Norway

Why study a PhD in Norway

Browse all PhD programmes in Norway

  • Aug-Jun Academic Year
  • 7 Listed Institutes
  • 15000 Int. Students
  • 208000 Students
  • 5330800 Population

Study in Norway

Norway offers 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. Universities and university colleges are constantly working to facilitate for international students.

Here are eight reasons why you should study in Norway:

1. High-quality education

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 level there are plenty of opportunities for both exchange students and degree seeking 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 classes often takes place in small groups. In many cases the students can benefit from taking part in exciting research projects coordinated by the professors.

2. Close and equal terms student-professor relations

The «open-door» policy of professors, teachers and administrative staff at Norwegian institutions is well known. They are both available and approachable for the students in order to arrange for maximum learning outcome for their students.

3. Critical thinking is encouraged

At graduate level the students are expected and encouraged to question both the professors' teaching and existing theories within their learning field. Critical thinking and the ability to approach a problem in different ways are valued skills in the Norwegian «classroom».

This learning tradition  might be unfamiliar to some international students, but is something that often is highlighted as an important asset to the Norwegian education. This is often referred to by many students as one of their best experiences when looking back at the time as a student in Norway. 

4. Time to specialise

In most cases the Master's programmes offered at Norwegian institutions go over 2 years. This allows students to work on their thesis for a whole year, which means that the students get the chance to go deeper into their field of study.

5. Study in English

A number of degree programmes and courses are taught in English. Non-native English speaking students will see that their English skills improve during their studies in Norway, while native English speaking students will not get bored. A high level of English proficiency in the society in general makes it easy to both study and live in Norway.

6. Most universities offer free education

The majority of Norwegian higher education institutions are publicly funded and owned. The Norwegian government considers access to top quality higher education for all to be an important part of the Norwegian society and grant the higher education sector large resources. Thus, in the case of most universities, international students don't pay tuition fees when studying.

Make sure to check with the university if they require tuition fees before applying. You should also take into consideration that Norway is a high-cost country and international students should expect to provide a certain level of subsistence to cover their living expenses.

7. A modern and technologically advanced society

Norway is a modern society. Equality is a value deeply rooted in the Norwegian society and is rooted in both legislation and tradition. On campus students benefit from high technological standards and services, modern facilities and equipment, as well as innovative teaching. Norway is also seen as a safe society – you can feel secure almost wherever you are.

8. 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 mountain 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.

Academic requirements

Completion of secondary education at advanced level, equivalent to passing the exam at the end of Norwegian high-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.

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 Norway, all applications for English taught Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes are processed by the institutions themselves. This means that both academic and language requirements may vary between institutions and even between study programmes within the same institution.

See a list of all Bachelor's and Master's programmes taught in English at Norwegian higher education institutions here.

Language requirements

For courses where the language of instruction is English all applicants should expect to document their language skills according to the requirements set by the institutions. Beware that different English tests and scores may be required by different institutions.

For courses where the language of instruction is Norwegian, proficiency in the Norwegian language is required and must be documented.

Universities accept these official English exams:

Why Study in Norway?

What students say:

  • I am very impressed about excellent social services and quality education. I feel luck to study in Norway
  • My programme in Norway is exceptional. I could not find it elsewhere in Europe
  • I chose Norway because of the quality of the education and the serene atmosphere which is conducive to learning
  • The methods of teaching are such that students really learn and understand the subjects
  • The relationship between professor and students is close and friendly
  • Clear environment, clear people
  • Norway is one of best countries in the world, the quality of education is excellent
  • Almost every Norwegian speaks English so it's easy to live here and communicate with them even when you don't speak Norwegian

Read more testimonials from international students in Norway here.

How to apply

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.

Research & Careers in Norway

Research

The Norwegian government aims to increase total investments in research. Higher general R&D intensity is important for several reasons, such as tackling global challenges, i.e. related to climate change and the environment maintaining stable and well-functioning public services strengthening the innovation capacity of Norwegian society and the international competitiveness of Norwegian companies. 

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.

In many cases the students can benefit of taking part in exciting research projects coordinated by the professors.

Career & Working in Norway

Part-time work

Many international students hold part-time jobs when studying in Norway. It is a good way to learn and practice your Norwegian and increase your budget while studying. You should, however, be aware that there are restrictions on how much you can work when being a full-time student.

Generally, a student residence permit does not cover the right to take employment in Norway. However, if you are granted a study permit, you are automatically also granted permission to work part-time. Beware that Non-EU/EEA students can only work 20 hours per week during their first year of study.

A good advice is to learn Norwegian as soon as possible. This will widen your options when it comes to getting part-time work.

Read more about holding part-time work as an international student in Norway here

Living in Norway

Let's take a closer look at tuition and living expenses in Norway:

Tuition fees in Norway

In terms of tuition fees, Norway is the perfect study destination. Public universities don't charge any tuition fees to international students, regardless of their nationality. Students only need to cover the student union fee, which is around 30–60 EUR per semester.

