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Studying in Iceland
The University of Iceland. Photo: Golli.
Q: What are the requirements for an international student to study in Iceland and what universities would you recommend?
Muhammed ali Kirdar, Iraq
There are seven higher education institutions in Iceland accredited as háskólar (universities). It’s difficult to recommend one university over the other, as all cater to different needs. Icelandic institutions consider applications sent by qualified students from anywhere in the world, and although many courses are only available in Icelandic, several universities offer programmes in English or other languages as well.
In total, about 18,000 students are enrolled in Icelandic university programmes, of which roughly 5% are international students. Applicants apply directly to the university of their choice. Application deadlines differ between universities and depend, among other things, on if a student is from the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, or from outside the region. Tuition and registration fees also differ between universities.
For undergraduate degrees, applicants need to have passed a matriculation exam or equivalent. Applicants without this diploma may be accepted if they are believed to have a comparable level, but additional entry requirements or entrance exams, like TOEFL or IELTS tests, might be enforced. For postgraduate education, you need proof of a bachelor’s degree in a subject that corresponds to the master’s programme being applied for. You can read more about specific entry requirements on the universities’ websites.
Additionally, all students from outside of the EEA or Switzerland need a student residence permit if they plan to study in Iceland for more than three months. Only full-time students who can provide for themselves during their stay and have valid insurance are taken into consideration. A complete application must be received by the Icelandic Directorate of Immigration before studies commence, and students are recommended to allow a minimum of three months for this process.