There are approximately 103 higher education institutions in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (more commonly known as North Korea). These are composed of colleges, universities, teacher training colleges, military academies and medical schools. Universities provide a range of degrees across all fields, whereas colleges are specialized institutions which provide degrees in specific subjects. The main university is Kim II Sung University, established in October 1946, which offers programs at the undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral levels.
The educational structure in North Korea follows the traditional path of a Bachelor’s, followed by a Master’s and then a Doctorate. Courses in universities take four to six years to complete, degrees from teacher education schools take three year to complete at the primary school level, whereas for teachers of secondary school, degrees take four years to complete.
In order to be accepted into a higher education institution, a student must be nominated by a local ‘college recommendation committee’, before being reviewed by county and provincial-level committees, making admission to higher education extremely competitive. The official language of instruction is Korean, though some courses are taught in English.