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Norway may be home to just five million people, but it has a reputation for higher education that belies its small population. It has a number of universities and business schools that feature highly on global rankings, including two in the Financial Times European Business School Ranking and four in the QS World University Rankings.
Students from anywhere in the world can study an MBA for free at the country’s public universities, while tuition fees at private universities tend to be cheaper than Norway’s European neighbors. Throw in the fact that it is consistently rated as one of the happiest countries in the world, and it’s little wonder why Norway is seen as a hidden gem of an MBA study destination.
You only need a visa (“study permit”) to study an MBA in Norway if you’re not a citizen of one of the Nordic countries (Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Greenland, the Faroe Islands) or of a country within the EU/EEA. You must be enrolled in a full-time program, provide proof that you have enough funds to live in the country, and pay an application fee of NOK5,900. Find out more on the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) website.
Norway has a number of institutions that feature highly in global rankings. BI Norwegian Business School and NHH Norwegian School of Economics both feature in the Financial Times European Business School Ranking, while the country has four universities in the QS World University Ranking.
Norway has one of the strongest economies in the world, with high average salaries and generous working conditions. However, this also means that competition for graduate jobs can be fierce. Holding an MBA and a strong command of Norwegian will give you an excellent chance of getting a graduate job in Norway.
As of July 2022, there were around 12,000 international students in Norway – around 4% of the total student population in higher education. That’s a little bit below the OECD European average of 7.5%.
The bad news is that Norway has one of the highest living costs of any country in the world. The good news is that tuition is free at the country’s public universities – and that applies to any international student. To get a better idea of how much things cost in Norway, check out the crowdsourced data on Numbeo.
Whether or not you’ll need a student permit for Norway depends on your country of residence. If you are from one of the Nordic countries (Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Greenland, or the Faroe Islands), you don’t need a student permit to study in Norway. Instead, you’ll just need to report your change of residency to Norway’s National Population Register. If you’re a citizen of a country within the EU/EEA, you don’t need a student permit to study in Norway. You’ll just need to register yourself at a local police station within three months of arrival.
If you’re a citizen of any other country, you’ll need to apply for a student permit to study in Norway. You must be enrolled in a full-time program, provide proof that you have enough funds to live in the country, and pay an application fee of NOK5,900. Find out more on the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) website.
To open a bank account in Norway you’ll need a Norwegian National Identity Number, a valid passport, and a passport-sized photo. You’ll receive a national identity number as part of your application for a study permit. Then, you can apply for a bank account in person once you arrive in the country.
The most popular banks in Norway include DNB, Nordea, and Sparebanken Vest. DNB is the biggest bank in Norway and one of few to have an English-language version of its website.
The healthcare system in Norway is high-quality and widely accessible. Whether you’re entitled to free healthcare depends on your country of citizenship. If you’re from one of the Nordic countries, you will automatically be entitled to free healthcare when you join Norway’s National Population Register. If you’re from the EU/EEA, you’re entitled to emergency and necessary treatment in Norway if you have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).
If you’re from any other country, you’ll be entitled to free healthcare if you have a study permit and the duration of your stay in Norway is more than one year. If it’s less than one year, you will need to find private medical insurance during your time in Norway.
The cost of renting in Norway is above the European average. According to crowdsourced figures from Numeo, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment outside the center of Oslo is NOK11,358 (EUR€1,100 / US$1,100) per month. Rent is likely to be cheaper in other Norwegian cities such as Bergen or Trondheim.
You may be able to find cheaper student accommodation through Norway’s network of student organizations.
Norway has a well-developed public transport system that is quick, reliable, and affordable. You’ll find a mix of buses, trams, and trains in the main Norwegian cities. As a guide price, a monthly transport pass is likely to cost you in the region of NOK800 (EUR€77 / US$78).
The Big Mac Index is a way of comparing the purchasing power parity (PPP) between two currencies, by comparing the price of a Big Mac from McDonald’s in each currency. The price of a Big Mac in Norway is NOK68 (equivalent to US$6.38, EUR€6.58, and JP¥918). For US$50, you can buy seven Big Macs. This makes Norway the second-most expensive in the world behind Switzerland.