Countries and universities in the Scandinavia region are progressively more popular with international students, with thousands attracted to studying and living there by the region’s strong academic repute and exceptionally high quality of life. In fact, the happiest country in the world, according to the World Happiness Report, is currently Finland, followed by Denmark.
Unfortunately, schooling in such a paradise is costly, as living expenses are quite high. Likewise, tuition in most Nordic nations is only free for EU students, which might discourage you if you’re looking to school universities in Scandinavia and are not from within the EU.
However, there are ways to go and study there without being exceedingly rich. Here’s our guide to the universities with the lowest tuition fees for foreign students, allowing you to enroll at a top Scandinavian university without going within the limits of your budget.
Norway – Universities in Scandinavia
This one is a bit of a cheat, since all students, irrespective of nationality, can school for free at any public university in Norway, at all education levels. You will be required to pay a small semester fee, however, which is usually only NOK 300-600 (~US$38-76). Tuition fees may be charged for some specialized postgraduate programs.
Norway’s four entries in the QS World University Rankings® are all state-owned, with the University of Oslo ranked highest (and regularly in the global top 150). The language of instruction is usually Norwegian, but a growing number of English-taught programs are accessible, particularly master’s programs.
Finland – Universities in Scandinavia
Until recent times, Finland was also free for all candidates, but the country has now introduced tuition fees for non-EU candidates. While students from the EU/EEA/Switzerland can study in Finland for free, non-EU students need to pay tuition fees of at least €1,500 per year (~US$1,840). However, most students will pay between €4,000 and €20,000 (approx. US$4,380 – 21,905) depending on their course.
You can find links to the precise non-EU tuition fees for your selected university and read about the scholarship awards they have accessible on this page on the official Study in Finland portal.
Some institutions in Finland with low tuition fees are:
- Aalto University – English-taught bachelor’s degrees cost €12,000 (approx. US$13,030) with master’s programs around €15,000 (approx. US$16,288) per year.
- Arcada University – Bachelor’s programs range from €5,000 to €8,500 (approx. US$5,429 to US$9,229) per year, with master’s programs ranging from €10,000 to €11,000 (approx. US$10,858 to US$11,944)
- Tampere University – English-taught programs are available at all levels of education, with fees ranging from €6,000 to €12,000 (approx. US$6,515 to US$13,030) per year
- University of Eastern Finland – English-taught masters programs fees range from €8,000 to €15,000 (approx. US$8,687 to US$16,288)
- University of Helsinki (UH) – Non-EU candidates pay about €13,000 (approx. US$14,116) each year, but Finnish and Swedish taught programs are free for foreign students.
- University of Oulu – Has 21 programs taught in English, with fees ranging from €10,000 to €13,000 (approx. US$10,858 to US$14,116)
- University of Vaasa – Tuition fees range from €10,000 to €12,000 (approx. US$10,858 to US$13,030) per year. The university provides 50-100 percent fee waivers for outstanding students.
There is good news, however. Non-EU Doctoral candidates can continue to study in Finland for free. Also, candidates proficient at languages can study in Finnish or Swedish without charge at all levels. To increase your language proficiency, you might be able to travel to Finland on an interim visa to take part in a language program before your main studies.
Denmark – Universities in Scandinavia
Like Finland, free tuition only applies for EU/EEA/Swiss students, so if you’re a non-EU student you’ll pay tuition fees of around €6,000-16,000 per year (approx. US$6,490 – 17,306). The University of Southern Denmark is one of the less expensive Danish schools, with fees of €6,500 (around US$7,050) each year for a bachelor’s level social sciences or business degree, or €8,500 (around US$9,230) at master’s level. At Denmark’s highest-ranked university, the University of Copenhagen, English-taught master’s programs start at DKK 40,000 (around US$5,820) each year.
Sweden – Universities in Scandinavia
EU/EEA/Swiss candidates can also school in Sweden for free, while non-EU students pay fees of about SEK 80,000-140,000 (around US$8,171 -14,300) depending on the program. As is usual at most universities all over the world, tuition fees for medical programs are among the costliest, with the esteemed medical university Karolinska Institute charging from SEK 165,000 (~US$20,600) upwards each year for its programs.
The highest-ranked university in Sweden, Lund University, is relatively less expensive, with programs like a BSc in Development Studies or International Business obtainable for 100,000 SEK (around US$10,210) each year. Or, you can decide to school at Stockholm University, where non-EU students presently pay fees of 90,000 SEK (around US$9,192) per year at the university’s business school for both bachelor’s and master’s degrees, in addition to an application fee.
Iceland is not part of Scandinavia, geographically speaking, but it is certainly culturally alike, and the cheapest way to study in Iceland is by studying at one of the nation’s four public universities: the University of Iceland, Hólar University College, the Agricultural University of Iceland, and the University of Akureyri. There are no tuition fees for any candidates at any of these state-owned universities, but you will be required to pay a yearly registration fee of ISK 75,000 (around US$520). If you’re from outside the EU/EEA, you’ll also need to pay a small application fee. Tuition fees are charged at private schools and will be higher for non-EU/EEA candidates.
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