Higher Education in Norway is primarily delivered by public institutions. The Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research has a system of 8 universities, 9 specialised universities, and 24 university colleges in the country. 90% of the student population is enrolled these institutions. There are currently only 4 accredited private university colleges. These are mostly foundations or institutions related to religious organisations. More information on The Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research here: https://www.regjeringen.no/en/topics/education/higher-education/id1415/
Acceptance into higher education is offered after finishing upper secondary school with general university admissions certification. The 2003 Quality Reform made Norway one of the first countries in Europe to implement the Bolongna Convention creating a 3+2+3 year system. Accordingly, higher education is structured in the following way: first cycle: Bachelor’s degrees, lasting 3 years, second cycle: Master’s degrees of two years and third cycle: Doctoral degrees with a duration of three years.
Master’s programs are divided into: Master of Technology for engineering programs, Master of Philosophy for studies in the humanities and social sciences and Master of Science for scientific and business studies. Entry at the Master’s level is contingent on academic qualifications from the Bachelor’s degree.
The Master of Dentistry and Master of law among others are considered ‘one-tier’ programs with a duration of 5 years. Some other programs exempt from the Bologna system are the 6-year professional programmes: Medicine, Veterinary, Psychology and Theology. Degrees at the Doctorate level have a duration of 3 years but some programs include teaching requirements for a total program length of 4 years.
Application processes and requirements, including language proficiency tests are administered by each individual institution.
All public education in Norway is free of charge for both national and foreign students. Private institutions have fees that are significantly lower than the cost of comparable programs in other countries. In these cases, there are no extra fees for international students. There are also funding opportunities for students to cover other expenses such as housing. These are mostly focused on nationals but there are some grants for foreign students (more information here: https://www.studyinnorway.no/study-in-norway/find-available-scholarships-and-grants)
Information for International students
Beyond tuition free education, it is important for international students to take into account the high living costs of Norway. Proof of sufficient resources to finance their studies will be required for students in their process of obtaining a visa or a residence permit in Norway.
Students from Iceland, Denmark, Sweden or Finland do not need a student visa for Norway, and do not need to register with the police. If studying in Norway for over 6 months, students must report to a tax office in Norway for an ID check and to report their move to Norway.
Students from nations within the European Economic Area (EEA) and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) can study in Norway for up to 90 days without applying for a student residence permit. After this time, students need a registration certificate. Requirements for this certificate include: a valid passport, confirmation of acceptance into a Norwegian higher education institution, proof of health insurance and a personal declaration of availability of funding to finance their stay in Norway (more information here: https://www.udi.no/en/word-definitions/registration-certificate-for-eueea-nationals/).
International students from outside Europe need to obtain a Student Residence Permit (more information here: https://www.udi.no/en/want-to-apply/studies/)