Norway Scholarship For International Students 2023

Unlocking Fjords and Futures: A Comprehensive Guide to Scholarships for International Students in Norway


Embark on an academic adventure amidst breathtaking fjords and cutting-edge innovation! Norway, a land renowned for its natural beauty and world-class education system, beckons international students seeking exceptional Master’s degree programs. While tuition fees at public universities in Norway are free for all students, the cost of living can be substantial. Fortunately, numerous scholarship opportunities exist to help international students bridge the financial gap and pursue their academic aspirations in Norway.

This comprehensive guide delves into the world of scholarships for international students in Norway. We’ll explore various scholarship options, eligibility criteria, application processes, and strategies to maximize your chances of success. Whether you’re a passionate engineer drawn to Norway’s technological advancements, a budding social scientist fascinated by Norwegian social welfare systems, or an aspiring artist inspired by the country’s vibrant cultural scene, this guide equips you with the knowledge and resources to navigate your scholarship journey.

Mastering Your Options: A Landscape of Scholarships

The Norwegian scholarship landscape offers a diverse range of opportunities for international students. Here’s a detailed breakdown of the most prominent categories:

Government Scholarships:

  • The Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research (MŠST): The MŠST offers scholarships for international students pursuing Master’s degrees in specific fields aligned with Norway’s national priorities.

  • Quota Scheme for Higher Education: This scheme provides financial aid to qualified students from specific countries outside the EU/EEA zone. Contact your home country’s education authorities to determine if your country participates in this scheme.

University Scholarships: Many Norwegian universities offer merit-based or need-based scholarships specifically for international Master’s students. Explore the scholarship sections of individual university websites for details on available scholarships and application procedures. Here are some examples:

  • University of Oslo Scholarships:
    • Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) Scholarships: [invalid URL removed] (English)
    • BI Norwegian Business School Scholarships: [invalid URL removed] (English)
  • Subject-Specific Scholarships: Organizations, foundations, or professional associations related to your field of study might offer scholarships specifically for Master’s students. Research these entities and explore their scholarship opportunities. Here are some examples:

    • Engineering and Technology: Research Councils of Norway (RCN) Thematic Grants
    • Social Sciences and Humanities: Fulbright Norway
    • Business and Economics: The Norwegian School of Economics (NHH)

International Scholarships: Explore scholarship opportunities offered by international organizations like:

  • The European Union (EU): EU funding programs like Erasmus+ Mundus Joint Master Degrees might offer scholarships for Master’s programs in Norway involving multiple European universities.

  • Scholarships for Developing Countries: Organizations like the World Bank or regional development banks might offer scholarships for students from developing countries pursuing Master’s degrees relevant to their home countries’ development goals. Research scholarship opportunities offered by relevant organizations.

Eligibility Unveiled: Demystifying Scholarship Requirements

Obtaining a scholarship for international students in Norway hinges on meeting the specific eligibility criteria established by each program. Here’s a detailed breakdown of common factors to consider when applying for these scholarships:

  • Academic Background: Strong academic performance is a cornerstone of scholarship eligibility. Most programs require a minimum GPA (Grade Point Average) in your Bachelor’s degree, typically ranging from B+ to A (on a 4.0 scale).

  • Standardized Tests: Some scholarships might require standardized test scores like GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) or GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) for Master’s programs, or TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System) for English language proficiency. Research the specific test requirements for your chosen scholarship and program.

  • Field of Study: While some scholarships are open to all academic disciplines, others might prioritize students pursuing specific fields aligned with the scholarship’s goals. Here are some examples:

    • Science and Technology Scholarships: These scholarships might favor students in engineering, maritime technology, renewable energy, or other fields relevant to Norway’s technological advancements.

    • Social Sciences and Humanities Scholarships: Scholarships in this category might prioritize students interested in Norwegian history, language, literature, or social welfare systems.

    • Business and Economics Scholarships: These scholarships might target students in international trade, maritime business, or sustainable resource management, reflecting Norway’s economic strengths.

  • Citizenship and Residency: Some scholarships might have specific citizenship requirements, often restricted to students from certain countries. Others might prioritize students residing in a particular region where the scholarship organization operates. Explore the eligibility criteria for your chosen scholarship program to understand any citizenship or residency limitations.

