Why should I study in Sweden?

The country of Nordic wood furniture design, midsummer and “köttbullar“ (meat balls)…

How to study in Sweden

Sweden is located in the north of Europe and part of the Scandinavian peninsula. It is the largest Nordic country in terms of area and with more than ten million citizens, the most populous of these countries. It borders Norway to the west and Finland to the northeast. In the east, Sweden is bounded by the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Bothnia, in the southwest by the straits Kattegat and Skagerrak. Since 1995, it is a member of the European Union (EU), but not part of the Eurozone.

Sweden’s Higher Education System

The Swedish Higher Education System differentiates between universities (universitet) and university colleges (högskola). Research activities are primarily focused on by the universities, which are awarding bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees. But the larger colleges are doing research as well, with the government having granted the right to some of them to award PhDs in select fields.

Today there are 38 Higher Education Institutions with entitlement to award third-cycle qualifications in all or only specific research domains. Additionally there are 15 institutions that award only first-cycle or first and second-cycle qualifications. Most of the higher education institutions in Sweden are public.  

The academic programmes follow the Bologna scheme since 2007: The basic academic studies have a duration of three years and lead to the acquisition of a Bachelor. Based on the first degree, a Master can be received after a further study period of one to two years. Doctoral degree programmes usually consist of a minimum of four years.

Sweden also uses the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS), one academic year of full-time studies is equivalent to 60 ECTS credits.

For more information about the entire education system in Sweden, click here.

Sweden’s Higher Education System in international comparison

With a high coverage of 43 Swedish higher education institutions, U-Multirank can provide evidence on the performance of the Swedish higher education system. For the five U-Multirank dimensions the graphic depicts the national average and shows how many of the Swedish institutions perform above the average (receiving an ‘A’ (very good) or ‘B’ (good) score), or below the average (receiving a ‘D’ (below average) or ‘E’ (weak) score).

Among the five U-Multirank dimensions, the Swedish higher education institutions participating in U-Multirank perform strongest in “International Orientation”.

National performance: Sweden

Percent of all Universities 100% 80% 60% 40% < below Average above > 40% 60% 80% 100% Teaching & Learning 25% 38% Research 23% 50% Knowledge Transfer 53% 43% International Orientation 21% 64% Regional Engagement 61% 26%

How much does it cost to study in Sweden?

Students who are citizens of an EU/ EEA/ Nordic country or Switzerland do not have to pay application and tuition fees. The fees for all other foreign students vary greatly, depending on the subject and (level of) study programme. Bachelor programmes are generally less expensive than master’s programmes.

The standard range of tuition fees in Social Sciences and Humanities is between 7,500 – 11,000 EUR per year. In technical programmes and natural sciences, 11,500 – 14,000 EUR and Architecture and Design is between 18,500 – 28,000 EUR per year.

These students have to pay fees of SEK 900 (83 EUR) for the online application. If you need some more information about the requirement to pay fees, click here.

In addition to that, all students usually join the local student union for a membership fee with a range from 5 – 35 euros per semester to get access to various student activities and discounts.

What are the entry requirements for Swedish Universities?

Higher education institutions usually regulate the access autonomously.

There is a central application portal where students apply for their preferred programmes centrally, but the universities have their individual criteria for the selection procedure.

A general university entrance qualification is a prerequisite for admission to study at Swedish higher education institutions. For some programmes, universities require good grades in the subjects relevant to their studies. Swedish students have the possibility to take an exam after completing high school to improve their chances of obtaining the required study place.

To apply at the university, international students have to submit the required and certified documents in an English translation. Admission procedures may vary according to the level of competition for a particular programme and should be inquired at the respective university beforehand.

English and Swedish language skills for international students are needed, the required Swedish language examination is called TISUS (Test in Swedish for University Students). Students who only attend English courses, or special programmes do not need the test. Some institutions ask for IELTS or TOEFL tests or the Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English. In general, international students must have sufficient competence in the language of instruction.

How to get a Stipend/Scholarship in Sweden?

There are a large number of different scholarships by various organisations and foundations around the world to help cover tuition fees or living costs.

Other possibilities to get a scholarship for international students and researchers coming to Sweden are from the Swedish Institute (SI), a government agency, or the universities themselves.

If you are looking for information regarding scholarships in Sweden, please click here.

Do I need a Student Visa for Sweden?

Rules for visas and residence permits for international students in Sweden vary depending on the country of citizenship:

Citizens of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) and the Nordic countries do not need a residence permit or visa in Sweden. Students who want to stay for more than twelve months are generally required to be registered in the Swedish Population Register and need to notify the Swedish Tax Agency.

Citizens of most of the Non-EU/ EEA/ Nordic countries with a stay of less than three months need a visa to enter Sweden. If the stay will last longer than three months, a residence permit is required before coming to Sweden.

To apply for a resident permit for studies, students have to prove admission to a full-time accredited university programme in Sweden; and the first tuition fee installment and the application fee must have paid.

It is also necessary to submit documents (passport, online application, letter of admission, support yourself financially during your time as a student, comprehensive health insurance).

Information on the visa requirements can be found here.

How do Swedish Universities fare in U-Multirank?

  • The 2019 edition of U-Multirank covers 42 Swedish HEIs.
  • In global comparison, Swedish higher education institutions perform strongly in Research and Regional Engagement. In the Research dimension, 71% of all indicators scores of Swedish institutions are ranked above average (groups ‘A’
    or ‘B’).
  • 6 Swedish institutions scored more than 10 top group positions (‘A’ scores): Chalmers University of Technology (17), KTH Royal Institute of Technology (12), Karolinska Institute (11). Lund University, the University of Gothenburg,
    Uppsala University and Stockholm School of Economics feature 10 ‘A’ scores each.
  • Swedish universities received 10 global Top 25 performer entries, most (6) on Income from Continuous Professional Development Courses, but also 2 in Co-Publications with Industrial Partners, and Student Mobility.


Sweden's Higher Education Performance in U-Multirank

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