How to Study in Iceland for International Students (4 Steps)

Education has always been the building block and the stepping stone to reach one’s success and future. Without having profound knowledge and specialization in certain fields, it would be hard for a person to be employed and find a good-paying job. And unemployed citizens without a good educational background will be a problem for a country especially if they are trying to build up their industrial and economical status. That’s why, in Iceland, the education of the citizens is one of the top priorities as they highly invest in their education sector. This is also the reason why many students from other countries pursue their undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate studies here.

However, getting in might be difficult because the standards they have on letting students study in their country are relatively a bit higher than most countries. This is also because universities in Iceland are cheaper than in most countries. To help you easily walk through the application process and requirements on getting into the country, below is the information, tips, and advice on how to study in Iceland for international students.

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1. Know the Cost of Studying in Iceland

The total amount of cost that you will pay for studying in Iceland can be broken down into two categories: fees from university and fees for your personal use and expenses. Fees from universities are tuition fees, miscellaneous fees, and laboratory fees. Tuition fees in most universities in Iceland usually cost around 450 USD up to 600 USD annually. Along with these fees or charges are the miscellaneous and laboratory fees needed for the classes you will be enrolling at the university which are around 150 USD to 300 USD. The range of costs depends on the university and the program you will take.

There are many universities that are affordable to international students. If you are interested, learn about the Affordable Universities in Iceland for international students.

Fees from personal expenses are those that depend on your consumption and expenses from your necessities such as living expenses, accommodation fees, and utility bills. These usually cost more than university fees and will be based on your habits of spending and lifestyle. On average, your monthly expenses on personal fees are about 800 USD up to 1,000 USD.

2. Know the General Application Requirements for Iceland

General English Requirements (Undergraduate)

The English language is taught in Iceland as the second language so most of the locals are fluent in English. However, the primary language that is spoken by the majority of the population of Iceland is Icelandic. The requirement for the Icelandic language is usually needed for graduate studies and doctoral degrees yet if you are an international student taking an undergraduate degree, the general English requirements from IELTS and TOEFL IBT scores are the only ones needed.

An example score requirement needed to be qualified to study in Iceland as an international student is the qualifications needed for the University of Iceland. According to their website, a minimum score of 6.5 in the IELTS exam is needed to be qualified in their university along with an IELTS IBT score of 79. Moreover, if their program requires courses that are taught in Icelandic, they are required to take a course in the Faculty of Icelandic and Comparative Cultural Studies, “Icelandic as a second language” as a prerequisite of those courses.

Another example is from the website of Bifrost University. According to their site, to be qualified in any of their offered programs, you only need to get an average TOEFL score of 79 and above. So, for this university, make sure to practice sample tests online about TOEFL because it will surely help you to be admitted.

For the majority of other universities, an average IELTS score of 6.5 and a total IBT score in TOEFL of 80-85.

General English Requirements (Graduate)

The general English requirements for graduate students is almost the same as the requirements of the undergraduates. To be qualified, they would need to get an average IELTS score of 6.5 and a total TOEFL IBT score of 85. Aside from this, if you did not take your undergraduate studies in Iceland, you are required to take an Icelandic supplementary language course, “Icelandic as a second language”, because the majority of the courses in graduate schools are in Icelandic.

Application Requirements (Undergraduate)

These are the usual application requirements to meet for students taking undergraduate degrees or programs:

  • High School Diploma
  • Passport
  • Proof of Language Proficiency in English (IELTS or TOEFL)
  • Standardized Tests Results
  • University application or registration form
  • Application fee (General cost: 60 USD)
  • Transcript of record
  • CV or Resume
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Student Visa or Residence Permit

Application Requirements (Graduate)

On the other hand, here are the application requirements for graduate students to be able to study in Iceland:

  • Proof of previous degrees (bachelor or any equivalent degree)
  • Proof of Language Proficiency in English (IELTS or TOEFL)
  • Proof that you have taken an Icelandic language course
  • Passport
  • CV or Resume
  • Standardized Tests Results
  • Application or registration form
  • Application fee (General cost: 60 USD)
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Student Visa or Residence Permit

3. Apply to Universities in Iceland

The next step of studying in Iceland for international students is to apply. Procedures of application for undergraduate students are very strict to any university in Iceland because they offer the cheapest yet best education that you could get. Some might be intimidated by this obstacle but all you need to do was to follow the strict deadlines and the instructions that are found in their online sites. Usually, all requirements and deadlines could be found in the admission or application section of their websites. But first, you must choose a university that has programs aligned with your interests and skills.

After choosing the university that you want to attend, next is to prepare the requirements of the university as instructed on their website. For example, at the University of Iceland, the needed requirements can be seen on their application page and the deadlines for submission were also included. For the whole academic year, the application period for international students is every December to February.

The same requirements aside from a secondary school diploma are needed in applying for graduate studies. Also, the application period and deadlines for international graduate students are a month before every semester. For the winter semester, the deadline is every August while for the spring semester, the deadline is every December or the first week of January.

4. After you get accepted, apply for a student visa

To get a student visa in Iceland, here are the requirements you will need for you to proceed to the interview portion according to their government website: a proof or certification that you are accepted in any SEVP approved school, a valid passport, complete the online nonimmigrant visa application and any other supporting documentation that your main purpose of staying in Iceland is solely for studying. After all the requirements have been met, you will need to schedule an interview appointment to assess your credibility and purpose. After clearing all the requirements and the interview, you will just need to pay for the visa fee and will return after some time to collect your passport and visa. This will be the last step for international students wishing to study in Iceland.

Take it slowly after completing all you need to study in Iceland. Remember that Iceland’s living expenses are twice or thrice of what you are paying for in your country. So, make sure that you are financially prepared and that you immediately find a job to support your studies. However, do not forget to enjoy your stay in Iceland so, go and enjoy the city as you make friends with your classmates at the university.


I hope that this article was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Europe Scholarships Page.