The Ministry of Education and Research establishes the rules for admission to educational programmes, and has the overall responsibility for state educational institutions, student welfare and student financing.

Credit: Sveinung Ystad

The Ministry of Education and Research determines the admissions rules for the education sector and has ultimate responsibility for state educational institutions, student welfare, and student financial support.

The universities and university colleges are responsible for the students' learning environment. They are usually connected to a student union, which takes care of students' welfare needs. The student unions are established by the Ministry of Education and Research, but are not administered by central government.

Higher education admissions

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

The Norwegian Universities and Colleges Admission Service (NUCAS) is responsible 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 or auditions. 

General study skills and special admissions requirements

In order to be admitted to most programmes of study, it is necessary to have general university and college admissions certification (GSK). The Programme for General Studies in upper secondary education and training (VGO) provides candidates with GSK. In addition to GSK, some programmes of study also have requirements concerning certain VGO subjects, such as Mathematics and other Sciences for Medicine and other areas of health studies. For some programmes of studies, there are requirements concerning specific skills - or that applicants must pass an entrance examination.

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

Professional path towards admission to certain study programmes

Applicants without a Higher Education Entrance Qualification, but who have a relevant trade certificate or vocational training, may be admitted to specially adapted study programmes in certain subject areas. This applies in particular to admission to engineering studies. It is the universities and university colleges themselves that decide whether they will offer studies for applicants with trade certificates. Some institutions have also received approval to offer a professional path towards admission, known as Y-VEI, to other study programmes. 

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.   

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

Link to regulations concerning higher education admissions

Tertiary vocational education admissions

Tertiary vocational education is meant to develop upon completed and passed upper secondary education, or equivalent qualifications. Ordinarily, tertiary vocational education is based on trade certificates or journeyman's certificates, or other vocational qualifications from upper secondary education.

To find out what is required to be admitted to the tertiary vocational education programme you are interested in, you should check with the institution offering the programme you are interested in.

The National Office for Admissions to Tertiary Vocational Education has information about the admissions requirements and application process to technical colleges and other public vocational colleges. Applicants who do not satisfy the formal admissions requirements may be admitted based on real competence.

Real competence refers to all competencies that are acquired through formal, non-formal, and informal learning, i.e. documentable knowledge and skills achieve through education, paid or unpaid work, organisational experience, leisure activities, or in another way. 

Link to the National Office for Admissions to Tertiary Vocational Education [Norwegian]

Student welfare

The universities and university colleges have the overall responsibility for the students’ learning environment. As a general rule, all institutions encompassed by the Act relating to universities and university colleges must be associated with a student welfare organisation. The task of a student welfare organisation is to look after the welfare needs of students at the individual educational institution.

Student welfare organisations are established by the Ministry of Education and Research, but are not part of the central government administration. The student welfare organisations are independent organisations as stipulated in legislation and regulations concerning student welfare organisations. They receive public funding through allocations from the state, semester fees and access to office space/basic equipment (provided at educational institutions at no cost) in order to offer good, reasonably priced services to students.

The board of the student welfare organisation is its highest authority. The board consists of students, employees of the educational institutions and employees of the student welfare organisations. The students may choose whether the leadership role as the chair of the board should be appointed from among the student representatives.

The student welfare organisations provide many different services to the students, such as canteens, sports facilities, health services, daycare facilities, housing, etc. The student welfare organisations are responsible for deciding which welfare services will be offered to its students. 

Student housing

One of the most important welfare services provided by student unions are student residences. These student residences should be in addition to the private housing market. Most student unions are unable to offer student residence accommodation to everyone that wants it. It is worth starting to search for accommodation as early as possible, even before the admission to a programme is confirmed. 

Contact the student union and ask for advice, both on how to apply for student accommodation, and how to find accommodation in the private market. There are also some student residence foundations in Norway that provides student accommodation. 

The Ministry of Education and Research provides grants for the construction, purchase, and refurbishment of student accommodation. Grants are given to student unions and student residence foundations upon application.

Invitations to apply for grants for student accommodation are published on our website a few days after the government makes its budget proposal for the coming year. The number of residences that grants are issued for depends on how much money is set aside for the purpose in the state budget.

More information about grants for student residences can be found in the regulations on grants and guidelines from the Norwegian State Housing Bank.

Link to regulations concerning grants

Link to guidelines concerning grants

Common appeals board

The Ministry has delegated the authority to resolve student appeals to a common appeals board. The appeals board's task is to deal with appeals concerning:

  • annulment of examinations or tests
  • exclusions and expulsions
  • exclusions due to criminal offences - certificates of good conduct
  • exclusions following suitability assessments

The common appeals board's decisions are normative for the assessments made by the appeals board at each individual institution in similar cases.

The joint administrative service centre is the secretariat for appeals boards, which is responsible for preparing and facilitating appeals cases on behalf of the board.

Joint administrative service centre