Studying at RU

Degrees and structure

Most students start their university studies with a bachelor degree, also called an undergraduate degree (BA, BSc) followed by a masters degree, also called a graduate degree (MSc, MA).

After completing their graduate studies, students can get a doctoral degree (PhD) which is research-based. Reykjavik University offers degrees on all three levels, undergraduate, graduate and PhD. Please note that only graduate and PhD degrees are completely taught and conducted in English.

Students are either full-paying, which means they pay tuition each semester, or exchange students from other universities, in which case they pay the tuition at their home school.

The school year

The academic year is divided into terms and runs from August till June. The period from August to December is one term, and the next term starts in January and continues till June. Most graduate programmes take four terms to complete and are commonly referred to as taking two years of full-time study.

Graduate students complete taught courses and can, in most cases, do their own research under the supervision of academic staff. The last term is usually set aside for the completion of a research project, put forth in a master's thesis.

Studying abroad

Current RU students have the opportunity to gain international experience by taking part of their studies abroad. We highly recommend that students take advantage of our international exchange network during their studies. If you are looking to add an extra dimension to your degree, studying abroad can add value, making you a more employable "global graduate".

Students who choose to take a semester abroad, at one of our partner universities, continue to pay tuition fees to RU during the exchange. Reykjavik University is a member of the Erasmus + Lifelong Learning programme as well as the Nordic Council of Ministers' Nordplus programme.

Read about our exchange programme here.


Reykjavik University is an international university. Teachers and other university staff have a good knowledge of English and are happy to use it to help those who do not understand Icelandic. Proficiency of Icelandic students is also very good. At RU, undergraduate degrees are taught in Icelandic but graduate degrees and PhD studies are taught in English. Students whose first language is not English are required to provide certifications of TOEFL scores or comparable tests.

ECTS credits

Reykjavik University (RU) uses the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). A full workload for one semester is 30 ECTS. Most modules have a weighting of 6 ECTS. One ECTS credit is equivalent to 20-30 hours of study by students. The maximum amount of credits a student may take in one semester is 36 ECTS.

Grades and definitions

Grades are given on a scale of 1-10. A grade of 5 is a pass at undergraduate level and a grade of 6 is a pass at graduate level.  

Undergraduate: BSc

Grade range  Definition  
 9.0-10.0 Excellent 
 8.0-8.9 Distinction
 7.0-7.9 High merit
 5.1-6.9 Merit
 5.0 Pass
 0.0-4.9 Fail (no credits awarded)  

Graduate: MSc 

Grade range  Definition  
 9.0-10.0 Excellent 
 8.0-8.9 Distinction
 7.0-7.9 High merit
 6,1-6.9 Merit
 6,0 Pass
 0.0-5.9 Fail (no credits awarded)  

Rules on study and assessment

Read about our school rules here

Related information:

Was the content helpful? Yes No