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Study in Sweden

Sweden offers plenty of opportunities for international students who wish to pursue a degree or undertake research at a world-class university. Swedish educational institutions are strongly focused on students and their interests; helping you to build skills in your chosen field. Studying in Sweden offers a wide choice of courses and programmes at all levels of study.

Sweden is a prosperous, welcoming country offering many exciting opportunities for education, work and leisure. There are around 30,000 international students in Sweden, which provides an exciting, multicultural environment for all the students.

Swedish institutions are highly ranked and offer plenty of opportunities for study and research. Eight of Sweden’s universities are present in the top 500 of the 2018 QS World University Rankings. The highest ranked university is Lund University, which comes in at 78th place.

Why Study in Sweden?

Unlike other destinations that may place more emphasis on research output, Swedish universities are strongly focused on their students. All of the courses and programmes encourage group work, innovation and critical thinking. Sweden’s higher education institutions have also adapted to the Bologna Process, as well as conforming to the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System, meaning that you’ll graduate with a fully-recognised European degree.

One unique aspect of Swedish higher education is the way courses are structured. Instead of studying several modules at once throughout an entire semester, students only study one at a time for a shorter period (several weeks). Examination is performed after a module is completed. For this reason, Swedish semesters consist of a series of these short segments.

Swedish institutions offer several types of degrees you can study for:

  • Bachelor’s degree – It takes three years of undergraduate studies to obtain this degree.
  • Degree of Master (one year) or a Degree of Master (two years). They require one or two years of specialised studies, respectively.

There are also two degree types for the advanced studies or research:

  • Licentiatexamen: Granted after an additional two years of study.
  • Doktorsexamen (PhD): Granted after a minimum of four years of additional study or research.

Generally there are two types of institutions of higher education in Sweden: universities and university colleges. The only difference applies to the advanced studies (Licentiate and PhD) and not to the bachelor’s or master’s studies. Universities have the unrestricted right to award Licentiate and PhD degrees, while university colleges don’t, and most of them don’t award PhDs.

About Sweden

Sweden is a beautiful northern European country, bordered by Norway in the west and Finland to the north-east. The largest city and the national capital is Stockholm. The northern parts of the country lie above the Arctic Circle, but the climate is affected by the Gulf Stream. This gives Sweden a varied climate with cold winters and mild summers.

Sweden has a total population of around 10.2 million residents, of which 2.4 million have a foreign background. This makes the country a great mixture of cultures and people, perfect for international students looking to study and gain a wider perspective of the world.

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Cost of Studying & Living in Sweden

Sweden uses the krona (SEK) as its currency.

If you are from an EU/EEA/Nordic country or Switzerland, you will not have to pay tuition and application fees for bachelor’s or master’s degrees. This is the same rule that applies to Swedish citizens.

If you are from any other country, you will have to pay tuition fees. The application fee will be SEK 900 ($98 USD) and will be paid as part of your online application. Tuition fees will depend on the subject you choose to study. The average for a master’s degree is SEK 129,000 ($15,700 USD) per year. If you choose a subject within social sciences and humanities, it will cost on average SEK 80,000 – 110,000 per year. A subject within natural sciences or a technical programme will cost on average SEK 120,000 – 145,000 per year. A subject such as architecture or design will cost on average SEK 190,000 – 270,000 per year.

To put these costs into perspective, in September 2018, 1 Euro is about SEK 10.4 and 1 USD is about SEK 8.8.

On average, it is recommended that you budget SEK 8,000 for your monthly living costs. This includes rent, travel, groceries and study materials. This living cost will depend on where in Sweden you choose to live, as bigger cities will cost more than smaller cities and towns.

To help with your studying and living costs, all students are permitted to work during their studies. There are no time limitations for any students, but you should make sure that your studies remain priority, so a part-time job would be best. Your institution will be able to help you to find appropriate part-time employment.

If you are from an EU/EEA country or Switzerland and hold an EHIC card you will be able to access healthcare at the same cost as Swedish citizens. If you do not already hold an EHIC card, you should apply for one before your studies. If you will be staying in Sweden for over a year, you will need to register with the Swedish Tax Agency for a personal identity number. If you are from any other country, you will need to register with the Swedish Tax Agency for a personal identity number, which will qualify you to access to medical treatment at the same price as Swedish citizens. If your course is less than one year, you might need to purchase medical insurance. However, your institution may provide this, so contact them for more information.

Visas

If you are from an EU/EEA country or Switzerland, you will not need to apply for a visa if your course is 12 months or more. If you are from Switzerland, you will need to register for a residence permit. Your institution will be able to provide more information about this.

If you are from any other country, you will need to apply for a residence permit before you arrive in Sweden. This process can take around 3 months, so make sure to start your application in plenty of time. To be eligible for a residence permit, you will need to prove you have been admitted to a course, have comprehensive health insurance and have sufficient funding for your studies without needing income support. You will also need to renew your application annually.

Language

The official language of Sweden is Swedish. Most institutions offer courses in both English and Swedish. Even if your course is taught in English, make sure you still attempt to pick up some Swedish language skills. This will look great on your CV, and might even help you to get a job if you want to stay in Sweden after your studies!

If you choose to study a course in Swedish, you may have to prove your Swedish language proficiency by taking an approved test. Your institution will be able to give you more information about the required standards and approved tests. If you choose to study in English, you will likely need to prove your English language skills meet the required standards. There are several approved tests you can take, you should contact your institution for more information about this.

Cities

Stockholm

The capital city of Sweden, Stockholm is home to just under 1 million people, making it the most populous city in the Nordic countries. The Stockholm region accounts for over a third of the country’s GDP, and is the cultural, media, political and economic centre of Sweden. The city hosts the annual Nobel Prize ceremonies, as well as many other tourist attractions.

You will find some of Europe’s top ranking universities, such as the Stockholm School of Economics and KTH Royal Institute of Technology. Also located in Stockholm are the Royal College of Music and the Royal University of Fine Arts. With so much to offer, there is something for everyone in this city!

Lund

Located in the south of Sweden, Lund is believed to have been founded around 990. You can still find Lund Cathedral, which was built around 1090-1145, in the centre of the city. It is thought that the city existed by the end of the Viking Age, meaning that there is plenty of history in the streets of the city!

The city is home to Lund University, which was established in 1666. This makes it one of the oldest and largest education and research institutions in Scandinavia, as well as being internationally ranked. The campus spans across the city, offering many courses in different fields.

Institutions in Sweden

Browse higher education providers in Sweden on the map or select from the list to learn more

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