Education System in Iceland


 EducationSchool/LevelGrade FromGrade ToAge FromAge ToYearsNotes
PrimaryGrunnskoli (Compulsory School)11061610Certificate/diploma awarded: Grunnskólapróf Certificate
SecondaryMenntaskóli/fjölbrautaskóli (Secondary School)  16204Certificate/diploma awarded: Stúdentspróf
VocationalTechnical Secondary School  16204Technical Secondary School
TertiaryDiploma/Certificate, Baccalaureatus     Bachelor degrees (B.A., B.S., B.Ed, B.F.A., B.Mus) are awarded to students who have satisfactorily completed 3 to 4 years of study (90-120 credits) in a degree programme in the fields of humanities, theology, social sciences, education, special education, economics, business administration, natural sciences, health subjects, fishery studies, agricultural science, technology, engineering, pre-school teaching, compulsory school teaching, social pedagogy, fine arts, law and arts and crafts. Bachelor degrees do not usually confer professional certification, except for nursing (B.S.); physiotherapy (B.S.); deacon studies (B.A.), radiography (B.S.), medical laboratory technology (B.S.), social work (B.A.), and compulsory school teachers (B.ED.).
TertiaryTertiary - University      
TertiaryPostgraduate diploma; Candidatus; Meistaraprof     Candidatus degree (kandidatsgraad) qualifies the holder for a special office or profession. It is an academic/professional degree in the fields of theology, medicine, agricultural science, pharmacy, midwifery, law, psychology and dentistry. The Candidatus programmes last from four to six years in one-tier programmes, but for one year after a Bachelor degree in agricultural science and two years after a Bachelor degree in midwifery and psychology. Master's degrees (M.A., M.S., M.Ed, M.L.; M.B.A., M.P.A., M.P.H.; M.Paed-meistaragrada) are awarded after one-and-a-half or two years' successful completion of post-graduate study in the fields of theology, health sciences, humanities, law, economics, business administration, social sciences, education, natural sciences, engineering, medicine, dentistry, nursing, fishery studies and environmental studies.
TertiaryDoktorspróf - Doctorate Degree      Doctorate degree (dr.phil., dr.odeont., /Ph.D - doktorsgrada) is awarded to those who have successfully completed a doctorate programme and defended a doctoral thesis in Icelandic literature, Icelandic language, and Icelandic history, theology, law, medicine, nursing; health sciences, pharmacy, dentistry, engineering, natural sciences, education and social sciences. There is also another type of Doctoral degree which is the result of intensive independent research and is awarded after defence of a doctoral thesis.

Primary Education

Iceland follows the Nordic education system, and accordingly divides the program into 4 phases. These are playschool, basic compulsory, upper secondary and higher. Most facilities are state owned. Basic compulsory education begins at age 6, and lasts for 10 years. Successful completion earns a Grunnskólapróf certificate following internal assessment by the institution concerned.

Secondary Education

Voluntary upper secondary education lasts 4 years, and offers 3 separate streams, provided by secondary comprehensive schools, industrial vocational schools, and specialized vocational schools that focus on specific trades.

Vocational Education

Lifelong adult education is available through independent institutions. Courses range from basic literacy training through to advanced computer skills.

Tertiary Education

Iceland EducationIcelanders refer to their tertiary education institutions as háskóli which literally means high school. There is no distinction between traditional universities and those that lack research facilities though. There are 8 such institutions of which the University of Iceland that opened in 1911 and is illustrated here is the oldest.

Although all its students were previously enrolled on the main campus, today it instructs students at any one of its 25 campuses, in the humanities, science and social science fields, as well as professions that include theology, law, business, medicine, pharmacology, dentistry, nursing, and engineering.


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