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The key things international students need to consider before studying in Norway 

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
The key things international students need to consider before studying in Norway 
Here's what you should consider before you study in Norway. Pictured is a lecture theatre. Photo by Wilhelm Gunkel on Unsplash

A high quality of life, an excellent student experience and free tuition for many make Norway an exciting option for international students. However, you should consider a few things before applying to Norwegian universities. 


Norway has several exciting student cities dotted all over the country, from the capital of Oslo to Bergen and Stavanger on the west coast. 

There are also campuses as far north as the Arctic Circle, should the prospect of studying and living in Tromsø appeal to you. 

The lure of free tuition at public universities for some students is also a significant pull factor. But that doesn’t mean you should rush headfirst into an application. 


Will you receive free tuition?

The option of being able to hit the ground running after your degree because you aren’t weighed down by hundreds of thousands of kroner in student debt is appealing. 

This doesn’t mean studying in Norway is completely free, though, as it is still one of the most expensive countries in Europe to live in on a day-to-day basis, meaning you may make use of the student loan facilities in the country you are applying from. 

Furthermore, not all students can study for free. From the autumn term of 2023, students from outside the EEA and Switzerland will be required to pay tuition to study in Norway. However, those from the EEA and Switzerland will be able to get their degrees for free. One way around this new rule would be an exchange programme. However, you would only live and study in Norway for three months to a year. 

You can read more about the introduction of tuition fees in Norway here

Private renting versus student halls 

Universities in Norway offer student halls. However, at a number of institutions, there are often queues and shortages, meaning many will have to rent privately. 

Trying to secure a rental place or a room in a student house can be incredibly difficult in cities like Bergen and Oslo in the autumn. This is because of all the increased demand at this time of year.

Unfortunately, securing a dorm room at a university isn’t always super straightforward, either. You’ll need to make sure you meet all the necessary deadlines and submit all the correct paperwork to ensure you aren’t bumped from the queue. 

READ ALSO: How to get student housing in Norway as an international student


You may need to apply for a residence permit to study in Norway

Those outside the EEA will need to apply for an education residence permit to study in Norway. This will also involve paying an application fee. 

Obtaining the permit means you have been admitted to a Norwegian university or college full-time and have enough money to live on for the entire school year. This amounts to 128,887 kroner per year, according to the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI). 

Those with a study permit can also work up to 20 hours per week during their studies and full-time during the holidays. You can read more about applying for a study permit in Norway here. The process for EEA nationals is a bit more straightforward

Learning Norwegian? 

There are plenty of exciting courses which will help your career prospects that are offered in English. The locals' high English language skills proficiency also means that learning the local language isn’t perhaps as essential as in other countries. 

Many universities offer free language courses to their students, and having a good grasp of Norwegian will help your job prospects in the country after your studies should you wish to stay. 

In addition, learning Norwegian alongside your studies will help you feel more settled and make it easier to form bonds and friendships with the locals. 



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