How to: Study tuition-free in Norway

Photo: artic pj

Ellyne Dudkowski shares how to earn your degree tuition-free by studying abroad.

I WAS IN SEARCH of a new career and wanted to go back to school, but I didn’t want to be financially burdened with additional student loan debt.

I looked around my cubicle thinking that all I wanted was to do something more interesting, a career that would give me the freedom to travel. I day-dreamed of seeing Europe and the rest of the world. I was still paying my college loans and I knew that taking on more debt would be overwhelming.

I heard about study abroad programs in Norway through a friend. Looking at the website motivated me to think seriously about applying.

Study abroad programs in Scandinavia had tuition-free programs until 2010. The only remaining tuition-free universities for international students are located in Norway. They offer Bachelors (a limited amount of degrees offered in English), Masters (many English degree options), and Ph.D programs through English instruction. Acceptance is not scholarship-based and all accepted students study tuition free.

About Norway

Norway was ranked first by the U.N. list of best places in the world to live in November 2010. The United States was ranked as fourth place behind Australia and New Zealand.

Located west of Sweden, Norway is a country composed of many beautiful coastlines and fjords. The population is estimated at 4.9 million people. The capital Oslo, is home to 1.4 million people and is considered the fasting growing city in Europe. Most of the population lives in the southern region of the country typically near the cities. Norway’s main industries are oil, fish, and lumber. It is the world’s largest producer of oil and natural gas per capita apart from the Middle East.

Norway has a Scandinavian welfare model with universal health-care, subsidized higher education, and a social security system. Students studying in Norway for more than one year are insured under the health care system called The National Insurance Scheme.

Some Norwegian universities are accredited by the U.S. Department of Education, and this enables students to apply for financial support from the American student loan program (FFELP).

Norway’s cost of living is typically more expensive than the United States and many other countries. The country uses the Norwegian Kroner (NOK). Many discounts around town help out towards food, activities, and travel for students. My current rent is almost half that of something equivalent to Southern California market rent for a student; student housing may be subsidized.

A small semester fee is the only payment required, and it totals around NOK 300-600 ($55- $110 US) each semester. Room, board, books, and transportation are the student’s responsibility. Some Norwegian universities are accredited by the U.S. Department of Education, and this enables students to apply for financial support from the American student loan program (FFELP). Scholarships are also listed on studyinnorway.no. Students from developing countries may apply for full scholarships. Scholarship applies to travel and accommodations; see the Quota Scheme on the website for a list of eligible countries.

A student Study Visa allows for students to work part-time for up to 20 hours per week during school sessions and full-time during school breaks. Norwegian wages per hour are among the highest in the world.

University of Nordland library, Photo: author

How to Find a Degree Program

1. Explore studyinnorway.no

Research what programs are offered in your field of study. You can search by university or by subject area. For example: Law, Business, Art and Design, Natural Science, Economics, and more.

2. See Country Specific Pages

Check out your specific country page on the left side (United States, France, Canada, Germany, Argentina, Brazil, and Chile) to see tailored information for your own country. You can apply from any country, the specific country pages are geared to any questions students from those countries may have. The page contains many helpful answers to frequently asked questions. A practical information guide about living in Norway and a section for parents is also included.

3. Select a Study Program

Contact the international office or school department for additional information. Ask questions about your selected program’s faculty, potential research opportunities, the university, or requirements of the program.

4. Get Your Prerequisites in Order

Make sure to check the program’s prerequisites. Some may require credits in a certain discipline like Economics or require a specific type of Bachelor`s Degree if applying to a graduate program.

5. Take any Required Exams

Check to see if any exam scores are necessary to apply. Most of the Masters level programs do not require the GRE. If English is your second language, the TOEFL or IELTS may be required. The SAT/ACT is usually not required.

How to Apply to a Norwegian University Program

1. Gather the typical documents needed.

These include: program application, a photocopy of your passport, high school or college transcripts, a one-page motivational letter, CV or resume, and recommendation letters.

No application fees are required. Not all programs require all the documents listed above; check with your program to see what is needed.

2. Mail-in the required materials.

Certain universities may offer a screening where you apply online with a brief application, and if you are selected you’ll proceed with the remaining documents requested. Note deadlines are earlier for the screenings.

What to Do After Acceptance

1. Confirm your acceptance.

2. Apply for a student visa.

Submit your visa application to the Norwegian Embassy in your country to get your student visa. If your student visa doesn’t come in time, students with a Bachelors Degree may enter Norway as a skilled worker.

