In Azerbaijan, compulsory education is between the age of 6 and 15. Primary school takes 4 years with the age of 6 to 10, basic school education takes 5 years from age 10 to 15, and the secondary school education is for 2 more years till 17 with the final achievement of the Certificate of Complete Secondary Education.
Instead of the usual secondary school, there is also technical secondary school, lasting 3 years until the age of 18, where students can finally get a Certificate of Complete Secondary Specialized Education.
To get into higher education, students who just have finished school have to appear for a national entrance examination.
There are two types of higher education institutions in Azerbaijan: state or private institutions such as universities, academies, institutes, colleges and conservatoires.
The reformative Law on Education, introduced in 1993, allowed the transition to a multi-stage system of higher professional education. It’s the right of those institutions to select their link to the multi-stage education of specialists and to define the aims of education.
The Master’s Degree is offered by several institutions from 1997 onwards. There are restrictions proposed by the expectations of educational standards by the government to keep minimal to ensure quality.
The Law on Education guarantees the autonomy of the institutions, also in organizational and financial terms.
The academic year lasts from September to May and the long vacation is from 10th June to 15th September, when summer programs are offered.
This first level of university study takes four years and aims at the Bachelor's Degree (Bakalavr). In this time, students can study subjects of the fields of Humanities and Natural Sciences. The Diploma of Specialist, which one could achieve after five years, is outdated and replaced by the Bachelor system.
The second level of university study takes between one-and-a-half and two years and aims at the Master's Degree (Magistr). During this time, students get a profound knowledge and high quality training in their subjects of the fields of Humanities and Natural Sciences. The Master’s Degree replaced the outdated degree of Kandidat Nauk (aspirantura).
After having passed the Master’s Degree, the very best students are allowed to take the doctoral level which takes another two or three years. After their doctoral studies, they are awarded the Doctoral degree (PhD). The PhD replaced the Doktor Nauk, which could be achieved by submitting a thesis after the Kandidat Nauk.