Oslo is the capital of Norway and the country’s largest city with an urban population of over a million residents. With a history stretching back more than 1,200 years, Oslo has been a major centre for political and economic activity in Norway for centuries. Modern-day Oslo has also become a major European hub for trade, banking, shipping and several industries.
Oslo is also well-known for its high standards of living and excellent infrastructure, and is consistently well ranked for quality of life by various sources. With nearly 25% of Oslo’s population being foreign-born or first-generation immigrants, the city has become increasingly friendly and welcoming towards international students and travellers.
Established as Norway’s first university in 1813, the University of Oslo is home to over 21,000 enrolled students of which about 4,000 are international admits. The university is well-known for its ground-breaking research and curriculum quality in several disciplines, ranging from law to political science and maritime science.
The University of Oslo primarily operates from two campuses in the city. Its original campus is based in downtown Oslo, and its main campus is in the Blindern neighbourhood. All of the 840 degree programmes offered at the university are taught in English.
The University of Oslo continues to be well-regarded for its research and innovation, and operates several state-of-the art research institutes across its campuses, such as the Institute of Health & Society and the Institute of Theoretical Astrophysics. More than 1,000 University of Oslo students go abroad on exchange programmes every year, and this gives international students an excellent chance to experience a new country while studying and researching at a similarly top-ranked institution.
Situated two hours west of Oslo in the town of Bergen, the University of Bergen was founded in 1946 and is Norway’s second-oldest public university. More than 2,000 international students form a sizable foreign community at the university, which hosts nearly 15,000 enrolled students overall.
The university is split in two campuses across Bergen, with one campus being in the Nygårdshøyden neighbourhood and the other focused on healthcare courses in Årstadvollen on the outskirts of the city.
The University of Bergen is home to four Norwegian Centres of Excellence, which are research institutes considered of the highest quality and funded by the Research Council of Norway, a government organisation. Marine-related research is especially advanced at the University of Bergen, while the university’s Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research is one of the largest climate research institutes in Europe.
Bergen’s proximity to Oslo makes it a convenient location for international students. Additionally, although it is a small city, Bergen is especially vibrant and hosts up to 60 music and cultural festivals every year such as the Bergen International Film Festival. So international students will find plenty of activities to enjoy outside the classroom while receiving world-class degrees at the University of Bergen.
Situated just half an hour south of Oslo in the As suburb, the Norwegian University of Life Sciences was originally founded in 1859 as the Norwegian Agricultural Postgraduate College. The university is home to just under 6,000 enrolled students of which international students form a large community of 1,200 admits.
The Norwegian University is well-known for its high-quality research in the fields of animal science and plant science. Key research themes at the university include Climate, Environment, Food and Veterinary Science.
The university operates as many as 17 laboratories and research centres, including the Bioenergy Innovation Centre (CenBio) and the Centre for Feed Technology (Fôrtek). Additionally, Norwegian University maintains exchange agreements with more than 90 global universities, including 44 European and eight top-ranked North American institutes.
With nearly 20,500 enrolled students, BI Norwegian Business School is the largest business school in Norway and the second-largest in Europe. A sizable international community of nearly 4,000 students from over 100 countries study at the university, most of them pursuing Master’s level courses.
BI Norwegian operates mainly across two urban campuses – its main campus in downtown Oslo, and another facility in nearby Bergen. BI’s Bergen campus is located in the city’s Marineholmen Innovation District, where international students have access to world-leading businesses, large-scale employers and plenty of exciting internship and post-graduation work opportunities.
BI Norwegian is undoubtedly the best business school in Norway and one of the best in Scandinavia. It is also one of very few international business schools to have achieved triple accreditation of EQUIS, AACSB and AMBA.
Below are the top-ranked Oslo universities for international students, with their ranks in two of the world’s most well-respected international university rankings, the QS 2022 University World rankings and the Times Higher Education 2022 Rankings.
For more information about rankings systems and methodologies see our University rankings explained guide.
|University||QS World Ranking 2022||Times Higher Education Ranking 2022||QS Rank in Norway||THE Rank in Norway|
|University of Oslo||102||=119||1||1|
|University of Bergen||199||201-250||2||2|
|Norwegian University of Life Sciences||–||601-800||–||6|
Alongside the four best Oslo universities, the city and its nearby regions also offer multiple world-class institutes specialising in a wide range of subjects and scientific disciplines. A few of the best institutes in and around Oslo for international students are:
Fortunately for international students, most public universities in Norway provide free tuition, with only a minor semester fee amounting to 100-150 US Dollars a year as tuition cost. This policy is the same regardless of whether you’re studying in Oslo for an undergraduate degree, a Master’s degree or a PhD. As for private universities in Oslo, international students can expect to pay anywhere between 7,000-10,000 US Dollars per annum for undergraduate courses, and 10,000-20,000 US Dollars for Master’s degree programmes.
When it comes to living costs in Oslo, the University of Oslo recommends that you budget at least 1,100-1,150 US Dollars for your monthly expenses. This figure includes at least 400-500 US Dollars for shared accommodation, another 350-400 US Dollars for food expenses, 70-80 US Dollars for public transport, 180-200 US Dollars for entertainment and 120-50 US Dollars for miscellaneous expenses.
Oslo was ranked as the fourth most expensive city in the world, in the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)’s Worldwide Cost of Living study, and many international students choose to work part-time in order to afford their living costs. A typical Norwegian student visa enables you to work 20 hours every week during the semester and full-time during academic breaks. Many Oslo universities also offer multiple scholarships for international students, and you should research each relevant scholarship if you feel you will require financial assistance to study at a top-ranked Oslo university.
Oslo is a charming city full of interesting architecture, cultural venues, and outdoor recreational areas for you to enjoy during your time away from the classroom. Since the early 2000s, the government has modernised several neighbourhoods across Oslo including the waterfront area, to make the city even more accessible, attractive and safe for residents and travellers.
International students at top-ranked Oslo universities also utilise their breaks to travel around Norway and the Scandinavia region of Europe, known for its stunning natural beauty and unique sights such as the northern lights near the north pole. Below are a few of Oslo’s must-visit attractions and locations for international students:
International students can comfortably travel to Oslo’s Gardermoen Airport from their home countries via major European airports such as Amsterdam, London or Paris. Moreover, you can use Norway’s excellent train network to explore the country as well as neighbouring Sweden. Cruise Ferry services can be taken for travel to Denmark as well as Germany.
Living in a well-connected city such as Oslo with its world-class public infrastructure and almost-guaranteed public safety will allow you to completely focus on your academic progress and career aspirations.
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