1. Higher education in Sweden

1.1 Swedish higher education system

There are 14 universities in Sweden as well as 11 public university colleges. There are three private universities.

All institutions are typically referred to as universities and they all have the ability to award bachelor-level qualifications.

Currently, you can find around 60 Bachelor's degrees taught in English at Swedish universities. The degrees on offer tend to be in STEM or business, although Malmo University has a wide range of social sciences degrees. There is very little on offer in creative subjects aside from some niche subjects such as Wood Orientated Furniture Design at the University of Gothenburg.

1.2 Entry requirements for universities in Sweden

Completion of secondary education at advanced level, equivalent to passing the exam at the end of Swedish upper secondary school, is the basic requirement for entry to Swedish universities and university colleges. If you have A levels you should be eligible for entry to a Swedish university although each university is free to determine its own entry requirements and you will need to contact each university directly to find out what these are. In some cases, the combination of subjects expected by Swedish universities can be surprising. For example, Lund University' BSc in Geography requires maths, physics, chemistry and biology at A level. Geography is not required.

Admission to all undergraduate education is limited. All study programs and courses have a fixed number of places, which are usually exceeded by the number of applicants. Every university and university college has its own procedure for selecting among eligible applicants. The criteria applied include: grades obtained, results from previous courses, assessment of work samples, interview results, special admission tests and work experience. These criteria vary from institution to institution.

1.3 Application process for Swedish universities

The application window opens around mid October. Deadlines may vary but typically you need to apply by 15th January for entry in the following September. This deadline is sometimes flexible. Some courses also have a second application window but international students are advised to apply in the first session.

There is a centralised application organisation called www.universityadmissions.se that is used by all universities so in theory, you should apply centrally. However, we often hear of students who have applied outside of this centralised system so it is always worth checking directly with the university to which you are applying.

The application process in Sweden is complicated by the fact that universities do not make conditional offers as they do in the UK. Offers are made either unconditionally or only after school leaving certificate results are announced. As A level results come out only a matter of days before term starts in Sweden, technically there is no way that British applicants can start university straight after they finish school. Most universities are able to be flexible. Unfortunately, Lund University which has the most to offer British students is not one of them. The situation in Sweden is becoming more accommodating to international students so do check if this is still a problem.

Offers in the first round are usually made in March and you need to confirm by April.

1.4 Accreditation and recognition in Sweden

In Sweden, all degree programmes are accredited by the Swedish Higher Education Authority. Evaluations are carried out every six years with a great focus on student experience.

A number of Swedish universities have introduced the “European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System” (ECTS) standard grading scale for all students. The system allows you to get your degree “compared” within the EU. It also specifies learning outcomes and competences to be acquired.

2. How much does it cost to study in Sweden?

2.1 Tuition fees for Swedish universities

Swedish universities do not charge tuition fees for EU students. Even private universities such as Jonkoping University do not charge tuition fees.

2.2 Costs of living in Sweden

Living costs in Sweden depend largely on your individual lifestyle. A sample monthly budget is as follows:

Food SEK 1,900
Accommodation SEK 4,000
Local travel (bus only) SEK 380
Telephone/internet SEK 300
Copy machine credits SEK 141
Insurance, medical care and hygiene SEK 500
Hobby/leisure, miscellaneous SEK 1,000
Extra warm clothes SEK 580
Total SEK 8,500 (GBP 700)

3. Student life in Sweden

3.1 How do I get a visa?

As Sweden is part of the European Union this is not required. You will need to register with the local authorities once you are resident in Sweden but this is not a step you need to undertake in advance.

3.2 Can I work there as a student?

If you have an EU passport you can work while you are a student.

3.3 On arrival

Once you arrive register at your local Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket) and they will issue a 10-digit personal identity number (personnummer) if your course is longer than a year, or a coordination number (samordningsnummer) for a 1-year stay.

3.4 Accommodation

Student accommodation in Sweden is not managed by universities. However, most universities have information about local student housing companies and organisations and give students advice on how to sign up with them. You might find some private options on housing websites run by student unions.

Monthly rent ranges between SEK 2,500 and SEK 6,500 (£190 - £501).

3.5 Opening a Bank Account

Swedish bank SEB has a special offer allowing international students to open a bank account without a Swedish personal identity number. You only need to present a certificate from your university and your passport at a SEB local branch office.

4. Which are the best universities in Sweden?

1. Karolinska Institute

2. Lund University

3. Stockholm University

4. Uppsala University

5. Royal Institute of Technology

Lund University teaches five Bachelors degree in English. Karolinska Institutet recently started a BSc in Biomedicine. Stockholm University offers degrees in business and management with European languages. Uppsala University has started to offer degrees in English at its Gotland campus but nothing on the mainland yet.

Universities in Sweden

About A Star Future

A Star Future provides information and guidance to British students looking to pursue their undergraduate studies abroad.

Through our presentations in schools and our websites we aim to ensure that British-educated students are well informed about their choices.