This article was originally written and published on Reddit by redditor user named ‘Solvi’. We have reposted it here under permission because of the usefulness of its content.
Lots of people ask questions about studying in Norway. This is an attempt to collect useful information for them in one post. It’s for those who want to do their whole bachelor / undergraduate degree in Norway, not for exchange students who come here for a semester or two via their own university.
Bachelor / Undergraduate Programs in English
The large majority of bachelor programs require documented Norwegian skills before you can start. All bachelor programs have some courses in English (for exchange students) but to do the whole program you generally have to be fluent in Norwegian. How you can meet the Norwegian language requirements: http://www.samordnaopptak.no/info/english/language-requirements/
Applicants from the other Nordic countries with qualifications granting general admission to higher education in their home country, and who have studied their native language at the most advanced level at upper secondary school are not required to take a Norwegian language proficiency test.
There are a few bachelor programs that are taught entirely in English where you don’t need to know Norwegian to start. The ones I have found:
Bachelor in Acting & Bachelor in Scenography – Norwegian Theatre Academy/Østfold University College (do not confuse this school with the much more prestigious Academy of Theatre/Oslo National Academy of the Arts (aka Teaterhøgskolen)). Next admission is scheduled for 2018.
International Teacher Education for Primary Schools (ITEPS) (Bachelor) – University College of Southeast Norway
Before you start this program do check if it will qualify you for teaching in the country/district/schools you want to teach in. E.g. it will probably not qualify you for teaching in regular public schools in Norway.
There are also some private colleges that offer bachelor degrees taught in English. These colleges do charge tuition:
If I have missed any bachelor / undergraduate programs taught entirely in English do post and I will add them!
Disclaimer: The programs listed are of various quality and reputation. Research the programs and schools before you decide to study there. If you plan to find a job in Norway after you have finished be aware that most of these programs will probably not lead to you getting a job here.
Be aware that there have been some name changes and mergers among Norwegian universities and university colleges recently and more will come.
How to learn Norwegian
If you want to go to one of the many other bachelor programs in Norway you have to learn Norwegian before you start.
University of Oslo (UiO) have some places for students who don’t know Norwegian. There is a 1-year Norwegian language course before you can start your bachelor:
Some of the other universities / university colleges have Norwegian Language Courses. They usually prioritise their own employees, Ph.D students, Master students and exchange students for admission to these courses. These courses might not be eligible for a student permit. Do check the admission rules etc on their web sites and if unclear contact each school.
Some of the ones I found:
University of Bergen http://www.uib.no/en/course/NOR-U1
The Arctic University of Norway (UiT) http://uit.no/studietilbud/program?p_document_id=345407
Volda University College http://www.hivolda.no/vuc/admission/norwegian-course
University College of Southeast Norway (HSN) https://www.usn.no/academics/find-courses/language-culture-and-history/1-year-programme-in-norwegian-language-and-civilization-for-foreign-students/
Some of the Norwegian Folk high schools have classes in Norwegian language and culture. Be aware that these schools are boarding schools, most students are young (17-20), and I’m not sure if you learn enough Norwegian to pass the required test (Bergens-testen). https://www.folkehogskole.no/?page_id=44
While it’s certainly possible to learn Norwegian, don’t underestimate the time and effort it takes to get to a level where you can attend a bachelor program taught in Norwegian. Passing the test which many people find difficult is one thing, the real test is when you start your studies. You must be at a level where you can understand your lecturers and professors (who might speak many different “weird” dialects or accents, or even Swedish or Danish) and your fellow students. You must also be able to participate in class and group assignments and read academic books and other texts in Norwegian. You can usually write your exams and bachelor thesis in either Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English. Check with your university/college for the local rules and whether you have to get permission in advance to write in English.
General information about studying in Norway
You can find lots of general information here: http://www.studyinnorway.no
An overview of Norwegian Educational System: http://www.nokut.no/en/Facts-and-statistics/The-Norwegian-Educational-System/education-in-norway/
Requirements for admission to higher education in Norway: http://www.samordnaopptak.no/info/english/general-requirements/
For some countries (including the USA) only high school / upper secondary school is not enough for admission to higher education in Norway, you need some college/university education or AP-classes. Check the GSU-list for the requirements for your country.
For some programs there are extra requirements, e.g. a certain number of classes of maths, physics, chemistry and/or biology in upper secondary school/high school if you want to study e.g. engineering, natural sciences, medicine, veterinary science, pharmacology or nutrition. Check the requirements for the programs you are interested in.
Admission is decided from the grades you got in upper secondary school + extra points if you have any college or university credits or if you had extra classes of maths/physics/chemistry/biology/foreign languages in upper secondary school. You might also get extra points for age or gender (the latter only for a few programs where the gender balance is bad). You don’t need recommendations or an application essay. Information about how these points are calculated depending on where your education is from can be found here (sorry, I couldn’t find an English version):
Some programs such as arts, performing arts, design, architecture etc. do have auditions or you have to show work samples.
The rules for student permits (aka student visas) are on UDIs web site. Fill in your country and you will get all the information needed:
Perhaps you have read that you can get a degree for free in Norway? That is only partially true. Universities and state owned colleges charge no tuition from anyone, no matter where in the world you are from and what citizenship(s) you have. You have to pay a mandatory small semester fee (usually NOK 500-1000) that goes to the student organisations.
There are also some private colleges. They charge tuition.
Even if there is no tuition you’ll have to pay for rent, food, public transport, air travel from your home country, insurance, books, clothes and beer. Be aware that cost of living in Norway is high. You can usually rent housing from the student welfare organisation (“studentsamskipnad”) which is a bit cheaper than the open market.
If you don’t have EU/EEA citizenship you have to show that you have enough money to live on to get a student permit (aka student visa). The minimum amount required in 2016 is NOK 103 950 per year. For EU/EEA citizens no minimum amount is required to get a student permit, only that “you have enough money to support yourself and any family members you will bring with you to Norway».
It can be very difficult to get a part time job as a student, especially if you are not fluent in Norwegian (or Swedish) and don’t know anyone. Do not expect to find a job quickly or make enough to live on. Norwegian students get loans and scholarships from Lånekassen (Norwegian State Educational Loan Fund). Few foreign students are eligible for loans from them.
There used to be a program called the Quota scheme for students from developing countries, the Western Balkan countries, countries in Eastern Europe and Central-Asia. The Quota scheme is discontinued.
There might be some scholarships you can apply for. Check http://www.studyinnorway.no/Study-Norway/Scholarships .
What about master’s degree programs?
You will have far more English language programs to choose from: http://www.studyinnorway.no/What-can-I-study?level=1&subject=