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About the Scholarship

About the Scholarship

The Icelandic Ministry of Culture and Business Affairs awards annually a number of scholarships for students coming from foreign universities to study the BA programme in Icelandic as a Second Language at the University of Iceland in Reykjavík. The scholarship program is administrated by the Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies. Approximately 12 scholarships are awarded for the period from September 1 to May 31 each year.

The scholarships are intended for students of modern Icelandic who have completed at least one year of university study in humanities. In addition, students must demonstrate a basic knowledge of Icelandic to satisfy the entry requirements for BA studies in Icelandic as a Second Language (i.e., a knowledge of Icelandic equivalent to the skills acquired by completing Icelandic Online 1 and Icelandic Online 2, both of which are self-study courses offered free online). 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 studies. On 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, its literature and the 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 for the scholarship:

The Czech Republic
The Faroe Islands

The Netherlands

The United Kingdom
*The United States

How to Apply

Students from the countries above, with exception of students from the US, can apply directly to the Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies, Edda, Arngrímsgata 5, 107 Reykjavík, Iceland. Application must be made on a special application form that can be downloaded here:

The application should be accompanied by 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
  • Certification of English proficiency 
  • 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 postmarked no later than December 1.

E-mail applications are not accepted.

A special committee evaluates the applications and its decision will be announced in January of each year. Please note that successful applicants will need to apply separately for admission to the University of Iceland by February 15.

If a scholarship recipient wishes to extend the scholarship for an additional year of study, he/she must reapply to the institute before December 1 to be eligible for the following academic year. Scholarships are available for a maximum of three academic years.

*Students from the United States must apply through (note that another deadline applies for these 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 the scholarship include?

The scholarship covers registration fees at the University of Iceland and a monthly stipend intended to cover room and board for one person. Payment is made at the beginning of each month from September to April. Rooms are available for grant recipients to rent in the Gamli Garður student dormitory.

Icelandic as a Second Language, at the University of Iceland, School of Humanities

It is important that grant recipients arrive in Iceland before the autumn semester, which begins in the latter part of August. Orientation for new students is held before the academic year begins, where the organization of and requirements for the programme of study 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 is subject to change).

The first year of the BA programme in Icelandic as a second language is designed for students with some basic prior knowledge of the language. The candidates must also be proficient in English, as English will serve as a second language of instruction at the beginning of studies.

Online admission exams to establish 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 that receive a scholarship from the Icelandic Ministry of Culture and Business Affairs are expected to follow the programme in accordance with their previous knowledge of Icelandic, whether they intend to complete the BA degree or not.

Students that begin their studies in autumn are required to pass exams (equivalent to 30 ECTS) at the end of the semester in order to qualify for continued studies and to be eligible to reapply for a scholarship for the spring semester of the programme.