Higher Education in Norway

The Ministry of Education and Research has the overall responsibility for higher education in Norway. There are eight universities, 17 public university colleges including some that are specialized in particular fields, and dozens of private schools (different from the other two in that they charge tuition). The system is based on a model that offers traditional academic education at the bachelor, master and doctoral levels, as well as professional education programs which are not divided into bachelor and master levels. These professional education programs are fixed programs of study bestowing specific professional qualifications. Most courses of study in the professions take five years to complete and lead to a master’s degree. After graduation, students are awarded a specific - and frequently protected - professional title or authorization. In Norway, these courses of study include medicine, law, pharmacy, engineering, teaching (with a full university degree), psychology, and dentistry.

In addition to their teaching activities, all higher education institutions, and particularly the universities, are responsible for conducting basic research as well as researcher training. This is primarily done through graduate-level studies and doctoral degree programs.

The University College (høyskoler) system was developed to decentralize and expand opportunities for students in Norway to access higher education.  Many students combine courses from Universities (universiteter) and University Colleges (høyskoler) in their bachelor and/or masters programs. In order to qualify for university status, an institution of higher education must, among other things, offer at least five master degree and four Ph.D. programs both of which must produce a steady stream of degree candidates.

The 2003 Quality Reform introduced a degree structure, grading system and quality assurance system in line with the Bologna Process.  The common higher education degree structure follows the 3 year+2 year+3 year (bachelor, master, Ph.D.) plan that most European universities offer.

As a rule tuition is not required to study at Norwegian higher education institutions, although fees may be imposed by professional education programs and specialized education programs, as well as at private institutions.

The academic year runs from mid-August to June.

Norwegian universities offer more than 200 master degree programs taught in English. More information about coming to Norway to study can be found at: www.studyinnorway.no