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Masters Study in Norway – A Guide for 2024

Written by Mark Bennett

One of the best things about studying a Masters in Norway is its welcoming attitude to overseas students, already hosting 13,000. While Masters programmes in Norway are free for students from EU/EEA and Switzerland, from autumn 2023, there will be tuition fees for students from outside EU/EEA and Switzerland.

This page covers everything you need to know about Masters study in Norway, including universities, applications, visas and funding.

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Postgraduate opportunities in Norway – what’s on offer for 2023?

Studying in Norway gives you access to some truly unique research opportunities and experiences. Part of the country's territory is located within the Arctic, with some of Norway’s top universities collaborating on pioneering scientific research projects.

If your research interests are more geared towards the humanities, studying in Norway gives you the opportunity to look at the history and culture of exploration and survival in the far north. Norway is home to archives and heritage materials ranging from Viking settlement to early polar voyages.

These are some of the most compelling reasons to study a Masters in Norway:

  • High quality of life – Consistently ranked near the top of quality of life tables, Norway is a fantastic place to live, work and study.
  • Beautiful landscape – Nature lovers can explore pristine fjords, midnight sun and Arctic tundra.
  • Language – English is widely spoken to an excellent standard as a second language. This means you won’t necessarily have to worry about learning Norwegian – although doing so could be rewarding!

Masters Study in Norway - Key Details
Universities 22
Oldest University University of Oslo (1811)
International Students 13,000
Course Length 2 years
Typical Fees (Domestic / EU) None
Academic Year August to June

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Norwegian universities

Norwegian higher education providers may be either public or private, but the majority are state-run. In total, there are seven state universities in Norway and 22 state university colleges. These institutions each provide a wide range of courses and conduct research in a variety of fields.

There are also nine specialised universities and two national arts colleges, plus a range of private providers offering accredited courses.

Most students studying in Norway (around 85%) are at state institutions. These will usually have the widest range of subjects available. University colleges tend to focus on professional Bachelor's programmes, but also offer some taught postgraduate degrees.

Higher education in Norway follows the standards established by the Bologna process. 'First cycle' Bachelor's programmes are followed by 'second cycle' Masters degrees and 'third cycle' PhD qualifications. A Norwegian Masters is an internationally recognised qualification, that can be a doorway to work or further study in other countries. .

Norwegian university rankings

Despite the relatively small size of its higher education system, Norway punches well above its weight in international ranking leagues.

As you can see in the table below, a few Norwegian institutions feature among the top 350 in the world across each major ranking system.


Top 5 Norwegian Universities in 2024
University THE 2024 QS 2024 ARWU 2023
University of Oslo12711773
University of Bergen251-300=281301-400
Norwegian University of Science and Technology301-350=292101-150
UiT The Arctic University of Norway501-600=577-
Norweigen University of Life Sceinces601-8001201-1400701-800
Information in this table is based on the latest Times Higher Education World University Rankings, QS World University Rankings and Academic Ranking of World Universities. Visit their websites for more information.

Do university rankings matter for postgraduates?

University league tables can help you in your search for a Masters degree, but you need to know what to look for. Our guide to university rankings for Masters study can help.

Course types

The Norwegian academic year runs from August to June, with winter and spring holidays and a longer vacation between June and August. Of course, as a Masters student in Norway, you will most likely use this longer vacation to work on your dissertation.

Norwegian Masters degrees normally run for two years and consist of 120 ECTS credits. In some cases, second cycle programmes equivalent to Masters degrees only contain 90 ECTS credits of formal study. These are only applicable to candidates with existing training and work experience in the relevant field.

Course content

Teaching on Masters programmes includes a combination of lectures, seminars, workshops and tutorials. All Masters students in Norway must complete a dissertation, which usually takes place at the end of a programme.

Credit weighting and grading

Each module is assessed individually on a scale running from A-E (with F denoting a 'fail'). Their credit weighting will decide how much of your final grade they determine. The dissertation will be worth a substantial number of credits (usually between 30 and 60). .

Assessment of a Norwegian Masters thesis

The assessment of a Norwegian Masters thesis may involve an oral examination in addition to the written evaluation. This is sometimes referred to as the 'final Masters degree examination' and involves two components. You will first be required to give a presentation of your work to an open audience. You will then proceed to a closed session with your examiners who will assess you orally for a set period.

Having to present a public lecture and undertake an oral defence of your Masters thesis may seem a little daunting at first, but it's a great opportunity to invite some friends and family to take pride in your success (and show them what life in Norway is like). Plus, success in these examinations will look great on your CV whether you're applying for a PhD programme or seeking professional employment with your Masters degree.

