Norway is a constitutional monarchy located in Northern Europe with borders to Sweden, Finland and Russia. Norway is one of the three Scandinavian countries in the Northern part of Europe. With a population of 4,6 million Norway is not among the most crowded places on the planet. But we very much enjoy the space and our diverse nature, and visitors are often astonished by Norwegians' active way of life. So don't get surprised if your Norwegian friends insist on going hiking, even if the weather maybe is more suitable for staying in the sofa.
Explore the unknown and challenge your own limits - the people of Norway has never been afraid of going their own ways. A thousand years ago the Vikings sailed their ships south to the Mediterranian, east to the Black Sea and all the way west to Greenland, and many historians claim they even made it to New Foundland in North America.
Today, Norway is a modern country where our explorative mindset is geared towards technology, innovation and developing a knowledge based society. We also continue to further develop our oil & gas industry, fisheries and traditional industrial areas.
Thriving on the top of Europe
Norway is a European country even though we are not part of the European Union (EU). But through the EEA-agreement we are fully integrated with the large European community in regards to everything from trade and economy to education and research. And as a participant in the Schengen agreement, travel to and from Norway is easy for people with legal residency in another Schengen country.
For the last four years the United Nations (UN) has ranked Norway as having the highest standard of living in the world. This annual ranking is based largely on average levels of education and income, combined with expected length of lifetime, but also factors like human rights and cultural freedom. Norway is weighed high for its high literacy rate in addition to educational levels and material wealth.
Cold country? Warm people!
Ok, the cat is out of the box - there are no palm trees in Norway! But in the summer we enjoy periods with warm weather, and due to the Gulf Stream the coastal areas are rather mild in the winter time. Nevertheless, you should bring warm clothing when visiting Norway in the winter.
Norwegians have a reputation of being somewhat introvert and difficult to get to know. But this should just be perceived as a first impression misunderstanding. Norwegians are generally both welcoming and open minded towards foreigners. If we don't take the first step, don't be afraid to approach us for a conversation. We have a direct way of communicating and often speak out our opinions.
As a student in Norway you will never be short of lifetime experiences. No matter what your preferences are you should be able to find something of interest beyond books and classes. The freedom of nature is never far away, even in the major cities. If you are more urban oriented many cities have a vibrant cultural life with coffee bars and music clubs.
Student welfare organisations
Your local student welfare organisation can offer a variety of services, from on campus health services to sports activities. We highly recommend to make use of their services - after all, they are there for your own well being.
When in Norway you should not miss the opportunity to experience other areas of our diverse country than where you study. Despite the geography and long distances, most places are accessible by public transport. Of course, if you prefer solitude and to find your own personal sanctuary, the wilderness is never far away.
Most cities and regions have their own Tourist Office that can provide you with information about local sights, accommodation and travel.
All students who plan to stay in Norway for more than three months will need a student residence permit. Visas are only issued for stays up to 90 days (e.g. for certain Summer School programmes).
We urge you to carefully read the regulations as to avoid problems during the application process. Applications that are incomplete will not be processed, and your entry to Norway can be delayed.
Regulations concerning student residence permit for students from countries in the EU/EEA/EFTA are available here.
Regulations concerning student residence permit for students from the Nordic countries are available here.
The Norwegian government aims to increase total investments in research. Higher general R&D intensity is important for several reasons, such as
Norway aims to occupy a strong position internationally in terms of new technology, skills and knowledge. In several areas Norway can offer unique competence and research opportunities. Our strengths are largely related to the country’s geography, economic specialisation patterns and institutional characteristics:
A challenging topography has impelled leading research within fields such as oceanography, satellite communication and polar research.
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Work permits in Norway
In order to work in Norway, most foreign citizens need a work permit. The permit must be granted before entry, as the general rules does not allow you to travel here and wait for a decision. This section contains detailed information regarding the applicable rules and guidelines for the various types of work permits, and how you go about applying. NB: Separate rules apply for applicants from EU/EEA/EFTA countries. In most cases, if you will be staying in the country for longer than three months, you must apply for a residence permit. In certain cases, it may also be necessary to apply for a visa in order to enter Norway.
