Scandinavia comprises Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, and Norway, which are home to several tuition-free or low-tuition universities that offer excellent educational opportunities for international students. Apart from having some of the best top-ranking universities in the world, the Scandinavian countries also have the best beaches and scenery in Northern Europe.

From Stockholm, and Helsinki to Copenhagen, international students will have no issue pursuing their education in any of these beautiful cities as English is a common language used in classes.

Here are seven of the best tuition-free universities in Scandinavia for international students.

Must-know Facts for Students Planning to Study in Scandinavia

If you are planning to further your studies in any of the Scandinavian countries, you have to research thoroughly the education and living costs and if there are any opportunities to help take care of or reduce your expenses. Let’s look at some of the available opportunities to help cater for your study and living expenses.

Tuition-Free Learning Opportunities in Scandinavia

Scandinavian countries which include Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland offer the best educational opportunities at little to no cost for students from the EU/EEA and Switzerland, and international students who meet certain criteria. Most Scandinavian universities offer tuition-free education

However, international students not eligible for free tuition can still take advantage of various scholarship opportunities to help lower their academic costs. Some of the countries also provide work-study opportunities where international students can earn some money, though these are usually time-limited like the 20 hours per week in Norway.

Other Costs and Finances

While tuition is the major expense for international students looking to pursue their studies in these Scandinavian countries, there are also other expenses incurred like semester fees, transport, healthcare, accommodation, books, and application fees among others. It is important to research thoroughly all the costs you are likely to incur for better budgeting and to ensure a smooth educational journey.

For example, to stay and study in Sweden, international students must prove that they have at least SEK 9,450 to cover their monthly expenses.

Scholarship Opportunities

Apart from the tuition-free education offered by Scandinavian universities, international students can also take advantage of various scholarship opportunities provided by universities, governments, and other organizations.

Some of the scholarship opportunities available include:

  • Lund University Global Scholarship – This is a merit-based scholarship offered to top-performing international covering partial or full tuition fees. The amount covered depends on the budgetary allocations of your department.
  • Danish Government Scholarships – These are scholarships offered to international students through the various universities in Denmark. The scholarship can be used to cover partial or full tuition fees and in some instances living expenses.
  • Erasmus Mundus Joint Masters scholarships – These are scholarships offered to international students pursuing a master’s degree in any of the eligible universities. The scholarship takes care of your master’s degree, travel allowance, visa costs, and living expenses.

General Requirements and Admissions Process

When applying to tuition-free universities in any of the Scandinavian countries, you need to first research your university of choice and the program you want to pursue. The admission process varies by country, university, and program of study, but you can find more details about the admission process below;

Additionally, you have to check in other important factors like the eligibility requirements, the required documents, and the language requirements. For example, if applying to a university with English-taught programs, you can explore language proficiency exams like IELTS, TOEFL, or Duolingo (DET). You can also check the following links for more details about the language tests needed in Norway, Finland, and Sweden.

Tuition-Free Universities in the Scandinavian Region

If you are looking for tuition-free universities in the Scandinavian region, the following list has seven of the best universities to consider.

1. University of Oslo – Norway

Founded in 1811, the University of Oslo is not only the oldest university in Norway but one of the top institutions in the Scandinavian region with high academic standards. The university is famously known for hosting the three Viking ships used during the Viking Age.

Students from Switzerland and the EU/EEA can pursue their studies at this university tuition-free. Other international students coming from outside the EU/EEA or Switzerland have to pay tuition fees unless they fall into any of the exempted categories based on their association or residence in Norway.

2. Lund University – Sweden

Lund University in Sweden is another great institution that does not charge tuition fees for students from the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA), Switzerland, or those pursuing exchange studies. Any other international student has to pay tuition fees and other associated academic expenses. Fortunately, international students can take advantage of the Lund University Global Scholarship to cover part or all of their tuition fees.

3. University of Copenhagen – Denmark

The University of Copenhagen in Denmark is another favorite for international students known for its strong academic reputation and research excellence. While it offers tuition-free education, prospective students from outside the EU/EEA and Switzerland have to pay tuition fees unless they are eligible for exemption.

The research department at the University of Copenhagen is one of the best among the Scandinavian universities, boasting more than 10 Nobel prize laureates in Chemistry, Physics, and Medicine.

4. University of Oulu – Finland

Another great institution to consider for tuition-free education in Scandinavia is the University of Oulu. It is located in Oulu, a city in northern Finland, and offers a wide range of academic programs, including bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees across various fields of study. There are also English-taught programs and courses that make it easy for some international students to take their studies with ease.

While the institution provides tuition-free education for students from EU/EEA countries or Switzerland, other international students have to pay tuition fees. Additionally, students who enroll in a program where the medium of instruction is Finnish or Swedish are eligible for tuition-free education. Luckily, the university offers several scholarships for international students like the University of Oulu Scholarship for students who meet the admission criteria.

5. University of Bergen – Norway

  • Free to: EU/EEA and Swiss students | Medium of Instruction: Norwegian, English
  • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s, Master’s, Integrated Master’s, One-Year programs
  • University Website | Admissions | Tuition Fees

Founded in 1946, the University of Bergen is a public research university in Bergen, Norway. It is the largest marine university in Norway and focuses mainly on the study of the Ocean, Global Challenges, and Climate and Energy Transitions.

Unlike many other Scandinavian universities with undergraduate English-taught programs, all undergraduate programs at the University of Bergen are taught in Norwegian. Hence, students coming from outside Norway need to consider a Norwegian language proficiency test as part of the admission process. However, the university offers several English-taught master’s programs.

6. Aarhus University – Denmark

Aarhus University or Aarhus Universitet is a prestigious academic institution located in Aarhus, Denmark. It is one of the Scandinavian universities offering tuition-free education to students from the EU/EEA and Switzerland. While the institution provides tuition-free education, students have to take care of other expenses like books, course materials, and other living expenses.

7. University of Gothenburg – Sweden

If you are looking to pursue your studies in Sweden, then the University of Gothenburg would be a great choice. Not only is it one of the largest universities in Northern Europe, but it is also a top-ranking university in the world known for excellent programs like Endocrinology and Metabolism, Dentistry, and Political Science.

Students coming outside the EU/EEA or Switzerland are expected to pay tuition fees including a SEK 900 application fee if applying to any of the university’s programs. However, some of the students might be exempted from paying tuition fees if they meet certain criteria like having a temporary Swedish residence permit that is not related to studies.


Education in the Scandinavian countries, which include Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland, is known for its high quality, accessibility, and strong emphasis on equality and innovation. Higher education is generally tuition-free for domestic students, Swiss students, and international students who meet certain criteria.


We hope the listed universities will encourage you to enroll in one of these prestigious universities. Be sure to check our Available Programs in Europe for more study options!

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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