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The education system in Iceland can be traced as far back as the 11th century to the founding of its earliest gymnasiums. A defining characteristic of the country’s educational system is its progressiveness, as it has been a consistent and strong advocate in providing equal opportunities in learning for all, regardless of one’s background.

Higher education in Iceland is fairly recent, with its oldest university (University of Iceland) having only been found in 1911. Thus, Icelandic study programs were formed in the modern context, ensuring that they are relevant and innovative. The higher education sector is also no stranger to international students, as 5% of its current 18,000 students are from other countries.

Thanks to this recent surge in foreign enrollments, a majority of the postgraduate programs in Iceland are now being taught in English.

The Cost of Studying In Iceland

Students costs will largely depend on the university, the chosen course and whether the student’s country of origin is a member of the EU or not. The three private universities charge tuition fees that are still comparatively low to their European counterparts. The four public universities, however, require an annual registration fee in the place of a tuition. Those who wish to study in Iceland but whose country is not from the EU will generally have to pay for additional fees. Fortunately, there are scholarships and grants available for international students. You can find more details on our study guide below.

Learning the Language

Those looking to study in Iceland will find that there is a wide selection of postgraduate programs taught in English across the Icelandic universities. Conversely, majority (if not all) undergraduate programs are taught in Icelandic. Fortunately, there are available courses designed by academic institutions to help prospective students speak, write, and understand the language.

Entry Requirements & Student Visas

Entry requirements will differ based on the school and type of the program the student wants to apply for. International students, whose native language is not English, may need to submit proof of their English proficiency by undertaking a/an TOEFL, IELTS, CAE or CPE exam. Student visa requirements will also differ based on whether the student is from a EU-member country or not. However, all students regardless of country of origin, must apply for a Kennitala (Icelandic ID) which is vital for every day matters, such as opening a bank account.

Student Accommodation & Living Costs while Studying in Iceland

Those who wish to study in Iceland will find that there are available residential areas such as dormitories and flats near most universities. In general, living in Iceland is costlier compared to other countries due to the its remote location and icy climate.

Fortunately, there a couple of websites such as Student Housing and Icelandic Student Services which are dedicated to helping students find accommodation at reasonable prices. Universities also have international offices which can help as well. We also have a couple of tips in our study guide which could make studying in Iceland a more budget-friendly experience.


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