The University Centre in Svalbard, established in 1993, is the only higher education institution in Svalbard and Jan Mayen. Despite its name, it is not a university but a Norwegian state-owned limited company that mostly conducts research but also provides a number of university-level courses. These courses fall into the following four disciplines: Arctic biology, Arctic geology, Arctic geophysics and Arctic technology. The institution offers courses at Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD level, though students should note that the institution does not accept its own graduates for Master’s and PhD courses, potential candidates for these courses are required to provide a letter of support from their home institution to be accepted onto these programmes. International students make up the majority of its student body. In 2018, the institution had 772 students from 43 countries attending one or more course. The largest groups come from Nordic countries outside Norway, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, and Russia. The teaching staff are invited both from Norwegian and foreign institutions and the institution has an educational exchange programme with Russia.
The official language of the institution is Norwegian, but English is the language of instruction for all courses. Applications are done online, and prospective students are required to register their personal information and choose their courses online. Students will then be required to upload copies of the following documents: relevant educational diplomas and degrees, confirmation that the student is enrolled in a programme at another educational institution, which must be valid during the period of study at the University Centre, copy of the student’s passport. The documentation must be in either Norwegian or English, documents in other language must be officially translated. Students will receive the admissions decision within two to five weeks.
The University Centre does not have formal tuition fees, though students are required to pay a semester fee of about 65 euros and must also pay for their own expenses during fieldwork and excursions. Students can apply for student housing but can do so only after they have been accepted to a course. Students should note that some of the student housing is located a 30-minute walk from the University Centre and there is no public transport. Students can expect to pay between 450 and 490 euros per month in rent in the institution’s student housing.
Information for International Students
Living costs are approximately the same as in the rest of Norway and students should budget for about 990 euros per month for accommodation and other expenses. The institution does not offer financial aid or scholarships to international students, though Norwegian students can apply for state grants and loans.