The Iceland University of the Arts (IUA) is the only higher education institution in the field of the arts in Iceland, and thus responsible for education, research and policy making in that sector of Icelandic society. The IUA benchmarks itself against leading art universities in the world, particularly in the Nordic region and in Europe. It is of vital importance to reinforce and continuously develop international networks and connections, that allows both students and staff to experience their work in a wider context. The IUA’s strategy as of 2019 focuses on enhancing intercultural competences, social and global awareness of students and staff through mobility and internationalization at home. 
Students’ competences are developed through:
exchange or internships abroad,
participation in international projects or collaboration in the local community,
an international classroom where engagement between local and international students is encouraged,
inviting guest lecturers and artists from abroad,
a digital classroom in collaboration with partners abroad.
The IUA aims at supporting development of all its staff by strengthening their skills to work in a diverse and international setting. This is done through:
staff exchanges: teaching, job shadowing and training abroad,
increased participation in international research and development projects,
supporting staff to attend courses and training events locally and abroad,
sharing of experiences and practices within the institution and partners abroad.

Partnership and Mobility

The IUA has a wide range of partnerships within the Nordic/Baltic and European higher education area. These partnerships serve the purpose of building up strategic alliances and  fostering partnerships for students and staff exchanges. 

Strategic Alliances

Through active engagements in strategic partnerships the IUA seeks to improve the quality and relevance of higher education in line with the objectives of EU’s Agenda for Modernisation in Higher Education. The participation in such projects promotes innovation, development of approaches to learning and teaching, and quality enhancement in the curriculum and the study environment.
The IUA aims at strategic use of Nordplus as a complementary funding instrument to other sources, such as Erasmus, for short-term student mobility (1-2 months) as well as for participation in shorter courses at a partner institution (1-3 weeks). The variety of options available to students further promotes diversity in the classroom, advancing internationalization at home.


The IUA aims at enhancing quality through mobility and transnational collaboration by making inter-institutional agreements with partners in and beyond Europe. These agreements are made based on each department’s strategy and focus, developed through consultation with staff and students. IUA’s students receive full recognition for mobility activities during their studies. Formal recognition of staff mobility, as part of professional development and progression, is to be implemented.
Student mobility is a vital part of offering an education that supports employability, preparing learners to be effective in a global society. A large number of IUA’s students choose to complete a traineeship abroad following their graduation. This helps graduates to link their studies with a professional career, and provides them with skills and knowledge related to their field of practice. According to the IUA’s quality framework for traineeships, this experience should culminate in a broader network, increased opportunity for employment, and enhancement of intercultural skills.
Staff exchanges are a key factor in the professional development of academic staff. Through interaction with culturally diverse groups of students from other educational systems and societies, teachers are able to develop their teaching methods and enhance their knowledge in their field of expertise.
Through training abroad administrative staff members are able to exchange good practices, seek new knowledge related to specific topics such as structure of study programmes, student support, as well as quality enhancement in teaching, management and administration.
The IUA seeks to strengthen partnerships with universities beyond Europe through the International Credit Mobility Programme. The aim of this collaboration is to create an awareness of the positive value of cultural diversity and social inclusion, as well as to contribute to capacity building in partner universities.

Research and international collaboration

The IUA places high value on research and considerable efforts have been made in recent years to formally promote and support academic staff as participants in the international research community of the arts. The university aims to provide research skills to students on both BA & MA level of teaching. Invited visiting lecturers and exchange partnerships with respected counterparts of research in the arts are a vital component of an ongoing endeavour to enhance research activities within the institution. The aim is to build a reputation as an important contributor to international and interdisciplinary research in the arts. The University is a member of ELIA (The European League of Institutes of the Arts), AEC (Association of European Conservatories), CUMULUS (International Association of Universities and Colleges of Design) and EAAE (European Association for Architectural Education), along with all the networks in art and design education financed by the Nordic Council of Ministers. 

Equal opportunities and student support

The IUA emphasizes equal opportunity for students and staff to participate in mobility programmes. The University seeks to ensure equal access to all. 
The IUA aims at excelling in student support both with regard to studying and training abroad, as well as receiving international students to the institution. The student support team consists of staff members from the international office, student counselling and student services. 
Students receive encouragement and guidance when preparing their exchange abroad. Students are able to attend introductory meetings on mobility, preparatory workshops on traineeships, as well as seek individual guidance. Those who have returned from abroad offer inspiration through sharing their experiences and challenges in the classroom, contributing to the preparations of future exchanges.
Exchange students at IUA are expected to complete 30 ECTS during a semester’s exchange. The student support team organises an orientation programme at the beginning of each semester. This programme is aimed at exchange students as well as international degree students. All international students are offered an Icelandic language course free of charge.
The IUA emphasises clear communication of useful information to incoming international students through its website. 


IUA’s governance is guided by the following principles: 
Student centred services and support.
Responsible handling of public funds.
Following the framework, guidelines and rules of the Erasmus programme.
Aiming at digitalisation and paperless administration.