Best Universities in Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and Norway in 2024 -

Best Universities in Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and Norway in 2024

  • Scandinavia, known for its breathtaking landscapes and high quality of life, has some of the finest higher education institutions in the world.
  • Studying in Scandinavia offers a unique blend of innovative learning, cutting-edge research, and a strong emphasis on sustainability and social welfare.
  • In this article, we explore the best universities in all four Scandinavian countries: Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland
  • Among them, the University of Copenhagen is the highest ranking in all of Scandinavia, being one of the top 0,5% of universities worldwide.

    Scandinavia, known for its breathtaking landscapes and high quality of life, also boasts some of the finest higher education institutions in the world. Studying in Scandinavia offers a unique blend of innovative learning, cutting-edge research, and a strong emphasis on sustainability and social welfare. In this article, we explore the best universities in each Scandinavian country, highlighting what makes them stand out.

    The University of Copenhagen, Denmark's oldest and largest university, is also the best university in Scandinavia. Lund University is Sweden's oldest and most prestigious university. In Norway, the University of Oslo is celebrated for its strong focus on interdisciplinary research and its commitment to environmental sustainability, while the University of Helsinki is the best university in Finland, known for its high-impact research and innovative teaching methods. 

    Europe has plenty of excellent study programmes, but studying at these prestigious Scandinavian universities not only provides access to top-notch education but also offers an opportunity to experience Scandinavia's distinctive culture and values. Whether contributing to Nobel Prize-winning research or studying on an eco-friendly campus, students will find an enriching and inspiring academic journey in Scandinavia.

    On top of that, the great news is you can find numerous English-taught programmes in Scandinavia:

    Top 10 Universities in Scandinavia

    1. University of Copenhagen

    • Top 0.5% worldwide
    • 30,000 students
    • City and population: Copenhagen, 600,000 people

    Located in Denmark's vibrant capital, the University of Copenhagen is known for its strong programmes in Health Sciences, Social Sciences, and Natural Sciences. Established in 1479, it is one of the oldest universities in Northern Europe. The university's rich history is complemented by its modern research facilities, making it a leader in innovative studies. A unique feature is its botanical garden, which serves as both a research centre and a beautiful public park. The university also prides itself on fostering a global academic environment with extensive international collaborations.

    Find your Masters at University of Copenhagen

    University of Copenhagen

    2. University of Oslo

    • Top 0.5% worldwide
    • 21,000 students
    • City and population: Oslo, 630,000 people

    Norway's University of Oslo is noted for its programmes in Humanities, Medicine, and Law. Established in 1811, it has a strong focus on research and societal impact. The university is located in Oslo, a city known for its green spaces and rich cultural heritage. The university is involved in the Nobel Peace Prize, with ceremonies held annually in its Aula. Additionally, the University of Oslo is home to numerous research institutes and centres that contribute significantly to global knowledge and innovation.

    Find your Master’s at University of Oslo

    University of Oslo

    3. University of Helsinki

    • Top 0.5% worldwide
    • 22,500 students
    • City and population: Helsinki, 630,000 people

    The University of Helsinki, Finland's largest and oldest university, is acclaimed for its programmes in Social Sciences, Environmental Sciences, and Education. Founded in 1640, it plays a central role in Finnish society. Helsinki, the capital city, is known for its design and high quality of life. Moreover, the university is committed to sustainability and climate research, aligning with Finland’s environmental goals. Another unique feature is the university’s Think Corner, an innovative space for public engagement and interdisciplinary research. 

    Find your Master’s University of Helsinki

    University of Helsinki

    4. Aarhus University 

    • top 0.5% worldwide
    • 26,500 students
    • City and population: Aarhus, 336,000 people

    Situated in Denmark’s second-largest city, Aarhus University is renowned for its programmes in Arts, Business, and Health. Founded in 1928, it has grown rapidly to become a leading research institution. The city of Aarhus is known for its vibrant cultural scene and youthful atmosphere. Aarhus University’s unique feature is its interdisciplinary approach, fostering collaboration across various fields to address complex global challenges. The university also hosts numerous international students and scholars, enhancing its diverse academic environment.

