Primary education in Bosnia and Herzegovina is compulsory and free for all children from ages 7 through 15 and lasts for nine years.
Secondary education in Bosnia and Herzegovina is as well free. It is provided by general and technical secondary schools, where studies last for three or four years. Most children in Bosnia start school when they are six or seven years old and finish high school when they are eighteen or nineteen.
Students who have graduated from general secondary schools (Gimnazija) get the Matura and opt to enroll in any faculty or college after passing a qualification examination given by the institution while students who graduated from technical schools get a Diploma.
Bosnia Herzegovina's higher education system comprises eight universities (University of Sarajevo, University of Tuzla, University of Banja Luka, University "Džemal Bijedić" of Mostar, Sveuciliste Mostar, University of East Sarajevo, University of Bihac and University of Zenica) with some 90 faculties, which are treated as higher education establishments, and art academies.
University degrees are acquired at the faculties and arts academies.
There are 22 private higher education institutions and the law on higher education (passed in July 2007) treats private and public higher education institutions equally.
Under the new law, university education is organised according to the system of transferable points and has three levels:
The undergraduate courses typically last for three to four years and bring 180 to 240 ECTS points. Upon the completion of the undergraduate courses, students are awarded the title of Bachelor of Arts or Science.
Postgraduate courses, which last for two years, carry 120 ECTS points and award the degree of Master of Art or Science.
PhD courses can be taken after completing a postgraduate university course. They typically last three years, and the academic title of Doctor of Science or Doctor of Arts is awarded upon completion.
The university can also offer postgraduate specialist courses which last for one to two years, by which one can acquire the title of a specialist in a certain specialist field such as medicine.