Studying in Norway
Public education is free in Norway, including for international students. The academic year has two semesters, running from August to December and January to June.
There are eight state-run universities in Norway:
- Norwegian University of Life Sciences (UMB)
- Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)
- University of Agder
- University of Bergen
- University of Nordland
- University of Oslo (the oldest and largest)
- University of Stavanger
- University of Tromsø.
There are also nine specialised university institutions, twenty state university colleges, two national institutes of the arts and a number of private colleges.
What courses can you study?
Norwegian postgraduate study offers many of the same subjects as in the UK, as well as an interesting choice of agricultural science and natural science courses. An online catalogue of courses is available at Study in Norway. Masters courses usually last for two years.
Study in Norway also has a link to all the Norwegian universities and institutions of higher education.
While the main language of teaching is Norwegian, there are an increasing number of masters courses being offered in English. If you opt for a Norwegian-based course but have little or no prior knowledge of the language, you will need to spend the first year learning Norwegian. Alternatively, summer schools also offer language courses specifically aimed at exchange students.
How do you apply for postgraduate study?
Application criteria are set by each individual institution but in general they are similar to those found in the UK. Applicants usually must have completed an undergraduate degree, part of which should be relevant to the selected masters.
Most courses start in August but some begin in January. Contact individual institutions to find out specific application deadlines. Deadlines for foreign students are typically between December and March for courses starting in the following autumn.
Some institutions have separate pre-qualification deadlines that are earlier.
Applications must be made directly to the institution, using application forms provided on their website.
Fees and scholarships
Norwegian institutions are publicly funded and there are no tuition fees, even for foreign students. A registration fee of around 300–600 NOK per semester is required, however. This grants membership to the student welfare organisation and provides you with a student card which can be used to obtain discounts in a variety of areas.
The Norwegian government has been investigating the possibility of introducing tuition fees for students from outside of the European Union and European Economic Area, so you should check current information at the time of application, to find out what the latest situation is with this.
You should bear in mind the high cost of living in Norway and the fact that international students must prove they have sufficient funding for one year.
Students of 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 under 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.
See the Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Education (SIU) for more possibilities.
Will your qualifications be recognised in the UK?
Check with the university or higher education institution where you are hoping to study to see if their qualification is recognised or has an equivalent in the UK.
Do you need a visa to study in Norway?
Norway is not in the European Union (EU) but it is a member of the European Economic Area (EEA), so all EEA nationals are free to stay in Norway without a residence permit for up to three months. You must be able to support yourself financially during this period.
If you are an EEA national and plan to stay in Norway for longer than three months, either to work, carry out training or study on a university course, you must register with the police. You can register online via the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) website and then visit a police station. They will then issue a certificate of registration. EEA nationals do not need to apply for a residence permit.
Restrictions apply to nationals of the new EEA member countries, Bulgaria and Romania. Non-EEA nationals may also be required to apply for a residence permit. Check the UDI website for further details.
If you are not a citizen of an EEA country, contact the Norwegian embassy in the country where you are currently residing about how to obtain a residence permit. If you are living in the UK, go to the Royal Norwegian Embassy.
You might also find it helpful to contact your ministry of foreign affairs (or your own embassy if you are not living in your home country) to ask whether there are any issues to be taken into account when considering working in Norway.
AGCAS editors, November 2014