Search for a Masters in Norway

Ready to start looking for your ideal study abroad opportunity? Browse and compare Masters degrees in Norway on FindAMasters.com

Masters fees and funding in Norway

Previously there technically haven't been any tuition fees for students, you've only had to pay a small semester fee of €30-60 to cover your membership of your university’s student welfare organisation. This is still the case for students from the EU/EEA and Switzerland but from autumn 2023 international students will have to pay tuition fees. These vary significantly depending on the course and university to wish to study at. Generally, fees will be between 100,000-400,000 NOK (€8,600-€34,500) per year but make sure to check with the university you are applying to.

Funding

Regardless of whether you pay tuition fees on a Norwegian Masters degree, you will find that the cost of living in Norway is relatively high. For this reason it’s desirable to secure some form of external funding to cover maintenance costs during your time studying in Norway. A number of funding and scholarship packages exist to help you, many of which can be found on the official Study in Norway website.

You might be eligible to receive support through the Erasmus+ scheme. This provides funding for selected programmes like Erasmus Mundus Joint Masters, as well as Erasmus loans for students who want to study abroad.

Applying for a Masters in Norway

Admission to a Masters programme in Norway usually requires a Bachelors degree in a relevant subject area. Beyond this higher education providers will set their own criteria for candidates. As a general rule you should be able to provide:

  • certification of your previous qualifications
  • a statement of your interest in the course and its suitability to your experience and career goals
  • proof that you have the financial means to support yourself during your studies in Norway

Recognition of qualifications

As a member of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) and a participant in the Bologna process, Norway is usually able to recognise foreign qualifications (particularly those from within Europe) with relatively little difficulty. Your prospective institution should be able to alert you if there are likely to be any difficulties in your case. You can contact the Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education for further information.

Language requirements

A large number of Masters programmes in Norway are delivered in English, as the language is spoken by much of the population. For this reason, you won't usually need to know Norwegian to study in Norway. However, if English is not your first language you may need to take a test of English proficiency. You can read more in our guide to English language tests for international postgraduate students.

Even if your programme doesn't require you to speak Norwegian, you might want to consider learning a little of the language. Norwegian can appear challenging (with two written forms and numerous dialects) but in practice is no harder to learn than most other European languages. It is also quite similar to other Scandinavian languages such as Danish and Swedish.

Masters student visas in Norway

Visa information for UK students in Norway

UK students will no longer be EU citizens from the 2021-22 academic year onwards. This means you may be considered as an international student when studying in Norway. You may be subject to different visa requirements and fee rates, unless otherwise stated.

You will usually need to acquire a student residence permit from the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration. This will allow you to remain in the country for over three months. A resident permit is not needed for students from Nordic countries (Iceland, Denmark, Sweden and Finland).

Applications for a residence permit should be made to a Norwegian Foreign Mission in your home country. You can use Norway's official web portal to locate your nearest mission or embassy.

It is possible to arrive in Norway without a pre-approved residence permit, but you will need to ensure you can acquire one within three months.

The documents required for a residence permit application will usually include:

  • A completed application form with attached passport photograph.
  • Proof of acceptance at a recognised learning institution.
  • A statement proving that you possess sufficient maintenance funds.
  • Proof of valid health insurance, either through a private policy or reciprocal scheme.

If you are normally resident outside the EU, EEA and Switzerland you may also need to provide:

  • Documentation of accommodation.
  • An outline of your proposed studies.

There is a processing fee for permit applications, but this is waived for citizens of EU, EEA and EFTA countries.

The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) offers more information on immigration regulations and requirements for specific countries.

Norwegian identity numbers

As you'll likely be in the Norway for more than six months, you should register with the National Registry and receive an identity number. This will allow you to open a bank account and get a student card.

Health insurance

EU/ EEA students are entitled to access medical care on the same basis as Norweigan citizens. You will need a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Other international students will need to purchase private health insurance. You can find more information from Nav, the Norwegian public welfare agency.

Next steps

Studying a Masters in Norway will provide you with a high quality, internationally recognised qualification. This will support you in future career goals, whether you intend to continue on to PhD level research or take up a job outside the academy.

As a Masters student in Norway you will have demonstrated your ability to adapt to a new environment and embrace different cultural perspectives. If you've taken the opportunity to learn a foreign language, this will be of use across the Scandinavian region and further demonstrate your adaptability and resourcefulness to prospective employers.

Ultimately, whether you choose to pursue Norway's unique research opportunities or to take up a professional post back home, your time spent studying a Masters in Norway will be both memorable and valuable.

Search for a Masters in Norway

Ready to start looking for your ideal study abroad opportunity? Browse and compare Masters degrees in Norway on FindAMasters.com



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Last updated: 17 October 2023