International Scholarships for Europe’s Nordic Countries

Laura Tucker

Updated January 16, 2020 Updated January 16

Northern Europe oozes style, high living standards and world-class higher education. So it’s little wonder that the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) are prime destinations for study abroad students.

While higher education in most Nordic countries was free for all up until a few years ago, tuition fees are being gradually introduced. As it stands, only Norway and Iceland remain tuition-fee free to all. As a result, there’s growing demand for international scholarships for this part of the world, and even those looking to study in Iceland or Norway may be able to gain funding to cover living costs and other fees.

Keen to attract talented students from around the world, each of the five Nordic countries offers various scholarship opportunities for international students. Read on for a summary of international scholarships available for study in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.

Denmark

Denmark

Universities in Denmark offer free tuition for Danish students, EU/EEA citizens and exchange students. International students from outside of the EU/EEA are subject to tuition fees, and are required to show proof of funding before receiving a residence permit or a place on a Danish university program. Some popular scholarship opportunities for study in Denmark are listed below.

Government scholarships

University-specific scholarships

Iceland

Iceland

Tuition fees in Iceland vary depending on whether the university you wish to study at is state or privately owned. While state universities charge just a nominal registration fee for all students, private institutions charge tuition fees, which will be higher for non-EU students. As an example, graduate tuition fees for EU students at Reykjavik University start at €6,800 (~US$6,860) a year, while non-EU fees start at €12,000 (~US$13,900) annually.

Government scholarships    

Icelandic Government Scholarships – International scholarships for students pursuing studies in the Icelandic language at the University of Iceland.

University-specific scholarships

Finland

Helsinki

Previously free for all students regardless of nationality, Finland has now introduced tuition fees for non-EU/EEA students studying English-taught courses, which start at €1,500 (~US$1,700) a year, though most students will actually pay between €4,000 - €20,000 (~US$4,600 – 23,160), depending on the course. Non-EU/EEA students can still study for free if they’re a PhD student or their course is in Finnish or Swedish, and more scholarships are becoming available to help them fund their studies.

Government scholarships

  • Finnish Government Scholarship Pool – Government-funded scholarships for graduate students pursuing doctoral level study in Finland. Open to international students and researchers from selected countries.

University-specific scholarships

For more university-specific scholarships to study in Finland, visit StudyinFinland.fi.

Norway

Norway

Although all state universities in Norway offer free tuition to both domestic and international students, many students who choose to study in Norway will need to gain some sort of funding to cover the high living costs. Here are a few examples of what’s available:

Government scholarships

  • EEA and Norway Grants – International scholarships for students from selected countries within the EEA, including Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Poland, Portugal and Spain.
  • High North Scholarship  Funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, this program offers scholarships to students from Canada, the US, Japan, South Korea and Russia to study in Norway at selected institutions in Northern Norway.

Sweden

Stockholm

Similar to the rest of the Nordic nations, tuition fees to study in Sweden only apply to students from outside of the EU and EEA. International students should expect to pay SEK80,000-190,000 (~US$8,800-20,940) per year of study for bachelor’s and master’s programs, and even more for medical and fine art subjects. PhD candidates may be happy to note that PhD programs in Sweden are free of charge. To cover any costs for study in Sweden, you may be interested in the following:

Government scholarships

  • Swedish Institute Scholarships – The Swedish Institute (SI) is a government agency which offers scholarship opportunities to international students and researchers looking to study in Sweden. Eligibility criteria varies.

University-specific scholarships

For more university-specific scholarships to study in Sweden, visit StudyinSweden.se.

Other scholarships to study in the Nordic countries:

  • The American-Scandinavian Foundation (ASF) Fellowships and Grants – US citizens can also seek funding to study in the Nordic Countries via the ASF.
  • Erasmus Mundus – These scholarships are funded by the European Commission and are on offer to students from around the world who are looking to study abroad in a European country.
  • The Nordic Africa Institute – Scholarships are available for African students with a PhD to take part in Africa-oriented social sciences research at the institute, which is based in Uppsala, Sweden.

This article was originally published in November 2014. It was last updated in August 2018. 

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This article was originally published in August 2018 . It was last updated in January 2020

Written by

Laura is a former staff writer for TopUniversities.com, providing advice and guidance for students on a range of topics helping them to choose where to study, get admitted and find funding and scholarships. A graduate of Queen Mary University of London, Laura also blogs about student life.

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