3. Plan your travel.

Purchase your flights early. Check with your airline, they may require a visa for travel dates longer than three months due to travel policies. This applies to many American airline companies.

The university’s student welfare organization will arrange your accommodation if you apply for student housing. My university had a welcome committee that picked me up from the airport, drove me to my new apartment, and gave all of the international students a bag of food to start off with! Becoming an international student has been one of the best decisions in my life and my career.

4. Don’t forget to pack some wool socks!

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  • Mary Dollins

    This is so cool.  I thought it was just those lucky EU citizens who got free schooling!  I totally want to study in Norway now.  

    • Shakur

      Hello am Shakiru how can i get admission into Norway university can u put me through am from west africa Nigeria ..

      Reply back to shakur.paul@yahoo.com   thanks 

  • Lostgambit

    This is great information – thanks for sharing!

    Does anyone else know of any unconventional ways of getting cost effective higher education (and perhaps great experiences as well)?

  • Batistuta

    Thanks for sharing!
    I’m about to start doing a master’s in Sweden. At first I wanted to study in Britain, but the tuition fees were just insanely high, so I opted for the tuition fee-free option

    • Khcampur

      I thought universities in Sweden were now charging tuition to nonEU students which one are you attending?  How is life in Sweden? Is the academic studies mostly theory based?  I’m looking into a masters degree in International HR management or International development.  Any tips will be appreciated.  Thanks, Kim

      • Bayo

        Hi.
           I am from africa and i am interested in schooling in a tuition-free university in Norway. Please can you put me through?

        • Jonathanberd

          hey bayo am jonathan i stay in oslo,norway i can help you with admmission to oslo university college,just send your school transcript and your passport to jonathanberd@vegemail.com

          • Mgalula Masoud Lyobah

            hi mr. jonathan,am tanzanian with BSc. in aquatic enviroment sciences and conservation, how can i get admission to a tuition fee free university? if posible can i send to you my certificates and relevance so you can guide my way through!!!! 

  • http://www.WanderingEducators.com Wandering Educators

    VERY cool. i can’t wait to share this info! thank you.

    • Anup kalyan kadiyala

      Hi mam.
      i am Anup kalyan i will complete my b.tech in india .

      i am intrested to study in norway PLEASE HELP ME.

  • Suzanne Steinert

    Ellyne —

    Thank you SO much for this article. I too have ENORMOUS student loans from earning my first degree a couple of years ago.

    Lately, I’ve been trying to figure out how to take my career even further (namely, in the conservation field), and continuing learning, without doing the typical grad school thing or paying even more ridiculous sums of $$$.

    Plus, Scandanavia is totally at the top of my travel hit list!

  • Lexi

    I am looking into studying in Norway next year for my Master’s degree as well.  I was wondering if you found a way to use your Federal Student Loans (the FFELP program is gone now) so the Direct Loans the Stafford kind, at your chosen University?

    • Ellynetd

      Hi Lexi,

      My university does not have this partnership but when I was looking to apply to the University of Bergen it was offered.

  • lina

    you read my mind! I have been looking all week about Master’s programs overseas! Thank you!!

  • Shakur

    how can i Apply for student Visa in Norway ?????/please anybody that can help me ??email me to shakur.paul@yahoo.com ….Best Regard  

  • lixiangl
  • Manish Maka

    thanx mah frn 

  • amosu olumide olalekan

    Hello sir, Am  olumide  am from west africa,living in egypt, but love to study in free institution in norway, kindly asist me sir,may thy lord asist you in any where u want to thanks

  • Khcampur

    Ellyne,  This article was a godsend thank you.  I would like to learn more about which university in Norway you are currently studying at and how you are enjoying life in Norway.  I’ve been living in very tropical climates so a bit nervous about heading to freezing temps.   Thanks, Kim

  • Tonybanca

    hello. am an undergraduate student in one of the universities in Africa. am dreaming of Norway to do my master after my graduation  but i don’t no how to go about it, i also had that master’s is free for international student. please i need more information about it i will be grateful if anybody is willing to help can  contact me through my Email.
           tonybanca@yahoo.com
     THANK U FOR UR ASSIS@yahoo:disqus  .
    form me Tony.

    • Therese

      1. 
      I’d check out the “study in norway” website, just for some general info.
      http://www.studyinnorway.no/
      2.
      Then do a search for universities. Like UiO (uiversity of Oslo), or UiB (university of Bergen) or NTNU in Trondheim. Or other universities in Norway. These different universities have websites with info on the classes they offer to exchange students. If their pages are in norwegian there is always an “english” option at the top of the page. These sites also give you info on how to apply.

