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About the scholarship

About the scholarship

The Icelandic Ministry of Education, Science and Culture awards annually a number of scholarships for foreign students to study BA-programme in Icelandic as a second language at the University of Iceland in Reykjavík. The scholarship programme is administrated by the Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies. Approximately 17 scholarships are available for the period from 1 September to 30 April each year.

The scholarships are intended for students of modern Icelandic who have completed at least one year of university study in humanities. Students must also have sufficient prior knowledge of Icelandic to satisfy the requirements for BA study in Icelandic as a second language (a knowledge of Icelandic that is equivalent to the completion of the courses Icelandic Online 1 and Icelandic Online 2). Preference will, as a rule, be given to candidates under 35 years of age.

The BA-programme in Icelandic as a second language is comprised of both theoretical and practical study. On the one hand, it is a language course, where students are trained in speaking, reading and writing modern Icelandic. On the other hand, it delves into more academic aspects of the Icelandic language, literature and history of Iceland. The subjects covered include morphology, syntax and phonetics of modern Icelandic. The curriculum includes both medieval and modern literature and the history of Iceland from settlement to modern times. Students are introduced to Icelandic translations.

Nationals of the following countries are eligible:

Czech Republic
Faeroe Islands


United Kingdom
*United States of America

How to apply

Students from these countries, with exception of students from USA, can apply directly to the Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies, Laugarvegi13, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland. Application must be made on a special application form that can be downloaded here:

Application should include the following documents (in English, Icelandic or other Scandinavian languages):

  • CV
  • Certified university transcripts and copies of diplomas with grades.
  • Two letters of recommendation from academic supervisors at your University
  • English language certificate 
  • Photocopy of your passport

For further information about the application please see the university's website.

Applications must be sent to the Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies before 1 December each year (date of post stamp applies).

E-mail applications are not accepted. Please note that applicants need to apply separately for admission to the University of Iceland by February 15th.

A special committee evaluates the applications and its decision will be announced by January each year.

If a scholarship recipient wishes to extend the scholarship for an additional year of study, he/she must re-apply to the Institute before 1 December to be eligible for the following academic year. No one will be granted a scholarship more than three times.

*Students from the United States of America apply through (N.B. another deadline for applications): U.S.I.A. Fulbright, U.S. Student Programs, Institute of International Education, 809 United Nations Plaza, New York NY 10017. Tel: (212) 883-8200. Websites:

What does a scholarship include?

The scholarship covers registration fees at the University and a monthly stipend that should cover room and board for one person. Payment is made at the beginning of each month from September to April. A room will be available for a grantee to rent in the student residence Gamli Garður.

Icelandic as a second language, at the University of Iceland, School of Humanities

It is important that grant recipients arrive in Iceland before the commencement of the autumn term in the latter part of August. An introductory session for new students will be held before the academic year begins, where the organization of and requirements for the study programme will be presented, along with other practical information.

Information on the current programmes of study, entry requirements and examination procedures, is available on the University’s website (please note that the information may be subject to change).

The first year of the BA-programme in Icelandic as a second language is designed for students with some prior knowledge in the language. The candidates must also have a working knowledge of English, since English will serve as a second language of instruction.

Online admission exams to test sufficient knowledge of Icelandic for the BA-programme will be held in the second week of June each year.

Students demonstrating a substantial prior knowledge of Icelandic may be admitted directly to the second year of the programme by passing examinations held in August.

As a rule, foreign students receiving a scholarship from the Icelandic Ministry of Education, Science and Culture are expected to follow the programme based on their previous knowledge of Icelandic, whether they intend to complete a BA degree or not.

Students who begin their studies in autumn are required to pass exams (equivalent to 30 ECTS) at the end of that term to be able to continue their studies and be eligible for a continuing scholarship for the spring term of the programme.