Things are different at private universities, where tuition ranges between 7,000–19,000 EUR per academic year.

Living costs

On average, international students need between 800 and 1,400 EUR to cover their monthly living costs in Norway. Cities like Oslo or Bergen are the most expensive.

Here's a breakdown of living expenses in Norway:

  • accommodation: 300–700 EUR/month
  • food and groceries: 250–400 EUR/month
  • monthly transport pass: 55–75 EUR
  • books and study materials: 50 EUR/month
  • social events and entertainment: 50–120 EUR/month

As a student in Norway you will never lack fun 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 you.

Discover Norway

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.

Read more about living in Norway here.

Regulations & Advice

Student residence permit

Most students who plan to stay in Norway for more than three months will need a student residence permit. Standard visitor visas are only issued for up to 90 days and will not cover stays beyond this period.

The requirements may vary based on the applicant's nationality, we therefore urge you to carefully study the regulations that apply to you in order to avoid problems and delays during the application process. An obvious precondition for applying for at student residence permit is that you have been admitted to a Norwegian university or university college.

Please note that a student residence permit to Norway is normally granted under the precondition that the student will return to his/her country of legal permanent residence upon completion of the studies.

Read more about how to obtain a student residence permit here.

About Norway

Norway is a constitutional monarchy located in Northern Europe with borders to Sweden, Finland and Russia. Norway is one of the three Scandinavian countries. With a population of just over 5 million people Norway is not among the most crowded places on the planet. We very much enjoy the space and our diverse nature, and visitors are often astonished by Norwegians' active way of life. So don't be surprised if your Norwegian friends insist on going hiking, even if the weather maybe is more suitable for staying indoors in your opinion.

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 Mediterranean, 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.

Thriving at the top of Europe

Norway is a European country even though we are not part of the European Union (EU). Through the EEA-agreement we are fully integrated with the large European community with 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 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 scores well for its high literacy rate in addition to educational levels and material wealth.

Cold country? Warm people!

Admittedly Norway is not among the warmest of countries, but in the summertime we do 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!

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 give our opinions straight.

Universities, colleges and schools in Norway

Bodø

Gjøvik

Stavanger

Find PhDs Degrees in Norway

Recent international policies promote international university cooperation and student exchange between countries worldwide. High-quality study and PhD degrees are made more available to students in order to create a global educational network, achievable through student and staff mobility. Career and research oriented programmes support international student development.

University cooperation enables students study worldwide, for instance in Australia, Asia, Europe and the United States and provides ways of recognizing previous degrees. Different study options offer appropriate alternatives to students, depending on their preferred mode of study.

Many study programmes in Australia, Asia, Europe and North America are English-taught. The most popular international student destinations include the following countries: Australia, Belgium, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, the United States, and more. However, these are not the only countries offering English-taught education. The rest of the world is full of endless study choices, from highly ranked to smaller, more specialized, universities.

PhD (postgraduate) Degrees

If you want further education beyond the undergraduate level or if you want more personal development or a career in academia, you could obtain a PhD degree. PhD degrees are postgraduate programmes that usually follow a Master's, MPhil or MRes, but there might be additional requirements depending on the university. Students are required to do their own research in a chosen topic. With the help of a supervisor, you develop knowledge and analytical skills in a specific or multidisciplinary field and you carry out independent research. The duration of a PhD degree differs per country and institution. Sometimes your own research is accompanied by work for the department such as giving seminars or small group teaching.

PhD students are required to study on campus under close supervision, but there are universities that accept students enrolled into a part-time distance education PhD degree. Studying on campus can also be full-time as well as part-time, in which case the part-time variant is normally twice as long as the full-time study.

