Education System of Serbia

Education in Serbia started in the 11th and 12th century with the formation of schools at Roman Catholic monasteries in Titel and Bač, now Vojvodina. Serbian primary school Norma was set up in Sombor in 1778. In 1791, the oldest Serbian gymnasium- Gymnasium of Karlovci was set up. In 1808, Belgrade higher school was formed. Liceum of Serbian Principality was set up in Kragujevac in 1838, which was later in 1841 shifted to Belgrade. In 1863, it merged into the Belgrade higher school. Later in 1905, it formed as the University of Belgrade.

Education in Serbia is administered by the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Serbia. It is split up into following levels:
  • Preschool education
  • Primary education
  • Secondary education
  • Higher education

Preschool Education

Preschool education of 6 months is compulsory and is the first part of compulsory studies in Serbia. The preschool education is offered by kindergartens in Serbia. Children at the age of 5 or 6 may attend pre-school education.

Primary Education

Primary education in Serbia is compulsory and lasts for 8 years. At the age of 6 or 7 children go to the primary schools (osnovna skola) in Serbia. The primary education is split up into two levels: 
  • Lower grades: Comprising grades 1 to 4
  • Higher grades Comprising grades 5 to 8

Secondary Education

Secondary education in Serbia is not compulsory and generally last for 4 years. Secondary schools (srednja skola) in Serbia are of following types:
  • Gymnasiums
  • Secondary vocational
Gymnasiums (gimnazija): This type of secondary school provides general and professional education. Studies at gymnasiums last for 4 years. Upon successful completion of the gymnasium studies, students are awarded a high school diploma. 
There are 2 special gymnasiums:
  • Mathematical high schools (Matematička gimnazija): Pupils at the age of 12 or above may attend this high school
  • Philology gymnasiums: These high schools provide language courses.
Secondary vocational education: Secondary vocational education is offered by vocational schools. These schools provide education in specific fields and upon successful completion of the course, a vocational qualification is awarded.
In Serbia, there are two kinds of professional secondary school courses:
  •  4-year course: This course provides broad education and allows students to go for further studies
  • 3-year courses: Students who do a 3-year course are not eligible for further studies.


At the end of secondary education, students are required to take a graduation exam-Matura. The Matura exam comprises of three compulsory exams:
  • Serbian language
  • Mathematics
  • Exam that contain questions from chemistry, history, biology, geography and physics
If student wants to go for bilingual education, in that case, in addition to the above mentioned exams, he/she has to take a second foreign language exam also.

Higher Education

Higher education in Serbia comprises of 2 types of studies:
  • Academic studies: These studies are conducted at the universities in Serbia.
  • Applied profession-oriented studies: These studies are conducted at the universities as well as colleges of applied studies in Serbia.

Higher Education Institutions

Higher education in Serbia is offered by the following types of higher education institutions: university, college of academic studies and college of vocational/applied studies. Also, there are faculties and art academies, but they are a constituent part of the universities in Serbia.

Higher Education Qualifications

First Degree: Comprises of
  • Undergraduate academics studies: This study lasts for 3 to 4 years and leads to a bachelor degree.
  • Undergraduate vocational/applied studies: The basic applied/vocational studies last for 3 years.
Second Degree 
  • Master’s: Graduate academic studies: This study lasts for 1 to 2 years and leads to a Master’s degree. 
  • Specialist academic studies: The specialist academic studies lasts for 1 year.
  • Specialist vocational/applied studies: This specialised applied studies lasts for 1 year.
Third Degree 
  • Doctoral academic studies: This study lasts for at least 3 years. 
To know in detail about the education system of Serbia, read the post "Serbia Education Overview".

Admission Requirements

Students are accepted to the higher education institutions in Serbia on the basis of the secondary/high school grade and entrance exam result. The admission pre-requisites vary from institution to institution. Click here to know in detail about the admission requirements for higher education institutions in Serbia.

Special Education

Special education in Serbia comprises of bilingual studies, adult education, education of disabled and full-day classes. The special education in Serbia is provided at the primary and secondary educational levels. Education of disabled in Serbia is provided in special as well as ordinary schools. 

Bilingual education (bilingvalna nastava) is offered to the higher grade primary and secondary school students. Students are taught in Serbian as well as in one of the following languages: Italian, English or French. 

Full-day classes (celodnevna nastava) are for children whose parents are working. Children who are in lower grades of primary school are eligible for full-day classes. Full-day classes consist of morning session, afternoon classes and breaks for lunch, play, homework, etc. There are different teachers for each shift.

Adult education is known as the Druga sansa (Second chance) in Serbia. It started in the school year 2011-12, and is for people who could not complete their primary or secondary education. 

International Students

Costs of Study and Living

Tuition fees: Studies public higher education institutions in Serbia are funded by the state for the Serbian citizens. International students are required to pay certain amount of fees at the public institutions. Students who study at private institutions of higher education are required to pay the tuition fees. The private higher education institutions in Serbia set their own fees.

Living expenses: The cost of living in Serbia is low.


International students of many countries can stay in Serbia without visa for up to 90 days. If the study period is more than 90 days, international students are required to apply for a temporary residence visa.

Health Care

International students are given medical care during their stay in Serbia. Though the medical assistance conditions vary depending on the medical care agreement of Serbia with other countries. 

Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia

The Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of Serbia is responsible for the education system of Serbia. The Ministry administers the preschool, primary, secondary and higher education system in Serbia. Also, it promotes scientific and technological research.  For more details go to official website
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