The University of Iceland received over eleven thousand applications to undergraduate and graduate studies for the upcoming academic year; the largest number since the University’s foundation. To put things in perspective, it is worth mentioning that the number of students are currently around 13,300.
The application deadline for both undergraduate and graduate studies was extended this spring in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture and other universities in Iceland. This was the University’s response to increased unemployment due to the COVID-19 pandemic, thus softening the blow of the economic setback in Iceland whilst educating people to tackle new challenges.
The University received 6,720 applications in undergraduate studies this year; or 21% more than last year. This is a record number of applications. This is especially noteworthy considering that applications in undergraduate studies increased almost 13 % between the years 2018 and 2019, when the University welcomed an unusually large group of students due to the impact of the shortening of the matriculation exam period from four to three years. A record number of applications for postgraduate studies was received this year or 4,927. The increase between years amounts to 50%. The total number of applications for the coming academic year is thus close to 11,647. A marked increase can be observed in a variety of subjects, including nursing, education and law – and a record number of students took entrance exams for medicine and physio-therapy.
In addition, there are around 150 applications for doctoral studies at the University in 2020.
This will be a challenge for staff and infrastructure
The applications for study at the University of Iceland thus exceed the number of students completing the Icelandic matriculation examination or first university degree this spring. Even though this involves considerable challenges, the University will continue to place great emphasis on quality teaching and excellent student support service.
"This is by far the greatest number of applications to the University ever, and it is a testament to the extensive social influence of the COVID-19 pandemic. We saw this spring where things were headed and reacted accordingly with accessible online presentations of programmes in both undergraduate studies and graduate studies that were extremely well received. We had, furthermore, prepared for a diverse group of students this autumn by offering summer courses; including preparatory courses for new University students and around 2,000 individuals have registered for summer courses at the University. It is also clear that this increase in number of University students will be a challenge for both the staff and the infrastructure, but we will to our utmost to support both students and staff by all means possible. We thus presume that we will continue to benefit from the support and understanding of the Icelandic government in these challenging circumstances," says Jón Atli Benediktsson, Rector of the University of Iceland.