Northern Europe oozes style, high living standards and world-class higher education. So it’s little wonder that the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) are prime destinations for study abroad students.
While higher education in most Nordic countries was free for all up until a few years ago, tuition fees are being gradually introduced. As it stands, only Norway and Iceland remain tuition-fee free to all. As a result, there’s growing demand for international scholarships for this part of the world, and even those looking to study in Iceland or Norway may be able to gain funding to cover living costs and other fees.
Keen to attract talented students from around the world, each of the five Nordic countries offers various scholarship opportunities for international students. Read on for a summary of international scholarships available for study in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.
Universities in Denmark offer free tuition for Danish students, EU/EEA citizens and exchange students. International students from outside of the EU/EEA are subject to tuition fees, and are required to show proof of funding before receiving a residence permit or a place on a Danish university program. Some popular scholarship opportunities for study in Denmark are listed below.
- Danish Government Scholarships for Foreign Nationals – These scholarships are available to international exchange students interested in studying Danish language and culture. For current students on exchange programs from institutions in China, Japan, Israel, Egypt and Russia.
- Denmark Government Scholarships for non-EU Students – Offering exceptional non-EU international students the chance to study in Denmark backed by government funding.
- Fulbright Commission Scholarships to Study in Denmark – Scholarships to study abroad in Denmark for US citizens wishing to undertake study in Denmark for a year.
- Roskilde University Tuition Fee Waivers and Scholarships – Various scholarships for graduate students from outside the EU/EEA to study in Denmark at Roskilde University.
Tuition fees in Iceland vary depending on whether the university you wish to study at is state or privately owned. While state universities charge just a nominal registration fee for all students, private institutions charge tuition fees, which will be higher for non-EU students. As an example, all undergraduate tuition fees for EU students at Reykjavik University are €3,260 (~US$3,680) a year, while non-EU fees start at €10,700 (~US$12,075) annually.
Icelandic Government Scholarships – International scholarships for students pursuing studies in the Icelandic language at the University of Iceland.
- Reykjavik University Scholarships – Merit-based scholarships awarded to first-year international and domestic students studying at Reykjavik University at bachelor’s level.
- University of Iceland Scholarships for Existing Students – Various scholarships and research grants for existing students who work, research or study in Iceland at the University of Iceland.
Although there are currently no tuition fees for domestic or international students undertaking study in Finland, it was announced in October 2015 that the Finnish government has decided to charge tuition fees to non-EU/EEA students starting from August 2017, at a minimum of €1,500 (~US$1,600) per year. There may be more scholarships available for international students from 2017 onwards, but for now some funding is available to help cover the living expenses and other costs.
Finnish Government Scholarship Pool – Government-funded scholarships for graduate students pursuing doctoral level study in Finland. Open to international students and researchers from selected countries.
- University of Helsinki International Student Grant – The University of Helsinki offers a total of 50 scholarships for graduate students undertaking master’s degree programs at the school. Due to the introduction of tuition fees, the university will update its information on the grants available in 2017. Tuition fees at the University of Helsinki will only be charged to non-EU students studying English-taught courses from August 2017.
- University of Oulu Tuition Fee Waivers for International Students – Tuition fee waivers for all international master’s degree students undertaking study in Finland at the University of Oulu.
Although all state universities in Norway offer free tuition to both domestic and international students, many students who choose to study in Norway will need to gain some sort of funding to cover the high living costs. Here are a few examples of what’s available:
- EEA and Norway Grants – International scholarships for students from selected countries within the EEA, including Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Poland, Portugal and Spain.
- High North Fellowship Program – Funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, this program offers scholarships to students from Canada, the US, Japan, South Korea and Russia to study in Norway at selected institutions in Northern Norway.
Similar to the rest of the Nordic nations, tuition fees to study in Sweden only apply to students from outside of the EU and EEA. International students should expect to pay SEK80,000-140,000 (~US$9,660-16,900) per year of study for bachelor’s and master’s programs, and even more for medical and fine art subjects. PhD candidates may be happy to note that PhD programs in Sweden are free of charge. To cover any costs for study in Sweden, you may be interested in the following:
- Swedish Institute Scholarships – The Swedish Institute (SI) is a government agency which offers scholarship opportunities to international students and researchers looking to study in Sweden. Eligibility criteria varies.
- KTH Royal Institute of Technology – KTH offers tuition-fee waivers as well as academic scholarships to master’s students. The website also lists a number of useful external scholarship programs.
- Linköping University International Scholarships – Merit-based scholarships and tuition waivers on offer to international students studying at Linköping University at master’s level.
- Lund University Global Scholarship – In 2015, Lund University gave out over SEK17 million (US$2 million) in merit-based scholarships for international students from outside the EU/EEA. For bachelor’s or master’s students.
- Malmö University Scholarships – International scholarships for master’s students, as well as excellence scholarships for bachelor’s students, from outside the EU/EEA to study in Sweden at Malmö University.
- Stockholm University Scholarships – International scholarships offered to non-EU/EEA students, covering tuition fees only.
- Umeå University Scholarships for International Students – Various scholarships for graduate students undertaking a master’s degree at Umeå University. Some funds are subject-specific.
- Uppsala University Scholarships – Various opportunities for international students to gain funding to study in Sweden at Uppsala University. Open to US, Chinese, non-EU/EEA students.
For more university-specific scholarships to study in Sweden, visit StudyinSweden.se.
Other scholarships to study in the Nordic countries:
- The American-Scandinavian Foundation (ASF) Fellowships and Grants– US citizens can also seek funding to study in the Nordic Countries via the ASF.
- Erasmus Mundus – These scholarships are funded by the European Commission and are on offer to students from around the world who are looking to study abroad in a European country.
This article was originally published in November 2014. It was updated in June 2016.