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Education is free at all levels in this Scandinavian country, meaning you’ll be able to enjoy everything Norway has to offer without worrying about tuition fees

With a population of over five million Norway is often ranked as one of the best countries to live in. It also has one of the lowest crime rates in the world – making it a safe place to study. It has an excellent reputation for providing quality higher education, and an increasing number of degree programmes are taught in English.

While Norwegian is a tricky language to master doing so will help you to settle into your new surroundings. Learning the lingo will also help when making friends with the locals, as well as boosting your employability.

During your stay you’ll be able to experience the midnight sun in the summer and the famous Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) in the winter. Embrace the Norwegian outdoor lifestyle by visiting one of the country’s 46 national parks, hiking popular trails such as Preikestolen and Trolltunga or exploring iconic fjords such as Sognefjord and Geirangerfjord. Bookworms should visit Fjærland and Tvedestrand – two of the country’s ‘book towns’, while music lovers should check out some of the many festivals held in Oslo, Tønsberg, Trondheim and Tromsø.

Norwegian universities

Norway has three types of state-owned higher education institution. These include universities, university colleges and specialist colleges.

There are nine universities and these include:

  • Nord University
  • Norwegian University of Life Sciences
  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • University of Agder
  • University of Bergen
  • University of Oslo
  • University of South Eastern Norway
  • University of Stavange
  • University of Tromsø.

Seven university colleges are:

  • Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences
  • NLA University College
  • Oslo School of Architecture and Design
  • OsloMet Oslo Metropolitan University
  • Volda University College
  • Western Norway University of Applied Sciences
  • Østfold University College.

Three specialist university colleges are:

  • Molde University College
  • Norwegian Academy of Music
  • Norwegian School of Economics.

The country also has a number of private higher education institutions.

The University of Oslo, University of Bergen, Norwegian University of Science and Technology and the University of Tromsø all feature in the QS World University Rankings 2020, and rank 119th, 163rd, 359th and 389th respectively.

The Norwegian academic year runs from August to June, split into two terms – autumn (August to December) and spring (January to June). Broadly speaking, the structure of the higher education system in Norway is very similar to the UK.

Bergen, Kristiansand, Oslo, Tromsø and Trondheim are popular student destinations.

Degree courses in Norway

Higher education institutions in Norway follow the Bologna Process, so the type and structure of programmes are similar to those in the UK.

Bachelors courses usually take three years to complete and are available in a variety of subjects.

Teaching methods include lectures, seminars and project work. Laboratory work, excursions and field trips are also mandatory in certain subjects. Students are typically assessed through end-of-course exams – either written, oral or both – using the A-F grading scale.

For entry onto an undergraduate programme you’ll need a secondary school leaving certificate as a minimum requirement.

Masters degrees

Thanks to the country’s welcoming attitude and the fact that an increasing number of postgraduate courses are now taught in English, Masters study in Norway is a popular option.

Programmes are available in a range of subjects and typically take two years to complete. Like Bachelors degrees, Masters courses are taught through a series of lectures, seminars and workshops. To complete your degree you’ll be required to submit an independently researched dissertation.

To be accepted onto a postgraduate course in Norway you’ll need to have completed a Bachelors degree. Some institutions may require you to have studied a subject relevant to your chosen Masters programme at undergraduate level.


Doctoral degrees last for three years and include a mandatory thesis component. However, many PhD students follow a structured Doctoral programme for four years, with the additional year used for professional development activities.

Students are allocated a supervisor for their thesis, which is evaluated by three senior academics. One of these must be from another university, with another ideally from outside of Norway. The student delivers one public lecture, defending their thesis before the reviewing committee.

Applicants require a Masters degree or a professional degree, and PhD candidates are legally considered to be employees of the university rather than students.

Student exchanges

Students currently attending a UK university can take part in the European Union’s (EU) education, training and youth support programme, Erasmus+ (confirmed for the 2020/21 academic year). The scheme offers study, training, work experience and voluntary placements to many young people, with opportunities lasting from three months to one academic year.

Financial support is available through the Erasmus+ initiative, for any UK public, private or not-for-profit organisation that is actively involved in education and training. Speak to your institution for information on how to apply.

