Studying in Sweden is different. Swedish universities have an open climate, with a strong focus on group work – enabling you to develop valuable skills for your future career. Swedish universities foster a forward-thinking culture where you’re close to the latest ideas and trends. A positive aspect of studying in Sweden is that courses are taught in English – and Swedes are known for being fluent in the language.
Swedish universities are open to everyone. About half the population study at a university at some time in their lives. Some people go on to higher education directly after upper secondary school, while others choose to work or travel abroad before they begin to study. Most students in Sweden are between 20 and 25 years old but some are also older. Sweden’s universities have become increasingly multicultural and many foreign students come to Sweden as part of an exchange program or as free movers. A multicultural atmosphere is highly regarded and much is done to promote social and ethnical diversity.
Sweden has some forty universities and university colleges – from Kiruna in the north to Malmö in the south. While most are state-controlled, about twenty are private, though they do receive the bulk of their funding from the state.
What differentiates a university from a university college is not quality, but rather what degree-granting powers the institution has. Universities are allowed to grant post-graduate (PhD) degrees in any research area, while university colleges are assigned areas of research by the government and may only grant an advanced degree in those specific research areas. When we use the term university, we actually mean universities and university colleges.
It is impossible to answer questions regarding which Swedish universities are the best. It depends on what the individual student finds important. Some universities specialize in certain subject areas, such as art, humanities or engineering. Others offer programs in a number of different fields. The quality of education at universities is assessed regularly by The Swedish Higher Education Authority. A university is not allowed to grant degrees in subject areas without the approval of this government agency.
There are many factors to consider when choosing a university, including the quality of education, teaching staff, location, size, activities, etc.
The entire catalogue of courses and study programmes available in Sweden can be found on the website Universityadmissions.se. With a centralized admission process, you can search for courses/programmes that interest you using one convenient search function.You can enter search text, use the interactive map to select a region or university you’re interested in, and select different options to refine your search. Your results will list the courses and programs in Sweden that match your search criteria. After your search, you can go directly to the electronic admissions application.
If you would like to know more about specific study programmes and courses, you can consult the websites of the individual universities for more information. You can always contact an admissions counselor to talk more about your study options.
In order to study at a university in Sweden, students must meet the general entry requirements. For students applying for bachelor’s lever courses and programs, this means having completed upper secondary school (high school) and demonstrating the required level of English through previous studies or an internationally recognized test. For master’s level eligibility, students must have been awarded a bachelor’s degree (equivalent to the Swedish kandidatexamen) and demonstrate proficiency in English.
For some courses, students may be required to meet certain specific eligibility requirements. This usually means that certain prerequisites (previous courses) are required for that specific course. Information regarding general and specific eligibility requirements can be found on Sweden’s admission website, Universityadmissions.se.
All students who apply for a specific course or program, and meet the general and specific entry requirements, compete with one another for the places that are available. Places are offered based on eligible applicants' merit rating (also known as grade tariff). After the first and second selection round, students will either have been accepted, placed on a waiting list, or deleted from the course or program they have applied for.
For each applicant, a merit rating is calculated by University Admissions. Based on this merit rating, students are placed in a ranked order, from the highest merit rating to the lowest. The higher the merit rating you have, the better chance you have of being offered a place in the course or program you have applied to. The merit rating is based on the grades you submitted in your supporting documentation, and other factors the university has chosen to consider.
The admission process is coordinated by University Admissions in Sweden, a part of The Swedish Council for Higher Education (UHR) in cooperation with Sweden’s universities and university colleges.
The admission process is managed electronically on the website Universityadmissions.se. There, students search for courses and programs, create a user account, send in their application, and receive their admission results, called the Notification of Selection Results. The admission process is unique in Sweden, as students can apply for all courses and programs offered at all universities on one convenient website.
Students complete their applications with copies of their transcripts, English test results, and other documents necessary for the course they’ve applied for. Only one set of documents is required; these are scanned into the admission system and are available to all admissions counselors in Sweden.
The application period for courses beginning in an autumn semester is from October until January with an application deadline of January 15. The application period for spring semester courses is from June to August with an application deadline of August 15. Please note that most courses and programs being in the autumn semester.
Application and tuition fees apply to students who are not citizens of the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland. Fees apply to bachelor’s and master’s programs and courses, while PhD programs are tuition-free. Universities set their own fees, which range between SEK 80,000–140,000 per academic year for most subjects. However, programs in the fields of medicine and art have notably higher fees.
Students should also consider the cost of living while studying in Sweden. Students need approximately SEK 7,300 per month for basic expenses. This amount will of course be higher if you have a partner and/or family with you. It’s important to note that the cost of living is higher in the larger cities.
Sweden has a comprehensive grant and loan program for Swedish citizens. The program is administered by CSN, a government agency in Sweden. Students with a permanent Swedish resident permit, official refugee status or both right of residence and permanent family ties, are also entitled to financial aid.
The Swedish Institute has a scholarship program for students wishing to study in Sweden. Competition for these scholarships is quite fierce. Scholarships cover tuition and living expenses. Information and application instructions about the SI Scholarship, as well as information regarding other scholarship opportunities, can be found on the website Studyinsweden.se.
Many of the Swedish universities offer scholarships to students. For more information, check the website of the individual university you’re interested in to find out more about what scholarships are available and how to apply.
Several different kinds of accommodation exist for students. It is very common to rent a room in a student corridor, where you share a kitchen with other students. There are also student flats that have their own kitchens or kitchenettes. You can also rent a flat or a room in a flat.
Universities do not have accommodation of their own to rent to students. Instead, it is the Student Unions or private housing companies that can find or provide accommodation for students.
Finding housing may be difficult so it is important to begin your search early. This is especially important if you will be studying in a large town or city.
It may be difficult to find enough time to work alongside your studies. Full-time studies require as much work as a full-time job – 40 hours per week. It is important that you devote the time you spend outside of lectures to studying. If you find that you need an extra job and have the time for it, the best approach is to go to local businesses and inquire about job opportunities.
The Swedish Public Employment Service’s website www.ams.se has a great deal of useful information about jobs and professions, future job prospects, the education required for certain career paths, and a listing of available jobs. You can also find information about employment in Sweden at www.sweden.se/work.
If you have completed your higher education in another country, you can have your qualifications reviewed by The Swedish Council for Higher Education (UHR). UHR will provide you with information about what Swedish degree your foreign degree is equivalent to. Their assessment is important for both you and your employer when you apply for a job.
Studyinsweden.se – all the information you need on studying in Sweden
Universityadmisssions.se – apply for studies in Sweden
Sweden.se – find out more about Sweden
Swedenabroad.se – find your nearest embassy
Migrationsverket.se – click on “English” for information about residence permits
Ams.se – click on “Other languages” then choose a language for information regarding finding a job in Sweden
Facebook.com/studyinsweden – all the latest news and tips for studying in Sweden