Discover other countries

Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a very popular study destination. Internationals choose this beautiful country because Dutch universities are some of the best in Europe, the living standards are high, foreigners are always welcome, and you get to live in one of the happiest and safest countries in the world. The Netherlands is also renowned for innovative technologies and engineering solutions, which is reflected in the wide range of Engineering degrees offered by universities. English is spoken by around 90% of Dutch citizens, so forget about language barriers. Also, bike lanes and the “cycling culture” will help you to stay fit and healthy, and there are diverse job opportunities and internships for international students.
Czech Republic
Czech Republic
In the Czech Republic, you will enjoy top-quality education and research, especially in subjects like Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The number of English-taught degrees offered by Czech universities is constantly growing. This is a response to the numerous international students attracted by academic opportunities and great living standards at reasonable costs. The Czech Republic is among the safest countries in the world, according to the Global Peace Index, and it allows you to travel around Europe easily. While out of class, you can visit local attractions like the Prague Castle, St. Vitus Cathedral, the local spas, and hot water springs, etc.
Finland
Finland
Finland is an excellent choice for all internationals and especially for EU/EEA students who can study at local public universities for free. The beautiful Nordic country has one of the best education systems in the world and ranks among the safest and happiest nations in the world. You can also choose from over 400 English-taught programmes. In your spare time, you can explore the breathtaking Finnish nature and landscapes, as well as the numerous lakes that give the country the nickname ‘The Land of a Thousand Lakes.’ From here, you can easily travel to neighbouring countries like Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Russia, or Estonia.
Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is among the top countries in the world in terms of quality of life, peace, safety, and development. It represents an appealing blend of beautiful landscapes, English-speaking environments, and a strong, welcoming, and rich culture — of which the Irish people are very proud. International students also enjoy the full support of Irish universities, which hire and train staff that are able to help with accommodation, studies, visa details, or any other challenge.
Norway
Norway
Norway is a paradise for anyone who wants to study abroad for free. Public universities don’t charge any tuition fees. This policy applies to all international students, regardless of their nationality. The academic standard is very high, and professors are easy to approach, always willing to go the extra mile for their students. Additionally, classes are organised in small groups, which further improves learning and cooperation. You can choose from a wide range of English-taught programmes, and you don’t need to worry about language barriers outside of classes either, because most Norwegians speak English as a second language. Internationals should find it easy to adapt to Norway’s society, which is based on equality and fair opportunities — reflected both in the legal system and in people’s behaviour.
Poland
Poland
Poland represents a great mix of quality education and affordable costs. International students can choose from over 400 universities where programmes are taught in Polish and English. The main advantage of choosing a Polish-taught degree is that you won’t have to pay any tuition fees. Polish people are known for their hospitality and specific sense of humour, which means you’ll have a lot of fun interacting with locals, making friends, and exploring your surroundings. When you’re not in classes, feel free to travel around, visit the beautiful castles, or go skiing in the Tatra Mountains (during the winter).
Sweden
Sweden
Sweden is a very ambitious, eco-friendly, and visionary country. For example, by 2040, it aims to produce all its energy from renewable sources. Universities play an important role in achieving development goals, thanks to their world-class research facilities. If you’re from the EU/EEA, you can study at public universities for free. As a student, you will discover and easily adopt the three main values of Swedish society: freedom, equality, and sustainability. These values are reflected in every aspect of the local society, and you’ll quickly learn to appreciate them. Language barriers are also almost non-existent since around 80% of Swedes speak English.
Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland has one of the most advanced free-market economies, which is reflected in the high living standards and the satisfaction of people living here. In terms of higher education, Swiss universities are constantly ranked among the best in Europe, and they shine in areas like Business, Tourism, Culinary Arts, and Engineering. When compared to Western universities, tuition fees in Switzerland are affordable, and all studies — especially PhD programmes — are world-class. You’ll have the opportunity to develop in a multilingual environment and try learning international languages like German, French, or Italian. If you settle down here, the unemployment rates are low, and salaries are well above the European average.
United Kingdom
United Kingdom
Universities in the UK are some of the most highly regarded in the world, and for good reasons. Some of the world's most highly regarded research takes place in British universities, which are regularly featured in international rankings. While studying in the UK, you will be able to develop in a highly multicultural environment with high chances of pursuing lucrative careers after graduation. The teaching in the UK is designed to encourage new idea generation, encouraging individual research and group cooperation, through class discussions and creative assignments.
Canada
Canada
Canada is one of the most popular study destinations in the world due to its high focus on the quality of its universities and its emphasis on attracting international students who can later immigrate. Canadians are very welcoming to international students and they invest a lot into making sure students are safe, treated fairly, and enjoy their stay in the country. Study in one of the strongest economies in the world while enjoying a high living standard and a flexible study environment. Classes have smaller student groups ensuring everyone gets the attention they need, and encouraging group assignments and debates.
United States
United States
The United States is home to some of the most prestigious universities and colleges in the world. With over 150 universities featured in international rankings, the U.S. has some of the best business schools, medical schools, and engineering schools. Universities and colleges in the U.S. are well known for academic flexibility and ways to customize your study experience with optional studies and extracurricular activities. Depending on where you will be studying, you will be able to visit iconic places like the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Goldengate Bridge, The Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, Disney's Magic Kingdom Park, and much more.
Israel
Israel
Israel attracts international students through high standards of education and a wide range of English-taught degrees. Local universities shine in areas like Technology, Sciences, Business, and Entrepreneurship. In fact, Israel is a renowned land of innovation, having earned itself the nickname ‘Start-Up Nation’. While living and studying here, you will discover a wonderful culture developed throughout 4,000 years of history; different cultural influences are noticeable everywhere, especially in Israeli food, art, and history. In major cities, English is widely spoken, so communication shouldn’t be a problem. In your spare time, you can visit one of the over 400 nature reserves and 80 national parks.
Australia
Australia
By studying in Australia you will take advantage of the great student environment both inside and outside classrooms. In addition to some of the best business and engineering schools in the world, you will be able to explore a greatly developed country that still retains its wild side with its warm climate, beautiful beaches, and the Great Outback, with over 500 national parks. Many Australian universities provide internships and work placements, preparing students early on for the job market.

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