Norway is a hidden gem when it comes to education and only a small portion of students know that. Most students are more likely to look for Germany, France, and Belgium, in the European region. But what if we tell you that Norway has almost as much to offer as the mentioned European countries and also the UK, USA, and Canada?
Norway is one of the most beautiful countries in the European strip. Its gigantic mountains, freshwater streams, breathtaking greenery, and friendly and wholesome people surely elevate the name of Norway. The country has a lot more to offer besides just the scenic beauty. It has a great system of education that focuses on the learning curve of the student rather than the curriculum and also it is as much open to international students as the national ones.
Ready to join the lucky international students here? Here we bring you a complete guide on studying in Norway.
How to Plan for Your Studies in Norway
Following are the points that you need to keep in mind when you start to plan for your studies in Norway.
Education System in Norway
The education system of Norway is under the Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training. The directorate directs and looks after higher education and tertiary vocational training. After the mandatory primary and lower secondary education, Norwegian students are entitled to upper secondary education. After which the student can choose higher education or tertiary vocational training.
International students cannot apply for tertiary vocational training but only for higher education. Yet, there are still around 25,000 international students in Norway among the total 318,000 students. Norway is home to 31 universities and out of which 21 are state-owned and operated.
- Total number of international students: 25,000
- Total number of universities: 318,000
- Total number of international students taking bachelor’s degrees: 14,000
- Total number of international students taking graduate degrees: 11,000
Post-secondary education in Norway consists of bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. degree levels. Some Norwegian universities also offer professional degrees, such as Medicine, Law, and Dentistry. You can also find some of the world’s best medical schools in Norway. Note that these programs are usually taught in Norwegian and require specific language proficiency.
Choosing University in Norway
Choosing a university in Norway can be a tedious task because its universities have great locations, globally competitive education and training, and are highly cost-effective. Some of the best universities to look for in Norway include the University of Oslo, the University of Bergen, and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).
The best way to choose a university suitable for you is by looking at their courses and their curriculum. Universities differ on the bases of their course content, some may have a few subjects different from others and the mode of that subject may also be different.
Some may be in theory, others may have a practical component attached to them, some may only be delivered in a class or online, and there are various ways. It’s also worth considering a university that offers preparatory language courses for international students, to help you improve on your Norwegian. There are also some Norwegian universities that offer English-taught programs to ease the burden of learning a new language.
While considering all these, make sure to choose according to your needs and interests. After all, the university can significantly impact your education, as well as your overall well-being, and eventually, your career prospects.
Choosing a Study Program in Norway
Norway offers a great selection of globally-accepted study programs. After your mandatory education, higher education is based upon three tiers:
- Bachelor’s degree: Takes up to 3 years, equivalent to 180 ECTS, and has no thesis or research factor
- Master’s degree: Takes a minimum 1 year and maximum of 2 years, equivalent to 120 ECTS, and has a thesis submission clause
- Ph.D. degree: Takes usually 3 to 4 years and has a thesis submission clause with considerable research
While it’s not necessary for a student to go through all three of these degrees for a student, it’s still crucial to know how these three levels differ. A student is expected to study under the set curriculum in a bachelor’s degree whereas, in a master’s, the student will be taught more exclusively on the subject. Ph.D. students, meanwhile, are more research-oriented, spending most of their time coming up with solutions for specific problems in their chosen fields.
The most commonly taken study programs in Norway are Sciences, Technology, and Business. If you’re looking to pursue research, you might want to check out programs related to climate change, renewable energy, and, due to Norway’s unique geography, arctic studies.
How to Finance Your Education in Norway
Following are a set of points that you should keep in mind when thinking about financing your education in Norway.
Tuition Fees in Norway
The Norwegian education system dictates that Norwegian students have free education and therefore pay only a few euros per semester as a part of their student union. This however might not always be the case for international students.
Public universities in Norway offer free tuition to all, including international students. Some of these institutions are the University of Oslo and the University of Adger. Without the tuition fee, international students are only expected to pay the semester fees, which is usually around $65.
Private universities, on the other hand, can charge tuition fees to international students. The most commonly paid tuition fee for a simple bachelor’s degree in Norway starts at around $1,000 up to $12,000 per academic year. The most expensive bachelor’s degree in Norway is estimated at $49,000 per academic year. Meanwhile, a master’s degree in Norway will cost around $10,000 to $15,000 per academic year.
