Study in Iceland

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Iceland welcomes international students from all the corners of the world. Foreign students make around 5% of the total students in Iceland. Are you planning to migrate to Iceland for your further education? Here we present the complete guide for you.

Why Study in Iceland?

The rate of literacy is high in Iceland. It is also considered as one of the safest countries to stay in. other than these, the main reasons for choosing Iceland as a study abroad destination are:

  • You can find many notable higher education institutions located in Iceland.
  • The Nature in Iceland is indescribably stunning and unique. The Icelandic citizens are friendly, educated and welcoming. 
  • International students will get excellent opportunities for self-development, growth and learning in Iceland.  
  • Public Icelandic universities do not ask for any tuition fees. However, they ask for an annual registration fee.
  • Iceland has Unique research possibilities. It offers unparalleled opportunities for research into a range of scientific fields such as volcanic activity, geothermal energy, glaciers, etc.
  • English is widely spoken in Iceland, so you can adjust to this new environment. You don’t need to master in Icelandic for admission to universities in Iceland. You can find courses in the English language as well. 

The Education System in Iceland

The whole education system of Iceland is managed by The Ministry of Education, Science and Culture. The levels in the higher education system of Iceland are :

  • Bachelor degrees – These programs take 3 to 4 years to complete. This can be undertaken after 12th.
  • Candidatus degrees – This type of degree is a professional degree offered in the fields of medicine, law, theology, law, business administration and dentistry and engineering. It takes four to six years to complete.
  • Postgraduate certificates – This certificate is awarded in some of the subjects after completing one year of a postgraduate study.
  • Masters degrees – This degree can be obtained after completing two years of postgraduate study. Study masters in Iceland are popular among international students.
  • Doctorate degrees – This degree is awarded after completing a doctorate program and thesis.

Universities in Iceland

Iceland is home to seven universities. This includes 3 private universities and 4 public universities. These academic institutions in Iceland are keen to attract more and more international students every year. These 7 universities are:

  • Bifröst University

Bifröst University was established in 1918 in Reykjavík, Iceland. Originally it is one of the business schools in Iceland but it also offers degrees in law and social sciences. You can study at both the stages of higher education, undergraduate and graduate level in the Bifröst University.

  • Academy of the Arts

The Iceland Academy of the Arts offers courses in fine arts, dance, theatre, design, music, architecture and art education. The university aims to encourage progressive thinking in the arts. It also has the goal to stimulate innovation and development in different fields.

  • Reykjavík University

Reykjavik University is one of the private and largest universities in Iceland enrolled with more than 3,500 students. Its main subjects are science and engineering, computer science, business, and law.

  • The Agricultural University of Iceland

The Agricultural University of Iceland was established in the year 2005. This educational and research institution specialises in the study field of agriculture and environmental sciences. It is a public university in Iceland.

  • Hólar University College

It is also one of the public universities in Iceland.  Hólar University College offers a quality education at both graduate and undergraduate level and a robust research program. The university is located in the historical centre of education, Holar. 

  • Akureyri University

The University of Akureyri is located in the heart of the Akureyri city, in the North-East of Iceland. It offers a broad spectrum of study courses at both undergraduate and graduate-level.

  • University of Iceland

The University of Iceland is one of the oldest and largest universities in Iceland. It is located in the heart of the capital city, Reykjavík. The university participates in the international scientific and academic communities.

Best courses to study Iceland

Icelandic institutions offer plenty of courses in different subjects. You will also find some universities which are specialised in specific subjects. Some of the popular courses offered in Iceland are:

  • Study Nursing in Iceland
  • Study International Business and Marketing in Iceland
  • Study Computer Science in Iceland
  • Study MBA in Iceland
  • Study business in Iceland
  • Study Law in Iceland
  • Study Psychology in Iceland
  • Study Engineering in Iceland
  • Study  Sustainable Energy in Iceland

Intakes in Iceland

The academic year in Iceland is from September to May. This is divided into two semesters. They are Autumn and Spring. 

  • Autumn semester starts from September until late December 
  • Spring semester starts from the month of January and continues till May.

Hence there are 2 intakes in Iceland. Check the courses offered in the particular intake and then apply.

Requirements to study abroad in Iceland

To get admission in the universities in Iceland, you need to submit some supporting documents along with the application. These documents requirements will differ based on the institution and type of program you wish to study in. You will have to visit the website of your chosen university and submit your documents directly from there. Common documents you will need for university application are:

  • A scanned copy of your passport
  • A scanned copy of your birth certificate.
  • A scanned copy of your diploma (high school or Bachelors)
  • Transcripts or record of previous academic courses.
  • 2-3 Letters of recommendation
  • Your CV
  • Language proficiency scores
  • Statement of purpose.
  • Portfolio and/or writing samples

Study in Iceland in English

Even though the main language of instruction in Iceland is Icelandic, still you can find some of the courses in English. The Universities in Ireland offer reputable study programs in English in the subject areas such as the Sciences, Business, the Arts, and Law. Icelandic Universities which offer English taught degrees are:

  • The University of Iceland, 
  • Reykjavík University 
  • University of Akureyri

Study in Iceland cost

Public universities in Iceland are tuition-free. However, there is a registration fee which is around ISK 75,000. Private universities have the right to charge the tuition fee from international students. Different universities have different tuition fees depending upon the course. On average Tuition fees can range from ISK 540,000 – ISK 2,000,000 per year.

Living Costs can vary with the location and lifestyles you choose. An average of the cost of living are tabulated below :




ISK 100,000 per month

Food and common expenses

ISK 50,000 per month

Books and study materials

ISK 40,000 per semester

Local public transportation

ISK 6,500 per month

Leisure activities

ISK 30,000 per month 


Study in Iceland scholarship

Scholarships are a good way to decrease your financial burden in studying abroad in Iceland. With the help of fully-funded scholarships, you proceed to make your study in Iceland for free. Some of the scholarships offered by government, universities and external organisation in Iceland are mentioned below:

  • University of Iceland Scholarships
  • Reykjavik University Scholarships for International Students
  • United Nations University, Iceland Scholarships
  • Erasmus+ and Nordplus Programs
  • Scholarships by the Ministry of Education, Science, and Culture of Iceland.
  • Icelandic Research Fund (IRF)
  • The Icelandic Student Innovation Fund (ISIF)

Student visa for Iceland

To enter Iceland, international students need to get a study visa. You have to apply at the nearest embassy for the student visa with all the documentation needed for the verification. The required documents for Study Visas in Iceland are:

  • Study Visa Application Form
  • Photocopy of passport
  • Medical certificate 
  • Police verification certificate
  • Proof of admission at the University of Iceland
  • Evidence of Medical Insurance
  • Proof of Financial Support during the stay and study in Iceland
  • One passport-sized photograph
  • Proof for application payment of the residence permit.

The Embassy may request for any other additional documents based on your country of origin. So, complete the process carefully with all the documents, otherwise, there are chances of rejection.

Working While Studying in Iceland

The government of Iceland allows international students to work part-time during their studies. International students are permitted to work only up to a maximum of 20 hours per week without disturbing their studies. However, Non-EU students should fulfil the following 2 conditions to get the right to work.

  • Must have a student residence permit 
  • Must have a contract of employment issued by their employer.

Look for the job and get a written statement from the employer. Then you can gain international work experience along with the studies.

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