Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions 


Icelandic words explained 

Selected Icelandic words explained in various languages. 


Universities in Iceland

There are seven universities in Iceland, three are privately funded and four public. The largest are the University of Iceland and Reykjavík University, located both in the capital, followed by the University of Akureyri in the northern city of Akureyri. Icelandic universities are centres of knowledge and part of an international educational and scientific community.


University-level educational institutions consist of various study programmes and departments within those programmes, research institutes and centres, and various service institutes and offices.


Formal criteria for higher education and degrees are issued by the Minister of Education. The arrangement of instruction, research, studies, and educational assessment is decided within the university. Recognised degrees include Diploma degrees, Bachelors degrees, awarded on completion of basic studies, Masters degrees, on completion of one or more years of postgraduate studies, and doctoral degrees, on completion of extensive research-related post-graduate studies.


The universities offer advisory services for students and prospective students. The services cover advice on programme choice, work methods and other issues relating to studies.




University of Iceland 

The University of Akureyri 

Bifröst University 

Reykjavik University 

Hólar University College 

The Agricultural University of Iceland 

Iceland Academy of the Arts


University centres:


University Centre of the Westfjords

University of Iceland – Research centre in Snæfellsnes

The Icelandic academic year runs from September to May and is divided into two semesters; autumn and spring. Generally, the autumn semester is from the beginning of September until late December, and the spring semester from the start of January until the end of May, although some disciplines may vary.


Tuition fees differ between Universities. Public universities do not have tuition fees although they do have an annual registration or administration fee which all students must pay. Further information about fees can be found on the web sites of each university.


International students either attend Icelandic higher education institutions as exchange students or as degree-seeking students. For exchange options, please consult the international office at your home university, where you can get information on partner universities. 


Those who intend to study at a university must have completed a matriculation examination (the Icelandic University Entrance Examination) or equivalent examination. Universities are permitted to set specific entrance requirements and to have students sit an entrance examination or status examination.


Students who have not completed the matriculation examination (Icelandic University Entrance Examination) or a comparable examination but who, in the opinion of the relevant university, possess equivalent maturity and knowledge may be matriculated.


Furthermore, universities following an approval by the Ministry of Education are allowed to offer preparatory study programmes for those who do not meet the matriculation requirements.


Distance learning is offered in several universities. Further information about that can be obtained from the websites of the various university.

The Icelandic Student Loan Fund is a lender of student loans. All further information concerning student loans may be found on the funds website. University students are offered many types of grants for studies and research, here in Iceland and abroad.

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