Study in Sweden Faqs

What is the difference between a university and a university college (in Sweden)?

Unless you are pursuing a doctorate, there is very little difference. See the detailed explanation here.

What kinds of degrees can I study towards in Sweden?

After three years of successful full-time study, a student at a Swedish university or university colleges can receive a kandidatexamen, the nearest equivalent to an American bachelor's degree. After one or two additional years of specialized studies, the student can receive a Degree of Master (One Year) or a Degree of Master (Two Years), the nearest equivalent to an American master's degree. If a student opts to do advanced studies or research in a topic, she can receive a Licenciatexamen after an additional two years of full-time study or a Doktorsexamen after a minimum of four years. A Doktorsexamen is a PhD. Click this link for a downloadable picture showing the various degrees in Sweden.

I want to study medicine - dentistry - technology - science - psychology - humanities - social sciences. Which schools are best for my chosen field?

Schools specializing in these academic disciplines are listed in this section of the site.

Is it possible to study Swedish for beginners at a university or university college?

Yes, several institutions offer Swedish for beginners. In most cases, the courses are intended for exchange students.

At a few universities, courses are offered as part of a programme to first teach students intensive Swedish so that they can pursue a degree at that institution in the Swedish language. In other words, Swedish is taught as a means to further study.

If you intend to study Swedish in this manner, you should be aware that in order to continue with your studies after the year of intensive Swedish language courses, you will need to take and pass the TISUS test in Swedish. If you fail this test (and people do), you will not be able to continue your studies in Sweden.

The institutions offering Swedish for beginners are listed here.

I've decided I want to study as an undergraduate in Sweden. What do I do now?

There are three ways of going about it, depending on your situation:

* If you already speak fluent Swedish, and a have a valid high school diploma: You can apply to any Swedish university programme, just like Swedish students do. You can search for university courses here. Then, check course information online to find out about specific application procedures. Usually, applications are processed centrally, via the Swedish national admissions board (VHS). Application forms are made available on their website (Swedish only). The only difference between you and Swedish students is that you will have to pass the TISUS Swedish test; and you are not eligible for student loans from the government. Tuition is free.

* If you do not speak any Swedish, and have a valid high school diploma: There are a few universities that will first teach you Swedish first. See information here.

Additionaly, a very limited number of spaces is available in English-language undergraduate programmes taught at four academic institutions in Sweden. These are listed here. Contact the institutions directly for intormation. Tuition is free.

* If you are already pursuing an undergraduate degree at a university outside of Sweden and it has an exchange programme with an institution in Sweden, such as Erasmus, you should contact the international office at your home university. They have a list of partner institutions in Sweden that offer courses in English which you can attend.

I've decided I want to pursue master's level studies in Sweden. What do I do now?

Use the course database to find a programme that suits your interests. Then, apply directly to the school you are interested in using the contact information you find on its website. There are scholarships available from SI.

I've decided I want to pursue a doctoral degree in Sweden. What do I do now?

You need to seek out a faculty or department at a Swedish university that has positions available for doctoral students and which is willing to sponsor your doctoral research project. Usually, this initial contact is made via your home institution, with the help of a professor or mentor. There are no scholarships available from SI for an entire doctoral degree programme.

I am a doctoral student and would like to do part of my research studies in Sweden. What do I do now?

You need to seek out a faculty or department at a Swedish university willing to accept you for a period of time to take postgraduate courses or pursue independent research. Usually, this initial contact is made via your home institution, with the help of a professor or mentor. There are scholarships available from SI.

How do I know if my existing high school diploma/bachelor's degree/master's degree is valid in Sweden?

In general, institutions evaluate degrees on an individual basis. If the transcript is not in English, you may need to have it translated first, however. Fuller details here.

How do I apply to the Swedish Institute?

You can't. The Swedish Institute is not a university, nor is it affiliated with Swedish institutions of higher education. It is a government agency entrusted with the task of disseminating information about Sweden to the rest of the world. This website is a good example of its work.

Separately, SI administers scholarships to subsidise the living expenses of a limited number of foreign students. Students applying for a scholarship to fund master's studies should apply directly to the university, not to SI. Only doctoral-level scholarship applicants should apply via SI.

Are there tuition fees at Swedish universities and university colleges?

With rare exceptions, all tuition fees in higher education in Sweden are subsidised by the government. This applies to foreign as well as Swedish students. Higher education is fully financed by the state, a system common to many European countries. You will still have to cover living expenses and pay student union fees, though.

Does the Swedish Institute offer Swedish courses?

Yes, SI does offer summer courses in co-operation with various "folk high schools" in Sweden. These are not beginners' courses, however; you'll need to already have studied Swedish for 100 hours or more. There are also courses for language instructors who teach Swedish abroad. More information at the bottom of this page.

What are my chances of receiving an SI scholarship?

Over 500 scholarships are granted every year, though some scholarships have eligibility restrictions. Because academic institutions make an initial selection of candidates to recommend to SI, it is difficult for SI to gauge the size of the original pool. However, SI receives up to 10 recommended candidates for each of the 300 or so master's programmes, in addition to applications from doctoral students. In total, SI processes around 2,000 applications each year.

Can I apply to several institutions simultaneously and ask each one for a scholarship? Will this jeopardise my chances?

If you are applying to master's programmes, you may apply for an SI scholarship via as many institutions as you want, simultaneously, provided the programmes you want the scholarship for are in the same general academic discipline. If you are applying for doctoral-level studies or research, you may not apply for an SI scholarship via multiple channels simultaneously.

Is there an age limit for applications to Swedish universities or for Swedish Institute scholarships?

No, there are no age-based restrictions.

Programmes for a master's degree in the US typically take longer to complete than the ones I've been looking into in Sweden. Are the degrees compatible?

As of the 2007-2008 academic year, there are two kinds of master's programmes in Sweden leading to two different kinds of degrees, the Degree of Master (One Year) which is called "magisterexamen" in Swedish, and the Degree of Master (Two Years), called "masterexamen". Swedish bachelor's degree programmes specialise earlier than equivalent American programmes, so the same level of specialisation may be reached in a shorter amount of time.

Individual academic institutions outside of Sweden set their own policy on how to translate Swedish degrees. In all cases we are aware of, Sweden's reputation as a first-rate education destination has meant that degrees awarded in Sweden are given very generous recognition by institutions elsewhere. However, if you have plans to continue your education at a specific university, you may want to check beforehand how they translate a Swedish degree.

It is likewise difficult to predict how a degree will be valued by a specific employer. Demand for staff with international experience and perspectives is growing, but an employer's interest will also depend on the relevance of your studies to the available job position.

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