10 Free Universities in Norway for International Students

Reindeer, mountains, winter sports, and the northern lights are just some of the things Norway is famous for. In addition to these attractions, exploring the national parks of Norway is an awe-inspiring experience that can bring the child out of any nature lover out there.

Norwegian cuisine has also attracted the attention of food lovers as the country already has six Michelin-starred restaurants. Moreover, the traditional delicacies of this Nordic country should be on the menu every tourist if they ever get to visit Norway. Smoked reindeer meat, fresh fish, and the brunost or brown cheese should be in every foodie bucket list of things to try.

But Norway is more than just a destination for tourists to add to their northern European itinerary. Norway can be a good destination for students looking for a place to study abroad.

Aside from having one of the best education systems in the world, Norway also does not charge tuition to local and international students. This makes Norway an appealing option for international students who are still unsure about where they will study in the future. In this article, we will be going over the various free universities in Norway for international students.

Cost of Studying in Norway

Even as public universities do not charge tuition, international students will still have to deal with the cost of living, which is quite high in Norway. The cost of living in Norway can range from 10,000 NOK ($1,100 USD) to 20,000 NOK ($2,000 USD). This figure already includes rent, food, and other living expenses. The cost will also depend on the city or area where the student will live in.

Are Universities Free in Norway?

Public universities in Norway do not charge tuition. While there a nominal semestral fee that the students have to pay before they are accepted into the university, it’s not as high as the tuition fee they pay to study in other countries in Europe. The fee is normally between 300 NOK ($30 USD) to 600 NOK ($60 USD).

But if the students choose to study in private universities, they will have to pay for tuition and other expenses.

What are the languages of instruction for universities in Norway?

Even as Norwegian is the main language of instruction for universities in Norway, some classes use English as the language of instruction

Now, let’s discuss some of the best free universities in Norway.

Free Universities in Norway

1. Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Established in 1996, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology is one of the free universities in Norway for international students. It was the result of the merger of six research institutions and institutions of higher education. These institutions included the Norwegian Institute of Technology, Trondheim Academy of Fine Art, and Trondheim Conservatory of Music. Due to this, the university can trace its roots to 1767 with the foundation of the Museum of Natural History and Archaeology.

The university has nine faculties made up of 55 departments. It offers numerous programs for local and international students. These programs include Accounting and Auditing, Aquaculture Engineering, Biotechnology, Classical Studies, Education, Occupational Therapy, and Technology Management.

The different campuses of the university provide the students with a unique yet productive environment conducive to learning. Each location offers different activities that the students can do after classes. These activities include hiking, skiing, exploring, and simply enjoying the beauty of nature at its best.

2. Oslo Metropolitan University

Next in our list of free Norwegian universities for international students is the Oslo Metropolitan University. The story of Oslo Metropolitan University dates back 1818 to when the midwifery program of the university was first established. Several of the study programs of the university are also among the oldest in the country. But the institution itself was the result of the merger of two state universities, Oslo University College and Akershus University College. It was initially called the Oslo and Akershus University College before receiving its present name in 2018.

The university has four faculties and eight research centers and institutes. It offers a wide range of programs for local and international students. These programs include Biomedical Laboratory Sciences, Developmental Studies, Photojournalism, Applied Computer and Information Technology, Social Education, and Social Work.

International students can stay at the economical yet comfortable shared student flat of the university. They can also explore the surrounding community with all its shops, restaurants, and green spaces. The university also has sports facilities offering different sports activities, such as aerobics, swimming, tennis, and yoga, among others.

3. University of Bergen

The University of Bergen was officially established in 1946, and it focuses on three priority areas: Marine Research, Climate and Energy Transition, and Global Challenges. It is an internationally-recognized Norwegian research university that is the most cited in the country.

The university has seven faculties offering a considerable number of bachelor’s and master’s programs for its students. These programs include Foreign Language Teacher Education, Media and Communication Studies, Art History, Curatorial Practice, Bioinformatics, Digital Culture, and Economics.

Located in the second largest city of Norway, the students have numerous options when it comes to exploring the city and experiencing cultural events. Aside from experiencing life in a big city, the surrounding area is also ideal for outdoor adventures for any intrepid explorer.

4. Western Norway University of Applied Sciences

Established in 2017, the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, another free university in Norway for international students, is the result of the merger of Stord/Haugesund University College, Bergen University College, and Sogn og Fjordane University College. Due to this, it can trace its roots to 1839 when the teacher education program started in Stord.

