About Iceland

A sparsely populated island nation in the north west of Europe, Iceland is also known for its hot springs, fishing industry and high quality of life. The capital and largest city is Reykjavík; the surrounding areas in the southwest of the country are home to two-thirds of the population. Iceland is volcanically and geologically active. The interior consists mainly of a plateau characterized by sand and lava fields, mountains and glaciers, while many glacial rivers flow to the sea through the lowlands. Iceland is warmed by the Gulf Stream and has a temperate climate despite high latitude just outside the Arctic Circle.

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    Education System

    Iceland is a home of altogether Seven Universities, in which the University of Iceland is the oldest and most respected institution in the country. It sits in the top 275 in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2012-13 and is ranked just outside the top 100 in the European rankings. There are also accredited institutions that provide higher education. Examples include The Reykjavik Academy of Singing and Vocal Arts and Keilir – Atlantic Centre of Excellence. Compulsory education comprises primary and lower secondary education, which often is conducted at the same institution. Education is mandatory by law for children aged from 6 to 16 years. Upper secondary education follows lower secondary education. These schools are also known as gymnasia in English. Though not compulsory, everyone who has had a compulsory education has the right to upper secondary education.


    The climate in Iceland is not too extreme, the variation in daylight hours certainly is. During the middle of summer, there’s almost continuous daylight and conversely, during mid-winter, hardly any daylight at all. The temperatures in Reykjavík can reach highs of 35C (95F), and in winter the average temperature there is about 0C (32F).

    Admission Requirements

    A recognized higher secondary transcript is required to study an undergraduate level and Bachelor’s degree is needed to pursue postgraduate education in Iceland. Contact the admissions office of your chosen university to find out if you are eligible to apply. You may have to sit an exam in order to gain entrance to a higher education institution. Some universities grant admission to students who have completed their study abroad, but it is down to the individual institution.

    Each university will have different entry requirements so approach them directly to ensure you follow the correct guidelines. The majority of institutions teach in Icelandic, although some individual courses are taught entirely in English

    Study & Work

    Except for Nordic citizens, everyone coming to Iceland to study needs a student residence permit If staying longer than three months (students: one Semester) in Iceland. International student must obtain student residence permit before arriving to Iceland. Citizens of countries outside the EU/Seamus obtain a student residency permit before entering Iceland. The deadline for submitting an application to the Directorate of Immigration (i. Útlendinga-stofnun) is 1 July for the autumn semester and15 November for the spring semester. Non-EU/EEA students with a work permit may not work for more than 32 hours per week.