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Studying for an LLM (Master of Laws) Program in Norway

Norway is located in Northern Europe and shares borders with Sweden, Finland and Russia. It’s not a member of the European Union (EU), but is part of the European Economic Area (EEA). Norway is one of the most developed and prosperous countries in the world and currently ranks #1 on the United Nations Human Development Index. It is one of the least populated countries in Europe, with a population of around 5 million people. It is one of the world’s largest exporters of oil and gas. It also has a strong maritime heritage. Norway’s capital, Oslo, is the venue of the annual Nobel Peace Prize ceremony.

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Living & studying in Norway

LLM in NorwayNorway has three written languages, Bokmal, Nynorsk and Sami, although English is widely spoken. Some Norwegians also have French and German as their second (or third) language, so international students should not have a problem communicating. Although it’s known as a cold country, summers in Norway can be warm, particularly in the southern part of the country. Due to its proximity to the North Pole, the sun is visible all day during the summer, earning Norway (along with some other arctic countries) the name The Land of the Midnight Sun. The northern regions are wetter and cooler, even in the summer, and winters can be freezing cold across the country, so you will have to pack heavy duty clothing.

Norway is a very developed country, with high standards of living, excellent infrastructure and a relatively low crime rate. The country welcomes international students, many of whom are there on exchange programs or for postgraduate study. If you do decide to study in Norway, you should consider joining the International Students Union of Norway, which has member organisations in over 30 higher education institutions in the country.

Where to study for your LLM in Norway

Norway has a long list of over 50 universities, university colleges, state and private colleges and specialist institutions providing high quality education. The University of Oslo was established in the early 19th century and is Norway’s oldest and largest university. It offers LLMs in Information and Communication Technology Law, Public International Law and Maritime Law, all lasting a year and a half in duration. The University of Tromso offers an intriguing sounding masters degree course called Law of the Sea, which covers legal approaches to marine-related issues such as jurisdiction, conservation and sustainability.

Admissions & applications

Unlike applications for undergraduate programs, which are coordinated centrally by the Norwegian Universities and Colleges Admission Service, applications for postgrad programs and courses run in English can be made directly to the university you want to study at.

The general admissions requirement for a masters degree program is a bachelors degree of at least three years of study, although some universities are also guided in their assessment of international postgrad applications by using what is called the GSU list (Higher Education Entrance Qualification for Persons with Foreign Education.) The GSU list specifies, by country, what qualifications are required for admission to Norwegian universities. The list is usually used for undergraduate applications but some universities may choose to also consider its criteria when assessing postgrad applicants. Students planning to study in Norway can view the GSU list on the website of the Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education (NOKUT).

Some universities insist that a certain percentage of credits you earned in your bachelors degree should be directly relevant to the masters degree you are applying for. For example, if you are applying to do the LLM in Maritime Law, a significant portion of your first degree should have been dedicated to Law or Maritime studies.  

Depending on what program you choose, you may also have to demonstrate proficiency in Norwegian as well as English. 

Tuition fees & living costs in Norway

Education in Norway is not expensive, although the cost of living can be pricey. Public universities in Norway are heavily subsidised and tuition fees are not charged at undergraduate level. However, these public institutions do charge nominal fees at postgraduate level; fees that are competitive compared to fees across many parts of Europe. Private universities charge tuition fees regardless of the level of study.

Tuition fees are around the equivalent of €1,200 excluding student accommodation, admissions fees, books and excursions. Fees with student accommodation could cost around €3,000. All students have to pay exam fees, called semester fees, whether or not they pay tuition fees. This is around €500 per semester.

Being a country with a high standard of living, Norway is not cheap, so expect to spend around €1,300 a month for accommodation, food and transport.

Notable alumi from Norwegian universities

The University of Oslo has produced five Nobel Laureates; one of them won the Nobel Peace Prize while the other four won the Prize for their research in economics, chemistry and physics. 

Visas & immigration

Norway is not an EU country, therefore all non-Norwegians (even those from EU/EEA countries) who are planning to do their LLM in Norway need to apply for a student residence permit. However, the selection process is slightly different for applicants from EU/EEA countries, who don’t have to pay a visa application fee. They can apply to any university open to Norwegians and then can apply for their student residence permit from within Norway (at a police station in the same district as their chosen university.) EU/EEA students need to show that they’ve been accepted into an approved university, have enough funds to support themselves during the course and have a valid European Health Insurance Card.

Students from outside the EU/EEA are required to apply for their student residence permit at a Norwegian Embassy in their country of origin, submitting evidence of acceptance into an approved university, confirmed accommodation, valid health insurance and in some cases, a study plan. To support themselves while in Norway they should have funds amounting to about €12,000. This amount may change so do try to find out the latest requirement. This sum must be deposited either into a Norwegian bank account in the student’s name or into an account established by the university, with proof of this being submitted as part of the visa application. These funds are in addition to the tuition fees. Application requirements may vary from country to country so it’s best to check with the Norwegian Embassy in your home country.

When a non-Norwegian student is first granted a student residence permit, it comes with permission to work for a restricted number of hours during their studies. However, when the student applies to have the student permit renewed, the permission to work is not automatically renewed unless the university confirms that the student is making satisfactory progress on the course.

Things to see & do when you aren't studying

One of the things Norway is famous for is the Aurora Borealis or ‘Northern Lights’, a spectacular display of light in the sky caused by charged atoms in the atmosphere. The country is also famous for its fjords, and what could be better than enjoying a leisurely boat cruise down a majestic fjord, taking in the stunning countryside. Norwegians are outdoorsy folk who enjoy hiking, fishing and cycling, so why not make like the locals and get off the sofa and into the great outdoors. You could go whale watching or scuba diving, and make the most of the arctic weather by skiing and snowboarding.

Other European LLM study destinations

Are you interested in studying your Master of Laws program in another European destination? If so we have a great selection of LLM destination study guides, including:

If you can't find an LLM that you want to study in Norway, check neighbouring Sweden to see what the law schools in this Scandanavian country have to offer.

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