Study Abroad in Iceland | Requirements, Schools

If you are looking for a special kind of study abroad experience that will create an unforgettable feeling and bring you memories for a lifetime while you study, then Studying abroad in Iceland is for you. Pursuing your study abroad in Iceland offers a variety of natural wonders for students to explore, including glaciers, waterfalls, geysers, and volcanoes.

Imagine the adventures you will have as you explore the land of the midnight sun with its rich history and unique culture, make new friends and even learn Icelandic.

As we proceed in this writing, you will be furnished with sufficient information on where and the requirements to study abroad in Iceland.

Each year approximately 300 American students will study abroad in Iceland. Contrary to its name, Iceland has a temperate climate as it is warmed by the Gulf Stream.

Iceland operates under a free market economy with relatively low taxes and is considered one of the richest and most developed countries in the world.

Iceland would be a great travel destination for anyone interested in sports as they play an important role in Icelandic culture. Plenty of reasons to consider studying abroad in Iceland.

About Iceland

Also known as the Republic of Iceland and known as the “Home of the Vikings”, Iceland is a small but beautiful country full of contrasting environments that offers students in Iceland a variety of options while studying in Iceland.

Iceland is an island state in the European Union in the North Atlantic, making it the most western European country.

The university in Iceland is shaped by dramatic visual landscapes interspersed with volcanic geysers, hot springs and glaciers. It may be the perfect hands-on experience for students in a range of study programs to take advantage of the unique landscape and geographic features.

Why Study Abroad in Iceland?

School in Iceland is a life changing opportunity for many overseas students to continue studying in Iceland while receiving incredible first-hand education in a uniquely diverse environment.

With a variety of programs for students interested in Iceland’s unique geography, an Icelandic experience abroad can be as rewarding for those studying photography in Iceland; and interested in capturing the perfect geyser in a split second as it is for those studying climate change or study engineering abroad in a country that is mainly powered by geothermal energy.

Iceland offers excellent higher education opportunities in seven highly qualified higher institutions that offer international academic programs in a variety of fields. Icelandic universities welcome applications from qualified students from around the world.

What is the Education system in Iceland?

In a 2016 study, Iceland was ranked the third largest nation in the world after Finland and Norway. Around 332,000 people live in the small island country.

The country is known for its progressiveness. Their efforts to achieve equality are reflected in the structure of their education system.

According to the nation’s website, A basic principle of the Icelandic education system is that everyone should have equal opportunities to receive an education, regardless of gender, economic status, place of residence, religion, possible handicap, and cultural or social background.

Education in Iceland is a four-tier system.

  1. Pre-school is the first level of education that children between the ages of one and six attend. There are fees for preschool, but these are largely subsidized.
  • Compulsory schooling follows pre-school education. Compulsory schooling is free and compulsory for children between the ages of six and 16. Unlike in the US, home-schooling is not an option.
  • Upper secondary level is the third level. It is available to anyone who has completed compulsory schooling and is mostly impaired by students aged 16-20. Upper secondary is essentially the same as high school in the US and is free with the exception of one private school.
  • The fourth stage is university education, also known as higher education. To apply for a university, a student must first have completed upper secondary education. Most institutions are funded by the state; There are very few private schools in the country.

Most universities in Iceland have to accept all students with an upper secondary degree. Public universities in Iceland are tuition free; The only costs associated with higher education are registration fees.

Academic Assessment in Iceland

The assessment of students is usually based on written, oral or practical exams, term papers and tasks that are carried out throughout the course.

Teachers are responsible for the assessment, but each university or college provides the overall organization of the exams within the legal framework of the institution. In some cases, there are external auditors.

The exams usually take place at the end of each semester. Usually, students can request to retake an exam once. In certain cases, an exemption for a further repetition can be granted.

A study program usually comprises a major (2/3) and one or more minor subjects.

School grading system in Iceland

Typically, grades are expressed on a scale of 0 to 10, with the passed grade being 5 and above, or with a pass / fail rating. Course grades are usually given in increments of 0.5 and averages are calculated to two decimal places.