    Find your Master’s at Aarhus University

    Aarhus University

    5. Lund University

    • Top 0.5% worldwide
    • 46,000 students
    • City and population: Lund, 92,000 people

    Located in the charming city of Lund, Sweden, Lund University excels in Medicine, Engineering, and Humanities. Since its founding in 1666, it has become a hub for international students and researchers. Lund is known for its picturesque medieval architecture and lively student life. A standout feature of the university is its Ideon Science Park, one of Europe's most successful research parks, promoting innovation and entrepreneurship. Additionally, Lund University is known for its commitment to sustainability and green research initiatives.

    Find your Master’s at Lund University

    Lund University

    6. Uppsala University

    • Top 0.5% worldwide
    • 27,000 students
    • City and population: Uppsala, 177,000 people

    Uppsala University, established in 1477, is Sweden's oldest university and a leader in Medicine, Law, and Science. Located in the historical city of Uppsala, it offers a blend of rich academic tradition and cutting-edge research. The city is famous for its cathedral and botanical gardens. Uppsala University’s unique Gustavianum museum houses artefacts from its long history, including an anatomical theatre from the 17th century. The university is also renowned for its high-impact research and global academic partnerships.

    Find your Master’s at Uppsala University

    Uppsala University

    7. Stockholm University

    • Top 1% worldwide
    • 28,000 students
    • City and population: Stockholm, 975,000 people

    Stockholm University is renowned for its strong programmes in Environmental Science, Social Sciences, and Humanities. Established in 1878, it is located in Sweden’s capital, known for its beautiful archipelago and vibrant cultural life. A unique feature is its proximity to the Royal National City Park, providing a unique blend of urban and natural environments for study and research. Stockholm University also plays a key role in environmental and climate research, aligning with Sweden’s sustainability goals.

    Find your Master’s at Stockholm University


    8. Technical University of Denmark (DTU)

    • Top 1% worldwide
    • 9,000 students
    • City and population: Copenhagen, 600,000 people

    DTU, located near Copenhagen, is a leading institution in Engineering, Technology, and Environmental Studies. Founded in 1829, it is known for its practical approach and close industry collaboration. The university is in Lyngby, an area known for its green landscapes and innovation hubs. At DTU, you can find Skylab, an innovation centre for student entrepreneurship and prototyping. DTU is also heavily involved in cutting-edge research and development projects, often collaborating with industry leaders.

    Find your Master’s at DTU

    Technical University of Denmark (DTU)

    9. KTH Royal Institute of Technology

    • Top 1% worldwide
    • 13,000 students
    • City and population: Stockholm, 975,000 people

    KTH, located in Stockholm, is one of Europe's leading technical and engineering universities. Known for its Technology, Engineering, and Computer Science programmes, it was founded in 1827. Stockholm’s status as a tech hub complements KTH’s innovative research environment. Moreover, KTH also has an Innovation Office, supporting student and staff startups and commercializing research. KTH also emphasizes sustainable technology and green engineering solutions, making significant contributions to Sweden’s environmental objectives.

    Find your Master’s at KTH


    10. University of Gothenburg

    • Top 1% worldwide
    • 21,000 students
    • City and population: Gothenburg, 580,000 people

    The University of Gothenburg offers top programmes in Marine Science, Humanities, and Fine Arts. Established in 1891, it is situated in Sweden’s second-largest city, known for its maritime heritage and cultural events. A unique feature is its Ocean Group, a leading centre for marine research, leveraging Gothenburg’s coastal location for cutting-edge studies. The university also fosters a vibrant academic community with a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary research and innovation.

    Find your Master’s at University of Gothenburg

    University of Gothenburg

    Top 20 Universities in Scandinavia

    If you need more inspiration or options, let’s have a look at the next 10 universities in Scandinavia  which are also amazing choices:

    11. Aalto University, Finland, top 1% worldwide

    Aalto University in Espoo, near Helsinki, excels in Design, Business, and Engineering. Formed in 2010 from a merger of three institutions, it promotes interdisciplinary learning and innovation. Espoo is part of the Helsinki metropolitan area, known for its high-tech industry and nature reserves. The university houses Aalto’s Design Factory, a pioneering co-working space for creative collaboration and prototyping.

    12. Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Norway, top 2% worldwide 

    NTNU, located in Trondheim, Norway, is famous for its Engineering, Technology, and Natural Sciences programs. Founded in 1760, it is a hub for innovation and research. Trondheim’s historical significance and tech-oriented economy complement NTNU’s academic environment. The university also has a strong focus on sustainable energy and does extensive research in renewable resources.

