Education in Norway is mandatory for all children aged 6–16. The school year in Norway runs from mid-August to late June of the following year.

Elementary and lower secondary school are mandatory for all children aged 6–16. Students usually have to change school when they enter lower secondary school and upper secondary school, as most schools only offer one of the levels.

Higher education is anything beyond upper secondary school, and usually lasts 3 years or more. To be accepted to most higher education schools, you must have attained a general university admission certificate (generell studiekompetanse). This can be achieved by taking general studies while in upper secondary school, or through the 23/5 law whereby a person must be above 23 years of age, have 5 years of combined schooling and work experience, and have passed exams in Norwegian, mathematics, natural sciences, English and social studies. Some degrees also require special electives in second and third grade (e.g. Maths and Physics for engineering studies).

Higher education is broadly divided into:

Universities, which concentrate on theoretical subjects (arts, humanities, natural science), Supply Bachelor (3 years), Master’s Degree (5 years) and PhD (8 years) titles. Universities also run a number of professional studies, including law, medicine, dentistry, pharmacy and psychology, but these are generally separate departments that have little to do with the rest of the university institution.

University colleges (høyskole), which supply a wide range of educational choices, including university degrees at bachelor, master and PhD levels, engineering degrees and professional vocations like teaching and nursing. The grade system is the same as it is for universities.

Private schools, which tend to specialize in popular subjects with limited capacity in public schools, such as business management, marketing or fine arts. Private schools do not loom large on the horizon, although the fraction of students attending private schools is 10% in higher education, compared to 4% in secondary and 1.5% in primary education.

There is no formal distinction between vocational and non-vocational higher education.