ECEU Good Practice Award
mundus eacea jasso

The University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy, Sofia

Website - http://www.uacg.bg/

The University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy (UACEG) is the oldest and the most renowned Bulgarian higher technical school in its field. For the time of its existence UACEG has trained more than 6.000 architects and 25.000 engineers. The main objectives of UACEG are to provide high-quality higher education in architecture and civil engineering; to offer a rich choice of post graduate educational qualifications; to realise thorough scientific research and effective co-operation with national and international public and private institutions in the fields of architecture, urban and regional planning, civil engineering, surveying, etc. Alongside with the technical aspects of the education, one of the aims of UACEG is to develop future architects, civil engineers and surveyors' skills to cope with large-scale construction projects in compliance with ecological requirements and provide non-conflicting development of built and natural environment. Participation in joint projects under such European programmes like PHARE, TEMPUS, INCO-COPERNICUS, CEEPUS as well as SOCRATES and LEONARDO contributes to the same aspect aimed eventually at the graduates to successfully pursue their careers in international environment.

It has been a constant policy of the UACEG to attract international students. Today, the University is Bulgaria’s University with the highest number of international students (mainly from the Balkans, Middle East and Northern Africa) among the engineering educational institutions in the country. This is a sign of international recognition of the University's level of education and at the same time paves the way to future better international co-operation in the field.

The international activities of UACEG are coordinated by the Vice Rector for International Relations and Continuing Education and are administered by the International Relations Department (IRD), which keeps track on Erasmus, Leonardo da Vinci and CEEPUS programmes, etc. At present UACEG has ERASMUS contracts for student mobility with 71 partner institutions from 24 countries all over Europe and welcomes each year about 20 ERASMUS students. Apart from this a considerable number of undergraduate and graduate students from Bulgaria’s neighboring countries (Greece, Turkey and Macedonia) enroll each year at the University which was the reason for introducing also teaching in English in a growing number of disciplines since 2009.

The University Campus is located close to the historic centre of Sofia and is conveniently accessible through public transport. All educational and research activities are hosted at the University campus.  It comprises 7 buildings with altogether 90 auditoriums, 36 laboratories, well equipped specialised library, 3 sports halls, a modern recreation centre and Aula Maxima of 800 seats. Incoming foreign students from mobility programmes could be accommodated in the University hostel facilities in the Student Town - well equipped with all types of service facilities and in convenient connection to the university site by public transport. The rent per month per person is 100 EUR for a single room, and 50 EUR per person in a double room. Administrative services for foreign students are provided by the University International Relations Office, where all the administrative staff is fluent in either English or French.

Full-time academic staff is nowadays 435 (including 74 professors and 137 associate professors). There are about 5000 students (including 352 foreign and 50 postgraduate students) in the five faculties (Architecture, Structural Engineering, Hydrotechnics, Geodesy and Transportation Engineering). UACEG is a member of numerous international organisations: AESOP, CIB, EAAE, EAIE, ESDEP, IABSE, ICOMOS, IFLA, etc. In the period 1991-2000 UACEG has participated in 15 TEMPUS projects in partnership with universities from Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, UK, and Ireland. Other EU-financed projects have been developed within the COST, INCO COPERNICUS and PHARE programmes as well as projects and individual participations within the NATO Science Programme, British Know How Fund, National Science Foundation of Switzerland, etc. IRD is also administering the bilateral cooperation with foreign universities and higher schools in Athens, Bordeaux, Vienna, Goeteborg, Dresden, Karlsruhe, London, Moscow, Nantes, Olshtin, Rennes, Rouen, Zuerich, and Stuttgart.

