Language policy guidelines

Norwegian version

Adopted by the University Board 31 October 2019

The University of Bergen (UiB) is a knowledge and culture-bearing institution, the academic activities of which are essential for democracy and social development. The language policy guidelines will help to implement UiB’s strategy and strengthen the institution’s profile as a research-intensive, comprehensive university holding high international academic quality.

The university shall have a distinct language policy and stand out as a linguistic role model for education, culture and social life in Norway.. Norwegian is the main language. This means that the teaching language, administrative language and the day-to-day working language is primarily Norwegian. The principle of language clarity underlies the use of language at UiB.

Moreover, the university is an international academic junction point where publication and dissemination of knowledge is done in English. This means that the university has a parallel language practice with English as the most commonly used foreign language, although other foreign languages are used as well.

The university’s employees participate in international research but also play a significant role in developing and safeguarding the Norwegian language in their professional activities. Developing and disseminating Norwegian academic language and terminology is an important part of UiB’s social mission.

Linguistic equality and tolerance are central principles at UiB. Nynorsk shall have a prominent place in our academic activities. UiB has a particular responsibility to ensure that Nynorsk remains an important language in Norwegian higher education. The many users of Nynorsk at UiB represent a great resource for the Nynorsk language and are very important for Norwegian language development.

General principles

1. UiB shall have high linguistic quality in all communication and dissemination.

2. The principle of language clarity shall be the foundation for written communication at UiB.

  1. Linguistic equality is an important value at UiB.

a) UiB’s use of the written language shall comply with applicable legislation.

b) UiB shall make provisions for employees and students who have Nynorsk as their written language to use Nynorsk.

c) Nynorsk shall be used in published official circulars, announcements, information material and the like on an equal basis and in approximately the same scope as Bokmål.

  1. UiB shall practise parallel use of language variants.

a) Norwegian is the main language, while at the same time we make provisions for linguistic diversity. English is the primary foreign language, but other foreign languages may also be relevant.

b) Permanent employees at UIB are expected to have sufficient linguistic competence in Norwegian, English and other academically relevant foreign languages to be able to communicate with students, employees and the outside world in a proper and clear manner.

5. UiB shall offer its employees relevant skills enhancement with regard to language.

6. UiB shall ensure that the statutory responsibility for maintaining and further developing the Norwegian language is followed up by the university’s academic units.


7. Norwegian is the main language in the teaching of UiB’s bachelor’s programmes.

a) As a general rule, teaching in compulsory courses shall be in Norwegian. The curricular literature in the compulsory courses shall be in Norwegian if Norwegian textbooks exist that are as good as available foreign language textbooks. Exceptions to this are studies where the acquisition of skills in the foreign language are learning outcomes. Any other exceptions must be justified by professional rationales and rooted in the institution.

  1. The teaching language in elective courses may be English.

8. UiB will work to make Norwegian and English terminology for the key subject concepts in bachelor’s programmes available in UiB’s term base and other relevant databases.

9. Norwegian, English and other foreign languages are used in parallel during the teaching of UiB’s master’s studies and PhD programmes. The choice of language should reflect academic considerations.

10. Information about the programmes should be available in both Norwegian and English.

11. The language of instruction in each course shall be clearly stated in the course description.

12. Exam questions shall be written in the language in which the course is taught unless otherwise stated in the course description. Students can choose whether to answer exam questions in a Scandinavian language or in English unless otherwise stated in the course description.

13. UiB shall offer a good and comprehensive offer of courses in the Norwegian language for foreign students.

Research and dissemination

  1. Employees are free to choose the language in which they publish.

15. UiB will contribute to sustaining Norwegian-language scholarly journals.

16. All PhD dissertations shall include a summary in both Norwegian and English.

17. UiB’s corporate social responsibility entails that a significant part of the dissemination of research-based knowledge is aimed at a Norwegian-language audience.

18. UiB shall have a good and comprehensive offer of courses in the Norwegian language for staff members.

  1. UiB shall offer training in research dissemination.


  1. Norwegian is the language used in administration at UiB.

21. Linguistic equality means that Nynorsk and Bokmål are to be used about equally in administrative proceedings and in UiB’s communications.

22. UiB shall ensure that all employees and students receive relevant information in Norwegian or English.

Implementation and follow-up

23. A language policy committee at UiB shall advise on the follow-up and implementation of the language policy guidelines, statutory requirements and the further development of the university’s language policy. The committee reports to the university management.

  1. The language policy committee shall have a secretariat

24. Implementation of the language policy guidelines shall be rooted in the institution’s management at all levels.

25. All permanent employees who do not know Norwegian when hired shall be given an opportunity to complete Norwegian courses and shall have mastered Norwegian at B2 level at the end of three years. The individual units shall make provisions so that the employee’s overall work tasks do not preclude achieving this.



Entered by

Monday 30 March 2020 9:46:16 am

New guidelines in english

Mona Viksøy

Tuesday 03 March 2020 11:06:08 am

Nye retningslinjer

Mona Viksøy

Friday 09 July 2010 10:04:58 am

ny side

Bente Krossøy