Norway is a mountainous country in the Scandinavian peninsula. Most of its population resides in the south, while the north is home to the Sami. The government is a leading petroleum exporter and is a high-income nation. Furthermore, it is one of the safest and most beautiful countries in the world.

Norway maintained its folklore and storytelling customs and has a rich literary tradition. Norwegians have many festivals which are celebrated lively and colorfully. It is best known for its long, rugged coastlines, fjords, polar bears, the Northern Lights, and the midnight sun. In this article, we will be looking at the best universities in Norway for international students.

Top Universities in Norway for International Students

1. University of Oslo

Located in the capital city, the University of Oslo is the best university in Norway for international students. From 1947 to 1989 and in 2020 subsequently, the university hosted the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize, which is a big accomplishment in and of itself.

When it comes to its academic departments, UiO consists of eight faculties: educational sciences, natural science, social science, humanities, law, mathematics, medicine, and dentistry. Currently, UiO has over 800 courses in English, while several master’s and Ph.D. programs are held entirely in English.

Due to its high research output, UiO is also affiliated with institutions dealing with environmental research and studies on traumatic stress while its research units center on life science, energy, Nordic issues, and more. Due to its great achievements coupled with a long history, this institution is also home to scientific and historical museums.

2. University of Bergen

The University of Bergen is a public research university and the most cited institution in Norway due to its focus on marine research, global challenges, and climate and energy transition. When it comes to its graduate programs, Ph.D. candidates in the university are paid employees which makes the program attractive for talented international students.

Aside from this large investment in research, the seven faculties of UiB provide high-class teaching in mathematics and natural sciences, medicine, dentistry, fine arts, and more. Due to its international outreach, most students at this top-notch institution participate in exchange programs, which means it has close to 2000 international students and is actively recruiting more.

3. UiT The Arctic University of Norway

The University of Tromsø – The Arctic University of Norway is the world’s most northern university, and due to its location in the Arctic, the institution holds an essential role in environmental science and research. Climate research, auroral light research, fishery science, and Saami culture research are some of the activities hosted by UiT. Furthermore, there are also common subject areas like health sciences, education, law, tourism, and fine arts.

Many partner universities support the expertise of UiT in environmental studies, and when it comes to student diversity, the population of international students and staff has increased rapidly in recent years, which also encourages the growth of courses taught entirely in English.

4. Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Norwegian University of Science and Technology is one of the best universities in Norway for international students, and the highly-ranked courses taught by NTNU are engineering, technology, and natural science. Even though this institution also offers degree programs in teacher education, social sciences, medicine, psychology, architecture, and fine arts, it is most well-known for its STEM-related programs.

NTNU ranks first globally in having corporate links, which solidify the institution’s effective teaching and research excellence. Aside from its strong links to industries, NTNU participates in global academic initiatives to spread its renown to countries around the world.

5. Norwegian University of Life Sciences

Norwegian University of Life Sciences is a Norwegian public university specializing in human & animal health, resource management, and similar-related programs. It began as an agricultural college in 1859 and expanded into seven faculties, which are biosciences, environmental sciences, landscape & society, chemistry, economics, veterinary medicine, and science & technology.

When it comes to veterinary research, NBMU is the leading institution in that particular field, and other focus areas include food science, biotechnology, and business development. Despite a modest number of students, this specialized university has partnerships with universities in 93 countries to strengthen international partnerships.

6. University of South-Eastern Norway

The University of South-Eastern Norway is one of the top universities in Norway for international students. Established by merging three university colleges, it provides diverse academic programs and is spread over many regions. When it comes to its academic programs, USN offers programs in health and social care, computer science, history, business, mathematics, natural sciences, maritime studies, and art.

The university has a focus on applied research but coordinates its research teams with regional industries. When it comes to future goals, USN focuses on being an entrepreneurial university that contributes to innovation and sustainable development of the world.

7. University of Stavanger

The University of Stavanger is a leading research university in Norway that ranks the third-highest in research publications per scientific staff member. Due to its quality research, UiS is also a fellow of the European Consortium of Innovative Universities (ECIU), which are catalyst of innovative culture in higher education institutions.

When it comes to its academic departments, UiS is separated into six faculties, which are social sciences, arts & education, and science & technology, to name a few. There is also the Museum of Archaeology and many national research centers located on campus.

