Studying at RU

Degrees and structure

Most students start their university studies with a bachelor's degree, also called an undergraduate degree (BA, BSc), followed by a master's 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 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 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 in 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 applies credits equivalent to the European Credit Transfer System. Teaching is organised in courses evaluated according to standardised credits (ECTS). A full-time study normally consists of 60 credits per academic year, 30 credits each semester, and reflects all student workload. Student workload can include activities such as lectures, projects, internships and assessments to achieve the defined learning outcomes in a course. One ECTS credit normally consists of 25–30 hours of student workload. The maximum amount of credits a student may take in one semester is 36 ECTS.

Grades and definitions

Grades are generally awarded in whole and half numbers on a scale of 0‐10. Students need to achieve a minimum grade to pass a course and achieve credits. The passing grade is generally 5,00 in undergraduate and 6,00 in graduate studies.

Other marks that are used in RU ́s grading system:

T = Transferred Credits

P = Passed

F = Failed

Grade range  Definition  
9,00 - 10,00 First Class with Distinction
7,25 - 8,99 First Class
6,00 - 7,24 
Second Class
 5,00 - 5,99 
Third Class

Rules on study and assessment

Read about our school rules here.

Related information:

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