Norway is among the front and foremost of global nations in the world in terms of quality of life, security, environmental quality and prosperity. In addition to being one of the wealthiest nations in the world, it comes as no surprise that the country also proudly boasts of increasingly high employment rates and a prominent education system with top standards.
The fjords of Norway account for some of the most beautiful environments in the world, featuring stunning inlets of water that move from the sea into the mountainous coasts. These qualities make Norway a very tempting and unique country to study in.
However, one of the most attractive qualities for prospective students is the fact that higher education in Norway is free. The country’s government firmly believe that education should be a right and hence should be free to all, local and foreign students alike.
Aside from a very minor administration fee, education comes at no expenses and as such, university students have access to some of the most premier and elite institutions of higher education in the world with no additional charges.
In this article, we bring to you a list of some of the free universities in Norway. We hope that this article will provide you with insight into the diversity and iconic qualities of institutions of higher education in the country.
How many universities are there in Norway?
Norway currently has 9 major universities, 8 university colleges and 5 colleges of sciences/applied sciences, all of which are operated and managed by the government. Additionally, the country is also home to multiple private institutions of higher education that receive funding from public donors.
Are the living costs high in Norway?
The cost of living would naturally depend on the location within the country. Larger cities like the capital, Oslo, will often tend to have significantly higher expenses for living in comparison to the smaller towns and cities. Specific loans can be obtained in dire circumstances according to the students.
As an average, students can expect to budget between NOK 9500 to NOK 20,000 depending on the location of the university and the student’s requirements.
Can I study in Norway using only English?
Yes, a wide number of degree programmes and courses are taught and administered in English. Generally speaking, a high level of English knowledge will help international students to both live and study in the country.
What are the administrative fees for Norway?
This will depend on the location and university of study. On average, an administrative fee would range between NOK 300 to NOK 600. The fees can generally get students access to the students’ union of the respective university, sports provisions, healthcare services and counselling.
How can I afford my studies in Norway?
There are many ways that you can afford your studies in Norway, and one of the ways is attending a free university in Norway.
Free Tuition Universities in Norway
- Norwegian University of Science and Technology
The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) is a public research university located in the city of Trondheim with additional campuses in Ålesund and Gjøvik. It holds status as the largest university in the country with a student enrolment exceeding 40,000 students and over 8000 employers.
Established in 1760, the NTNU has the main national responsibility of providing education and ensuring high quality standards of research in the fields of technology and engineering.
However, this free university in Norway has now expanded into being an elite institution in Europe that also provides courses in a range of disciplines ranging from psychology, medicine, social sciences, architecture, fine arts and teacher education.
It is academically comprised of 9 major faculties that are broken down into 65 academic departments. NTNU welcomes students from across the world and additionally provides more than 60 international programs which are administered in English.
The university further maintains very close ties to prominent research institutions in the country such as SINTEF.
- University of Oslo
As its name suggests, the University of Oslo is based in the Norwegian capital city of Oslo and was founded in 1811. It is one of the oldest universities in the country as well as the second largest university by enrolment (surpassed by the NTNU).
The university takes pride as one of the most elite universities in Scandinavia and has been consistently ranked in the top 60 universities in the world (based on the ARWU). It currently has a student enrolment of over 28,000 students.
Academically, the university is comprised of faculties such as Medicine, Dentistry, Law, Humanities, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences and Education. Research at the university is a focal point of its identity and revolves around biotechnology, life sciences, climate change, environmental research and gender research.
To this end, the university is connected to multiple Nobel prize winners and several notable figures in its alumni.
- Nord University (Former University of Nordland)
Located in the municipality of Bodø in Northern Norway, the Nord University is a state university that was formed via a merger between the University of Nordland, Nesna University College and Nord-Trøndelag University College in 2016.
It has since expanded into an elite institution that provides education for over 12,000 in the student population. The university further has several satellite and subsidiary campuses spread across the country.
This free university in Norway provides over 180 programmes within academic and professional programs, some of which are highly unique to this university alone, such as circumpolar studies and aquaculture. While a majority of the degree programs are administered and taught in Norwegian, several courses are taught in English.
