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, take advantage of the tuition free university programmes, and visit that one town in which dying is illegal (not kidding), we wish to provide you with a comprehensive guide for applying. So here it is:

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1. Choose the right degree subject in Norway

There are a lot of Master’s degrees in Norway, some hilariously cliché as “Viking and Medieval Norse Studies”, but only a select few are popular and useful. Combing our data, we managed to find the most sought-after disciplines in Norway. These are:

2. Choose the right Norwegian university

Norway has seven accredited public universities, nine accredited specialised university institutions, 22 accredited university colleges, two accredited national colleges of the arts and several private institutions of higher education, with either institutional or programme accreditation. That’s… a lot. Helping you out, we made a small list of recommendations, which is:

3. Prepare to apply to a Norwegian university

Norway is super cold! There, we prepared you.

Joking aside, your 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 when choosing a degree.

Norway has a website dedicated to international students who wish to follow a programme within its borders, where all the degrees are centralised and the specific details of each put neatly in tables.

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

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

Norwegian universities, business schools and other higher education institutions each have their own rules. If you go on to their official university 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 your official application.

Heads up, though, that 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 chance, that only Norwegian reader who wants a Bachelor’s, you’re welcome and don’t mention it. It was our pleasure!

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:

  • C1 Advanced
  • Pearson PTE

You should ask your choice programme what test and what grade you should acquire, so you won’t have problems during your official application.

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, no matter their country or degree.

Apply to a Master's degree in Norway.jpg

6. Required 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 depend on each student’s home country. You should see the GSU-list, the Norwegian database for country-specific information.

For instance:

  • Indian students require 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 / 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.

Also, the “each with its own” rule reappears here, as well, so always check programmes for additional requirements.

7. University application deadlines for Norway

An exact calendar you can find on the programme’s page, but, as a rough guide, you should keep in mind these dates:

  • December – March: application period for foreign 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 this, so remember to look for those as well.

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:

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

Remember that this is a comprehensive guide of generalities, so don’t base your decision and application folder only on this article. “Each with its own”, remember?

Anyway, 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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