Several institutions, such as the University of Oslo and the Norwegian University of Science of Technology, also offer their own exchange programmes.

Course fees

Most higher education institutions in Norway are funded by the Ministry of Education and Research, and don’t charge tuition fees. This means that undergraduate and postgraduate students, both local and international, study for free.

However, if you choose to study at a private institution you will be required to cover tuition costs, although these are usually cheaper than their UK and European counterparts. Foreign students pay the same fees as Norwegians.

While tuition is free, students are required to pay a small semester students’ union fee, granting them access to exams, cheap travel, and health, sports and counselling facilities. Expect to pay in the region of 350-700 Norwegian Krone (NOK) per semester (approximately £26-£55).

Funding to study in Norway

While tuition fees are non-existent, living costs are high – especially in popular cities such as Oslo and Bergen.

However, to help with maintenance costs, The Norwegian State Educational Loan Fund allocates grants and loans according to an official cost of living estimate, with support potentially exceeding NOK 110,200 (approximately £8,374) in 2019/20.

This initial loan (40% of the loan can become a grant) covers accommodation, food and course costs, and all students are eligible providing they meet certain criteria – for example, that they pass their exams and earn less than NOK 188,509 (approximately £14,325) per year.

Student visas

While Norway isn’t a member of the European Union (EU), it is a member of the European Economic Area (EEA). This means that EEA citizens can study in Norway for three months before having to register with the police.

All students who plan to stay in Norway for longer than three months will need a student visa/residence permit – non-EEA nationals must contact their Norwegian embassy for this before travelling.

There are no processing fees for EU or EEA students, but other applicants will have to pay. You should begin the visa application process as soon as your admission is confirmed.

You’ll find everything that you need to know about visa requirements by contacting the embassy or high commission in your home country. For more information, see Study in Norway – Student residence permit or the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI).

How to apply

Applications for Bachelors courses are centralised through the Norwegian Universities and Colleges Admission Service (NUCAS).

For Masters degrees, applications are made directly to the institution, which will examine your documentation, check your eligibility, inform you if you need to pass an entrance examination, and issue your letter of acceptance.

Each institution and course has its own additional admission requirements and application processes, so check with your university before applying.

Regardless of your level of study, you’ll be required to submit a completed application form and academic certificates. For some programmes, you’ll also need to pass an aptitude test and/or submit a personal statement.

Application deadlines for international students usually fall between December and March (for courses beginning in the next academic year), but you should check with your institution.

Language requirements

Norway is home to two languages – Norwegian and Sami, with Norwegian being the most widely used. It is also the primary teaching language, but English is widely spoken as a second language, so you don’t necessarily have to learn Norwegian to get by.

However, having a grasp of the language will help you to settle into your new surroundings and will allow you to communicate with other foreign students from Denmark and Sweden, so don’t turn down the opportunity to learn. You can begin to learn the language at home or once you’re in the country with an intensive course.

Admission Requirements for Universities in Norway

Interested in studying abroad in Norway? We’re here to help make the process a little simpler. The admission process may be different from what you’re used to, so make sure you consult the university at which you are applying if you have specific questions. In the meantime, take the following steps to get started:

  1. Choose a Program
  2. Prepare the Paperwork
  3. Check Specific Admission Requirements
  4. Submit Your Application
  5. Wait to Be Admitted
  6. Apply for a Visa
  7. Arrive in Norway

1. Choose a Program

There are tons of English-language programs available in Norway, and even more taught in Norwegian or other languages. Start by choosing the degree program that is right for you. Whether you’re an undergraduate or graduate student, there are degrees in a multitude of fields across disciplines. Norway is internationally renowned for a variety of programs, including its humanities, business, and science programs.

2. Prepare the Paperwork

Among the basic paperwork that is commonly required by all universities is a letter of motivation, recommendation letter, and a portfolio of previous work if applicable. Universities will also require proof of completion of previous studies. To satisfy this requirement, send the university an official transcript from your secondary school if you’re beginning a bachelor’s or your previous university if you’re pursuing a master’s degree or higher. If you plan on studying in English, you will also need to successfully pass an English proficiency test.

