University of Iceland (UI)
The University of Iceland is a public research university in Reykjavík, Iceland and the country’s oldest and largest institution of higher education. Founded in 1911, it has grown steadily from a small civil servants’ school to a modern comprehensive university, providing instruction for about 14,000 students in twenty-five faculties. Teaching and research is conducted in social sciences, humanities, law, medicine, natural sciences, engineering and teacher education. It has a campus concentrated around Suðurgata street in central Reykjavík, with additional facilities located in nearby areas as well as in the countryside. The University of Iceland is divided into five schools (svið) which are further divided into a total of twenty-five faculties (deildir). Prior to 2008, it was divided into eleven faculties which were then divided into departments (skorir). The largest current school is the School of Social Sciences with over 4,700 students, while each of the other four have around half that number.The university also operates a continuing education centre. The University of Iceland offers studies in more than 160 undergraduate programmes in the humanities, science and social sciences and in professional fields such as theology, law, business, medicine, odontology, nursing, pharmacology and engineering. Postgraduate studies are offered by all faculties, most of them research-based although not exclusively. There are also several multidisciplinary master’s programmes available in the fields of health and environmental sciences, some of them in cooperation with other European universities.
The principal language of instruction is Icelandic. Textbooks are mainly in English and Icelandic. Most departments offer courses in English and allow foreign students to take their examinations in English. Icelandic language, medieval studies and environmental sciences are some of the university’s strongest specialties, owing to Iceland’s unique literary heritage and nature. A growing number of English-taught programmes are offered in these fields and others, attracting a large number of foreign students.