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Education Structure in Iceland

The Iceland education comprises of pre-school education, basic/compulsory education, upper secondary, and higher education

School Education in Iceland

In Iceland, school education comprises of pre-school, compulsory and upper secondary education. Basic education or compulsory education in Iceland lasts for 10 years. After the completion of compulsory studies, students can go for upper secondary education that lasts for 4 years. The upper secondary education comprise of comprehensive schools, vocational education, specialised vocational studies and industrial vocational schools. Students are given vocational education and training in areas, such as health and commerce, agriculture, food production sector, and fishing industry; or are trained in a particular trade leading. 

Tertiary Education in Iceland

Higher education in Iceland is governed by Law no 136/1997- Laws on Universities. As per this law, the traditional universities as well as the institutions are given an Icelandic term "haskoli" which means “high school” in English. The law does not differentiate between universities and non-universities.  Also, as per the law, the Minister of Education, Science and Culture sets the scope of the research the institutions will be involved in.  It is also responsible for the recognition of all degrees awarded and sets the guidelines for quality assessment.
Currently, there are 8 "haskoli"; out of which 3 are private, but operate with the support of the state.

Structure of Iceland Education

Period of Compulsory Education

  • Entry age: 6
  • Exit age: 16

Pre-school Education

  • School type: Kindergarten, playschools
  • Ages: 2 to 6 years

Basic/Compulsory Education

  • School type:Compulsory Schools(Grunnskoli) comprises of primary and lower secondary schools
  • Duration: 10 years
  • Ages: 6 to 16
  • Grades: 1 to 10
  • Credential awarded: Grunnskolaprof Certificate (Basic school certificate)

Upper Secondary Education

  • School type:  Secondary/Grammar School (Menntaskoli/fjolbrautaskoli)
  • Duration: 4 years
  • Ages: 16 to 20
  • Credential: Studentsprof (Upper secondary school certificate)

Technical Secondary Education

  • School type: Technical Secondary School
  • Duration: 4 years
  • Ages: 16 to 20
  • Credential awarded: Sveinsprof (Technical secondary school certificate)

Higher Education

  • Ages: 20 and above

Level: Bachelor’s degree

  • Duration: 3-4 years
  • ECTS Credits: 180-240

Level: Candidatus degree

  • Duration: 4-6 years

Level: Master’s degree

  •  Duration: 1-2 years
  • ECTS Credits: 90-120

Level: Doctorate Studies

  • Duration: Varies, depending upon the discipline

Iceland Educational Credentials 

School Education Credentials

  • Basic School Certificate (Grunnskolaprof)
  • Upper Secondary School Certificate (Studentsprof)
  • Technical Secondary School Certificate (Sveinsprof)

Higher Education Credentials

  • Diploma or Certificate (Profskirteini eea Vottore)
  • Bachelor of Icelandic Language and Literature (Baccalaureatus Philologiae Islandicae)
  • Bachelor of Arts (Baccalaureatus Artium)
  • Academic Degree in Pharmacy (Kandidatsprof Cand. Pharm.)
  • Academic Degree in Dentistry (Kandidatsprof Cand. Odont.)
  • Academic Degree in Theology (Kandidatsprof Cand. Theol.)
  • Academic Degree in Medicine (Kandidatsprof Cand. Med. et Chir.)
  • Candidate Examination in Laws (Kandidatsprof Cand. Juris_
  • Academic Degree in Economics (Kandidatsprof Cand. Œcon.)
  • Master of Education (Magister Paedagogiae)
  • Master's Degree (Meistaraprof)
  • Doctorate Degree (Doctorsprof)
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