Education System in Norway

The University of Bergen offers studies at undergraduate, postgraduate and doctorate level within various fields.

A chart that shows the academic degree system at UiB

Main content

Degree System 

All degrees require, at minimum, that international students meet the Higher Education Entrance Qualifications for foreign applicants.

Bachelor's Degree

A bachelor’s degree is awarded after three years of study and is equivalent to 180 ECTS credits. Of these, 90 ECT credits will be in the student’s major (a specialization within the programme). Please note that all bachelor’s programmes at UiB are taught in Norwegian. For more information, see our web site Admission to Bachelor's Degree Programmes

Master's Degree 

A master’s degree, equivalent to 120 ECTS credits, is obtained after two years of study. The master’s degree includes postgraduate courses with a high level of specialisation. Students at master's level are required to write a thesis. The thesis is generally equivalent to 60 of the total ECTS credits, but in some cases it is equivalent to 30 ECTS credits. A number of master’s level courses and programmes are taught in English. Please visit the web page Admission to Master's Degree Programmes for more information about application procedures and deadlines. 

Professional Degrees

The University of Bergen offers various professional programmes, all of which are taught in Norwegian. These programmes are of four to six years’ duration and cover disciplines such as law, medicine, dentistry, pharmacology, psychology and teacher's training. For more information, see our web site Admission to Bachelor's Degree Programmes

Doctoral Degree (PhD)

The Doctoral degree (PhD) is awarded after three or four years of study following completion of a master’s degree or a professional programme. In addition to completing a doctoral thesis under the supervision of an academic advisor or advisors, the candidate must complete obligatory training in scientific theory and method. At least one semester is dedicated to research training. In Norway, PhD positions are generally advertised as job openings alongside other vacancies at universities. Please note that a good command of the English language is recommended if you wish to attend classes on master's level or PhD level. For more information see PhD - Doctoral Education.

Grading Scale

The following are the grading scales:

1. The Letter Scale

SymbolDescriptionGeneral, Qualitative Description of Evaluation Criteria
AExcellentAn excellent performance, clearly outstanding. The candidate demonstrates excellent judgement and an exceptional degree of independent thinking.
BVery goodA very good performance. The candidate demonstrates sound judgement and a high degree of independent thinking.
CGoodA good performance in most areas. The candidate demonstrates a reasonable degree of judgement and independent thinking in key areas.
DSatisfactoryA satisfactory performance, but with significant shortcomings. The candidate demonstrates a limited degree of judgement and independent thinking.
ESufficientA performance that meets the minimum criteria, but no more. The candidate demonstrates a very limited degree of judgement and independent thinking.
FFailA performance that does not meet the minimum academic criteria. The candidate demonstrates an absence of both judgement and independent thinking.

2. The "Pass/Fail" scale

In this scale, there are only two grades:

  • Pass: The student meets or exceeds the minimum criteria set out in the curriculum or course description.
  • Fail: The student does not meet the minimum criteria set out in the curriculum or course description.

The above are the Norwegian grading scales, which are employed by all Norwegian institutions of higher education.

The letter grade scale follows the ECTS letter grade scale, but is applied in accordance with nationally established grading criteria. Each grade has a qualitative description. The scale is is a criterion-referenced assessment rather than a norm-referenced assessment. This means the grading scale assesses if students have achieved specific skills/understood certain concepts rather than ranking student performances against each other.

The use of the grading scale is monitored by a national group appointed by the Norwegian Association of Higher Education Institutions. The distribution of grades is evaluated in accordance with the ECTS grading scale.

In the “Pass/Fail” scale, all students who pass are awarded the same grade, whether they only just satisfy the minimum or they exceed it.

Workload and Lectures

The academic year is divided into two semesters. Full-time coursework per semester is equivalent to 30 ECTS credits. The University of Bergen offers a variety of courses that involve different working methods and means of assessment. Some courses have compulsory assignments and attendance while others are less structured. Attending lectures is nonetheless an excellent way of becoming acquainted with course material.

In addition, some courses also offer opportunities to apply knowledge and develop skills via interactive lab work, field trips, seminars and discussions. Detailed course information, schedules, and curriculum will be published before semester startup at uib.no/education. Students admitted to a degree programme will receive regular guidance as well as an Individual Education Plan that details the student's and the institution’s mutual commitments. Study advisors are also available at each faculty/department.

ECTS and workload

One year of full-time study corresponds to 60 ECTS credits. This is the equivalent of 1500–1800 hours of study in all countries irrespective of standards or qualification type. ECTS credits are used to facilitate the transfer of credits between different European universities.

Students earn credits based on the overall workload, not on number of teaching hours or classes. The workload consists of several components. The primary component is the amount of required reading and study time. Study time is calculated as a combination of the number of classes and estimated hours of necessary self-study. A full-time workload corresponds to approximately 40 hours of work per week.

Examination methods

The University of Bergen uses a variety of examination methods, such as school examinations, assigned exam papers, take-home examinations, and oral examinations. The type of examination may differ depending on the subject. The use of digital examinations has increased rapidly over the last few years.

Many courses require students to complete mandatory assignments (e.g. lab work or methodological assignments) or a term paper before being permitted to take examinations.

Many language courses offer continuous assessment throughout the semester.

All students are required to read UiB’s Instructions to the candidates before sitting for examinations.

Language of Instruction

The language of instruction at the University of Bergen is Norwegian, and a good knowledge of Norwegian is essential for the majority of degree programmes. However, UiB offers around 25 master’s programmes and more than 350 courses for exchange students taught in English.