Norway is a popular student destination because of its tuition-free public universities. Here, students can take up Medicine – one of the more expensive degree programs – for a very low cost. The duration is shorter too, as it only takes about 6 years compared to the usual 8 (4 years of undergraduate + 4 years of postgraduate study).
Undoubtedly, this has given Norway an advantage in terms of healthcare. Compared to other OECD countries, Norway has a high proportion of medical doctors – 4.8 for every 1,000 people.
If you are looking to be part of this respected industry, then here are some aspects to keep in mind about studying medicine in Norway:
- How to Study in Norway for International Students
- How to Study in Norway for Free
- Top Universities in Norway
1. What are the requirements to enter Norwegian medical schools?
Apart from presenting a high school diploma (translated to English or Scandinavian), applicants need to have completed additional subjects to study medicine in Norway. These include Chemistry 1 & 2, Physics 1, and Mathematics R1/S1 + S2.
A high grade is needed as well, due to the high number of applicants and the limited number of slots for the program.
At the University of Bergen, prior learning and work experience are required of applicants.
Since subjects are taught in Norwegian, proficiency in the language is required of foreign students as well. As for the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, proficiency in both English and Norwegian is required.
International students must course their application through the Norwegian Universities and Colleges Admission Service (NUCAS).
2. In what language do you study medicine in Norway?
Norwegian is the primary language of instruction used in medical schools. As such, proficiency in the Norwegian language for all medical school applicants. This requirement can be met by taking any of the following exams:
- “Vg3-level” Norwegian (exam) or Norwegian as a second language (exam) – runs for 393 hours at a third-year level.
- Norwegian for International Students, Level 3 – NOR-0030 Norsk for internasjonale studenter, Trinn III 3 (15 ECTS).
- 1-year (60 ECTS) program in Norwegian language and culture for foreign students, which can be obtained at a university.
- 450 points in the written test in Norwegian – advanced level (Test I Norsk – høyere nivå, skriftlig or ”Bergenstesten”)
Although Norwegian is primarily used for teaching, some courses may be taught in English. At the University of Oslo, for example, there is one module (MED 5600) is taught in English.
At the University of Tromsø, students undergo a seventh semester called an ‘International Semester.’ Developed for student exchanges, all teachings and examinations done in this period are delivered in English.
3. Can you study medicine in Norway as an international student?
International students may apply to a Norwegian medical school through the NUCAS website. Requirements vary according to the country where the student has obtained his/her high school degree.
Foreign students who file their applications through NUCAS must secure a permanent/renewable Norwegian residence permit to be able to study medicine in Norway.
4. What are the components of the medical curriculum in Norway?
Medical education in Norway takes 6 years to 6 ½ years (with elective semester) to complete. This leads to a Candidate of Medicine (Cand. Med.) degree, which is equivalent to the Doctor of Medicine degree in other countries.
The Cand. Med. degree provides the theoretical, practical, and behavioral skills to become a physician. It covers the biological, environmental, social, and mental factors of human health, as well as the topics of health service organization and health economics.
As part of their immersion, students need to undergo clinical service in primary health care facilities and specialist hospitals.
While all schools follow the same pattern, the curriculum design varies per university.
At the University of Tromsø, the first 4 years of medical school are devoted to lessons about the structure and function of the human body. The fifth year of study, on the other hand, includes an 18-week immersion in somatics and psychiatry. This includes an 8-week rotation as a general practitioner as well. For the last year, students are deployed to the University of Northern Norway and the Nordland Hospital.
As for the University of Oslo, it follows a unique curriculum named Oslo 2014. This includes 8 modules, the Examen Philosophicum, elective subjects, and a thesis.
About 10% of medical students are allowed to pursue a career in research. The University of Bergen, for example, offers a Medical Student Research Program that includes research training on top of the Cand. Med. Curriculum. As this requires a thesis, this will an additional year to complete for a total of 7 years of schooling.
Research affiliation for 4 to 5 years is also required.
Participants in the Medical Student Research Program can use this degree as a launching point for further studies (Ph.D.)
5. How many medical schools are in Norway?
There are 4 medical schools in Norway – the University of Oslo, the University of Bergen, the University of Tromsø, and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
6. How difficult is it to study medicine in Norway?
The difficult part of studying Medicine in Norway starts with getting in. Universities only have limited intakes or slots per year. At the University of Oslo, for example, only 220 applicants are accepted every year. The University of Bergen, on the other hand, has a smaller intake of 185 students annually. As for the University of Tromsø, it only accepts 116 applicants a year.
Despite this small number of intake, the Norwegian government is planning on expanding the number of students. According to the current proposal, the country aims to increase the number of slots from 636 to 1,076 in the year 2027.
Comparing the current intake number (636) with the rate of graduation (520), this puts the drop-out rate of medical students at about 18%. This is markedly high compared to other countries, such as the US (3.3-4.8%) and the UK (11%).
7. What do you need to become a doctor in Norway?
All Cand. Med. graduates need to undergo a 1 ½ year internship (turnustjeneste) to be a legally authorized physician in Norway. Today, this has been incorporated as the first part of the specialization track. As such, a Cand. Med. graduate can earn authorization to practice as soon as he/she receives a diploma.
I hope that this article was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Europe Scholarships Page.