With 39 universities to choose from in this English speaking country, and with the benefits of living a “Lagom” life in their open-minded society, Sweden is increasingly becoming a higher education destination for many international students. If you’re considering studying in this Scandinavian sanctuary then read on...
Where is Sweden?
Sweden is a Scandinavian country in Europe with a population of approximately 10 million. The northern region of the country falls within the arctic circle, resulting in long, cold winters and short, mild summers. It’s a country with fantastic scenery and the freedom to roam which gives plenty of scope for adventurous outdoor activities. It borders Norway and Finland, with Denmark nearby, offering an ideal base for travelling around Europe.
However, Swedes like their personal space - don’t be surprised if no-one sits next to you on the bus!
The Swedish concept of Lagom sums up their philosophy for living a happy and balanced life; not too little, not too much, just right. It represents the art of enjoying a slower pace of life. Swedish society is open-minded; In Sweden you are free to express your own opinions and there is gender equality (half of all politicians are women).
Although street signs, food packaging and announcements on public transport are in Swedish most Swedes speak fluent English, so it’s possible to get by as an international student without knowing a lot of Swedish.
The environment and sustainability has been a top priority for Swedes for a long time. The country aims for 100% renewable energy production by 2040. Buses run on biogas derived from food waste and recycling is the norm.
Higher education in Sweden
There are 39 universities to choose from in Sweden (14 public universities, 16 private universities some independent institutions of higher education such as Stockholm School of Economics and Chalmers University of Technology). University colleges are regarded as universities and are no less prestigious than universities.
Several universities rank highly in the world rankings; Karolinska Institute, Lund University, Uppsala University, Stockholm University and University of Gottenburg. The academic year in Sweden is divided into two semesters; autumn semester from August to mid-January and spring semester from mid-January to the beginning of June.
Choosing a course
General information about studying in Sweden at undergraduate and masters level shows there are plenty of opportunities. There’s a wide range of Bachelors and postgraduate Masters degree courses which are taught in English. You can search for courses here.
Entry requirements for Swedish universities
Entry to undergraduate courses requires the successful completion of upper secondary school (eg sixth form or college in the UK). Entry to postgraduate Masters courses requires satisfactory completion of an undergraduate degree. You must check the specific entry requirements for any course that interests you in the course details on the university website.
English language requirements can be satisfied in several ways. Your upper secondary studies can meet the requirement eg GCSE/IGCSE grade C/4. If you are a graduate applying for a Masters course and your Bachelors degree was taught in English this will satisfy the requirements. Alternatively, an internationally approved English test such as IELTS or TOEFL will fulfil the English language requirement.
How to apply to universities in Sweden
Apply to study in Sweden using the centralised online application system. Most courses taught in English start in the autumn semester. Apply online any time from mid October up until the deadline in mid January. You may apply for up to eight Bachelors or four Masters degree courses. Your course selections will be ranked and considered in order of ranking. Admissions results are published in April and your university will contact you if you must reply to an offer.
“lycka till med din ansökan!” - “good luck with your application!"
Financing your Swedish studies
Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland don’t pay any tuition fees but international students will be charged tuition fees in Sweden. The level of fee depends on the course you apply for. There are some scholarships available from The Swedish Institute and from individual universities. The Swedish Institute is a government body which awards scholarships to international students from specific countries. These scholarships are for Masters courses starting in the autumn semester only. Find out more here.
Most universities in Sweden offer scholarships. Check university websites for further information and apply directly to the university for any available scholarships.
Only students from the EU or EEA have the right to study in Sweden without a residence permit. All other students must obtain a residence permit to study in Sweden for more than three months. The first tuition fee instalment must be paid before a residence permit is granted. Apply online for a residence permit from the Swedish Migration Agency.