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Masters in Iceland

Why consider a Master’s degree in Iceland?

Iceland is a small country located on an island in the North Atlantic Ocean. Its population is just over 330,000 people who are known to have a lot of space, as Iceland is famous as the most sparsely populated country in the European region. The capital city of Reykjavik is home to one of the seven universities on the island - Reykjavík University, as well as many interesting locations and sights. The official language is Icelandic, with English and Danish commonly spoken as well.

In recent years, Iceland has become a popular tourist destination. The beautiful landscapes, waterfalls, glaciers and geysers, combined with a vibrant and exciting culture are everything you need for a perfect vacation. But as a student, you can experience even more. The majority of universities offer Master degree programs, delivered entirely in English and what is more – in a variety of areas of study. From Marine Science to Viking Studies, it is only a matter of choice, as you will have 2 wonderful years at this magnificent country. During this period, you can take on language courses in Icelandic, do some research or field work (common for Master degrees in Iceland) and enjoy the high quality of education.

In addition, 5% of all the students in Iceland are international and their number is expected to rise with the increasing popularity of exchange studies. As a result, there is a possibility to end up in a multicultural environment, as well. Did you know that Iceland is one of the safest countries in the world with no standing army?

Tuition fees and Scholarships

There are both public and private universities in Iceland. In order to better understand what sort of fees you will face, look below:

  • Public universities – no tuition fees, only an annual registration fee which differs between universities, for example the University of Iceland charges students ISK 75,000 (around €566).
  • Private universities – tuition fees are applied, as well as a registration fee.

In addition, there are a number of funding options available, for example scholarships awarded by universities. 

Admission requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree in a similar area
  • Proof of English language proficiency (for courses in Icelandic or other languages, please contact your desired university)
  • Student visa (depending on your nationality)
  • Preparatory courses/examination
  • Letter of recommendation and/or CV
  • Application form

Accommodation and transportation costs

With the Icelandic economy recovering from the heavy financial crisis in 2008, living costs can be quite expensive, especially in the capital city. A single room might cost you around €500 to €700 every month. Even your daily loaf of bread and liter of milk will be priced anywhere between €5 to €6. Hold on to your seat, as a monthly pass for the bus is worth more than €70! In other university cities like Akureyri or Borgarnes your expenses might be a little lower.

Living in Iceland

Iceland’s name can be confusing as the climate there is quite the opposite of cold. In many cases, the average temperatures during the summer can reach 20-25 °C. The winter is mild with temperatures around 0 °C. Sadly, the winds from the ocean can cause many storms and heavy conditions during the year. 
The cities of Iceland are not big and are usually located around the coast. That is because large regions in the center of the island are inhabitable due to existence of volcanoes. Nevertheless, the Icelandic people have used their land effectively and built beautiful cities with mind-blowing landscapes. Did you know that Iceland runs almost completely on renewable geothermal energy?

Outside the city you will find a number of activities of all sorts. During the winter you can go fishing which is one of Icelander’s favorite sports and comes in many forms – ice fishing, fly fishing and many more. In heavier conditions (more snow) you can also try snowmobiling, hiking and glacier trekking. If all of this sounds too extreme for your nature you can try out horse-riding or going to a geothermal spa. Remember the waterfalls and geysers we mentioned? There are plenty of them all around Iceland, so make sure you admire them. Did you know that Icelanders love to read, write and translate books?

Within the city you can also have a lot of fun. Night life is a big deal for every Icelander, especially during the summer. In addition, you can also taste Icelandic food which usually involves a lot of seafood or several types of cheese. Football is very special in Iceland especially after the latest edition of the UEFA European Football Championship. 

All in all, if you are willing to experience a different European culture, the “land of fire and ice” is the right study location for you. Don’t forget your sense of humor, Icelanders love to have a laugh!

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