Structure of Education in Croatia

School education in Croatia starts with preschool, which is optional, followed by elementary education that lasts for 8 years. Elementary education in Croatia is compulsory. Upon successful completion of the elementary education, students can go for secondary education. Secondary education in Croatia consists of grammar schools, art schools and vocational schools. Grammar schools are split up into general, classical, scientific and linguistic schools. Vocational schools provide courses that last for 3-4 years. Art schools provide education in the fields of dance, music, design and visual arts. At the end of secondary education, students are required to take an entrance exam for admission into the higher education institution in Croatia.

School Education Structure

Period of compulsory education 
  • Entry age: 6 
  • Exit age:  14

Pre-school Education

  • Ages: 6 months to 6 years
  • Providers: Kindergarten, nursery schools and preschool institutions

Elementary/Primary Education

  • School type: Primary/elementary school (Osnovna skola)
  • Duration: 8 years
  • Ages: 6 to 14
  • Grades: 1 to 8
The elementary education is split up into 2 stages
  • Grades 1 to 4
  • Grades 5 to 8
Credential: Certificate of primary/elementary education

Secondary Education

School type: Grammar schools (Gimnazija)
  • Duration: 4 years
  • Age: 14 to 18
  • Grades: 9 to 12
  • Credential: Matura
School type: Vocational school (Strukovna skola)
  • Duration: 4 years
  • Ages: 14 to 18
  • Credential: Vocational qualification and Matura    
School type: Specialized secondary school/Arts school (Umjetnička skola)
  • Duration: 4 year
  • Grades: 9 to 12
  • Ages: 14 to 18
  • Credential: Secondary leaving certificate (Svjedodzba o zavrsnom ispitu)     

Croatian Higher Education System

The higher education system of Croatia comprises of public and private universities, polytechnics and schools of higher education. The Ministry of Science and Technology manages these higher education institutions.  Universities in Croatia consist of faculties, art academies and schools of higher education.     

Types of higher education institutions in Croatia
  • University (Sveuciliste) 
  • Polytechnics (Veleuciliste)
  • School of higher education (Visoka Skola)     
Degree Structure in Croatia

Level 1: Undergraduate Studies
  • Duration: 4 years
  • Certificate awarded: Title of Bachelor
Level 2: Master’s degree
  • Duration: 2 years
  • Certificate awarded: Title of Master (mag.)
Level 3: Doctoral Studies
  • Duration: 3 years
  • Certificate awarded: Doctor of Science or Doctor of Arts

Educational Credentials

Croatian School Education Credentials

  • Certificate of primary education (Svjedodzba o osnovnom obrazovanju)
  • Certificate of completed secondary education (Svjedodzba o zavrsenom srednjem obrazovanju)
  • Certificate of final examination (Svjedodzba o zavrsnom ispitu)
  • Certificate of vocational secondary education (Svjedodzba o zavrsenom srednjem strukovnom obrazovanju)

Croatian Higher Education Credentials

  • Graduate diploma and professional title (Diplomirani i Strucni Naziv)
  • Diploma and professional specialist title (Diploma i Strucni Naziv Specijalist)
  • Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (Doktor Veterine)
  • Doctor of Medicine (Doktor Medicine)
  • Doctor of Dentistry (Doktor Stomatologije)
  • Diploma and academic title of Master (Diploma i Akademski Naziv Magistar)
  • Doctor of Arts and Science (Doktor znanosti i umjetnost)
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