Studying in Norway
Higher education (HE) in Norway consists of accredited institutions and/or programmes of study. All HE institutions are state-run, except for some private university colleges. Programmes follow a similar structure to the UK, offering first degrees, masters and PhDs.
The eight universities in Norway are:
- Nord University
- Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)
- Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)
- UiT The Arctic University of Norway
- University of Agder
- University of Bergen
- University of Oslo
- University of Stavanger
In addition to the universities, there are also a range of specialised university institutions, university colleges, national colleges of the arts and a number of private higher education institutions. See the NOKU (Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education) website for a list of accredited institutions.
What courses can you study?
Norwegian postgraduate study offers many of the same subjects as in the UK. For a list of subjects, see Study in Norway.
There are an increasing number of masters courses being offered in English. However, if the language of instruction is Norwegian, you’ll need to be proficient in the language. You may be able to spend your first year learning Norwegian. Alternatively, summer schools offer language courses specifically aimed at exchange students. Contact individual institutions for further details.
The academic year normally runs from mid-August to mid-June, although some courses start in January.
How do you apply for postgraduate study?
Admissions criteria are set by each individual institution but in general they are similar to those found in the UK. You must usually have completed an undergraduate degree or equivalent (lasting at least three years), a significant part of which should be relevant to your chosen masters.
Application deadlines for foreign students are typically between December and March for courses starting in the following autumn, although some institutions have earlier dates. Contact individual institutions to find out specific application deadlines.
Applications must be made directly to the institution, using application forms provided on their website.
Fees and scholarships
Students at state universities and university colleges don’t usually pay tuition fees for undergraduate, masters or PhD programmes. This applies to international students as well. You may have to pay tuition fees for a few specialised programmes, which are typically at masters level.
You will, however, need to pay a registration fee of around 300 to 600 NOK per semester. You’ll need to pay this in order to get an official student card, which you can use to get discounts on things such as public transport, and to take an exam. This fee also entitles you to membership of your local student welfare organisation.
Most private institutions charge fees, although these are usually significantly lower that fees in other countries. Also, foreign students pay the same amount as home students.
Bear in mind that the cost of living is high in Norway and that international students must prove they have sufficient funds to support themselves.
You may be eligible for a scholarship or grant to help with living costs during your studies. For information on the scholarships available, see Study in Norway. You should also contact the institution you want to study at to see if there are any scholarships available. Scholarships usually have strict eligibility criteria based on various factors such as your country of origin, the subject you want to study and/or your academic grades.
Students on the Erasmus+ programme, studying abroad for 3 to 12 months, may receive an Erasmus+ EU grant for studying or being trained overseas.
Are there any exchange programmes?
UK students on both undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes may be interested in studying in Norway through Erasmus+. This programme is open to all subject areas, but check with your institution’s study abroad/exchange coordinator to see which countries they have links with and in what subject areas.
Will your qualifications be recognised in the UK?
Following the Bologna Process and the creation of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), a postgraduate course from Norway is directly comparable to the UK equivalent.
Do you need a visa to study in Norway?
Although Norway isn’t in the European Union (EU), it is a member of the European Economic Area (EEA). This means EU/EEA nationals are entitled to study in Norway. If you’re planning to stay for more than three months, you need to register with the police, who will issue a registration certificate if you meet the following requirements:
- you’ve been accepted on to a course at an accredited educational institution
- you’ve got enough money to support yourself (and any dependents you’re bringing to Norway)
- you’ve got private medical insurance.
If you’re not a citizen of an EEA/EU country, you will usually need a visa to visit Norway. If you want to study in Norway, you’ll need to apply for a residence permit to work. Contact the Norwegian embassy in the country where you’re currently residing about how to obtain a residence permit. If you're living in the UK, go to the Royal Norwegian Embassy.
For full details on visas and resident permits, see the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) website.
AGCAS editors, September 2017