Language skills opens doors
It is often possible to carry out your work in Norway without acquiring knowledge of Norwegian. English may well be the working language at research institutions.
It may also be sufficient to use English in everyday life, since most Norwegians are reasonably fluent in English. However, you may find that learning Norwegian will help you to integrate more easily.
Do I have to learn Norwegian?
For permanent positions you are usually required to be able to teach in Norwegian or another Scandinavian language within a few years after you are employed. For other positions this requirement will be applied depending on whether or not you will be giving lectures to bachelor students. Bachelor courses are mostly taught in Norwegian (Danish and Swedish are optional).
For temporary positions, for example for PhD students, postdoctoral fellows and researchers, knowledge of Norwegian is generally not required.
Language tuition is mandatory to obtain a permanent residence permit
Your host institution may organise language courses specially developed for researchers and their families. Communicate your interest in learning Norwegian early so that you can receive information and start a course as soon as possible after your arrival in Norway. In addition to learning Norwegian it will give you an opportunity to discuss living and working in Norway with your international colleagues.
Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) has developed a web-based language course, Norwegian on the Web (NoW) with interactive exercises and additional information on grammar, fonetics and vocabulary
Some of the universities offer Norwegian as a second language as full time courses. These courses give you ECTS credits. One semester normally consists of 30 ECTS credits.
Vox, Norwegian Agency for Lifelong Learning provides and overview of language schools (Norwegian) recognised for tution to obtain permanent residence permit.
Official language tests
You may want to take an official language test to document your knowledge of Norwegian. There are several tests and exams available. Two of them demonstrate a high level of language skills and are typically required for students applying to university or for employees requiring a certificate to document an advanced level of proficiency in Norwegian.
- The Bergen Test
The Bergen Test assesses proficiency in receptive and productive language skills, as well as knowledge of grammar and vocabulary. It represents a standard by which the level of proficiency in Norwegian as a second language can be assessed.
- Trinn 3
University of Oslo, University of Bergen and NTNU offer a final exam, Trinn 3, in Norwegian as a second language. You normally attend classes for three semesters before you take the exam. Trinn 3 is equivalent to the Bergen Test.
A taste of the Norwegian language?
In Norway there are three official written languages and a wide range of spoken dialects. This may sound complicated but Norwegian is not considered harder to learn than any other European language. If you know the words "ski" and "fjord" you already have a head start.
Have a look at the Study in Norway portal.
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