How to Apply to an International University in Norway in 2020

Norway — home of the paper-clip, IKEA names for wardrobes and hall furniture, and a knighted penguin. With such quirky people, how could you not want to study here?

Fortunately, international students do wish to study here; the Northern-European country welcomes more than 25,000 such pupils on its cold lands.

Assuming you wish to be one of those 25,000 and take advantage of the tuition-free degrees available to all international students at public universities in Norway, we want to provide you with a comprehensive guide for applying. Let's dive right in!

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1. Popular degree subjects in Norway

There are a lot of Master’s degrees in Norway — some hilarious clichés like “Viking and Medieval Norse Studies” — but a certain group stands out in terms of popularity among international students. Based on our data, we managed to find the most sought-after disciplines in Norway:

2. Norwegian universities to consider for your studies

Norway has 7 accredited public universities, 9 accredited specialised university institutions, 22 accredited university colleges, 2 accredited national colleges of Arts and several private institutions of higher education, with either institutional or programme accreditation. That’s a lot!

To help you out, we made a small list of recommendations:

3. Prepare to apply to a Norwegian university

Norway is super cold! There, we prepared you.

All jokes aside, the first step should be researching. Considering the number of universities you can pick from and that each has a list of study programmes and a distinct list of documents necessary for applying, you should check and consider all the criteria before choosing a degree.

Norway has a website dedicated to international students who wish to enrol in an academic programme within its borders, where all the degrees are centralised and the specific details are neatly organised in tables.

Use that website as much as possible. It was made to help students like you. Any questions you may have or any uncertainty can be resolved with a simple e-mail or a quick phone call.

4. Where to apply for a Norwegian Master’s degree?

Norwegian universities, business schools and other higher education institutions have their own application rules and criteria. If you visit their official websites, you will find an entire list of Norwegian Master's degrees. If you click on it, you will find the deadlines, the requirements and a button taking you to the university’s page, where you can begin the official application process.

Heads up, though — there is another website for applications, but it is strictly for Norwegian students and it is comprised, mostly, of Bachelor's degrees. If you are, by any chance, that only Norwegian reader who wants a Bachelor’s, you’re welcome and don’t mention it. It was our pleasure!

Another excellent alternative to find a degree in Norway is to use our portals. Free services like best-fit and the comparison tool will help you determine if you meet the admission requirements and easily see the differences between multiple study programmes. You can start your search for:

5. Language requirements for a Norwegian university application

While you don't need to learn the Norwegian language, you will need an English certificate for your studies in Norway. Universities usually accept:

To avoid encountering problems during the official application, you should always check which English language test is accepted by your university and what grade you need to be accepted.

Also, bad news for the Norwegian guy reading this: you will need a language proficiency certificate as well. Evidence you can speak the language in which the programme will be taught is required from everybody, regardless of their nationality or chosen degree.

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6. Required university application documents

General application documents

The list of general application documents is pretty straightforward. A student has to present:

  • An undergraduate/Bachelor's degree or equivalent of at least 3 years of study (it must include courses equal to at least 1/2 years of full-time studies in a subject relevant to the programme you applied for)
  • An English proficiency test

Specific entry requirements

Now we’re talking!

Norway has the Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education (NOKUT), which sets the minimum requirements that vary depending on each student’s home country. You should see the GSU-list, the Norwegian database for country-specific information.

For instance:

  • Indian students need an English test and two other certificates that prove university education.
  • Nigerian students don’t require an English test, but require Senior School Certificates in 6 subjects (obligatory English, Mathematics and Science), with 1 other certificate.
  • South African students only need a National Senior Certificate.
  • American students must present High School Graduation Diploma + 1 year university or college studies in academic subjects or 3 Advanced Placement Tests with at least grade 3.
  • English students need a General Certificate of Education with at least 3 A Levels or Cambridge Pre-U Diploma (3 Principal Subjects + Global Perspective and Research) or a combination of A Levels and Cambridge Pre-U Principal Subjects in 3 different subjects.

For you, the application requirements might be different. So, always double-check the info on the official page of the programme or on the NOKUT website. If anything is unclear, don't hesitate to contact your university. They'll be more than happy to help you out.

7. University application deadlines for Norway

You can find an official calendar on the programme’s page. As a general guide, you should keep in mind these dates:

  • December – March: the application period for international students who want to start the following autumn
  • August: autumn courses start

Also, some universities in Norway have "pre-qualification" deadlines that are earlier than the periods listed above, so remember to look for those as well.

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8. Final steps after receiving your acceptance letter

You will need a student residence permit. Visas are issued for stays up to 90 days, while students who plan to stay in Norway for more than three months need this student residence permit.

The short list of documents for a student residence permit in Norway includes the following:

  • An application form for student residence with a passport photograph
  • A copy of your passport
  • Documentation of admission to an accredited educational institution
  • A plan of study
  • A form stating the progress of your studies
  • Documentation of housing

Remember that this is a general guide for applying to a university in Norway. So don’t base all your decisions and application only on this article. Always check out the specific requirements that apply to your study programme or to students from your country.

Best of luck with your application and have fun during your international student experience! That goes for you, too, random Norwegian guy!

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