      3.
      Plan the courses you are going to take before applying. Some courses may only be available during either the spring semester or the fall semester, make sure you know which are available during your planned stay. 

      4.
      The student welfare organisations in Norway are called “Studentsamskipnad”. They can help you with getting setteled in Norway. Actually they can help you with about anything. Student counselling, finding accommodations, info on financial support etc. When you’ve decided on where in Norway you want to study, find the “Studentsamskipnad” that is active in that town. If you want to go to Oslo, you’ll have to find “Studentsamskipnaden i Oslo”. Or you can see if you find the relevant Si on the list in this Wikipedia article: http://no.wikipedia.org/wiki/Studentsamskipnad 
      Your local Studentsamskipnad will be a great help to you in studying abroad.

      Hope you find this information helpful.

  • oniyide ifedayo

    i found this information very useful

  • Esl_jo

    Dear Ellyne, you dead great effort by providing this useful information, i would like to know for continuing my education in Norway, is it possible to do Master degree in telecommunication? 

    • Esl_jo

      I ment you did great effort! 

  • babalola olalekan suraj

    my names are babalola olalekan am a Nigerian i intend to obtain a degree in photography in norway, is there any university that offer my choice of course in norway?

  • http://twitter.com/EanEverett Ean Williams

    Thanks for the info… By chance does anyone happen to know which unis are US accredited?

  • Shovasumvi

    i m really impressed about this figure writing by Ellyne Dudknowski.  most of datas are included. thank u so much.because most of people are not interested to share like this kind of article for helping others.i m interested to study in norway.    shova-bangladesh.                                           

  • Oyeniyiabiodunsamson

    AM at a university in Ghana thou i have a diploma here in Business Administration dont know if i cant get admission abroad and is there any free tution fee schools abroad anymore???/ my email is oyeniyiabiodunsamson@gmail.com for any information

  • Oyeniyiabiodunsamson

    Any available tution fee countries or is there any country with lower tution fee where admission is on?

  • Osang nembole

    Norway is a god sent country giving an for the less
    Privilege to attain a university degree.i must confess that i am among those interested.

  • Obatha Oluwaseun

    i need more info abt studying pharmaceutical sciences in norway!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Philip Ofori .A.

    Hi
         I am from Africa and i am interested in schooling in a tuition – free university in Norway.Please can you put me through. Email : soshy99@yahoo.co

  • David King

    How easy is to find a job speaking only english and not the native language of norway?

  • Pramodh Reddy

    HI IM COMPLETED B.TECH MECHANICAL I HAVE INTREST TO STUDY IN NORWAY PLZ GUIDE ME.
    COLG FEE?
    TUTION FEE?
    SCOLAR SHIPS?
    LOANS?
    BEST COLG?
    PAY PER HOUR?

    • Anup kalyan kadiyala

      HI PROMODH REDDY i am complete my b.tech information technology
      i am also intrested to study in norway plz help me my no is 8019280170

  • Pramodh Reddy

    RPLY ME

  • Anonymous

    Am a second year student of public health at University of East London but I wish to come to Norway to finish my degree in Public health. Thanks

  • Zaib Awan

    thankssssssssssssssssssss for sharing.

  • Delavega Marina Obiajulum

    trying this mght be real cool.

  • Anonymous

    perfect website for getting registered to the college.

  • Bodil Tonnevold

    If you want to study in Norway, you have to apply early, I think about the 1 of marz if you want to come in August. You need to show you have money for your living costs before you come here. The studies are almost free as said in the article, but the livin cost is high. Many students rent a house together and share the living cost. There is also apartments for students. You can have a job on your freetime, about 20 hour a week.This can be much beside the studies, but should be possible for many. E.g. There are jobs in kindergardens, some health care jobs in weekends( jobs with drug adicted people, young people with problems, food stores, etc.) But you need to speak the norwegian language. The universities have norwegian language courses I think. Most people here understand englsih, some better than otehrs though, however many don´t like to speak english. If you want to apply the universities you do that online mostly and have to show your papers after your application go through. Some developed countries have agreements with the norwegian universities. If you have money for living before you come here it´s not so difficult to get your application through I think. http://uia.no is one university in south of norway and its new, http://uio.no is Oslo ( the capital of Norway.

    • Oyeniran Ajibola Olayemmy

      Hi Bodil, please i need to find out some other informations from you. do you mind if i add you on facebook? if you don’t kindly accept my friend request, thank you.

    • Muhammad Ashraf Bhutto

      Hi Bodil, please i need to find out some other informations from you.If u dnt mind, can i if i add you on facebook? if you like kindly accept my friend request, thank you.

