Guidelines on Language Policy for NTNU

Guidelines on Language Policy for NTNU

Determined by the rector, applies from 1 January 2023.

Chapter 1   General principles

1.   The language policy must contribute to enhancing quality in all NTNU’s activities. Good language skills are important for dissemination and internationalization, inclusion and diversity. Language policy must be part of institutional strategies on all levels.

2.   The main language at NTNU is Norwegian, where the term «Norwegian» includes both Bokmål and Nynorsk. Norwegian sign language is the national sign language. Danish and Swedish are placed on an equal footing with Norwegian. English is the primary non-Scandinavian language. 

3.   Written communication at NTNU must follow the principles of plain language – that is, it must be correct, clear, and tailored to the target group.

4.   NTNU must ensure that the legal language rights of students and staff are protected.

5.   NTNU must follow up its statutory responsibility to maintain and develop Norwegian as an academic and specialist language in all its academic communities.

6.   Use of the official written languages must comply with the law. This involves specific measures to strengthen proficiency in and use of Norwegian Nynorsk.

7.   NTNU must practise parallel language use. In practice, this means «Norwegian when you can, English when you must».

8.   Permanent employees at NTNU must have the language skills they need to communicate well with students, employees, and the world around them.

9.   Permanent employees who do not master a Scandinavian language when they are appointed are responsible for learning Norwegian at B2 level within three years and continuously developing their language skills.

10.   NTNU is to offer employees good opportunities to learn Norwegian in particular but must also offer support to improve proficiency in English. The units must establish a framework for a work situation that enables all employees to develop their language skills. 


Chapter 2   Education

11.   Norwegian is to be the main language of instruction at NTNU.

12.   Students at all levels should know the main terminology for their disciplines in both Norwegian and English, or in other foreign languages when relevant.

13.   Academic literature and teaching materials in bachelor’s degree programmes must be in Norwegian when good Norwegian resources are available. Exemptions must be justified and grounded in the academic community.

14.   Norwegian, English, and other foreign languages can be used in parallel at master’s and PhD levels when it is justified by academic and learning considerations.

15.   International programmes of study at NTNU must be taught in English. Teaching in Norwegian is possible if all students master a Scandinavian language, if the syllabus and coursework requirements are still in English.

16.   The language of instruction must always be stated in course descriptions and programme descriptions.

17.   Examination question papers must be in the language in which the course is taught unless otherwise specified in the course description. If examination question papers are provided in several languages, the content and quality of the text must be the same. For examination question papers in Norwegian, the Regulations regarding the form of Norwegian used in examination question papers (Forskrift om målform i eksamensoppgåver) apply.

18.   Bachelor’s theses must normally be written in Norwegian. If they are written in English or another non-Scandinavian language, they must have a Norwegian summary.

19.   Master’s theses can be written in the language that is most suitable for that scientific field. The student choses language in consultation with the supervisor.

20.   Master’s theses written in Norwegian or a Scandinavian language must have a summary in English. Master’s theses written in a non-Scandinavian language must have a summary in Norwegian.


Chapter 3   Scientific and artistic research

21.   Permanent academic staff must master the main terminology in Norwegian in their specific field. The development of Norwegian academic language, including relevant discipline-specific terminology, is a collective responsibility in all the academic communities.

22.   Employees can choose the language in which they publish in scientific channels.

23.   All PhD theses must have a summary in both Norwegian and English.


Chapter 4   Dissemination, outreach, and innovation

24.   Research-based knowledge and scientific findings must be communicated to the public in language that is clear and easy to understand.

25.   Depending on the intended audience, Norwegian and English are NTNU’s primary languages for dissemination and outreach.

26.   NTNU will provide opportunities for training and support in dissemination of research in both Norwegian and English.


Chapter 5   Administration, information and contact with society

27.   Norwegian is the primary working language in the university administration.

28.   NTNU’s administration must be proficient in both Norwegian (Bokmål and Nynorsk) and English.

29.   NTNU’s communications must conform to universal design principles. As a main rule, all-staff meetings and similar joint events that include participants who are deaf or hard of hearing must be interpreted in sign language or subtitled. The same applies when management addresses students and staff through audio and video media.