Why study a Bachelor or Master in Iceland

Find all the study programs in Iceland

  • About
  • Study
  • Living
  • Universities
  • Student Visa
  • How to Apply
  • Scholarship

About Iceland

Iceland is a Nordic island nation renowned for its fantastic landscape with volcanoes, hot springs and lava fields. Massive glaciers can be found in Vatnajökull and Snæfellsjökull national parks. The majority of people in Iceland live in the capital, Reykjavik. The capital runs on a type of energy called geothermal power. If you want to experience living in such a unique country, you should consider to study in Iceland. 


A fun fact about Iceland is that it is of the youngest places on the planet, as it was one of the last places that humans went to live in. Iceland was actually discovered by accident by Vikings coming from Norway. 


Iceland is a country with a rich history that many international students enjoy when they study in Iceland. Read on to learn more about why you should study in the country. 



Icelandic is the official language spoken in the country. It is considered an Indo-European language. Icelandic is similar to Norwegian and Faroese, though with a Celtic influence. 


The currency officially used in Iceland is the Króna or Íslenska Krónan. One Krona is equal to 0.0077 USD dollars. 

Geographical information

Iceland can be found in the middle of the Greenland Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean. It is located Northwest of the United Kingdom. In size, it is smaller than the US state of Kentucky. Geographically, Iceland is a plateau land with mountains and ice fields. It also has a coastline that has fjords on it. Fjords are deep coves that glaciers have carved.



When it comes to religion, 80 per cent of people in Iceland belong to the Lutheran State Church. Another 5 per cent pertain to other sectors of Christianity, like the Free Church of Iceland and the Roman Catholic Church. 5 per cent of people in Iceland pertain to the traditional Norse religion called ásatrú.  


Political stance

The political system in place in Iceland is considered a parliamentary representative democratic republic. This means the president is the head of state and the prime minister of Iceland is the head of government, which has a multi-party system. The government exercises executive power in Iceland. 


Many tourists flock to Iceland to see the beautiful sites. Popular touristic activities include Whale Watching in Reykjavik. Whale watching happens all around the year, though the most popular time to do it is in summer as you have an 80 to 95 per cent chance to see whales, a percentage that is less in the winter months. Another renowned tourist destination is the Blue Lagoon, which is a 40 minutes drive from Reykjavík. This site is a geothermal spa that is known all around the world and is a must-see for tourists and international students. They head there to bathe in the natural pale blue healing waters that are heated by a power station. 


Famous delicious foods in Iceland that can’t be missed are like Skyr, which is famous around the world and has been a part of traditional foods in Iceland for many years. The food is a dairy product that has been cultured and is like yoghurt but has a milder flavour. Slow roasted lamb is also a famous Icelandic dish as the sheep there are of the purest in the world and aren’t fed grain or given any hormones to grow. That means the meat is natural, tender and tasty when cooked. 

Study in Iceland

Many students head to Iceland to study there as a study destination. From the creative and innovative way of thinking in learning to the amazing landscapes in the country, here are some reasons why you should study in Iceland. You’ll also find out how much it costs to study in Iceland, if you should choose to do so. 

Why should you study in Iceland?

International students head to study in Iceland for several reasons. Here are a few of the most significant ones: 

An innovative way of thinking

International students head to Iceland to learn a way of thinking and learning that expands their horizons. The population of Iceland is one of the most liberal and open-minded, and will truly help you open your mind and think in a new and innovative fashion. The population is known for having a deep commitment to gender equality, sexual and religious leniency, and liberal laws. That means you’ll leave your study program a new and progressively thinking person. 


Amazing landscapes

Another reason to study in Iceland is the incredible landscape around you. There you can find beautiful open meadows, bubbling hot springs, geothermal lakes, spectacular dormant volcanoes and many more. You can also feast your eyes on the stunning northern lights. Studying there means you’ll always have an abundance of amazing places to visit and enjoy. That means there will never be a dull moment! 


Unique arts and culture

Iceland also has a unique arts and culture scene, with a great legacy when it comes to literacy. It has many annual events that are exciting and specific to the culture like the Reykjavik Arts Festival, the Reykjavik International Film Festival and DesignMarch.  The country was also the birthplace of pop culture sensations like Björk, Monsters and Men, and Sigur Rós. The culture and arts scene is inspiring and makes it a great place to study for those who love arts or for those who want to pursue degrees in related fields. 

How much does it cost?

You might be curious about how much you’ll pay if you choose to study in Iceland. International students pay an average of 5000 dollars a year for undergraduate degrees and around 7,000 USD for postgraduate study programs. When it comes to PhDs, you won’t pay tuition fees. In fact, you’ll be paid to study them there, with many Icelandic institutions paying competitive salaries to their PhD candidates. 


Living in Iceland

When it comes to costs of living when you study in Iceland, you’ll need to factor in costs like accommodation and utilities, among other important costs. Read on to learn more about the kinds of accommodation available and how much it costs to live there when you study in Iceland. 


There are several kinds of accommodation types available for international students who study in Iceland: 

  • On-campus accommodation: Student Housing office has a limited number of dorm rooms on campus for students that you can apply to. You should apply as soon as possible as these economic rooms have a high demand and it’s hard to find one. How much it will cost differs on the university and where the location of the on-campus accommodation is. 
  • Private rentals: Another option for international students are private rentals. However, you should try to avoid living in the capital, Reykjavík, as it is very expensive and you’ll pay around 800 dollars and upwards for monthly rent. This is especially the case if you choose to rent in the city centre. If that’s the case, you will pay around 1,400 dollars in rent per month. However, you can choose to share an apartment with other students and share the costs between you, with each one taking a separate room. 