Most tuition fees need to be paid upfront and before the 15th of May but the date may vary.
If you want to get the best value for your money, check out our list of free universities in Norway for international students.
Cost of Living in Norway
Considering the cost of living in Norway for students, relatively affordable might be the best way to describe it. An international student here needs at least $1000 per month. This includes a variety of components such as:
- Housing: $320 to $670 including heating and electricity
- Food: $300
- Books and other school-related expenses: $50 to $300
- Transportation: $50 for public bus, $15 for bike rentals
- Miscellaneous expenses: $95 to $145
All international students will need to hold a valid 12-month medical insurance from their home country when they enter Norway for their education. The insurance will cost you around $200 to $300. After that, students are automatically covered by the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme, assuming that they have a valid residence permit.
A student will need to manage his expenses from part-time work, freelancing, or from his family money to get through his education in Norway. You can also ask for available student discounts at the shops and stores. Additionally, living in a shared accommodation will take some burden off of your shoulders.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
International students are eligible for scholarships and aid for higher education in Norway. The country has great financial aid and scholarship programs when it comes to students and education and is funded by either government agencies or private. These aids will cover your tuition fee, your living expenses, and also your research if you are a research student. With these options, studying in Norway for free is possible for international students.
The best-known scholarships in Norway include the NORAM Scholarship, Erasmus+, and the BI Norwegian Business School Scholarships. These scholarships are awarded on the basis of your academic merit and sometimes your extra-curricular activities as well.
For research degrees, your publication record is much appreciated and looked for. Your applications will be processed and you will come to know the outcome before the commencement of your studies. Keep in mind that getting a scholarship in Norway requires you to show that you’re a worthy recipient and that you’ll consistently prove it throughout your studies.
The other great thing about these funds is that they are tax-free. So you will need to have a good and promising academic record in order to qualify for the scholarship to study for free in Norway. Any sort of certifications or awards received may also add weightage to your current scholarship application so do not be shy when adding your details to the scholarship application.
To help you with your finances, be sure to check out our list of the best scholarships for international students in Norway.
How to Apply to Norwegian Universities
The following list of points will help you in applying successfully for Norwegian Universities.
The basic admission requirements for international students to study in Norway include a prior academic record, an English language proficiency test score, and a clean background check which will include a police check from your own country.
Additionally, a university might add a few other requirements of a specific academic grade or an age factor. For example, the University of Bergen requires applicants for master’s programs to have at least a Norwegian C equivalent in their prior academic level.
Norway requires international students to have a valid language proficiency test score. The language requirements for international students include proficiency tests in English or Norwegian language, and in some universities, like the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, both.
Bachelor programs are usually taught in Norwegian and typically require a passing score on the Test of Norwegian- Advanced Level written and oral tests. Other universities, on the other hand, offer English-taught master’s programs, with IELTS being the widely accepted English language proficiency exam score in Norway, and most universities accept a score of 5.0 or higher. Besides these, other universities also accept TOEFL and PTE scores of at least 90 and 51, respectively.
Universities will scrutinize your application based on what details you have entered so make sure to give each of them clearly and correctly. All admission requirements are usually available on the university’s website for your convenience.
There is a handful of documents that you will need to collect and present while applying for higher education in Norway. These documents need to be original and in some cases, also notarized in your country. A few times, you will be required to produce equivalent forms of your result cards to match the academic programs of Norway and for a fair merit calculation. To give you an idea, these are the documents universities usually require:
- Birth certificate
- Family registration certificate
- All degrees and results of your previous qualifications
- All related credentials and certificates
- Reference letters
- Publications (if available)
These documents will form the basis of your application to the university. Depending on the university, they might not require some of these documents but may also require other related paperwork. Make sure to get colored scans of all documents and keep them in a safe place for swift application filling and submission.
A normal semester in a Norwegian university starts in August for all international intakes. The university, therefore, advises the students to start, complete, and submit their application at least four months prior to the start of the study period. The best time for you to apply to a Norwegian university is from December to March. Before the end of March, your application should be completed and sent to the university for scrutiny and result.
General Admission Steps
The general admission steps for a Norwegian university are quite simple and match those of other countries in a lot of ways. However, it is of utmost importance that you follow these steps completely to ensure success.