Look up! Study in Norway
Norway offers you a unique student experience and Norwegian institutions of higher education welcome applications sent by qualified students from all over the world.
Internationalisation is a priority within all sectors of the Norwegian education system, and universities and university colleges are constantly working to facilitate for international students. Around 14 000 foreign nationals are currently enrolled at Norwegian institutions of higher education. International students may apply for admission to a variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programmes. You may come to Norway as student through established exchange programmes, institutional agreements or as a so called "free mover", where you arrange the stay by yourself (type of study, length and financing).
With a wide range of high quality courses and great flexibility, Norwegian institutions prove to be an ideal study destination. From vocational subjects to postgraduate and doctorate level, there are plenty of opportunities for students to fulfil their ambitions. You will also benefit from the informal atmosphere at Norwegian universities and university colleges, where teachers are easily approachable and tuition often takes place in small groups. Most institutions also have well equipped computer facilities with free Internet access.
Study off the beaten track
In our northern corner of the world you can combine your studies with exciting outdoor activities, both winter and summer. You can see the Aurora Borealis ("Northern lights"), experience the midnight sun, fjords and mountains. Challenge yourself with skiing, white water rafting or climbing. Or simply enjoy the fresh air, clean water and lots and lots of space. As a student in Norway you will never be short of possibilities for unique nature experiences.
A compilation of country-specific information called the GSU-list (formerly SIS list) states what level of education applicants from different countries need to meet for entry into Norwegian higher education, including any requirements concerning proficiency in English. For courses where the language of instruction is Norwegian, proficiency in the Norwegian language is also required.
Completion of secondary education at advanced level, equivalent to passing the exam at the end of Norwegian secondary school, is the general basic requirement for entry to Norwegian universities and university colleges. For students from some countries at least one year of completed studies at the university level is required in addition.
Some study programmes have special admission requirements, usually relating to specialist subjects or fields of study from secondary school. Please check with the institution for information about these special qualifications.
Admission requirements are decided by each university and university college based on an academic evaluation of the applicants.
Applicants for Masters programmes have normally obtained an undergraduate/Bachelor's degree or equivalent of at least 3 years' duration. The degree must include courses equal to at least 1 1/2 years of full-time studies in a subject relevant to that of the programme applied for.
In special cases, the first (and sometimes the second) year of study at a foreign higher education institution will not be recognised as higher education in Norway.
What students say:
Norwegian identity number
If you are going to stay in Norway for more than six months you should register with the National Registry so that you can be awarded an 11 digit identity number (your date of birth plus a 5 digit personal number). This is done at the local tax assessment office ("Likningskontor"). The number is required for opening a bank account, obtaining a student card, and applying for a loan from the Norwegian State Educational Loan Fund.
Students from the Nordic countries, and students who are going to stay in Norway for less than six months, may apply for a D-number ( dummy number). This number may be used to open a bank account. To apply for this number, contact your local tax assessment office, or the Office of the National Registrar in Oslo if you are located abroad.
Money and banking
In order to open a bank account in a Norwegian bank you will need a Norwegian identity number. You can choose between local or regional banks, or banks with branches all over Norway. Some banks are also pure online banks, with no physical branches. Norwegian banks have advanced solutions for online banking so you can administrate your accounts, pay bills and transfer money online.
Foreign credit cards are widely accepted in Norway and cash machines are easily available. However, please note that most grocery stores and supermarkets do not accept foreign credit cards.
Travel to Norway
Many students will come to Norway by plane. Several cities in Norway have direct flights to European destinations. Both the major European national carriers and the new low cost carriers are serving destinations in many corners of Norway. The major hub for international flights to and from Norway is Oslo Airport Gardermoen.
You can also reach Norway by car ferries from Denmark and England, and by train via Sweden. If you decide to travel to Norway by car you can come from Russia and Finland in the north, and through Sweden further south.
The Visit Norway website can provide you with detailed information about how to plan your travel arrangements to Norway.
Health services in Norway are of high standards. As a student in Norway you are ensured professional medical treatment no matter which part of the country you are living in. In most cases the treatment is free of charge if certain prerequisites are met. These prerequisites vary depending on your current nationality and length of stay in Norway.