Higher Education

Admission to studies

The Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research determines rules for admission to education.

Credit: Sveinung Ystad

The rules for higher education admissions consist both of requirements for admission and rules for ranking applicants who are qualified to study.

The Norwegian Universities and Colleges Admission Service (NUCAS) is responsible for admissions to most programmes at Norwegian universities and university colleges. Some institutions have their own local admissions systems. This applies to a number of private university colleges, as well as university colleges that have entrance examinations. 

General study skills and special admission requirements

In order to be admitted to most programmes of study, it is necessary to have Higher Education Entrance Qualification (GSK). GSK can be attained through the Programme for General Studies in upper secondary education and training (VGO). In addition to GSK, some programmes of study also require certain VGO subjects, such as mathematics and other sciences for Medicine and other areas of Health Studies. Some study programmes require certain skills, or applicants must pass an entrance examination.

Information about admissions requirements is available on NUCAS’ website, or by visiting the website of the university or university college offering the programme.

“V-route” (the vocational route to higher education)

It is possible to apply for entry to certain university and university college programmes without GSK or preparatory courses. Applicants without GSK, but who have a relevant trade certificate or have completed suitable vocational training may be admitted to specially adapted programmes of study in certain subjects. This applies in particular to admission to Engineering programmes.

The universities and university colleges are responsible for choosing whether to make offers to applicants who have trade certificates. Some have also approved “V-routes” for programmes of study other than Engineering.

These programmes are adapted for people with vocational backgrounds. Therefore, the first year of these Engineering studies has more theoretical subjects, such as mathematics and physics, and fewer practical aspects than the usual Engineering study programme.

Universities and university colleges with “V-routes” have an overview of which professional certificates are relevant for these educational offers. 

Ranking of qualified applicants

When there are more qualified applicants than there are places on a programme of study, applicants must be ranked.

In the quota for first diplomas, only VGO results count when applicants are ranked. This applies to applicants who are younger than 21 or turn 21 in the year of application.

The ordinary quota gives additional points for military service, attendance at a folk high school, or other higher education, in addition to age points for four years from the year the applicant turns 20. Additional gender points are also awarded for under-represented genders in some programmes of study. Other quotas have been set for certain study programmes. The list of these programmes can be found on the Norwegian Universities and Colleges Admission Service website.


Admissions rules in higher education are set out in specific regulations.

Admission to higher vocational education (vocational education)

The Norwegian Universities and Colleges Admission Service has opened to applicants to vocational schools. It is now possible to apply for higher vocational education through the Norwegian Universities and Colleges Admission Service, on the same level as applicants to higher education. 

Higher vocational education builds on upper secondary education, or equivalent vocational training.