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Iceland

Higher education in Iceland

  • Number of higher education institutions: 7
  • Number of students in higher education: 18,111 (2016, Statistics Iceland)
  • Number of international students in higher education: 1,507 (2015, OECD)
  • Language of instruction: Most higher education programmes in Iceland are taught in Icelandic language but you will find many programmes taught in English too.
  • Typical tuition fees:
    At public universities, there are no tuition fees but there is a low registration fee (75,000 IKR per semester. A semester is half a school year).
    At private universities, tuition fees vary between subjects and are from around 150,000 IKR to 500,000 IKR per semester.
  • Average length of a full-time higher education programme in Iceland:
    • Bachelor’s degree programme: 3 years
    • Master’s degree programme: 2 years
    • Doctorate/PhD: 3 years

Quick facts

  • Population: 348,580 (2017, Statistics Iceland)
  • Capital: Reykjavik
  • Geographical size: 103,000 km2
  • GDP: 20.05 Billion US (2016)
  • Official language(s): Icelandic
  • Currency: Icelandic króna

Overview

Iceland is the second largest island in the North Atlantic Ocean. Situated on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, it is a hot spot of volcanic and geothermal actives; with an incredibly beautiful nature and vast open spaces. Natural hot water supplies much of the population with cheap, pollution-free heating, and rivers are harnessed to provide inexpensive hydroelectric power.

Iceland is one of the most sparsely populated countries in Europe, with an average of about three inhabitants per square kilometre. Almost four-fifths of the country is uninhabited, the population being limited to the coast and the lowlands plains.

Iceland has a relatively mild coastal climate. The average summer temperature in Reykjavik is 12 degrees centigrade in July. The average winter temperature in Reykjavik is about 1 degree.

Cultural life in Iceland is extremely rich: there as an art gallery in even the smallest of communities and several in Reykjavík, there are countless musical events every week and many theatres and an opera.

Icelandic society is very safe; crime rates are low and people tend to look out for each other.  Iceland has repeatedly been elected as the world’s safest country by Press Cave Magazine.

Icelandic universities offer a wide variety of excellent educational possibilities. Iceland follows the Bologna process for Higher Education which means that studies in Iceland are fully compatible with studies elsewhere in Europe.

The main challenge for international students in Iceland is the language. Almost everyone in Iceland understands and speaks English but most studies are carried out in Icelandic, so it is necessary to learn the language, at least to some degree.

Over a thousand international students from almost 90 countries study in Iceland every year for longer or shorter periods  – so as well from meeting the local population, you will also get to know people from all over the world.

 Qualification database of the European Union (choose Learning Opportunities and then Iceland).