Elementary education lasts for eight years leading to the Certificate for Completed Elementary Education. Secondary school education is provided by high schools, technical and other vocational schools, and art secondary schools. In the second half of the fourth year, pupils must write a project (Maturska Tema) and defend it and pass a written examination in their mother tongue and literature and an oral examination in a given subject of the curriculum. The technical and other vocational schools train for technical and other professions. The final examination in vocational education (four-year and three-year courses) consists in the elaboration of a theme or practical examination and a written examination in the mother tongue and literature. The Certificates of the technical schools give access to the entrance examinations at the relevant faculties and colleges. The certificate of vocational schools gives access to the entrance examinations at the relevant faculties and colleges after passing the different examinations.The Schools of Arts/Music/Ballet offer a four-year course. Students enter these schools by taking an entrance examination. At the end of their studies, they take a final examination and can enrol in universities. The International Baccalaureate gives access to the entrance examinations to all faculties and colleges.
Higher education is provided by colleges and pedagogical academies offering two-year courses, as well as by two universities which offer four to six-year courses in a range of disciplines. Upon successful completion of higher education courses at university faculties/institutes, students are awarded a Diploma with professional title e.g. Engineer, Lawyer, Teacher, at the lower (college) level; Graduate Engineer, Graduate Lawyer, Graduate Teacher at the higher (faculty/institute) level. The duration of studies leading to higher level diplomas depends on the type of faculty. The financing mechanisms of higher education are under revision. The Law on Higher Education of 1997 stipulates that five-year programmes will be introduced in universities and higher education institutions. Reforms have begun to bring Macedonian higher education in line with Western European and international standards. In compliance with the Law on Higher Education 2000 the language of instruction in the state pedagogical institutions for primary school teachers and teachers for secondary schools may be the minority languages. In that case, Macedonian will be taught as a separate subject and teaching will be carried out in Macedonian for at least another two teaching subjects.
The first-level degree of university study is obtained on completion of a four- to six-year course in one of the two universities. The exact duration of studies leading to higher level diplomas depends on the type of faculty. For instance: Faculty of Medicine, 6 years of study (in Medicine, Pharmacy and Dentistry); Technological/Metallurgical Faculty – 5 years of study; Faculty of Law – 4 years of study. Each graduate student can specialize in relevant professional fields – e.g. Surgery, Obstetrics, Engineering. Such specialization requires one to five years of practical training.
The Magister degree (Master of Science/Master of Arts) is awarded after two years’ study followed by research and the writing of a thesis which is defended in public and approved by a mentor. Each graduate student can specialize in relevant professional fields – e.g. Surgery, Obstetrics, Engineering. Such specialization requires one to five years of practical training.
The title of Doctor of Science is conferred to candidates who have obtained the Master’s degree and after an approved period of research and the defence of a doctoral dissertation.