Frequently Asked Questions

APPLICATION PROCESS

How can a candidate apply for the GEST postgraduate diploma programme?
Candidates who are interested in applying for the diploma programme must be nominated by their current superior at an organization/institution/government agency. The candidate’s superior can for example be a direct supervisor, head of department, regional director, CEO, or a board chairman. The nominating party should be an individual who knows the candidate’s work well. The nomination form is available on www.gest.org during the nomination period, in February/March each year.

What happens after the candidate is nominated?
All nominations are reviewed, and candidates who meet the programme‘s initial requirements are invited to submit a detailed application. The GEST admission committee reviews all applications, and shortlists candidates for screening interviews.

What kind of degree do candidates need to apply for the programme?
Candidates need to have completed at least one university degree, from an accredited university. The degree must be assessed as equivalent to a bachelor ‘s (BA, BS, B.Ed, etc.) degree from the University of Iceland.

I hold a XY-degree from Z-university – is that sufficient?
Unfortunately, the GEST programme can only validate the candidate’s university degree if they are selected for the programme. Candidates are asked to self-evaluate their degree prior to applying to the programme by considering the following:

  • Can your degree grant access to accredited master’s degree programmes in other universities in your home country / within the same education system as your undergraduate degree?
  • Is your degree the equivalent of at least 180 – 240 ECTS credits (3 – 4 years of full-time studies)?
  • Is your degree equivalent to a first cycle qualification as defined by the European Higher Education Area qualifications framework, EQF, Level 6?

What documents do candidates need to provide with the application?
In addition to fully completing the application form, candidates need to provide their CV, scanned copies of university transcripts and diplomas, and a copy of their passport’s personal information page (or other ID, such as national identification card, driving license, etc.)

Can candidates enroll as part-time students in the GEST programme?
No, it is not possible to apply as a part-time student.

Can residents of Iceland apply to the programme?
Resident of Iceland cannot apply to the GEST programme. The target group for the programme are junior professionals who are nationals and residents of low or middle income countries or conflict/post-conflict societies, working for government ministries and agencies, civil society organizations or educational institutes, on projects related to the advancement of gender equality. Upon completion of the programme, fellows are expected to return to their home countries in order to disseminate their learning and implement their final assignment project.

Which countries are considered low and middle income countries?
GRÓ GEST adheres to the OECD’s DAC List of ODA Recipients.

I am a national of a country that is in conflict and currently reside/ have refugee status in a high-income country. Can I apply?
No, unfortunately not. One of the prerequisites for candidates for the GRÓ GEST programme are to be nationals and residents of low and middle-income countries, or conflict/post-conflict societies. During the programme, fellows work on a final assignment which should be feasible for implementation with the organization the candidate is working for, to contribute to the advancement of gender equality in their home countries, which is the ultimate goal of the programme.

Is UN staff eligible for the GEST programme?
UN staff are generally not eligible for the GEST programme unless being partly or fully funded by their respective organization.

What happens when a candidate has been offered to join the GEST programme?
Selected candidates to the GEST programme are first offered the GRÓ GEST fellowship. After accepting the offer and signing the GEST scholarship agreement, candidates are yet to be formally admitted to postgraduate studies at the University of Iceland. An application must be submitted into the University of Iceland’s online application system. GEST staff assists in this process. The applicant’s scanned credentials (diplomas and transcripts) will be assessed by the ENIC/NARIC University of Iceland Recognition Office to confirm that the applicant fulfills the University of Iceland’s requirements, pending receipt of certified copies of same.

Is it possible to forfeit the fellowship after it has been offered?
It is possible to forfeit the fellowship after it is offered for several reasons, including but not limited to:

  • The candidate does not provide sufficient information for the University of Iceland application.
  • The candidate’s academic credentials (degree(s), diploma(s) and transcript(s) are assessed by the Recognition Office as not sufficient to be admitted to studies at postgraduate level at the University of Iceland.
  • The candidate fails to sign and return the GEST scholarship agreement in a timely manner.
  • The candidate fails to procure a residence permit and/or a visa to travel to Iceland before the programme starts.
  • Breaching of the GEST scholarship agreement.

ERASMUS+

What do candidates who are interested in participating in the GEST programme as Erasmus+ students need to do?
GEST collaborates with various universities through the European Union’s Erasmus+ programmes. The Erasmus+ programme enables GRÓ GEST to invite master's students in gender studies or related disciplines to enroll in the GEST postgraduate diploma programme at the University of Iceland. Candidates are required to be enrolled in master studies at their home university for the entire duration of the GEST programme (until after the GEST programme‘s end date), and to be able to transfer the credits earned at the GEST programme to their master studies at the home university. Erasmus+ scholarships are announced separately by GEST’s partner universities as the candidates’ home universities nominate candidates to the GEST programme.

What universities does GEST collaborate with?
For the 2023 programme, Erasmus+ agreements are in place with the following universities:

  • University of Montenegro
  • Birzeit University
  • University of Pristina
  • University of the West Indies, Mona
  • Lebanese American University

What happens after candidates have been nominated as Erasmus+ students?
Nominations are screened by the GEST admission committee and shortlisted candidates are invited to a screening interview. The procedure is the same as for other nominations, please see “What happens after a candidate has been nominated?” in “Application Processes”.