Examples of programs that are taught in English include Animal Sciences, Biology and English Language/Literature (Bachelor programs), Business (Masters), Aquatic Biosciences (PhD) as well as single courses such as History and Politics, Management and International Entrepreneurship.
- Oslo Metropolitan University (former Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences
The Oslo Metropolitan University is a state university based in the cities of Oslo and Akershus and also one of the free tuition universities in Norway. Although the university was established in 2018 and is one of Norway’s younger additions to the higher education system, Oslo Metropolitan evolved from the former Oslo and Akershus University College, which was the largest state university in the country.
Nevertheless, the current university has a student enrolment exceeding 12,000 in total with an additional employee status of over 1400. It is academically comprised of 4 major faculties such as Health Sciences, Social Sciences, Technology, Art & Design, Education & International Studies.
As is the case with the majority of universities, the primary language of instruction is Norwegian although a multiple number of causes are taught in English, German and French. It also operates a number of research institutions such as the Work Research Institute, the National Institute of Consumer Research and the Norwegian Social Research Institute.
- University of Bergen
Located in the western coastal city of Bergen in Norway is the University of Bergen. Founded in 1946, the university currently has a student enrolment of over 18,000. Of this enrolment, approximately 2000 students come from foreign countries. The university is comprised of 7 major faculties ranging from the Fine Arts, Humanities, Natural Sciences/Mathematics, Law, Medicine, Social Sciences and Psychology.
It is one of the only Nordic universities with its own dedicated Psychology faculty, owing to the fact that research in this area is at the forefront in Europe. Doctoral degrees in the university are offered as paid positions which attracts the best and brightest in terms of talent.
With its high standards of education, the university has been consistently ranked as one of the top 150-200 universities in the world (based on Times Higher Education and QS rankings).
- Bergen University College
Similar to the University of Bergen, the Bergen University College is a state institution of higher education and a center of research located in the municipality of Bergen. Identified as a university college, this free university in Norway provides education for a student population exceeding 7000 in particular.
Bergen University College’s primary mission is to foster strong characteristics based on strong professional traditions through its provision of education.
It comprises of 3 major faculties including the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, the Faculty of Engineering and Business Administration and the Faculty of Education. Through these faculties, a wide range of Bachelors and Masters programs are offered to its student population.
Additionally, the college aims to conduct and maintain high standards of research through the many research centers.
- The Arctic University of Tromsø, Norway
Located in the municipality of Tromsø, the Arctic University of Norway is considered to be the northernmost university in the world (based on its geographical location). The university was established in 1972 and is one of the main government-based universities in the country. It is also one of the largest research institutions in Norway.
Currently, the university has a student population of over 17,000 in total and attracts prospective students across the world due to its high standards of education and its unique location. The main focus of the Arctic University in terms of its fields of research include space sciences, fishery sciences, biotechnology, linguistics, auroral light research, epidemiology and numerous arctic research projects.
- University of Stavanger
The University of Stavanger is an institution of higher education based in the city of Stavanger in western Norway. Founded in 2005, the university has grown into becoming one of the most premier institutions in Norway and currently provides degrees, courses of studies as well as profound research contributions through a population of 11,000 students and over 1500 staff.
This free university in Norway is comprised of the faculties of science & technology, arts & education and social sciences. It is a high profile research institution that is a leading university in terms of the number of research publications and is also a member of the European Consortium of Innovative Universities.
- BI Norwegian Business School
The BI Norwegian Business School is private university college with a focus on providing education in the field of commerce. It is the largest business school in Norway and the second largest of its kind in the world. Based in Oslo with additional campuses spread across the country, the school was founded in 1943 and has grown into a world-class institution that provides education for almost 20,000 students.
A wide array of programs for Bachelors, Masters and Doctoral degrees are offered; teaching languages are in English (particularly for the undergraduate BBA and graduate programs) and Norwegian.
In addition to this, the university further maintains international connections and participates in exchange programs with over 200 foreign institutions of higher education in over 45 different countries.
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