The university has four faculties offering a broad range of programs on its five campuses. These programs include Business Administration, Nature and Tourism, Geology and Geohazards, Renewable Energy, Nautical Science, Maritime Operations, and Real Estate Management.

Surrounded by seven mountains, the Bergen campus is located in one of the most picturesque cities in Norway. The natural life in the Førde and Stord campuses are also awe-inspiring for the students. The cultural activities at the Sogndal campus make student life fun and enjoyable. The Haugesund campus allows the students to experience a good life at the birthplace of Norway.

5. University of Tromsø – The Arctic University of Norway

Even as the University of Tromsø – The Arctic University of Norway was established in 1968, it started operating as an educational institution in 1972. This medium-sized university is Norway’s third-largest university. Its location means the university is focused on climate change and environmental threats to the northernmost areas of the world.

The university offers a wide array of programs to local and international students through its campuses located all over Norway. The programs offered by the university include Aerospace Computer Engineering, Arctic Adventure Tourism, Biology, Public Health, Northern Studies, Statistics, and Engineering Design.

Even as exploring the country can be a major activity for the students of the university, they can also immerse themselves in the culture through different activities held on the campuses. They can also learn about different aspects of the country by visiting exhibits and displays at the museums.

6. University of Stavanger

Established in 2005, the University of Stavanger was formerly the Høgskolen i Stavanger. It changed its name after it received the university status. It is the third highest-ranked Norwegian university when it comes to research publications per scientific staff.

This free university in Norway has six faculties with 13 departments and two national research centers. It offers numerous courses for its students, including Drama and Intercultural Communication, Literacy Studies, Operations Management, Investments, Energy Resources, Nursing, and Gender Studies.

While the university is well-known for its research publications, the university also gives its students something to look forward to outside of the classroom. Situated in the most visually-appealing area of Norway, the students won’t have to go far if they can explore the beauty of nature at its best. Moreover, two student organizations also ensure that the welfare of the students is taken care of while they are studying at the university.

7. University of Agder

While it was officially established in 2007, the University of Agder can trace its roots to the Christiansands Stiftsseminarium på Holt in 1839. The institution was later called the Kristiansand Teacher Training College before it merged with five other regional colleges to form the Agder University College. The college later received its university accreditation and was renamed to the University of Agder.

The university has six faculties and a teacher education unit. It offers several programs for local and international students. These programs include Public Health and Nutrition, Foreign Languages and Translation, Visual Arts and Drama, Information Systems, Natural Sciences, and Management.

The university has several facilities to ensure the students have access to everything they need to enhance the learning process. Clubs and societies also cater to the extracurricular needs of the students. Moreover, the university also has recreation and leisure facilities where the students can relax and take a step back to smell the roses over the weekend.

8. The University Centre in Svalbard

The University Centre in Svalbard was established in 1993 and is the northernmost educational institution in Norway. It provides research-based education to students looking to become experts in the fields of geology, biology, technology, and geophysics.

Owned by the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research, the center offers research-based courses to students from all over the world. These courses include Marine Arctic Biology, Polar Ocean Climate, Arctic Marine Geology, and Arctic Engineering.

The student body of the university is composed of 50 percent local and 50 percent international students. As a free university in Norway, the University Centre in Svalbard offers free tuition education to these students. The official language is English and nature is used as a laboratory area for the students to collect information for their courses.

9. Østfold University College

The Østfold University College was established when five public colleges located in Halden, Fredrikstad, and Sarpsborg were merged in 1994 as part of Norway’s University College Reform. The university has campuses in Fredrikstad and in Halden.

Each campus of the institution offers its own set of programs. The programs offered by the university through its five faculties include Acting, Scenography, Green Energy Technology, Applied Computer Science, and Performance.

Student societies allow the students to make their circle of friends larger when they meet other students sharing their interests. The university also has venues where the students can socialize and relax after a whole week of studying.

10. Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences

The final free university in Norway for international students is the Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences, the result of the merger of Lillehammer University College and Hedmark University College in 2017. It has six campuses located in the southeastern part of Norway. The university focuses on different subject areas, including agricultural sciences, sports, pedagogy, music, tourism, and psychology, among others.

The university has four faculties and two schools offering a wide array of programs for its students. These programs include English Language and Literature, Biological Psychology, Corporate Finance, Management Communication, and Philosophy of Science and Methodology.

Studying at the university offers a new experience for students as they can combine studies with outdoor activities. They can experience the midnight sun, watch the Northern Lights, and climb the mountains of Norway.


The quality of education and free tuition makes Norway an appealing option for international students looking for a good place to earn a university degree abroad. I hope that this article on free universities in Norway was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Free Universities Category!