1. Higher education in Norway

1.1 Norwegian higher education system

The Norwegian system has undergone reform to reduce the number of universities through mergers and this process is not yet complete. Under recent changes, 14 universities and university colleges were merged into five new universities and university colleges.

Bachelors degrees in Norway typically last 3-4 years and may include work experience. The Norwegian higher education system is aligned to the Bologna process meaning that a bachelor degree at a university will last three years and a masters degree usually takes two years to complete.

There are very few bachelors degrees taught in English in Norway and most of these are taught in University Colleges.

1.2 Entry requirements for Norwegian universities

Completion of secondary education at advanced level, equivalent to passing the exam at the end of Norwegian upper secondary school, is the basic requirement for entry to Norwegian universities and university colleges. If you have A levels you should be eligible for entry to a Norwegian university although there may be special entry requirements for some subjects, particularly in the sciences.

The precise requirements listed by the Norwegian authorities are 5 GCE passes of which two must be A’ levels. Alternatively 1 A’ level plus 2 AS levels may also be sufficient. GCE passes include A’ levels, AS levels and GCSEs.

1.3 Application process for Norwegian universities

You apply directly to the university you are interested in. As there are so few bachelors programmes in English it is extremely unlikely that you will be interested in applying to more than one university. For British passport holders you will be able to apply after the deadline of 15th April at private universities and up to 1st June at university colleges.

1.4 Accreditation and recognition in Norway

The Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education (NOKUT) supervises and helps to develop the quality of higher education in Norway through evaluation, accreditation and recognition of quality systems, institutions and course provisions. NOKUT is the official Norwegian ENIC-NARIC center.

NOKUT accredits all degrees offered at Norwegian universities and while the universities have a certain amount of autonomy, Master’s and PhD qualifications in particular will be closely monitored by NOKUT.

2. How much does it cost to study in Norway?

2.1 Tuition fees for Norwegian universities

State universities in Norway do not charge tuition fees to students from any country. There is often a nominal registration fee but this is unlikely to exceed £70 a semester. Private universities in Norway do charge tuition fees, typically around £7,000 a year. Scholarships may be available.

2.2 Cost of living in Norway

In general foreigners find Norway quite expensive. Rent at student hostels is relatively reasonable compared to many private alternatives. Travel is also considered reasonably priced for students.

In spite of the general high cost of living, you can manage fairly well on a tight student budget. The average university student's budget is approximately NOK 9,785 per month (£900). This amount should cover most expenses such as housing, food, clothing, study materials, books, transport and social activities.

Here is an example of  student living costs per semester provided by the University of Oslo:

Accommodation NOK 15,000
Food NOK 15,000
Books & Supplies NOK 5,000
Transportation NOK 3,000
Other expenses NOK 12,000
Total NOK 50,000 (£4,700)

3. Student life in Norway

3.1 How do I get a visa to study in Norway?

You will need to apply for a student residence permit after you arrive in Norway. In order to gain the permit you will need to have documentation confirming your place at a Norwegian university. You will also need to prove that you have sufficient funds to ensure your subsistence and that you have health insurance (the European Health Insurance Card is sufficient).

3.2 Working while you study in Norway

EU passport holders may work part-time up to 20 hours per week for up to three months without a work permit.

Students are automatically given a work permit for part-time work when granted a student residence permit. Students from countries in the EU/EEA/EFTA do NOT need to show statement from the institution that the work will not affect the study progress, nor does the student need to show a job offer confirmation from employer.

Students are normally allowed to work full time during semester breaks.

3.3 On arrival: register with Norwegian police

UK/EU citizens do not require a visa to live, study or work in Norway. However, Norway is not part of the European Union so you do not have an automatic right to study there as you would in other EU member states. You are not required to apply for a student visa, but you need to apply for a residence permit. You can register with the police online before departure, and visit in person the nearest police station once you arrive in Norway. At the police station, you will be asked to present essential documents that qualify you for residence in Norway. These documents include:

  • Your passport
  • Confirmation of admission to your Norwegian university
  • Your European health insurance card or private health insurance
  • A personal declaration that you have sufficient funds for your stay in Norway.

There is usually no obstacle to British students settling in Norway, although if we leave the EU you will need to prove your financial capability. Prospective non-EU students must demonstrate that they possess the minimum amount of NOK 116,369  (c.£10,500 for 2018/19), prior to admission, to cover living expenses for a year in Norway. Applicants who cannot submit such documentation will not be considered for admission, regardless of academic qualifications.

Valid forms of documentation:

  • Financing provided by applicant: Enclose a recent bank statement in your name showing possession of the required amount (NOK 116,369).
  • Financing provided by sponsor: Sponsor guarantee letter and sponsor’s recent official bank statement/transcript.

Please visit the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration's website to find out more about immigration regulations.

3.4 Norwegian Identity Number

You will also need to register with the National Registry so that you can obtain an 11 digit identity number (your date of birth plus a 5 digit personal number). This is done at the local tax assessment office ("Likningskontor"). The number is required for opening a bank account, obtaining a student card, and applying for a loan from the Norwegian State Educational Loan Fund, if eligible.

3.5 Healthcare

Some institutions provide on campus health services. The semester card which you receive by semester registration may entitle you to free medical treatment at the institution's student health services. This treatment usually does not apply to prescriptions or to medical tests taken off campus. The cost of prescriptions is only covered if you are hospitalised, or suffer from a serious disease, and are member of the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme, or have a European Health Insurance Card or another form of social security which covers these costs.

4. Which are the best universities?

1. University of Bergen

2. University of Tromso

3. University of Oslo

4. Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim

None of these universities offer bachelors courses taught in English.

Universities in Norway

About A Star Future

A Star Future provides information and guidance to British students looking to pursue their undergraduate studies abroad.

Through our presentations in schools and our websites we aim to ensure that British-educated students are well informed about their choices.