Free degree! And other reasons to study in Northern European countries

Did you know that, in Norway and Finland, you can complete a bachelor's degree at a public university for free, regardless of where you come from?

Norway has a very small fee, about US $ 50 - US $ 100 per semester, but that gives you benefits like on-campus medical services, sports facilities and on-site discounts. Public transport and for cultural events.

You can also get a free university degree in Sweden or Denmark, as long as you can:

A citizen of a country in the EU (European Union),
A citizen of a country in the EEA (European Economic Area),
A citizen of Switzerland
A person participating in an exchange program.

Sounds too good, right? Especially when you consider that these are some of the most developed countries in the world, with some of the best universities, cultural cities and beautiful landscapes.

Where are the Nordic countries?

Nordic countries are a group of countries in northern Europe, including Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland (no free levels available). Greenland and the Faroe Islands, autonomous but technically part of the Kingdom of Denmark, were also included.

These countries have a shared history and culture, and they cooperate politically through the Nordic Council.

There is an overlap with the area called Scandinavia - that is, Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

Why study in Northern European countries?

I repeat: no tuition! But if that's not enough, here are some other reasons to go north:

The excellent university. Modern countries have a very strong presence in the QS World University Rankings (see table below) and their education systems are highly respected internationally.
High quality of life. All Nordic countries consistently rank high on quality of life and developmental rank, providing great health, material well-being and political freedom.
Great student city.Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, ranked 37th in the most recent QS Student City rankings, with three other cities in Northern Europe - Copenhagen, Gothenburg and Helsinki - also included. charts.
Incredible natural landscape. Quiet fjords, wild mountains, fishing villages, ski resorts - if you're in the great outdoors, you'll find plenty to explore here!

Top 10 universities in Northern European countries
Here are the top 10 universities in these countries, with their current position in the QS World University Rankings:

Top 10 Nordic Universities According to the QS World University Rankings 2020


Nordic Countries Ranking


World Ranking










University of Copenhagen








Lund University








KTH Royal Institute of Technology








University of Helsinki








Technical University of Denmark








Uppsala University








University of Oslo








Chalmers University of Technology








Aalto University








Aarhus University




What caught?
Well, the main one comes back to cost - this area is famous for being expensive, so a free degree might turn out not to be such a good deal after all. Universities will be able to provide guidance on how much you should expect and you can see more tips in the links below.

More information:
Studying in Denmark
Studying in Sweden
Studying in Norway
Studying in Finland
Study in Iceland
Danish fees and scholarship information
Fee information and Swedish fees
Norwegian fees and scholarship information
Finnish tuition fees and scholarship information

This article was first published in March 2012 and was last updated in May 2020.

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