  • Ettp Etienne

    hello.i wish to studt business management in norway.so can some one help me,…

  • Lalit Chauhan

    hi pls tell wt is the proces study in norway.

  • Sarmad Bashir

    hello dears please help me that how can I get the addmision in norway universities kindly send me details on my email addres sarmadbashir786@yahoo.com for this I will be very thankfull to yew peoples STAYBLESSED:)

  • Anne Autor

    hi,
    I’m from phils. and so interested to study in norway with a free tuition fee anyone could assist me, how to go through? thank you, here’s my email add autor_maryann@yahoo.com tankyou!

  • Ayorinde Nelson

    hi bodil, i need enquiry for masters in telecommunication or information technology. also I want to take some norwegian language courses.

  • Hon Tej Ejuwa

    Bodli Tonnevold can I add you on facebook so I can ask you more question on how to apply and the university that is accepting international student now.

  • Onipede Kelvin Olusegun

    ply, how can I get admission this university?

  • Ritha Van

    how to apply this..

  • Owusu Achiaw Prince

    I hold BA Theatre Arts, majored Event Management in University of Education, Winneba.

  • Jake Allmaras

    This is great stuff, I really resonate with the article because I am also in similar situation. What exactly are you studying in Norway? I have an Economics degree, with a concentration in Environmental Science, but would like to pursue a Masters in Argoecology which they have. If needed, can you obtain any missing prerequisites while in Norway?

  • Jake Allmaras

    This is great stuff, I really resonate with the article because I am also in similar situation. What exactly are you studying in Norway? I have an Economics degree, with a concentration in Environmental Science, but would like to pursue a Masters in Argoecology which they have. If needed, can you obtain any missing prerequisites while in Norway?

  • Jake Allmaras

    This is great stuff, I really resonate with the article because I am also in similar situation. What exactly are you studying in Norway? I have an Economics degree, with a concentration in Environmental Science, but would like to pursue a Masters in Argoecology which they have. If needed, can you obtain any missing prerequisites while in Norway?

  • Jake Allmaras

    This is great stuff, I really resonate with the article because I am also in similar situation. What exactly are you studying in Norway? I have an Economics degree, with a concentration in Environmental Science, but would like to pursue a Masters in Argoecology which they have. If needed, can you obtain any missing prerequisites while in Norway?

  • Jake Allmaras

    This is great stuff, I really resonate with the article because I am also in similar situation. What exactly are you studying in Norway? I have an Economics degree, with a concentration in Environmental Science, but would like to pursue a Masters in Argoecology which they have. If needed, can you obtain any missing prerequisites while in Norway?

  • Jake Allmaras

    This is great stuff, I really resonate with the article because I am also in similar situation. What exactly are you studying in Norway? I have an Economics degree, with a concentration in Environmental Science, but would like to pursue a Masters in Argoecology which they have. If needed, can you obtain any missing prerequisites while in Norway?

  • craver

    Hey there!
    I want to know if this university offers medical programs

  • https://www.facebook.com/jscavelli Jonathan Scavelli

    Hello everyone, i happen to stumble upon this article because i have always been really interested in studying abroad. I am very close to having an associates in criminal justice and would like to finish up and get my bachelors degree. Could someone help me out with more information id really appreciate it. Thanks, Jon

  • Sheikh Junaid

    Hello ! My name is junaid kindly recommend me a university that offers “FREE BACHELORS”

  • Patrick Manlangit

    hi good day madam/sir im patrick from philippines i would like to ask if studying in norway for medicine is free? what should i do and where can i pass all the documents needed and what are the requirements
    here is my email: darkmagician1008@yahoo.com
    hope guys you can help me
    thank you very much
    have a nice day
    patrick from philippines

  • Patrick Manlangit

    hi good day madam/sir im patrick from philippines i would like to ask if
    studying in norway for medicine is free? what should i do and where can
    i pass all the documents needed and what are the requirements
    here is my email: darkmagician1008@yahoo.com
    hope guys you can help me
    thank you very much
    have a nice day
    patrick from philippines

  • muhammad muhsin khan

    welcome, hi maam i am pakistani i m want to study in norway please how it to apply please help me i love norway

  • sohail

    hi..i want to know that how can i work as a doctor and i dont have any experience.and i want to do master in cardiology is it possible in Norway to do..please guide me..thnx

  • Amzler

    is their a way to study medicine in english in Norway?

  • warraich

    well i need a little help please guide me the way to study in turkey free easiest and cheapest way because no one is funding for that and i am a student please guide me i am from Pakistan and have done intermediate recently.