  • Language Requirements: Most Master’s programs in Norway require English language proficiency. However, a few programs might require proficiency in Norwegian as well. Ensure you meet the language requirements specified by your chosen program and scholarship (if applicable).

  • Work Experience (for some scholarships): A few scholarships, particularly those targeting Master’s programs with a professional focus, might require relevant work experience in your field of study. Research the specific requirements of your chosen scholarship to determine if work experience is a factor.

  • Financial Need (for some scholarships): Some scholarships prioritize students with demonstrably strong academic merit and documented financial need. Prepare documentation to support your financial situation if necessary, such as tax return documents or financial aid award letters from your previous educational institutions.

  • Research Proposal (for some scholarships): Scholarships specifically for research-oriented Master’s programs might require a well-developed research proposal outlining your intended research topic, methodology, and potential contribution to the field. Research the specific requirements of your chosen scholarship to determine if a research proposal is necessary.

  • Letters of Recommendation: Strong letters of recommendation from professors familiar with your academic abilities and potential are often required for scholarship applications. Ideally, these letters should come from professors who have witnessed your research skills, work ethic, and dedication to your field of study.

Crafting a Competitive Scholarship Application 

A well-crafted scholarship application plays a pivotal role in securing funding for your Master’s degree in Norway. Here’s a breakdown of key elements to strengthen your application:

  • Academic Excellence: Demonstrate your academic prowess through transcripts, awards, and publications (if applicable). Highlight your strong academic record with a minimum GPA as specified by the scholarship program.

  • Compelling Motivation Letter: This letter is your opportunity to tell your story and convince the scholarship committee of your deserving nature. Here are some key aspects to incorporate:

    • Clearly Defined Goals: Articulate your academic and professional goals clearly. Explain how pursuing a Master’s degree in Norway aligns with your aspirations and how your studies will contribute to your future career trajectory.
    • Financial Need (if applicable): If financial need is a consideration for the scholarship, provide documentation to support your circumstances. This might include tax return documents, financial aid award letters from your previous educational institutions, or bank statements.
    • Passion for Your Field: Express genuine enthusiasm for your chosen field of study. Highlight any relevant research experience, coursework, or volunteer work that demonstrates your passion and commitment to your chosen discipline.
  • Strong Letters of Recommendation: Request letters of recommendation from professors familiar with your academic abilities and potential. Ideally, these letters should come from professors who have witnessed your research skills, work ethic, and dedication to your field of study.

  • Proof of English Language Proficiency: Most programs require proof of English language proficiency through tests like TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System). Research the minimum score requirement for your chosen program and scholarship and ensure you take the test well in advance of the application deadline.

  • Tailored Application Materials: Avoid generic applications. Research the specific scholarship program and tailor your application materials to highlight how your background, academic goals, and financial need (if applicable) align with the scholarship’s objectives.

  • Additional Supporting Documents: Some scholarships might require additional documents like research proposals, CVs, or portfolios showcasing your creative work. Ensure you submit all required documents by the deadline.

Additional Tips for Scholarship Success

  • Start Early: Research scholarship opportunities and application deadlines well in advance. Begin preparing application materials early to avoid last-minute stress. A head start allows for meticulous crafting of your application and gathering all necessary documents.

  • Apply to Multiple Scholarships: Don’t limit yourself to a single scholarship application. Cast a wider net by applying to several scholarships that align with your academic background, field of study, and financial need. This increases your chances of securing funding.

  • Proofread and Revise: Meticulously proofread all application materials before submission. Typos or grammatical errors can create a negative impression. Consider having a trusted advisor or friend review your application for clarity, impact, and adherence to the specific scholarship’s requirements.

  • Showcase Your Achievements: Quantify your achievements whenever possible in your application essays and CV. Use specific examples to demonstrate your academic excellence, research skills, relevant work experience, and extracurricular activities that showcase well-roundedness and potential for success in your chosen field.

  • Highlight Leadership Potential: If you hold leadership positions in academic organizations, extracurricular activities, or your home community, highlight these experiences. Scholarships might seek individuals who demonstrate leadership qualities and the potential to become future leaders in their fields.