What happens after a candidate has been offered a joint Erasmus+ / GRÓ GEST scholarship?
All accepted candidates of the GEST programme need to be admitted to the University of Iceland; please see “What happens when a candidate has been offered to join the GEST programme?” under “Application Processes”. In addition to this, Erasmus+ candidates must supply an Erasmus+ Learning Agreement confirming the following: a) the transfer of ECTS credits, b) a confirmation from the candidate’s university about the candidate’s current enrollment, c) confirmation that the candidate will continue to be enrolled in the home university for the entire duration of the GEST programme (until after the GEST programme‘s end date). GEST will send the Erasmus+ Learning Agreement form, partially filled in, to candidates, who must complete the home institution part of the form and gather required signatures, before returning the form to GEST by e-mail, in advance of their arrival in Iceland.

FOR SELECTED FELLOWS

What happens after a candidate has been offered a GEST fellowship and admitted to the University of Iceland?
The next step is to apply for a student residence permit in Iceland. Admitted candidates will receive an application package from GEST which includes detailed instructions and the necessary forms to complete.

What documents do GEST fellows need to provide for the residence permit application?
Please, visit the Directorate of Immigration website for updated information. Generally, GEST fellows need to submit documents as follows:

  • Completed and signed application for residence permit for students.
  • Passport photo (35 mm x 45 mm).
  • Photocopy of passport, clear and easily legible. The period of validity must be at least 90 days beyond the period of validity of the residence permit. This must include photocopies of the passport’s personal information page, the page containing the applicant’s signature, and any pages containing currently valid visas.
  • University admission certificate or University acceptance letter.
  • A copy of a criminal record certificate issued by country of residence.
  • Translation by an authorized translator of the criminal record certificate when applicable. Applies if the original certificate is issued in a language other than English or a Nordic language. Note that the translation must be authenticated if the translator is not an authorized translator in Iceland.

GEST support the process by providing some of the other documentation needed for the residence permit application.

Is medical insurance included in the GEST fellowship?
GEST covers, for fellows, the basic medical insurance that is required for anyone seeking a residence permit in Iceland. This limited insurance is useful for emergency cases only, for example if the fellow has an accident or acutely needs to be admitted to a hospital during the stay in Iceland, but will not cover most ordinary doctor’s visits or medication. The insurance does not cover any pre-existing conditions, such as chronic illnesses and diseases that individuals might already have, nor does it cover any services related to pregnancy or maternal health.

ACADEMICS

How much work is required of GEST fellows during the postgraduate diploma programme?
The work required of GEST fellows is considerable and can be seen as a full-time job. The postgraduate diploma programme is based on a very intense academic schedule, and fellows are expected to attend classroom lectures daily, from Mondays to Fridays, both mornings and afternoons, in addition to submitting assignments in the afternoons or evenings and sometimes on weekends. It is therefore not acceptable for fellows to do other work while participating in the GEST diploma programme.

Can candidates work on their master’s thesis or Ph.D. dissertation as a part of the GEST final assignment, or, can they use the GEST final assignment as part of their master’s thesis or Ph.D. dissertation at another institution?
Ordinarily it is not possible to re-use one’s written work which has been turned in for a grade and credit, in another course or progamme. This would be considered plagiarism. However, with the proper advance arrangement it is possible to agree on how academic work in the GEST programme can be used to support a master’s thesis or Ph.D. dissertation at another institution. An agreement of this sort depends on cooperation between the GEST programme, the fellows’ masters or Ph.D. granting institution, and the fellow, and must be arranged prior to commencing the GRÓ GEST diploma programme.

How long is the GEST final assignment expected to be?
The final assignment’s length varies depending on the subject and format, but they are frequently 25 – 40 pages, all inclusive. At a minimum, they are expected to be 20 pages.

How do fellows choose a final assignment topic and find a supervisor?
Fellows should be nominated and apply for the GEST programme with a clear project proposal in mind for the final assignment; it should be decided in consultation with the fellow‘s home organization and should be intended to be of benefit to the candidate‘s current organization and the population it serves. At the GEST programme, fellows are assigned a supervisor for their final assignment who is an expert in the field of their topic. This is facilitated by the final assignment’s module coordinator.

What kind of academic credentials do fellows get after completing the programme?
The GEST programme is a 30 ECTS postgraduate diploma programme. Successful candidates receive a postgraduate diploma, complete with official transcripts and the diploma supplement, from the University of Iceland, and a certificate of completion from GRÓ – International Centre for Capacity Development, Sustainable Use of Natural Resources and Societal Change. The studies are at accredited masters’ level and credits can be transferred into master studies programmes. 30 ECTS is equivalent to ⅓ – ¼ of credits needed to complete a master’s degree at the University of Iceland.

EVERYDAY LIFE – IN ICELAND

What is the best way to get around in Reykjavík?
The University of Iceland campus is conveniently located close to down-town Reykjavík, and many places are within walking distance. GEST also provides fellows with a bus card as part of the fellowship that is valid for travel within the capital area throughout the period of the programme.

Do GEST fellows need a student card?
The student card is first and foremost an ID and discount card for students. It can also be used to access the University building after opening hours. It is possible to apply for it in Ugla: My Ugla → Student card.

Where is GEST located and where is a map of the University buildings?
The GEST offices are located in Gimli building on the 3rd floor. Here you can find more information about the various buildings on campus and a campus map.

I have a problem with my internet connection on campus or at the student housing.
Please, redirect your query to the IT Help Desk. They are located in the University Centre (Háskólatorg), 2nd floor, and in Stakkahlíð (Hamar). You can reach them via email at help@hi.is or phone +354 525 4222. The opening hours are 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. Weekdays.

I just moved in, and my internet connection is not working.
Make sure to “Register the WAN MAC address in Ugla”, and follow the IT Help Desk instructions for network connections.