Nordic countries in Europe are at the top of many foreign students’ study abroad wish lists, due to their free-tuition policies, their proven stellar education and the importance universities place on research and practical training. Top study abroad locations, like Finland, Germany, and Norway welcome thousands of international students each year.
With the mindset of educational transparency and providing each student free access to higher education, these three countries from Northern Europe are home to some of the best universities worldwide that manage to always be present in the most reputed rankings.
It's important to distinguish between the best tuition-free universities in Finland, Germany and Norway, in order to decide if they are the right choice for your international study adventure. Don't forget to also check out living costs in Germany, Norway and Finland, to get an overall feel on how you need to prepare financially.
1. Tuition fees for international students in Finland
Who doesn't pay tuition fees in Finland?
Public universities in Finland are divided into universities and universities of Applied Sciences, and they are all tuition-free for students coming from EU/EEA countries. However, non-EU/EEA students enrolling in English-taught degrees are required to pay tuition fees.
The minimum tuition fee set by the Finnish government is around 1,500 EUR/year for Bachelor's and Master's programmes, but most study programmes charge a tuition above this amount.
Tuition fees in public Finnish universities range from 10,000 to 25,000 EUR/year, with the University of Helsinki as the most expensive university. Private universities usually charge higher fees.
All international students who plan to pursue a degree taught in Finnish or Swedish are still not charged any tuition. Make sure you also take into account the costs of living while studying in Finland. The average costs are at least 800 - 1300 EUR/month. Of course, prices can be higher in Helsinki.
Tuition-free universities in Finland for EU/EEA students
- University of Vaasa
- University of Helsinki
- Tampere University
- University of Jyvaskyla
- Lappeenranta University of Technology
Examples of subjects to study in Finland
Some of the most popular disciplines you can study in Finland are:
To enrol in a Master’s degree in Finland, you will need to have completed your Bachelor's studies in the same field or closely related to the one you plan to apply to. Entry requirements for a Master’s programme in a university of Applied Sciences also require at least three years of work experience. Check details on how to apply to a university in Finland.
International student experiences in Finland
See what these students have to say about studying in Finland:
2. Tuition fees for international students in Germany
Who doesn't pay tuition fees in Germany?
For both undergraduate and graduate degree programmes, you can study abroad for free in public German universities. This is generally true for international students worldwide, inside or outside the EU/EEA zone.
The only fees required are called “administrative fees”, that cost around 100 - 200 EUR/year, and they are dedicated to student services, covering costs for bus tickets to the university, student cafeterias, and more.
However, according to new education policies, starting from Autumn 2017, non-EU/EEA students who want to study in a university in the Baden-Würrtemberg region will have to pay tuition fees.
Private universities in Germany charge tuition fees and these are between 2,000 and 20,000 EUR/year.
Living costs in Germany are around 750 - 1100 EUR/month but can be higher in larger cities like Frankfurt or Munchen.
Universities that offer some tuition-free Masters in Germany for EU/EEA students:
- Friedrich Schiller University Jena
- RWTH Aachen University
- University of Mannheim
- University of Cologne
- University of Stuttgart
- Darmstadt University of Technology
Examples of subjects to study in Germany
Within around 450 public tuition-free universities in Germany, you can apply to numerous study fields available in English and German, as well. Popular disciplines in Germany include:
Similarly to Finnish universities, prospective Master students are eligible for admission only if their prior studies are in the same field as the one for the Master course they plan to enrol in.
International student experiences in Germany
See what these students have to say about studying in Germany
3. Tuition fees for international students in Norway
Who doesn't pay tuition fees in Norway?
Norway has 40 public higher education institutions that include universities, colleges and other specialised institutions. Just like Germany, Norway is one of the few countries with free education for all international students, whether they come from the EU/EEA countries or not.
Students will just have to pay a semester fee for the student union, that’s between 32 and 65 EUR. The student union fee covers health and counselling services, sports and cultural activities, all held on campus.
In private universities, both national and international students will have to pay tuition fees. Compared to other European countries, private universities in Norway are cheaper, as they have fees between 7,000 and 10,000 EUR/year.
Monthly living expenses in Norway add up to 1000 - 1,800 EUR/month, but in Oslo it can go as high as 2,000 EUR/month.
Tuition-free universities in Norway for EU/EEA students
- University of Bergen
- NHH Norwegian School of Business
- Nord University
- UIT The Arctic University of Norway
- Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences
Examples of subjects to study in Norway
Many international students that decide to study abroad in Norway pursue degrees in:
More information about how to apply to a university in Norway.
International student experiences in Norway
See what these students have to say about studying in Norway:
Search Bachelor's and Master's programmes in these countries and many other tuition-free or affordable programmes worldwide, and choose a world-class study degree that will prepare you for a blooming career. Also, read about Bachelors at tuition-free universities in Norway, Germany, Finland and Sweden.