System of higher education
Norwegian education institutions are state-run. As a rule, there are no tuition fees for higher education in Norway, but fees may be charged for certain professional education programs and special programs, and by some of the private institutions.
In addition to teaching, all higher education institutions, and especially universities, have a particular responsibility to conduct pure research and researcher training, by means of graduate-level studies and doctoral degree programs. The internationalization of higher education has been a key factor for the development of programs where the language of instruction is English. Currently, almost 200 Masters programs taught in English are available to students, covering many different subject areas. Some of the institutions are also offering English taught programs at Bachelor’s and PhD level.
Norway is one of the leading countries conforming to the guidelines from the Bologna Process in European higher education. The degree system based on the Bachelor's, Masters and Ph.D. structure has been successfully implemented together with the ECTS credits system. By adapting to the European standard in higher education (see Fig. 1), it has become easier for students who complete all or part of their education in Norway to obtain recognition of their qualifications in other countries.
Credits and grading scale
Courses at universities and university colleges are assessed on a scale of study credits, in accordance with the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) standard. A full-time academic year equals 60 ECTS credits. Courses are measured in “studiepoeng” according to the ECTS standard (European Credit Transfer System credits). The full-time workload for one academic year is 60 “studiepoeng”/ECTS credits. Both undergraduate and graduate students are given grades on a scale ranging from A (best) to F (fail), where E is the lowest passing grade. Some exams, however, are simply marked Pass or Fail.
All international applicants must fulfil the same basic entrance requirements as Norwegian students. Eligibility for exchange and fellowship programs is usually determined on the basis of national and regional bilateral agreements and fulfilment of quota requirements. Participation in a number of the funding programs is restricted to applicants from specific countries. A good command of English is required for all students attending Norwegian institutions of higher education. International students who are not native English speakers must document their language proficiency.