Secondary school in Iceland
In Iceland there are over 30 secondary schools and colleges, spread throughout the country: comprehensive schools, secondary schools, industrial trade schools, colleges and vocational schools. The secondary education level usually includes pupils 16-20 years of age.
The school year in Icelandic secondary schools is nine months. A registration fee is paid in secondary schools, which varies from school to school. Students must pay for books and other study materials themselves.
The Nordic countries have concluded various agreements to ensure Nordic nationals have access to education and recognition of university degrees in all the Nordic countries. In addition, there are various educational programs operating under Nordic co-operation programmes that offer students in the Nordic countries various opportunities.
What is secondary school education like in Iceland?
In vocational schools, education in industrial trades generally ends with a journeyman’s exam, which entitles the person to work to become a master craftsman. In most cases, pupils can complete additional study credits for a university entrance diploma. Many secondary schools also offer shorter courses with direct connections to business and industry.
Study at secondary level intended to prepare pupils for university study concludes with a university entrance diploma. Students are expected to complete the university entrance diploma programme in three years.
At a few secondary schools in the capital area pupils can study for a university entrance diploma in English.
Students in secondary schools with a disability are legally entitled to special assistance. Many secondary schools have are special classes, practical programmes and other educational options specifically intended for disabled students.
There are two folk high schools in Iceland, Lýðháskólinn á Flateyri and LungA School in Seyðisfjörður.
What do you need to know before beginning study at a secondary school in Iceland?
Pupils whose mother tongue is not Icelandic are entitled to instruction in Icelandic as a second language. The same applies to students who have lived at length abroad and have limited proficiency in Icelandic. The intention is to give pupils whose mother tongue is not Icelandic the opportunity to maintain their native language as an optional subject, through distance study or by other means.
The Nordic countries have concluded a agreement to provide young people in the Nordic countries with access to secondary education in all the Nordic countries. As a general rule, anyone who has completed compulsory school in a Nordic country can begin secondary study in Iceland.
Students from the Nordic countries who come to Iceland to study can request to be temporarily covered by health insurance during their stay in Iceland.
Registration in secondary school in Iceland
Enrolment in upper secondary education is done online on the website of the Directorate of Education. In some secondary schools it is possible to enrol twice a year, in the spring and at near the end of the year, and in others only in the spring.
Do you want to study at a secondary school in the Nordic countries?
More information can be found on the websites of secondary schools in Iceland and on the website of the Directorate of Education.
Please fill in our contact form if you have any questions or if you have encountered an obstacle in another Nordic country.
NB! If you have questions regarding the processing of a specific case or application, or other personal matters, please contact the relevant authority directly.