You will come to know here complete information about studying in Iceland. A small country with the population of 338,349 (2017) offers you surely world class education through its 7 higher education institutions. There are almost 18,000 enrolled students with only a 5% of international students. Iceland does want to increase the number of international students. The local language is Icelandic and the currency is Icelandic króna whereas the capital ‘Reykjavik’ provides a good range of educational institutions with excellent levels of higher education. Hold on, almost 24 hours f long sunshine a day in Summer will give a new look to your life here!
UNIVERSITIES IN ICELAND
Currently there are 7 universities in Iceland for international students which all provide state of the art educational standards. Each has its own criteria for admission.
Reykjavik University (RU) is a type of applied science university. Where you will find subjects in research and teaching are science and engineering, computer science, business, and law.
Yes, students wishing to study agriculture and other related subject can choose this university to learn life time experience. This university is an educational and research institution in the field of agriculture and environmental sciences.
This university is one of the world’s recognized and renowned university with its research specialty. The most emphasis is given on subjects related to aqua-culture and fish biology.
The University of Akureyri is a young and dynamic university, located in Akureyri, Iceland’s second city and capital of the north. The university is well admired by young generation and has had good impact on overall educational standards of Iceland.
University of Iceland is among top 200 universities of the world and it collaborates with 500 universities all around the world. Well famous for engineering and technology, it is surely the oldest and largest university of Iceland situated in the heart of Reykjavík.
Founded in 1918, it is a private, self funded and non profit institution which only gets 40% profit from tuition fees paid out of its total one. The main departments here for a range of subjects in master and bachelor degree are department of law, department of social sciences and department of business.
Are you fond of becoming an actor or a star? Then choose ‘The Iceland Academy of the Arts’. It provides higher education in fine arts, theater, dance , music, design, architecture and art education.
Though most of the programs are in Icelandic language but still there are certain English programs available for international students at all seven universities and particularly in University of Iceland where there are almost 1100 international students studying. Each university has its own language requirement for respective programs. You are required to show your English language proficiency by providing in the form of TOEFL, IELTS (Academic) or Cambridge English (CAE or CPE) tests. The minimum score for undergraduate and graduate programs is TOEFL 79 or IELTS 6,5. On the other hand some programs require more score in TOEFL for some graduate programs to 83 overall. Some universities even accept 6.0 score in IELTS for a master degree program such as Bifröst University.
Each university has its own tuition fees for international students. The biggest university of Iceland offers educational programs without tuition fees. WOW! But the students are required to pay a registration fees annually that is only ISK 75,000 ( USD 616) and some students can also pay reduced registration fees ISK 55,000 ( USD 451) if they enroll in the middle of academic year ( in January). Invalid and handicapped students are also charged the reduced fees. On the other hand Reykjavik University charges high rate of tuition fees to international students with at least USD 6,800 per semester.
HOW TO GET ADMISSION
There is no centralized admission procedure in higher education institutions. All 7 universities in Iceland have their own admission criteria and one has to contact the international office for all possible information. If you too are interested to study in Iceland, then do contact the international offices of the above mentioned public and private universities so that you have all possible info in pocket to apply. There are 2 semester in a year, fall semester and Spring semester. Do get information from the university about the deadlines that change each year. Typically for fall semester, you must apply in April and for Spring semester in August.
Since there exist no centralized admission system in Iceland, so university implement their own admission requirement criteria for international students. read below more information about each levels offered in 7 higher education institutions in Iceland:
i- Bachelor’s degrees
One must have at least higher secondary school certificate. Most of the universities do not conduct any admission or entry tests except in medicine, economics or law subjects. From some countries such as Pakistan and India, there may be a comparability of recognized educational level needed for admission. In such cases, students must contact international office if their credentials are good enough to be considered. On safer side, 14 years of education from these countries is 100% sufficient for admission in bachelor’s degree level.
ii- Master’s degrees
For most cases, it should be a 3 to 4 years (equivalent to 180 to 240 ECTS credits) education that takes you into a master’s degree program. Same is true here too that university admission office may accept in some cases students even with lower levels in grades.
ADMISSION WITHOUT ENGLISH CERTIFICATES (IELST OR TOEFL)
You may be exempt from providing a TOEFL or IELTS score if one of the following criteria is met:
- You have completed at least one full year of full time higher education, taught in English, at an accredited higher education institution in an English speaking country (UK, USA, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, Canada)
- You have completed a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in English (English BA or English MA)
- You have an IB (International Baccalaureate or European Baccalaureate diploma (English-taught programmes only))
There are possibilities to get admission without IELTS or any other English language proficiency certificates. Provided that you have studied previously in English medium of instruction, then university may accept your admission application without IELTS. In this case, you must get a certificate of confirmation from latest university clarifying that you have studied your degree in English medium of instruction. Furthermore, if your chosen university in Iceland accepts this a proof, they must mention in final unconditional admission letter that you are exempt from presenting the English language requirement. The Icelandic immigration board normally accepts it to be good enough.
SYSTEM OF STUDY
Bachelor degrees (B.A., B.S., B.Ed.) are mostly offered by University of Iceland and couple of other universities. The duration of bachelor’s degree is almost three to four years of study (180-240 credits).
Postgraduate certificates are offered in some subjects after one year of postgraduate study.
Masters degrees (M.A., M.S. – meistaragráða) are mostly offered by:
- University of Akureyri
- University of Iceland
- Reykjavík University
- Holar University College
- Iceland Academy of the Arts
- Bifröst University College
The degree is awarded after completion of two successful years of postgraduate study. Plus ad major thesis or research project is a substantial part of the programme.
Doctorate degrees (Ph.D.- doktorsgráða) are currently awarded by only 2 following universities:
Only possibility to get a PhD degrees are awarded to those having successfully completed a doctorate programme and defended a doctoral thesis.
Once again, there is no specific awarding body to handle scholarship applications. Universities decide themselves to offer a range of scholarship programs each year for international students. Currently these two universities offer scholarships:
Students interested to study Icelandic language, literature and history in the above mentioned universities, can be eligible to get scholarships from the Icelandic Ministry of Education, Science and Culture that awards these scholarships annually. are you interested? Then check out the handling of this at the Icelandic Government Scholarships Programme is at the Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies – The Sigurður Nordal office.
International students are allowed to work in Iceland part time during their degree programs. As an EU nationality holder, you do not need to get permission of part time work. Students from other countries must get permission of work known as temporary work permit for students. This allows you to work 15 hours per week and during vocations may be full time. You must have following to to apply for a temporary work permit as an international student:
- proof of admission into an Icelandic university as a full time student
- a working contract from your intended employer
- the work duration and timing must not exceed to 40% of your study duration
You may read here complete information about how to apply for this and with which documents.
Students can get cheaper accommodation that depends on if you stay in a shared flat system of own private flat. The price range differs from place to place from 300 USD to 500 USD. You may check and contact the Icelandic Student Services (Félagsstofnun stúdenta) and Keilir, the Atlantic Centre of Excellence for detailed information on prices and availability. On extra notes, you can be eligible for a range of housing benefits as an international student. Read more here for complete details.
Living cost is really high in Iceland. So you must keep in mind all the expenses before you choose to study in Iceland. Here is complete details of some expenses one has to bear by living in Iceland.