Bulgarian Education Path

The education system in Bulgaria is managed by the Ministry of Education. The educational system encompasses school education that consists of 12 grades, organized in two levels-basic and secondary, and higher education. Basic education is subdivided into two stages: primary/elementary and lower secondary/junior high school. Secondary education is imparted by different types of secondary schools: comprehensive/general, vocational and specialized secondary education. 

Snapshot of Bulgarian Education System

Pre-primary Education

Preprimary in Bulgaria is offered by nurseries (detski yasli) for children up to the age of 3, and kindergartens for children aged 3 to 7. There are public, private or municipal kindergartens available in Bulgaria.  Before going in for formal school education, a one-year preparatory pre-primary education is compulsory for children aged 6 to 7. 

Compulsory Education

Education in Bulgaria is mandatory for children aged 7 and 16.

Basic Education

Basic education in Bulgaria is compulsory and is divided into two stages: primary/elementary education and lower secondary/junior high school.

Primary/Elementary Education

Primary education in Bulgaria is offered by elementary schools (nachalno uchilishte) and covers grades 1 to 4. This educational level last for 4 years and is for children aged 7 to 11. Elementary education provide basic mathematics and language knowledge and skills. 
  • Curriculum: Mathematics, music, Bulgarian language, natural science, physical education, basic Bulgarian history and geography, and fine arts. 
  • Instructions per week: 22-25
  • Certificate awarded: Primary education completion certificate

Junior High School/Lower Secondary Education

Lower secondary education is imparted by junior high schools, and covers grades 5 to 8. Children aged 11 to 15 may attend lower secondary education. 
  • Curriculum: Mathematics, chemistry, Bulgarian language and literature, music, geography, fine arts, technical education, physics, history, physical education, biology, and one foreign language. 
  • Instructions per week: 27-30
  • Certificate awarded: Basic education completion certificate

Secondary Education

Students who have completed lower secondary education are eligible for secondary education. Secondary education in Bulgaria is optional and is offered by comprehensive/general secondary schools, specialized schools and vocational secondary schools. This educational level prepares students for higher education or labour market. 

Comprehensive/General Secondary Education

This education level provides general studies and prepares students for higher education. 
  • Duration: 4 years
  • Grades: 9 to 12
  • Ages: 15 to 19

Specialized Secondary Education

This educational level is profile-oriented and provides education in a particular area. It mainly focuses on mathematics, arts, science, sports, and humanities.
  • Grades: 9 to 12
  • Ages: 15 to 19
Language schools: In Bulgaria, there are specialized schools with focus on foreign languages.

Vocational Secondary Education

This educational level is offered by vocational and technical schools, and technical schools.  This level provides practical training and prepares students for labour market. 
  • Duration: 3 years
  • Certificate awarded: Diploma of vocational education


At the end of secondary education, students must sit for a school-leaving exam-Matura that consists of two examinations:
  • Bulgarian language and literature
  • A subject chosen by the student
Students who pass the examination are awarded a Maturity certificate.

Higher Education (Vische obrazovanie)

Higher education in Bulgaria is offered by universities, independent colleges and specialized higher schools and institutes. 
  • Universities in Bulgaria offer a wide range of programmes at undergraduate and graduate level. Universities offer studies in technological, social, humanities and science. 
  • Higher schools in Bulgaria provide courses that result in specialist diploma, bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and doctoral degree. Students must have completed secondary education in order gain admittance in higher school programmes. 
  • Specialized higher education institutions are involved in research and teaching in fields of sports, science, defense and the arts.
  • Independent colleges provide short and vocation-oriented training programme. 

Higher Education Qualifications

  • Specialist diploma is awarded after the completion of 3-year study programme.
  • Bachelor degree is awarded after the completion of 4-year study programme
  • Master’s degree requires completion of an undergraduate degree and is awarded after the completion of 2 year programme.
  • Doctoral degree requires completion of master’s studies, and is awarded after the completion of 3-year research programme.
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