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Structure of Education in Bulgaria

Education in Bulgaria starts with school education that last for 12 years and after completion of the secondary education, students can go for higher education.

School Education in Bulgaria

School education in Bulgaria starts with pre-primary education which is optional and for children aged 3 to 6/7 years old. Basic education in Bulgaria is compulsory for children aged 7 to 15 and is divided into two levels: primary school that includes grades 1 to 4 and lower secondary that includes grades 5 to 9. Upon completion of the basic education, students are awarded a basic education completion certificate which gives them access to upper secondary education. Upper secondary education last for 4 years and is offered by different types of schools: general, specialized, and vocational and technical secondary schools. Diploma of complete secondary education (Diploma za Zavurcheno Sredno Obrazovanie) or certificate of professional qualification is awarded after completion of secondary education. At the end of secondary education, students must undertake a school leaving exam-Matura, and those who pass receive a Maturity certificate.

Period for Compulsory Education

  • Entry age: 7
  • Exit age: 16

Pre-primary Education

  • School type: Kindergarten
  • Ages: 3 to 6/7

Basic Education

  • Duration: 9 years
  • Grades: 1 to 9
  • Ages: 7 to 16
Basic education in Bulgaria is divided into two stages: primary education and lower-secondary education.

Basic First Stage: Primary Education

  • School type: Primary school
  • Duration: 4 years
  • Grades: 1 to 4
  • Ages: 7 to 11
  • Credential awarded: Certificate of primary education

Basic Second Stage: Lower Secondary Education

  • School type: Junior high school
  • Duration: 4 years
  • Ages: 11 to 15
  • Grades: 5 to 8
  • Credential awarded: Basic education completion certificate

Secondary Education

Secondary education in Bulgaria is of three types: general, specialized and vocational.

General Secondary Education

  • School type: General secondary school (Gimnazii)
  • Duration: 4 years
  • Ages: 15 to 19
  • Grades: 9 to 12 
  • Credential awarded: Diploma of completed secondary education (Diploma za  Zavurcheno Sredno Obrazovanie)

Specialized Secondary Education

  • School type: Specialized high school (Profilirani Gimnazii )
  • Duration: 4 years
  • Ages: 15 to 19

Vocational Secondary Education

School type: Vocational/professional secondary schools (Professionalni gimnazii I/ili technikumil)
  • Duration: 4 years
  • Ages: 15 to 19
  • Credential awarded: Certificate of professional qualification.

Bulgarian Higher Education

Higher education in Bulgaria is offered by universities, colleges and specialised higher schools. In Bulgaria, there are both public and private higher education institutions. 

First Stage: Undergraduate

  • Duration: 4 years
  • Qualification awarded: Bachelor’s degree 

Second Stage: Graduate

  • Duration: 1 to 2 years
  • Qualification: Master’s degree

Third Stage: Doctorate Studies

  • Duration: 3 years
  • Qualification: Doctor (Doktor)
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