Norway is famous for its outdoor culture and rightly so, given the abundance of natural beauty afforded by the country’s many fjords and mountains. But as a significant number of international students have discovered — and there were about 12,000 at last count — the education system is also worth the journey to one of Europe’s most northern countries.
Norway has seven universities, nine specialised university institutions, 22 university colleges, two national colleges of the arts and a number of private higher education institutions.
There are more than 200 master’s programmes taught in English, although there are only a handful of bachelor’s degree courses on offer in English.
Entry and visa requirements
EU students do not require a visa to study in Norway.
However, you do need to apply for a student residence permit and unlike many other European countries, there is a requirement for EU/EEA students to prove how they plan to finance their living costs while studying. Students must prove they have access to close to £1,000 per month, and if some of this is to be earned via part-time work, must give evidence of their employment.
For undergraduate courses, foreign students need to apply via the Norwegian Universities and Colleges Admission Service (NUCAS) before 1 March for the academic intake beginning in the autumn. For master’s degree programmes, direct applications are more usual and applicants should check with their preferred institution for their admissions procedures and deadlines.
Funding your study
Foreign students do not have to pay for tuition, but there is a small fee payable to the student union each semester of around €50.
International students who move to Norway solely for the purposes of undertaking a study programme are not usually eligible for a maintenance loan from the government.
Foreign students obtaining their first residence permit are automatically given a work permit that allows them to work for up to 20 hours per week during term time and full-time during university breaks. However, when renewing their residence permit, students must show proof that they are keeping up with their studies to get their work permit renewed. This involves having their university fill out a form giving details of their achievements.
Student housing is provided by most universities and is cheaper than private accommodation options. Once enrolled in an institution, you should be provided with information about the options available through the university’s student housing service, but if not, contact them directly.
Living costs are high in Norway and residents frequently travel to neighbouring countries to buy cheaper food and alcohol. Typical costs (GBP, March 2015) are:
Apartment rent, 1 bedroom: £624 - £802 per month
Meal, inexpensive restaurant: £12.39
Meal at McDonalds: £8.26
Domestic beer (0.5 litre draught): £6.20
Imported beer (0.33 litre bottle): £5.78
Coke/Pepsi (0.33 litre bottle): £2.23
Water (0.33 litre bottle): £1.99
Loaf of bread: £1.98
One-way ticket local transport: £3.06
Cinema ticket: £9.09
Health and safety
Norway is generally considered to be a safe country and crime rates are low in comparison to other developed countries.
British students are entitled to access healthcare in Norway in the same way as residents so long as they have a valid European Healthcare Insurance Card. However, services aren’t free as they are with the NHS: there is usually a small non-refundable charge for appointments — around £15 for a GP consultation.
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