- Choose a university or a study program of your choice
- Check the university’s website and go through their requirements
- Register, prepare, and take your language proficiency tests
- Review and collect all the required documents
- Submit your application and a scholarship application if applicable
- Wait for the outcome
- Accept in the time mentioned on the application
Check out our guides to learn more about applying for bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in Norway.
How to Obtain a Student Visa in Norway
There are some student visa or student permit requirements for studying in Norway that you will need to fulfill before you can apply for it. These requirements are that you are admitted to a Norwegian university or college, the university is recognized by the Norwegian Directory of Education, you are a full-time student, you have funds to cover your expenses and keep these funds in a Norwegian bank account upon arrival, and lastly, that you have housing or accommodation.
As previously mentioned, you will also need health insurance for international students in Norway. The documents required for applying for study permits for international students include
- a passport
- your university application
- two passport-sized photos
- a letter of admission
- proof of English language proficiency
- proof of funds (expenses and tuition fee if applicable)
- proof of accommodation.
You can apply for a student visa from this website. The visa costs around $565 and will be processed in less than 10 months. Here’s a helpful guide to applying for a student visa in Norway.
How to Prepare for Your Arrival
To make sure that everything goes smoothly, it is best that you start preparing for your arrival beforehand. The topmost important things that you need to remember for your preparation.
Packing is a very exciting process of moving but the most important thing is that you pack light and only the essentials. These will include your clothes, shoes, personal hygiene items, and memorabilia. Try and pack according to the season that will be there upon your arrival. Do not forget all the documents that you need. Get them all laminated for safekeeping and keep them in a nearby place in your bag so you have easy access to them.
In transport, you will need to manage your flights and also your transit from the airport to the accommodation. You can book flights online or via an agent of your choice. Make sure to book a flight that will land you in Norway in the day and not in the night. The ticket prices may vary from day to day so make sure you have had a good time looking into the prices. Finally, you can use Uber to get to your accommodation.
Preparing your Accommodation
Private accommodation can be booked via various channels like Facebook Marketplace and Airbnb as they have great offers for short and long-term stays. If you’re an incoming master’s degree student, you might want to check your university if they offer a housing guarantee, as it’s usually more affordable and is already furnished.
How to Study and Live in Norway
It can be tough for students to leave their homes and move to another country for their education. As much as it is exciting, it is also daunting. There can be many different challenges and you cannot fully prepare for them. These challenges give you the experience to move in the real world and are therefore very important.
Challenge 1: Cultural Differences
As Norway is a European country, Norwegian culture and diversity might be very different from your country. This will include food, traditions, social parties, and relations. Although, some of the Norwegian dishes you’ll eventually get to love are smoked salmon, Norwegian waffle, and its partner, Brunost, or brown cheese. You’ll also have the opportunity to wear their traditional clothes called Bunad.
Try and let the culture become a part of your new life. The more you try to get rid of it, the more it will become a burden. Take part in social events at the university which will be a great way to get into the student life in Norway.
Challenge 2: Making Friends
This is an important one. Making friends is very important as you cannot live alone in a new country. You will need them for support and fun. For this reason, make sure you attend university events, which you can find out by checking your university website. The University of Oslo, for example, has a list of student associations on its website.
Challenge 3: Managing Expenses, Life, and Education
This will be a challenge but you can surely get it done if you keep your expenses in mind from the very start. This will also be great if you keep a journal and write insights on your financial journey.
Following are some tips that will help you settle in Norway:
- Try and learn small words from the Norwegian language.
- Make friends with other international students in your condition
- Sort your money for various expenses, and consider applying for scholarships and part-time work.
- Go out and about in the city to get familiarized.
- Try and keep yourself busy with your hobbies.
Can You Work in Norway After Graduation
Yes, as an international student, you can work in Norway after graduating with your higher degree. You will be required to apply for a residence permit that will help you look for a job and also stay in Norway.
Once you find a suitable full-time job, you can apply for a Norwegian work permit for students and workers. The job market in Norway is booming like in the rest of the European countries and if you have a great academic background, your chances of getting your dream job will be so much higher.
To find a suitable job, start by building your profile on job search sites like Linkedin, Indeed, or Seek. You can also get in touch with your university’s alumni services to see if they can arrange interviews for you.
Norway is a great country for international students to study, work and live. The employment opportunities for international students in Norway are promising, Norwegian colleges and universities offer excellent education, graduate studies in Norway are known worldwide, and the cost of living in Norway for students is manageable. Besides Norway,