In most colleges, degree programs require a combined average of 5 or a minimum grade of 5 in each subject in order to pass. Some institutions do not calculate average grade points, and in individual courses the minimum grade required may be higher than 5.

According to regulations in most institutions, a student can sit for examination twice in a given course. When a student’s grade point average is calculated, failed grades (marked with an F) are not included in the calculation.

Student scoring Credits

In most institutions, studies are divided into study achievements according to the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). 60 credits correspond to one year of full-time study and 30 credits correspond to one semester of full-time study.

The number of credits is usually given in the course catalog of each institution.

What degree can I get while studying abroad in Iceland?

Bachelor Degrees (B.A., B.S., B.Ed.): are awarded to students who have successfully completed three to four years of study (180-240 credits) in a Bachelor’s degree.

Bachelor degrees usually do not confer professional certification, except for nurses (B.S.) and compulsory school teachers (B.Ed.). The bachelor’s degree is a formal qualification for postgraduate studies.

Candidatus Degrees (kandidatsgráða): qualify the holder for a special position or a special profession and usually last four to six years. Postgraduate certificates are offered in some subjects after a year of postgraduate study.

Master’s degrees (M.A., M.S. – mostlyaragráða): are awarded after two successful years of postgraduate studies. A major work or research project is an integral part of the program.

Doctoral degrees (Ph.D.- doktorsgráða): are awarded by the following universities: The University of Iceland, Reykjavík University, and the Agricultural University of Iceland in cooperation with the University of Iceland. Doctorates are awarded to those who have successfully completed a doctoral program and defended a doctoral thesis.

Admission Requirements to study in Iceland

In general, an applicant in Iceland for undergraduate education must have completed a high school / matriculation exam or equivalent.

Higher education institutions may, at their own discretion, accept applicants without such an exam if they believe they have a comparable level of maturity, knowledge and experience for the course for which they are applying.

For some subjects, however, additional admission requirements and / or entrance exams can be set by the university. Typically, these are topics like medicine, economics and law.

Students enrolling in postgraduate education should have a good bachelor’s degree in a subject that closely matches the postgraduate degree applied for.

The admission requirements can differ between universities. There is no centralized admissions system in Iceland and applicants have to apply directly to the university.

The application deadlines for international students differ between universities, but usually fall in spring. Some universities charge an application fee for certain international students.

How much does it cost to study in Iceland?

Public universities do not charge tuition fees, but there is a “registration fee”. This varies from university to university. For example, the University of Iceland currently charges ISK 60,000 (about $ 470) per year.

Can I take English classes in Iceland?

Although the primary language of instruction is Icelandic, most universities, especially most universities, offer several degree programs that are taught entirely in English and are therefore open to international students.

In addition, the university offers various foreign language programs in languages ​​other than English. Please note that proof of English proficiency requirements may apply to international applicants whose first language is not English.

Where to study abroad in Iceland

There are seven nationally recognized higher education institutions in Iceland, each of which has its own advantages in terms of specialization, reputation and location.

Depending on which subject area you want to study, a clear selection should stand out from the crowd. However, it is important to first clarify which courses are offered in English by the institution concerned.

#1. University of Iceland

The University of Iceland is Iceland’s oldest and largest university in the heart of Reykjavík. The university comprises five schools and 25 faculties that offer over four hundred different courses.

The school is the only university in Iceland that offers undergraduate and graduate programs in all major academic disciplines, including doctoral theses in most areas of study.

There are a wide range of courses in English, particularly Masters, and courses in Icelandic as a Second Language, including a full BA program and a one-year diploma. Around 13,000 students are currently enrolled at the university, including over 1,100 international students.

The University of Iceland is a progressive educational and scientific institution known for its research in the global scientific community. It is a state university in the heart of Reykjavík, the capital of Iceland.

The University of Iceland is a modern, diversified, and rapidly developing institution that offers study and research opportunities in nearly 400 programs that cover most areas of science and science: social, health, human, educational, natural and engineering.

#2. Reykjavik University

Reykjavik University (RU) in the heart of the Icelandic capital is a dynamic international university with 3,700 enrolled students and 250 permanent faculties and staff.