Other costs of living

Other costs of living to factor in are transportation costs of around 95 dollars a month, and basic utility costs of around 120 dollars monthly. Internet will also cost you around 74 dollars if you study in Iceland. You can expect to pay an additional 390 dollars a month on groceries and food. 

Universities in Iceland

When it comes to studying in Iceland, there are several great universities that you should research and apply to. From Reykjavík University to the University of Iceland, you can find many options for universities that have a wide array of degree programs to choose from. Read on to learn more about them and about the different types of degree programs when you study in Iceland. 

Degrees available

When you study in Iceland, there are several types of degrees available. Bachelor’s programs will take you between three and four years of full-time study to complete them. A type of degree called a Candidatus degree mixes undergraduate and postgraduate study and helps you become a professional specialized in a specific profession. These degrees can take from four to six years to finish and graduate from. Master’s degrees, on the other hand, can take you from 6 months to two years to acquire. When it comes to PhDs, which are 3 or 4 years in length, they are offered by only specific universities. These universities are the University of Iceland, Reykjavik University and the Agricultural University of Iceland. In order to apply to the program, you’ll need to have graduated with a Master’s degree in the same field. 

Top-ranked universities

Here are some of the top-ranked universities in Iceland to look into and apply to: 

Reykjavík University

Location: Reykjavík

Reykjavík University is the top-ranked university in Iceland. The university focuses on interdisciplinary work and a hands-on approach when it comes to teaching. The institution has two schools that are split into seven different departments. For example, the first school, the School of Social Science, offers courses in business, psychology, sports science, and law, while the second school, the School of Technology,  teaches students courses in computer science, engineering, and applied engineering. 

University of Iceland

Location: Reykjavík

The second-best university in Iceland, the University of Iceland,  is the biggest and oldest institution there. The university was founded in 1911, and then only taught theology, medicine, and law studies. The university went on to expand to include more schools and was reconstructed in the year 2008. It now includes five different schools: the schools of Social Sciences, Health Sciences, Humanities, Education, and Engineering and Natural Sciences. 


The University of Akureyri

Location: Akureyri


The University of Akureyri is also a top ranked university, considered one of the best for international students. The university was founded in the year 1987, making it one of the newest universities in Iceland. The University offers many degree programs, as well as being the largest provider of distance education in the country. Half of the student body learn through the internet, through online learning programs. 

Bifröst University

Location: Bifröst

Another top university in Iceland is Bifröst University. It is known as Háskólinn á Bifröst. The university is a private university, focused on teaching degree programs in the fields of Business administration, Law, and Social Sciences. It also offers students Icelandic language and foundational courses. The university also offers online distance learning degrees for students who would rather study online. 


Examples of other universities

Other good universities to look into if you want to study in Iceland include Iceland University of the Arts (IUA) and Holar University College. These are other great institutions with programs in many fields so you will definitely find one that is perfect for you! 

Student Visa - Iceland

When it comes to studying in Iceland, you might need to apply for a study visa. Because Iceland belongs to the EEA, students from the EU, Norway, Liechtenstein or Switzerland will not need a visa to enter Iceland and study there, as long as your program is up to 90 days. If you’re not from one of these countries or  you want to study in Iceland for longer than 90 days, you will most probably require a study visa to be able to study in Iceland. Read on to learn more about the requirements and conditions.


Required Documents

To apply for an Icelandic student visa, you’re required to hand in the following documents: 

  • A valid passport or other form of identification
  • Two passport size photographs
  • Proof that you have paid the visa fee of 50 dollars
  • Completed application form, which you can download from online, print and hand in
  • Proof that you have been accepted to an Icelandic university and degree program
  • Proof of good conduct, or a police certificate stating that you have no criminal record
  • Proof that you have health insurance that covers around 16,000 dollars as a minimum value
  • Proof that you are able to sustain yourself financially through your study program, in the form of bank statements


Please note that if your documents aren’t in English or a Nordic language then you’ll need to hand them in with translated documents that are notarized.  


Further steps

Once you arrive in Iceland, you’ll need to apply for a residence permit. It’s easy to complete this application at the Directorate of Immigration in Reykjavik. The residence permit will let you work fifteen hours a week or less. 


How to apply - Iceland

Applying to study in Iceland is a simple process. Applications are typically sent directly to the university you want to apply to. You simply select the program and university and find the online application. Then you fill it out and send it in, with the required documents. The university will look at the documents and check if you have fulfilled the requirements or not. If you are accepted, they’ll send you a letter of acceptance to admit you to the program of your choice. 

Required Documents

Although your university or degree program might request extra documents, here are the general requirements when applying to study in Iceland. 


You’ll need to submit the following documents to be considered for a degree program:

  • The completed application form that you’ll either submit online or print out and mail to the university
  • For undergraduate programs: a copy of your high school certificate and results from university entrance exams back home
  • For master’s programs: a copy of your bachelor’s degree diploma and transcript, including grades
  • For PhD or Doctoral programs: a copy of your Master’s degree certificate or diploma 
  • Proof of English language proficiency
  • Proof of Icelandic language proficiency (if needed)
  • CV or resume
  • Recommendation letters from trusted academics 

Scholarship in Iceland

When you go to study in Iceland, you may be interested in scholarships or financial aid. Several institutions offer scholarships such as Reykjavik University and the University of Iceland. There are also other scholarships offered like the one offered by the Icelandic Ministry of Education offers scholarships to international students who are studying Icelandic language, literature or history at the University of Iceland. If you are interested in studying a degree related to Iceland, be sure to apply for this scholarship!