Scandinavia is Europe’s northernmost region, consisting of Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Finland. Those four countries are home to some of the best universities in Europe and the world, and you can choose from more than 2,000 Bachelor and Master programmes in total.
At 9.5 million inhabitants, Sweden is by far the most populous country in the Nordics. Swedes are world-famous for their exports, be it furniture (IKEA), fashion (H&M), or music (Avicii). Their higher education is slowly becoming its next big export success: With quite a number of world-class universities, and around 800 study programmes in English on offer, Sweden attracts countless international students every year. Citizens of the EU or EEA study tuition-free, all others should expect fees in the range of 8,000 to 15,000 euros annually, depending on the institution and the programme.
Denmark is home to dozens of fine universities that offer world-class education. Many of their institutions follow a problem-based learning approach, fostering group work and real-world applications of education.
You get to choose from roughly 600 Bachelor and Master degree programmes in English, all of which are free for those from the EU/EEA and Switzerland. Everyone else will usually be charged somewhere between 6,000 and 16,000 euros per year.
If you want to study in Norway in English, you can choose from some 250 full-time Bachelors and Masters. While that is the smallest offering of all countries in Scandinavia, it still covers a broad range that should cater to every educational taste.
The vast majority of colleges and universities in Norway do not charge any tuition fee, regardless of whether you are from Europe or not. But don’t let that fool you into believing that student life in Norway is a low-cost affair: The country is among the world’s most expensive places to live, where a half-liter of beer easily sets you back 3 euros and more – if bought in the supermarket, and possibly twice or three times that in a pub. Nonetheless, Norway offers a unique study-abroad experience that is without doubt worth considering.
Whether or not Finland strictly counts as “Scandinavia” is actually up for debate. Many Finns make a strong case that their cultural and linguistic heritage is decidedly different and will thus be straight-up insulted if you call them Scandinavians, a reaction partly fuelled by centuries of Swedish occupation up until the early 19th century. Meanwhile, others – and not only members of the local Swedish minority – will be equally insulted if you imply they aren’t Scandinavians. To play it safe, you can always refer to the region as the “Nordics” or “Northern Europe”.
In any case, expect high-quality education. Finland has a particularly developed system of more practice-oriented universities of applied sciences (or polytechnics), contrasting the more research-oriented universities. There are roughly 500 programmes you can study in Finland. As in the other countries mentioned, citizens of the EU/EEA study for free; non-Europeans are usually charged in the range of 10,000 to 15,000 euros per year.