UiS welcomes around 400 international students every year and is working to improve internationalization strategies. Please keep in mind that this university is located in Norway’s oil and energy capital, which encourages a dynamic interplay of students with industries and corporations.

8. University of Agder

University of Agder is a young university in Norway but has an academic history of over 190 years. This top university in Norway was established in 1994 as a merger of six regional colleges in Holt, Aust-Agder, including a nursing school, a music conservatory, and a technical school.

Since then, UiA has offered degrees in the social sciences, business, health & sports science, fine arts, humanities, engineering, and science, and in addition to all the academic programs, there is also an interdisciplinary teaching education unit to help further assist students who are struggling with their studies.

A young and modern institution, the research priority of UiA includes e-health, integrated emergency management, multimodality, and cultural change. To further increase international partnerships with foreign institutions, UiA has a strong international orientation with several international joint programs and courses in English or German.

9. BI Norwegian Business School

The BI Norwegian Business School, one of the best universities in Norway for international students, is Norway’s largest business school and the second largest in Europe, and to further heighten its fame, BI continued to receive recognition from significant business school accreditations like AMBA and EQUIS.

This specialized institution is the primary supplier of administrative and economic talent to the Norwegian workforce, and by undergoing its academic curriculum, you can learn about Norway’s leadership, business, and equality strategies, a country known for high productivity and empowered workers.

The school teaches BBA and all graduate programs in English in addition to Norwegian undergraduate programs, and to further strengthen its international connections, BI collaborates closely with other international universities like Fudan University in Shanghai, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, the University of California at Berkeley, and more.

10. NHH Norwegian School of Economics

The Norwegian School of Economics is the first business school in Norway, and since 1936, it has been pioneering teaching and research in economics and business administration. The prestigious university is the most selective among business schools, yet also the most popular first choice of students.

It is EQUIS and AMBA accredited and a member of CEMS Global Alliance in Management Education, which is a partnership of selected 33 academic institutions for business, when it comes to business connections, NHH works closely with the local business community and also with over 170 international business institutions.

To further spread its renown across many nations, NHH started its global expansion in 1984 and continues to this day. Some of its partnerships are with Columbia University, Cornell University, New York University, and many prestigious institutions.

FAQs about Studying in Norway

Is Norway a Good Place to Study for International Students?

Universities in Norway deliver a high standard of education and reputable research. Students are encouraged to develop creativity and to think critically. There are several English-taught programs for international applicants, and the country has a high level of English in general. When it comes to quality, Norway has consistently ranked on international student satisfaction awards because of its superior education, egalitarian culture, and beautiful environment.

Because the government publicly funds them, most Norwegian universities and state colleges are free for EU/EEA/Swiss citizens. Public institutions do not charge tuition fees for local students while international students are charged with academic fees. Private universities have comparatively lower tuition fees than in other countries, but they still offer bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. programs, as well as short courses and continuous learning courses.

Living costs in Norway range higher than in other countries but guarantee a quality standard of living. According to the World Happiness Report, Norway is one of the happiest countries across the globe, and to further support that fact, the Global Peace Index also states that Norway is a peaceful and safe nation, very apt for a country that was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Can International Students Work in Norway While Studying?

International students can hold part-time jobs in Norway during their studies with a few conditions while EU/EEA nationals can freely live, study, and work in Norway. However, if staying for more than three months, you are obliged to register to allow you to work while studying.

Non-EU/EEA nationals must apply for a Norwegian study permit, allowing you up to 20 hours of work per week, and if you need to work more, you can always work full-time during the holidays. Even though Norwegians are quite good at English, most employers prefer a particular proficiency in Norwegian. If you want to live and study here, it is often best to learn the language as soon as possible.

Can International Students Stay in Norway after Graduation?

After graduation, international students may stay in Norway for one year to look for work. Before your current permit expires, you should apply for a residence permit as a job seeker, and please realize that you need to find a job related to your degree and reach a level of earning customary to the industry. For a permanent residence permit, it will depend on the type of work and your competence, and for specific details, you can check for the guidelines on the UDI website.


Hopefully, this article will serve as a guide as you search for the best university in Norway. If you are interested in knowing more, check out the Study in Norway and Programs in Europe for International Students!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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