The Faculty of Architecture (FAR) consists of 8 departments and a Laboratory complex of Information Technologies (a section of it being the Multimedia Laboratory on Cultural Heritage). . The Faculty offers the following taught courses: Master in Architecture – 5.5 years (latest RIBA accreditation in 2009); BSc degree in Urbanism - 4 years (Programme national accreditation in 2007; MSc degree in Urbanism – 1.5 years). The Faculty provides supervision of PhD students from Bulgaria and abroad (3 years for full-time and 4 years for part-time, national accreditation in 2007). Students from all over the world (Syria, Iraq, Algeria, Palestine, Yemen, Afghanistan, Ecuador, Germany, Russia, Poland, Macedonia, etc.) have successfully defended their PhD theses at the Faculty of Architecture within the broad field of architecture, spatial development and planning. The Department of Urban Planning has a leading role in the teaching process of the Programme in Urbanism (BSc since 2002) and MSc since 2006). Urbanism is a new major for the UACEG and for Bulgaria. The BSc in Urbanism Programme is a result of a successful Joint European Project, funded by PHARE-TEMPUS - TEMPUS S-JEP 12540/97 (project title: Development of a European BSc in Urbanism Programme; coordinator: Prof. V. Troeva; partners: UACG, University College Dublin; School of Arts; Herriot Watt University, Edinburgh). The programme was accredited by the National Agency for Accreditation and Evaluation in 2002. The programme introduces modular structure, European Credit Transfer System and Quality Control System. It follows the guidelines of the RTPI, AESOP and ECTP on planning education. The Department is actively involved in international research collaboration - COST C20: Urban Knowledge Arena (2005 –09); Thematic network LENOTRE “Landscape Education: New Opportunities for Training and Research in Europe” (2003 – continuing); PETUS project (Practical Evaluation Tools for Urban sustainability, FP5, 2002-2005); RIMED Project (Regional Integration and Metropolitan Development in Southeastern Europe), INTERREG III B CADSES.

The Faculty of Structural Engineering (FSE) consists of 7 specialised Departments and several supporting units. The academic staff of the Faculty comprises 48 full professors and associate professors, and 45 assistant professors and lecturers. The Faculty offers taught courses in MSc in Structural Engineering (in Bulgarian and English) – 5 years; MSc in Structural engineering – 1.5 years; MSc in Analysis and Design of Structures – 1.5 years; MSc in Reconstruction and Modernization of Buildings and Facilities – 1.5 years. The Faculty carries out international student and staff exchange with many European partner universities. Academic staff has contributed to EUCEET, E4 and TensiNet Thematic Networks. The Faculty maintains long-term focus on earthquake engineering both in education (compulsory two-semester course in the MSc curriculum) and research and has established regional co-operation with Greek and Turkish universities. Since 2006 partnership was formed with the IBST Research Institute of Hanoi, Vietnam, for research on seismic analysis/design of multi-storey buildings and seismic risk reduction.

Availability of language classes & Cultural Preparation

Language classes for incoming foreign students are organized by the Department of Applied Linguistics (established in May 2000, a successor of the Foreign Language Department which was one of the first educational units of the Higher Technical School founded in 1943). Through the years the Department has gained a lot of experience in the field of foreign and Bulgarian language training and the development of teaching materials and reference tools aimed at language training of students in the field of Civil Engineering, Architecture and Surveying.

Profile in relation to the main AUSMIP+ research theme.

Bulgaria already is facing considerable constraints due to the consequences of its rapid demographic change, an issue not yet properly addressed in the country by the Government, nor by most Academic Institutions.

In fact, Bulgaria’s population is expected to shrink the fastest in the whole of the EU the coming 30 years, and awareness regarding this evolution is quite low.

The AUSMIP+ partnership offers UAECG a unique opportunity to incorporate vital and innovative know-how as developed by the various European and Asia-Pacific partners, specifically concerning urban planning methodologies in a context of shrinking cities.  An additional field of great interest to UACEG is the transfer of know-how regarding seismic structures and how to implement those for existing structures, and on the level of urban planning, the effect of improved seismic building codes on historic areas.

A field hitherto non-developed by our faculty is the so-called concept of the ubiquitous city, promising higly relevant strategies in a era of a stark shrinkage of our population.

The University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy, Sofia, local coordinator, prof. Elena Dimitrova,  eldim_far@uacg.bg

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