3. Check Specific Admission Requirements

Depending on the university, specific documentation could be required. Always consult the university website for specific admission requirements and contact the appropriate university office if you have any questions. In Norway, applications and admissions are handled by the university to which you are applying. Prospective students are welcome to apply for several different programs and universities at a time.

4. Submit Your Application

Most applications to universities in Norway are done through an online application system. Application forms are available through specific university websites, and often require an application fee to be paid. After you’ve completed the application form, attach the necessary documents or prepare to mail them in to the university.

5. Wait to Be Admitted

Admission results are often announced by the end of spring. If you are studying at a private university, you will usually be asked to pay the tuition fees for the first semester. Otherwise, the university where you will pursue your studies will send you an official letter of admission, admission confirmation for visa purposes, and other practical information about studying abroad in Norway.

6. Apply for a Visa

If necessary, upon acceptance into a Czech university, begin the visa application process as soon as possible. Because the process can take up to sixty days and requires several important documents, do not wait. Students from countries outside the EU will not be allowed to enter and stay in the Czech Republic if they are not in possession of the proper visa.

7. Arrive in Norway

After you’ve been admitted to a university and have received the necessary visa, it’s time to begin your adventures in Norway! Think about the cost of living in Norway and what your budget will be. Once you have that, you can begin looking for accommodation. Finally, it’s time to purchase your transportation to Norway and arrive in your new home city! No matter where you’re staying, there are plenty of sights and attractions to be enjoyed.

Tuition Fees & Scholarships for Studying in Norway

Norway is unique because it offers tuition-free education to both Norwegian and international students alike! Aside from a small university fee, there is no additional tuition costs. This is a great benefit for international students, especially those from countries where tuition fees are quite steep. The only exception is private universities in Norway, which are allowed to set their own tuition fees.

Depending on your country of origin, however, there are plenty of scholarship opportunities available. Consult with your university or local government to see which scholarships you’re eligible for.

Student Visas for Studying in Norway

Depending on your nationality, visa requirements may vary from person to person. If you’ve been accepted to study abroad at a university in Norway, you should check well in advance whether you will need a visa.

Students from Other Nordic Countries

Residents from other Nordic countries are not required to obtain a residence permit to study in Norway. Students should just report their move to the National Registry.

Students from EU/EEA and Switzerland

If you are a student from the EU/EEA or Switzerland, you are not required to obtain a visa to study in Norway. In order to enter Norway, however, students must possess a valid passport or national ID card.

Upon arrival, EU students are required to register with the local police. You must register within three months from the date of arrival.

Students from Countries Outside the EU

Depending on your country of origin, requirements may vary, but typically citizens from countries outside of the EU are required to apply for a residence permit to study at a university in Norway.

Check to see what specific paperwork is required before submitting your application. The Norwegian embassy or consulate in your country should have the most up-to-date information regarding what is required. The university at which you have been accepted should also provide guidance for international students trying to obtain a residence permit. Note that there is a financial requirement to obtaining a permit in which students must demonstrate that they can support themselves through their studies. As of the academic year 2018-19, international students had to have the equivalent of 116, 369 NOK.

Here’s a list of additional documentation you may be asked to provide:

  • Application form
  • Proof of acceptance to studies at a university in Norway
  • Valid passport
  • Proof of financial resources for the stay (i.e. bank statements or scholarship information)
  • Valid international health insurance

Documents should be in either Norwegian or English. Otherwise, they will need to be translated by a certified translator. Due to time restrictions, you should apply for a study visa well in advance. So, whatever you do, don’t leave it to the last minute!

Student Accommodation & Living Costs in Norway

Fortunately, the cost of education in Norway is minimal if you plan to study at a public university. Private universities with more expensive tuition also offer plenty of scholarship opportunities, especially for international students. However, in general, the cost of living is reasonably higher than most other European countries. Students should take this into account when preparing to study abroad in Norway.

Important factors to consider include whether you will live in student accommodations, share a room, and travel while you are studying. You may also want to consider whether you will also have time for a job. With a residence permit, international students can work part-time up to twenty hours a week. This is a great way to earn some extra cash to support traveling and extracurricular activities while you’re in Norway. It’s also an amazing opportunity to get professional experience in an international work place. Keep in mind, however, that some Norwegian language skills may be required.












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