Higher education, tertiary vocational training and research
All higher education should be research based and consist of universities, university colleges, specialised institutions and national institutes.
Norwegian higher education has been reformed in accordance with agreements reached through the Bologna process. There is a three-year bachelor’s degree, a two-year master’s and three-year doctorate (PhD). The credit system and grading scale conform to the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS)
Tertiary vocational education is a short vocational alternative to higher education. It is regulated partly by county authorities and partly by private parties.
Responsibility and actors
The state is responsible for university and university colleges which are directly subordinate to the Ministry of Education and Research. Accredited institutions are seen as autonomous, and have been given extensive academic powers. Universities decide on which subjects and topics they wish to offer at all levels, including doctoral programmes. University colleges decide on studies and topics at the first degree level.
The Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education (NOKUT) is Norway’s official quality assurance agency for higher education and tertiary vocational education. This involves a quality control function with the educational activity of all institutions that provide education at the tertiary level in Norway. NOKUT’s control function includes evaluations of the institutions’ internal quality assurance systems, (recognition of new provision) and checks to ensure that (established) educational provision satisfies national quality standards.
The Norwegian State Educational Loan Fund allocates grants and loans to Norwegian students studying at Norwegian higher education institutions or abroad. The Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Education (SIU) is the official agency for international programmes and measures related to education and training. SIU promotes Norway as a destination for study and research, and provides advisory services within the field of internationalisation.
The Norwegian Association of Higher Education Institutions (UHR) is a co-operative body for higher education institutions in Norway. UHR facilitates co-operation and co-ordination among Norwegian higher education institutions. Furthermore, UHR advocates shared positions on central issues concerning higher education and research policy towards the Norwegian government, parliament and the wider society.
The Research Council of Norway serves as a national strategic body for research and an agency for the administration and allocation of public research funding through the establishment and operation of targeted funding schemes aimed at achieving national research policy objectives. The Reseach Council acts as a bridge-builder between Norwegian and international research, promoting international collaborative projects and the exchange of research expertise across national borders. The Research Council of Norway is administered under the auspices of the Ministry of Education and Research. SIU is the official agency for international programmes and measures related to education and training at all educational levels.