The Icelandic school system is built up in four main levels, pre-schools, primary schools, secondary schools and universites. It´s the Ministry of Education that decides on the general curriculum for the first three levels plus all levels of music schools.


All people should have equal access to education regardless of gender, residence, disability, financial situation, religion and cultural or social background.


Most universities and some secondary schools offer distance learning options, which is also true of continuing education schools and regional education and training service centers throughout the country.


Find more about each school level here below. For additional info on studying in Iceland visit www.island.is.

Accordion Content

Pre-school, for children under the age of six, is not compulsory. Parents apply for a pre-school spot for their child in the municipality in which the child is legally domiciled.


Primary school is compulsory. Compulsory primary education means that children and young adults aged 6-16 must study in primary schools. Parents must enroll their children in primary schools and ensure that they attend school.


More about pre- and primary schools here.


Everyone who has completed primary school, received an equivalent basic education or reached the age of 16 can begin his/her studies in a secondary school.


Students who are completing the tenth year at primary school, along with their guardians, will receive a letter from the Ministry of Education in the spring containing information concerning registration in a secondary-school day-school programme.


Read more about secondary schools here.


Icelandic universities are centres of knowledge and part of an international educational and scientific community. There are seven Universities operating in Iceland. There are four state universities and three private, non-profit organisations.


Those who intend to study at a university must have completed a matriculation examination (the Icelandic University Entrance Examination) or equivalent examination. Universities are permitted to set specific entrance requirements and to have students sit an entrance examination or status examination.


Here you can read more about universities in Iceland.


The language spoken in Iceland is simply called Icelandic. It’s closely related to the other Nordic languages. There is a good selection of courses in Icelandic available.


Anyone can access books and other materials from public library collections with a library card. The libraries’s websites include information on library cards, fees and lending rules.


Here you can read more about librarires and how to study Icelandic.


Recognition of your qualifications/education can improve your status on the labour market, increase your employment prospects and lead to higher wages.


In order to enable your qualifications to be assessed, you need to provide satisfactory documentation certifying your studies, including copies of examination certificates, together with translations by certified translators. Translations may be in English or a Nordic language.


More about getting your qualification and education recognised can be found here.


Here you can see videos about the Icelandic school system in varipus languages.


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