Higher Education System in Norway

In Norway, the state is responsible for universities and university colleges, which are directly underling to the Ministry of Education and Research. The Ministry of Education and Research has the complete responsibility for higher education in Norway. Each institution has a panel which determines on the organisation and management of operations. University colleges and Universities determine for themselves, which course of studies and subjects they are to offer at various degree levels. The Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education and the Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Higher Education are also active in the governance of the universities and university colleges.

The Norway higher education system is based on a model that offers standard academic education at the bachelor, master and doctoral levels, as well as professional education programs which are fixed programs of study conferring specific professional qualification. Higher education builds on the successful completion of three years of upper secondary school. The national higher education system is in conformity with the Bologna process, with bachelor's degrees (first cycle, three years), master's degrees (second cycle, two years) and doctoral degrees (third cycle, three years).

Educational Institutions in Norway

The Norway Higher Education consists of 8 Universities, 8 Specialised University Institutions and 2 University Centres, 18 State university colleges, 2 National institutes of the arts, 8 Private Colleges with institutional accreditation, and 8 Private colleges with accredited programs and courses.

Academic Year

The academic year runs from mid-August to June with two semesters, from August to December and from January to June.

Different Types Educational Institutes in Higher Education

Universities: Focus on theoretical subjects such as arts, humanities/liberal arts, natural science, Supply bachelor, Masters and PhD titles. Universities also run a number of professional studies, including law, medicine, dentistry, pharmacy and psychology.

University Colleges (hoyskole): Provide a full scope of educational options, including university degrees at bachelor, master and PhD levels, engineering degrees and professional vocations like teacher and nurse.

Specialised Universities: Functions as a national competence centre in the field they represent.

Private Institutions: Tend to specialise in popular subjects with limited capacity in public schools, such as business management, marketing or fine arts.

Higher Education Degree System

Since 2003, Norway has been adjusting to the objectives of the Bologna process in the European higher education. Conforming to the guidelines from the Bologna process led to the introduction of the new degree system, which has made easier for students, to obtain credit for their qualifications in other nations.

The qualifications(degrees) you can attain at a university or higher education institution are as follows:

“Hogskolekandidat” degree (University College Candidate Degree)
Duration: Two years
Leads to: Bachelor’s degree.
Offered at: State university colleges and a few private institutions

Bachelor Degree
Duration - Three years
Awarded by: State universities, specialized university institutions, university colleges and other higher education institutions, both private and public. The national university colleges of the arts offer a Bachelor’s degree of four years’ duration.
Leads to: Master’s degree

Master Degree
Duration: 1–2 years
Awarded by: State universities, specialized university institutions, and several university colleges and some private institutions.

Professional degree
Duration: Four to six years
Awarded by: State higher education institutions and a number of the private higher education institutions.

Doctoral Degree (Research)
Duration - Three years
Awarded by: University-level institutions, some state university colleges and a few private institutions.

Norway as a Study Destination

Norway offers a unique student experience and Norwegian institutions of higher education welcome students from all over the globe.

Norway has been acknowledged as “the best country in which to live” several times by the United Nations Human Development Report. “Education for all” is the fundamental principle in Norway, and with few exceptions there are no tuition fees. The degree scheme is based on the Bachelor’s, Master’s and Ph.D. structure, together with the ECTS credits system, thereby, making it easy for students at Norwegian institutions to receive credit of their qualification in other countries.

Most Popular Programs for International Students

Norway offers a plethora of degree programs which are globally recognised. The most popular programs for international students in Norway are:
  • Architecture
  • Master of Business Administration (Management/Commerce/Banking and Finance/Human Resources Management)
  • Engineering: Bachelor of Engineering
  • Law
  • Medicine
  • Teaching
  • Sciences: Bachelor programs
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