Higher Education in Norway
Norwegian higher education conforms to the Bologna Process of European higher education, including bachelor’s, master’s and PhD degrees.
Why Study in Norway?
Norway offers the highest standard of living in the world along with world-class institutions of higher education that offer advanced research and computer facilities. More than 200 master’s degree programs are taught in English in a wide variety of subject areas. International students will find a very welcoming environment in Norway – the country is eager to increase the more than 14,000 international students that currently study there each year.
Universities in Norway
Norway has about 70 institutes of higher education, both public and private. Master’s degrees are awarded by universities, specialized university institutions, some university colleges and some private institutions. Despite its small size, Norway has two schools among the top 400 as rated by the 2012-2013 Times Higher Education World University Rankings.
Tuition and Program Duration
Norwegian universities and state colleges generally do not charge tuition, even for international students. However, there are usually fees associated with various student organizations that cost about €40 to €80 per semester. Private institutions charge tuition that varies by school and program, so students should check with the specific institution. Students requiring assistance with living expenses may find that they are eligible for scholarships.
Master’s degree programs generally require 1.5 to 2 years to complete and most require a research thesis, although some programs can be completed in one year.
The academic year is based on semesters and normally runs from mid-August to mid-June.
International students studying in Norway on a student residence are normally expected to return to their home country after completing their studies. However, students eligible to work in Norway will find opportunities in the major industries, including petroleum, copper, natural gas, fishing, timber and hydropower.
Students from Nordic countries (Iceland, Denmark, Sweden and Finland) do not need a student residence permit or visa.
Visas are generally good for only 90 days, so students from all other countries planning to stay longer must have a student residence permit. The rules for permits depend on the student’s home country of residence.
Students from EU/EEA/EFTA countries do not have to pay a processing fee but must submit an application for a student residence permit to a Norwegian Foreign Mission in their home country or a police station in Norway where their school is located. The application must be submitted in person.
Students from all other countries should apply for a student residence permit to the Norwegian Foreign Mission within their home country. Applications must be submitted in person.
All students must present proof of health insurance and proof of living expenses (NOK 95,000 per year) along with their residence and/or visa applications. Non-EU/EEA/EFTA students must also demonstrate that they have obtained housing and that they have sufficient funds for tuition if they are required to pay tuition.
Students from Nordic countries are members of the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme and are entitled to health services under the Norwegian National Insurance Act; these students do not have to verify their eligibility with a European Health Insurance Card.
Students from the EEA or Switzerland who are covered in their home countries are entitled to emergency treatment and essential health services covered under their European Health Insurance Card. Students without this card should obtain private insurance to cover other medical expenses.
Other students are automatically insured under the Norwegian Health Insurance Scheme if their studies will last for more than one year. Students planning to study for less than one year must apply for membership in the scheme. Students without membership in the scheme should obtain health insurance from their home country.
In addition, some institutions provide health care, so students should be sure to check these options.
Norway is situated in the western part of the Scandinavian peninsula. It extends about 1,100 mi (1,770 km) from the North Sea along the Norwegian Sea to more than 300 mi (483 km) above the Arctic Circle, the farthest north of any European country. Norway has extensive reserves of petroleum, natural gas, minerals, lumber, seafood, fresh water, and hydropower. From 2001 to 2006, and then again from 2009 to 2011, Norway has had the highest human development index ranking in the world.
Norway is a Scandinavian country located in Northern Europe sharing borders with Sweden, Finland and Russia. The country is famous for its rugged terrain, long coastline and extensive fjords. Students who love outdoor activities will find much to like in Norway, with something for every season, including the Aurora Borealis “Northern Lights” and cross-country skiing in the winter to white water rafting and climbing in the summer. The unit of currency is the Norwegian kroner, abbreviated NOK and most people speak Norwegian, although English is also widely spoken. Norway is not part of the European Union (EU) put through various agreements is fully integrated with the larger European community. Edward Grieg, one of the world’s most famous classical composers, is from Norway, as well as Edward Munch, painter of the famous modern expressionist painting “The Scream.”
Due to Norway’s long north to south length and rugged terrain, the climate varies significantly throughout the country. In general, the country experiences four seasons. High temperatures in the summer range from about 22 degrees C to occasional temperatures above 30 degrees C. Winter temperatures can be as low as -40 degrees C in some locations, with -15 degrees C being more typical.
Despite its small population, Norway has many culture activities available. In particular, Norwegian music includes classical music, jazz, pop, rock and electronic music, and many music festivals take place in the country throughout the year.
Norwegian food has become international, although traditional Norwegian options are still available. Traditional foods include potato dumplings and lutefisk, which is fish soaked in a caustic substance that turns it into jelly. Norwegians also consume more coffee per capita than any other country in the world (much to the surprise of Seattle residents in the US).
Cost of Living
The cost of living in Norway is quite high. Students should plan to spend at least NOK 8,900 (€1,100) per month for subsistence. Students are allowed to work up to 20 hours per week to help defray the costs of studying. Students who want to work must obtain a work permit; however, this process is very simple once a student is studying at a Norwegian school.
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