In July 1989 some university teachers and research-workers established the Society for New Bulgarian University. The aim of the Society was to work for reforms in the Bulgarian university. On September 18, 1991 the Society obtained university status from the Great National Assembly under the name of the New Bulgarian University (SG, № 80/1991).
The first period of NBU development - 1991-1993 was related to the establishment of the institutional framework of the university and to its identification in the public domain. On 17th October 1991 the General meeting of the Society formed, out of its members, the Interim Board of Trustees of NBU. Prof. Bogdan Bogdanov was elected Chair and provisionally exercising the functions of the Rector. The Interim Board of Trustees developed the general directions for development of the university and specified its program for action; established the university structures, approved their compositions and internal regulations.
In 1991/1992 were established two main units, functioning as schools: the Free School and Correspondent School (Radio-university). They provided courses, qualification programs and distance learning. At the Free School were established the departments – the research structures of the university.
During this period, the educational programs were experimental by nature and with professional orientation, but still then was introduced the credit system, which encouraged student mobility and initiated the inclusion of NBU into the national, and later on into the international, academic community.
The courses had an unlimited freedom of topics and involving of lecturers, of content and forms of teaching, of ways of attracting the students. The students freely combined courses that they have selected into their educational programs. The principle of educational programs’ formation – teams, united by enterprising personalities – laid the foundations of the self-government of the university structures.
During the second period of the NBU development - 1993-1998, was formed the regular Board of Trustees of the University (1994). It had large public representation - the local authorities, the business, and non-governmental organizations. On March 14, 1994 were adopted the Regulations for the Structure and Activities of NBU, which contained a detailed structure of the university and defined the forms of management and self-government. The Academic Council was established (1994), which together with the Board of Trustees became the other fundamental managerial body of the New Bulgarian University. In 1993 were established the Undergraduate School and the Graduate School, as well as a wide range of educational programs. At that time, for the fist time in Bulgarian university, there were introduced the educational degrees bachelor, master and doctor. There were also established the departments, whose main functions were research and development of the programs. The departments unite the teachers from a single scientific community. In this period were established the local centers in Varna, Plovdiv and Veliko Turnovo, and later on - those in Vidin and Vratsa.
In the middle of the period 1993-1998 the management of the university headed towards planned development. In 1997 NBU worked out its first business plan, naming it “Document for self-evaluation and institutional development”. Its elaboration was internationally supported by means of a sequence of seminars, workshop sessions and all-university conferences.
After 1998, NBU started realizing its mission, turning it into structural and educational policy. During the academic year 1999/2000, 16 basic programs were formed, as the basis of the bachelor programs; therewith NBU started the realization of its idea of liberal education. Education of Artes Liberales type was discussed at the NBU conferences - “All-university education – aims and need” and “NBU programs and program policy”, as well as with the representatives at the Saltsburg seminar.
On July 5, 2001, NBU obtained institutional accreditation for the maximum 6 year period.
During the academic year 2001/2002 started the basic program Artes Liberales, consisting of optional courses, covering the basic spheres of knowledge. The tendency of extending the general education in the other basic programs intensified. An accompanying program (minor) was introduced at the Undergraduate School, the training being carried out in parallel with the main program (major). The Graduate School programs were reorganized for attaining of narrow specialization. The Schools started the process of development and introduction of more distance leaning courses, provided in parallel with the full-time form. In September 2001 Raina Kabaivanska carried out her first master class in Bulgaria at the New Bulgarian University.
. During the academic year 2003/2004 the university implemented a new program reform, oriented towards liberalization of the education, incorporating the basic programs into the bachelor degree programs and creating 24 bachelor programs. The University’s activity is managed by a system of plans – five year strategic plans, three year development plans and semester action plans. In December 2005 NBU passed through the second procedure of institutional accreditation, carried out by the National Evaluation and Accreditation Agency.
The departments at NBU are - Anthropology, Archeology, Economics and Business Administration, Informatics, History, History of Culture, Cinema, Advertising and Show business, Cognitive Science and Psychology, Mass Communications, Medicine and Biology, Musical Art, Earth and Environmental Sciences, New Bulgarian Studies, Mediterranean and Eastern Studies, Applied Arts, Political Sciences, Law, Foreign Languages and Literature, Foreign Language Training, Theatre, Telecommunications, Philosophy and Sociology. The research centers at NBU that have departmental status are – Center for Public Administration, Central and East European Center for Cognitive Science, South-East European Center for Semiotic Studies, Center for Social Practices and Bulgarian Center for Human Relations.
University website: New Bulgarian University