle
Applicants for BA studies at the Higher Music Education are obliged to go through following steps:
Those applying for performing specialties, composition and musicology have to pass exam in specialty and music theory (dictation, harmony test, music literature) at Tbilisi State Conservatoire. In case of a satisfactory grade they are allowed to continue with the next step
  • A National Exam with 3 subjects (Georgian, foreign language, skills)
  • In the end of the process the grades obtained through National exams and the specialty exams are summarized and the priority is given to the highest grade holder candidate and according to that the applicants are sorted within the limited places.
Those applying for BA program Music and Today (music technology, music journalism, music management) have to go through only
  • National Exam. They have to pass 4 subjects (Georgian, foreign language, skills, the 4th subject is upon their choice)
  • In the end of the process the priority is given to the highest grade holder candidate and according to that the applicants are sorted within the limited places.
Prerequisite for applicants for the first cycle of the education is full general secondary education confirmed by the school leaving certificate
 
N.B. It’s impossible to get BA student status without going through the United National Exams in Georgia since 2004. 
Entry requirements 2nd cycle
Applicants for MA studies at the Higher Music Education have to meet following requirements:
Those applying for performing specialties have to pass exam in specialty at HEI;
  • The priority is given to the highest grade holder candidate and according to that applicants are sorted within the limited places.
Those applying for composition and musicological studies first have to take
  • United National exams
  • In case of a satisfactory grade they are allowed to proceed to the next steps of exams in specialty
In the end of the process the grades obtained through National exams and the specialty exams are summarized and the priority is given to the highest grade holder candidate and according to that the applicants are sorted within the limited places. 
A prerequisite for applicants for the second cycle of the education is Bachelor Degree in music.
% of students who continue with 2nd cycle Approximately 90% of all the graduates of the 1st cycle will apply for the 2nd cycle. but only half (50%) will be accepted due to the limited number of places.
3rd cycle
Applicants for Doctorate studies at the Higher Music Education are obliged to take 3 exams at the HEI
  • specialty
  • related discipline to the specialty
  • foreign language
TSC is the only HEI for Doctorate studies in the whole country in the field of music. In the end of the process the priority is given to the highest grade holder candidate and according to that the applicants are sorted within the limited places.
It should also be mentioned that  Doctorate studies are not free at TSC.However, it is possible that TSC announces the place free of charge according to the institutional strategy.
In the end of studies following qualification could be obtained: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD); and Doctor of Music (DM).
Credit point system
BA – 240 ECTS
MA – 120 ECTS
Doctorate – 180 ECTS
Internationalization
The Conservatoire’s International Relations Department was established in 1991. Since then, the Office has been actively involved in shaping the Conservatoire's policy on relations with foreign higher academic institutions and other international organizations. The TSC’s international strategy is to contribute to the internationalization of study process, taking advantage of ooverall international co-operation, in particular European dimension and Erasmus framework. Therefore, TSC aims:
  • to enhance staff and student mobility,
  • to develop sustainable international study learning environment;
  • to support regional cooperation
  • to develop new joint innovative curricula;
  • to promote the new interactive teaching methods;
  • to support different academic departments to apply and participate in thematic networks
TSC has a strong focus on international exchange and international networks. TSC is involved in the following international projects and networks: Erasmus+ credit mobility program. In 2015 TSC joined the Erasmus family and is involved in a wide range of international collaborations with the leading institutions and Music Academies of Europe; TSC holds an Erasmus PIC and since 2015 and has actively been using the different possibilities in the Erasmus program: Mobility of students and staff, research and capacity building of academic/administrative staff.
By the 2017 TSC has 13 active Erasmus partners. TSC also has an inter-institutional cooperation beyond the Erasmus program with the 20 HEIs from Europe; Cooperation covers various activities from music performances and music making over educational training, improvement of study learning environment.
TSC provides opportunity to study on BA as well MA programs (performing specialties, Music theory and composition); TSC welcomes full degree students as well as exchange students and individualstudy course/module takers that are adapted to the needs of international students. TSC accepts up to 10 full degree international students every year, and around 3 intense course/module taker students for “Georgian Folk Music module” (60 ECTS). Entrance requirements for foreign students are same as for the Georgian students. The application deadline is 1 June. The Erasmus+ deadline is 15 December, 1 April. The majority of TSC study programs are taught in English, German, and Russian. A flexible language policy enables international students to take advantage of almost all classes.
Quality assurance
All programs that give qualification have been accredited at TSC since 2005. Accreditation is done by national centre of quality enhancement of Georgia. All HEIs with the state status in Georgia including TSC have established the internal/external QA evaluating system. The process is handled in the following way:
  • Internal self-evaluation comprising the authorisation and program accreditation directions.  Self-evaluation of the institution is done annually and the HEI is obliged to send the result to the NQEC (National Quality Enhancement Center)
  • External evaluation is done by the National quality enhancement center and consists of authorization and program accreditation directions. Authorization is the instrument for external evaluation of compatibility of an institution with standards, certifying internal (self) evaluation. Authorisation is obligatory for all types of educational institutions in order to carry out educational activities and to issue an educational document approved by the state. Authorization takes place in every 6 years, while program accreditation is carried out in every 5 year.
  • Accreditation is a type of external evaluation mechanism, which determines the compatibility of an educational program with standards. State funding goes only to accredited programs. Accreditation is mandatory for doctoral program and regulated professions as well as Georgian language and Liberal Arts.
It should also be mentioned that Georgia is an affiliated member of the ENQA  (European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education)
Employability Over 90% of graduates within the performing specialties are working on their specialty. Over the 60 % of musicologists are able to work on their specialty
Most of the students are educated for the professions related to practical musicianship (orchestral musician, solo and chamber music performer, composer). Many of the students take also the 60 ECTS pedagogical Module subjects that prepare them for the music teacher’s profession.
Academic Year
The academic year starts on the September 15th and ends at the middle of July. The academic year is divided into two semesters: autumn semester (ends on January 30 including exams) and spring semester (ends on July 15th including exams).
Overview of the Pre-College Music Training System
No information available yet.