    13. University of Bergen, Norway,  top 2% worldwide 

    The University of Bergen in Norway excels in Marine Science, Climate Research, and Humanities. Established in 1946, it is known for its interdisciplinary research and international collaborations. Bergen, a coastal city surrounded by mountains, provides a stunning setting for study. In addition, the university’s Bergen Marine Research Cluster is a leader in marine and environmental sciences.

    14. Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, top 2% worldwide

    Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, is recognized for its Engineering, Technology, and Maritime Studies. Established in 1829, it has a strong reputation for research and innovation. Gothenburg’s industrial heritage and modern tech scene complement Chalmers’ academic strengths. Moreover, the university integrates sustainability into all aspects of education and research.

    15. Aalborg University, Denmark, top 2% worldwide

    Aalborg University, in Denmark, is renowned for its Engineering, Information Technology, and Social Sciences programmes. Founded in 1974, it employs a problem-based learning approach. Aalborg is known for its lively student culture and innovative industry partnerships. A unique aspect is its close collaboration with regional businesses, enhancing practical learning and research applications.

    16. Aalborg University Esbjerg, Denmark, top 2% worldwide

    Aalborg University Esbjerg is a branch campus specializing in Engineering and Energy Technology. Located in the coastal city of Esbjerg, known for its maritime industries and wind energy projects, it provides a dynamic environment for research. The university focuses a lot on renewable energy, reflecting the region’s commitment to sustainable development.

    17. University of Southern Denmark, Denmark, top 2% worldwide

    Located in Odense, the University of Southern Denmark is known for its Health Sciences, Engineering, and Humanities programmes. Founded in 1966, it has a strong focus on research and international collaboration. Odense, the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen, is a cultural hub with a rich history. 

    18. Linköping University, Sweden,  top 2% worldwide

    Linköping University, in Sweden, excels in Technology, Medicine, and Social Sciences. Founded in 1975, it is known for its interdisciplinary approach and strong industry connections. Linköping is a centre for aviation and technology industries. The university is a pioneer in problem-based learning, enhancing students’ practical skills and critical thinking.

    19. University of Turku, Finland, top 2% worldwide

    The University of Turku in Finland excels in Medicine, Humanities, and Natural Sciences. Founded in 1920, it is a major centre for academic research. Turku, Finland’s oldest city, is rich in history and cultural heritage. The university is actively involved in regional development and innovation, driving economic and social progress in the area.

    20. University of Oulu, Finland, top 2% worldwide

    The University of Oulu, located in northern Finland, is renowned for its Technology, Health Sciences, and Environmental Studies programs. Established in 1958, it contributes significantly to scientific research and innovation. Oulu is known for its tech industry and beautiful natural surroundings. The university also does important research on the Arctic area, addressing challenges and opportunities in the northern regions.

    How we did it 

    We created this list of the top 20 universities in Scandinavia based on the Studyportals Meta-ranking. The Meta-ranking methodology brings together results from multiple global university rankings, providing a more comprehensive and balanced assessment of each institution. Factors such as academic reputation, research output, internationalisation, and student satisfaction are all taken into account.

    Additional resources

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How do I know if a Scandinavian university teaches in English?

    To find out if a Scandinavian university offers programmes in English, you can start by visiting Mastersportal, which lists only English-taught courses. You can filter results by location to view programmes available in various Scandinavian countries. 

    Is English enough to live and study in Scandinavia?

    English is widely spoken and understood across Scandinavia, making it easy for international students to live and study there. Universities also offer extensive support services in English, covering administrative tasks, academic advising, and social events. This means you can comfortably navigate both your studies and daily life without needing to learn the local language immediately.

    Are there any affordable English-taught universities in Scandinavia?

    While tuition fees for non-EU/EEA students in Scandinavia can vary, there are affordable study programmes in Scandinavia. For example, public universities in Norway offer tuition-free education for all students, including internationals. In Sweden and Denmark, public universities generally have lower tuition fees compared to private ones. Although the cost of living can be high, careful budgeting can make it manageable. Mastersportal provides comprehensive information on tuition fees and living expenses for universities across Scandinavia, helping you find affordable study options.

    Can you find funding to study in Scandinavia?

    There are numerous funding opportunities available for international students aiming to study in Scandinavia. Many universities offer scholarships specifically for non-EU/EEA students, which can cover a significant portion of tuition fees. Organisations such as the Swedish Institute, the Danish Government, and Norway's Quota Scheme offer various scholarship programmes targeting international students at different academic levels.

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