  • Prepare for Interviews: Some scholarship programs might involve interview stages. Research the scholarship program and potential interview questions in advance. Prepare cogent answers that showcase your knowledge, passion for your field of study, and preparedness for the academic rigors of a Master’s program in Norway.

  • Seek Guidance: Don’t hesitate to seek guidance from university scholarship advisors, professors familiar with Norwegian higher education, or international student organizations. Their insights can be invaluable in crafting a strong application, navigating the nuances of the scholarship process, and understanding specific requirements for international students.

The Allure of Affordability: Tuition-Free Education in Norway

One of the most attractive aspects of studying in Norway for international students is the concept of tuition-free education. Public universities in Norway do not charge tuition fees for students enrolled in Master’s degree programs, regardless of their nationality. This eliminates a significant financial barrier for international students compared to many other countries with renowned higher education systems.

However, it’s crucial to understand the cost of living in Norway, which can be quite high. While tuition is free, expenses like accommodation, food, transportation, and other living costs can accumulate significantly. Here’s a breakdown of some factors to consider:

  • Living Expenses: The average monthly living cost for an international student in Norway can range from NOK 8,000 – NOK 12,000 (approximately USD 900 – USD 1,350). This can vary depending on your lifestyle, location, and spending habits. Major cities like Oslo will generally be more expensive than smaller towns.

  • Accommodation: Finding affordable housing can be a challenge, especially in popular student cities. Explore options like student dormitories, shared apartments, or renting a room in someone’s home to keep accommodation costs under control. Research online platforms or contact student housing organizations at your chosen university for assistance.

  • Food: Groceries in Norway can be expensive compared to many other countries. Consider budgeting carefully for groceries and exploring ways to save, such as cooking at home more often and shopping at discount supermarkets.

  • Transportation: Public transportation in Norway is efficient but can also be costly. Consider purchasing a student travel card for discounted fares on public transport. Biking is a popular and cost-effective way to get around in many Norwegian cities.

Financial Aid Options Beyond Scholarships

While scholarships are a significant financial aid source, explore other avenues to manage the cost of living in Norway during your Master’s studies:

  • Part-Time Work: International students with valid student visas are permitted to work part-time (up to 20 hours per week) during semesters and full-time during breaks. While income from part-time work might not cover all your expenses, it can contribute significantly to your living costs. Explore on-campus job opportunities, freelance work (if your visa permits), or part-time jobs related to your field of study.

  • Student Loans: For students from some countries, education loans specifically designed for international studies might be an option. Research loan options offered by banks in your home country or those with partnerships with Norwegian universities. Carefully examine loan terms and interest rates before committing to this option.

  • Work & Study Programs: Some universities in Norway offer work & study programs that combine academic studies with paid internships or work placements. These programs can provide valuable work experience and help offset some living expenses. Research work & study opportunities offered by universities in your chosen field.

  • Living Stipends: Some research-based Master’s programs might offer living stipends to students involved in research projects. If you’re pursuing a research-oriented Master’s degree, inquire with your program coordinator about the possibility of receiving a stipend.

Budgeting and Cost Management Strategies

Living comfortably in Norway as an international student requires meticulous budgeting and cost management strategies. Here are some tips to stretch your finances further:

  • Create a Budget: Develop a detailed budget outlining your anticipated income (scholarships, part-time work) and projected expenses (housing, food, transportation, etc.) Track your spending habits and adjust your budget accordingly throughout your studies. Several budgeting apps or online tools can help you manage your finances effectively.

  • Prioritize Needs Over Wants: Distinguish between essential needs like food and housing and non-essential wants like frequent dining out or entertainment. Be mindful of your spending and prioritize essential expenses.

  • Embrace Frugal Living: Explore cost-saving strategies like cooking at home more often, utilizing student discounts for public transportation or cultural activities, and seeking free or low-cost entertainment options like exploring nature, visiting museums on free admission days, or attending student events.

  • Seek Student Discounts: Many businesses in Norway offer student discounts. Take advantage of these discounts whenever possible to save money on various expenses. Look for student discounts on public transportation, movie tickets, museum entry fees, and even gym memberships.

  • Consider Second-Hand Goods: Furnishing your student accommodation doesn’t have to break the bank. Explore second-hand stores, online marketplaces, or student exchange groups where you can find affordable furniture, clothes, and other necessities.