RU focuses on research, excellent teaching, entrepreneurship, technology development and collaboration with industry.

The university offers students a solid academic foundation, cutting-edge practical experience, and extensive links with industry.

Reykjavik University offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs taught in seven departments: Business, Computer Science, Sports Science, Psychology, Applied Technology, Engineering, and Law.

#3. Bifröst University

The University of Bifröst is a private educational institution that was founded in 1918 as a result of the cooperative movement and achieved university status in 1988.

She specializes in law, politics, business, and management and offers foundation-level courses for those who don’t meet the full requirements for university studies in Iceland.

Bifröst University prides itself on providing the best possible environment for student life on campus, where you can find the necessary services such as a small supermarket, library, laundromat, outdoor hot tub, sauna and gym free for students.

In autumn 2019, classes in the new International Political Economy master’s degree, which is taught entirely in English, will begin. The new IPE is an international program and can be practiced anywhere in the world.

The program is taught online-only, and work weekends and other group seminars can be attended online. It is unique in Iceland and the first big step towards the increasing internationalization of the university.

Bifröst is your ideal location in Iceland. Rent is affordable, the air is clean, and the serenity of the place helps you focus on studying, making friends, and exploring the Icelandic way of life.

#4. Agricultural University of Iceland

The Agricultural University of Iceland (AUI) was founded on January 1st, 2005; and is a reputable educational and research institution in the field of agricultural and environmental sciences.

It offers BA degrees in agricultural sciences, equine sciences, natural and environmental sciences, landscape planning and architecture, and forestry sciences, restoration ecology, and management.

They also offer a range of postgraduate courses in these areas, including doctoral theses. The university is based in Hvanneyri in western Iceland and has around 300 students.

#5. Holar University College

Hólar University College is a growing specialized college that offers high quality college and undergraduate education and a strong research program.

The institution is an internationally recognized centre for education and research in three highly specialized areas. Horse research, aquaculture and water biology, and tourism studies.

Hólar is a very historical site in northern Iceland that has been a place of learning, historical, cultural and ecclesiastical importance since the 11th century. The University College can trace its roots back to the Agricultural University there in 1882.

This school was qualified to award degrees in 2003 and became Hólar University College in 2007.

#6. Iceland University of The Arts

The Icelandic University of the Arts offers higher education in the fields of fine arts, theatre, theatre dance, music, design, architecture, and arts education.

Four faculties offer bachelor-level programs and four departments offer master’s programs. The music department also offers a diploma program.

#7. University of Akureyri

Akureyri University is a young and dynamic university in Akureyri, Iceland’s second largest city and capital of the north.

Akureyri University has been providing higher education since 1987, offering a wide range of studies for both undergraduate and graduate students, divided into three schools. Health, humanities and social sciences as well as economics and natural sciences.

The university also specializes in Arctic Studies, particularly a Masters in Polar Law, and qualifications in Western Northern Studies. Foreign students experience a friendly and personalized learning environment at Akureyri University.

All courses in the Polar Law program are in English and are the only full-time program taught in English at Akureyri University.

Akureyri University offers four courses each academic year that aim to introduce international students at the university to the Icelandic language, community, and nature.

Study in Iceland | FAQs

No tuition fees – If you study at a public university in Iceland, you won’t have to pay any tuition fees (this applies both to EU and non-EU nationals). However, you do have to pay an annual registration fee of around €550

Icelandic is not only the national language, but is now “the official language in Iceland

Student Visas

Students will need to have visas to attend college-level courses in Iceland. Canadian citizens will not need to hold these if they are traveling to the country for less than three months. Students who wish to study in the country must work directly with the Directorate of Immigration.

English is taught as a second language in Iceland and almost every Icelander speaks the language fluently. And more so, most Icelanders speak several other languages including Danish, German, Spanish and French and welcome the opportunity to practice their language skills.


You can have your academic journey and obtain a globally recognized degree while having fun with the elements of nature at its peak. All you need to do is to take advantage of these information and plan yourself to study abroad in Iceland; by knowing their admission requirements, and available schools.


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