The Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Education (SIU) provides all services to international students in Norway. This guide is based on the guidance they provide. For a full overview of the information available and the services offered, visit their website Study In Norway.
International students may apply for admission to a variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programmes. You may come to Norway as a full time student, through established exchange programmes, institutional agreements or as a so called "free mover", where you arrange the stay by yourself (type of study, length and financing).
In Norway, you distinguish institutions of higher education between Universities, Specialised University Colleges and University Colleges. ‘University’ is the highest level of accreditation and they have the right to establish study programmes at all levels. There are eight universities in Norway:
● University of Oslo (founded 1811) is the oldest and largest university in Norway, with the widest range of study programmes. The Norwegian College of Special Education (founded 1961) was incorporated into the University in 1990.
● University of Bergen (founded 1946).
● Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim (founded 1996) is the second largest university.
● University of Tromsø (founded 1968) is the northernmost university in the world. The Norwegian College of Fishery Sciences was incorporated into the University in 1988.
● University of Stavanger (founded 2005) was a former university college (founded 1969).
● Norwegian University of Life Sciences (founded 2005) was a former specialised university institution in agricultural studies (founded 1897).
● University of Agder (founded 2007), a former university college (founded 1994).
● University of Nordland (founded 2011), a former university college (founded 1994).
‘Specialised University Colleges’ have the right to establish study programmes at all levels within their majors. ‘University Colleges’ have the right to establish study programmes at all levels within their majors. To see a full list of accredited institutions of higher education in Norway, see the NOKUT official overview.
You can find institutions of higher education located all over Norway. The major cities may have both a university and various university colleges. Spread throughout all of Norway’s regions these institutions of higher education allow you to combine your academic interests with discovering exciting historic, urban, mountainous or remote geographical locations! See all the destinations here.
In addition to regular programmes like humanities, social sciences and natural sciences, every institution has their own specialty areas. Whether you are just standing on the doorstep to higher education or are a higher level student looking to specialise within a subject area, Norwegian institutions can offer courses and programmes tailored to most needs. Look up and discover all the unique student experience and study areas here. For a complete overview, you can also use the official study programme fact sheets at Studiebarometeret. Here you can also browse the latest student satisfaction surveys for each study programme.
See an example of one such location, at the University of Stavanger, and hear from international students who are currently studying there: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYeD3f00XAE&feature=youtu.be
Admission & Application
In order to obtain the necessary application forms and information about the application deadlines you will have to contact each university or university college. In general, the application deadline for foreign students is between December 1 and March 15 for courses starting the following autumn (August). Please note that some institutions have separate "pre-qualification" deadlines that are earlier than this. The application period for most universities is between 1 October - 1 December. 1 December is usually the final deadline to send all supporting documents to the application. University colleges and private colleges have varying application dates and procedures. Some private institutions also have rolling admissions throughout the year.
A compilation of country-specific information called the GSU-list (formerly SIS list) states what level of education applicants from different countries need to meet for entry into Norwegian higher education, including any requirements concerning proficiency in English. For courses where the language of instruction is Norwegian, proficiency in the Norwegian language is also required.
An updated pdf-version of the GSU list can be found here.
For Undergraduate Studies
Completion of secondary education at advanced level, equivalent to passing the exam at the end of Norwegian secondary school, is the general basic requirement for entry to Norwegian universities and university colleges. For students from some countries at least one year of completed studies at the university level is required in addition. In Australia the secondary educational requirements vary from states and territories. For most states a Higher School Certificate (HSC) in combination with Tertiary Entrance Rank/Statement (TER) OR Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) is required. See the GSU-list for detailed information regarding additional requirements.
For an example of the procedures to apply for undergraduate studies at the University of Oslo, see here: http://www.uio.no/english/studies/admission/bachelor/deadlines-bachelor.html
For Masters Programmes
Admission requirements are decided by each university and university college based on an academic evaluation of the applicants. Here is a guide to applying to Master’s studies at the University of Bergen: http://www.uib.no/en/education/101224/how-apply-masters-programmes-non-eu-nationals
For more on how to apply refer to the individual institutions guidelines and directions. For an example, here is University of Tromsø’s online application guide: https://en.uit.no/education/admissions/howtoapply.
No tuition fees
"Nothing is for free" is a saying that is true in many cases. But in Norway it is possible to get quality education without having to pay tuition fees. Generally, students at state universities and university colleges do not pay tuition fees. This is true for all levels, including undergraduate studies, Masters programmes and Ph.D. programmes. If certain prerequisites are met, you could also be eligible for financial support that can pay for your living expenses. Through various fellowship programmes, scholarship schemes or student loans, international students can receive funding for a full degree or a limited number of semesters. However, students will have to pay a semester fee of NOK 300-600 each semester.
Still, studying in Norway can be expensive. Norway has a high standard of living and accordingly a high cost of living. However, there are ways for students to reduce costs and save money. See the Norwegian embassy in Washington’s guide to saving money in Norway.
Student residence permit
All students who plan to stay in Norway for more than three months will need a student residence permit. Visas are only issued for stays up to 90 days (e.g. for certain Summer School programmes). To read more and apply for a permit, see the UDI pages for Australian citizens.
If you want to know more about each institution of higher education, visit their websites. Each university also provide guides and information on living and studying there. Here is an example of a brochure on studying at the University of Oslo: http://www.uio.no/english/studies/admission/uio-a-leading-european-university-2015-2016-lav.pdf
For a useful list of resources and online tools for students moving to Europe, see the eurodesk’s “Time to Move” studying resources site. If you want to learn more about the Norwegian education system, refer to the Eurydice Norway pages.
For Australian institutions of higher education who are interested in promoting their programmes and offers to a Norwegian audience, and for Norwegian students looking to take their studies to Australia, we will be posting some relevant information in a separate article soon. In the meanwhile, refer to this: