Home to a fine selection of world-class universities, this innovative, diverse and internationally-focused nation is a great place to continue your education…

Sweden is a Scandinavian country, located in northern Europe between Norway and Finland. Famed not just for IKEA and the Nobel Prize, it has a long and proud history of academic excellence and invention.

While Swedish is the official language, and learning the lingo may help you to integrate, it isn't essential for getting by, as the vast majority of Swedes speak fluent English.

Many courses at Swedish universities enjoy strong links with industry, which is good news when it comes to work experience opportunities and your career prospects.

Away from your studies, the environment is a sight to behold, with sprawling forests, snow-capped mountain ranges and wonderful beaches providing the perfect backdrop, while allowing you the chance to give skiing, mountain biking, hiking and fishing a try.

Swedish universities

There are 37 universities in Sweden, with institutions free to structure courses and programmes according to their own needs using a credit system, allowing students to have more control over their learning and education.

Swedish academic years are split into two semesters:

  • autumn - from the end of August to mid-January (with a short break towards the end of December);
  • spring - running from mid-January until the beginning of June.

Lund University (70th) and KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm (92nd) both feature within the top 100 of the QS World University Rankings 2015/16, with six other institutions also present on the full list.

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Student exchanges

Students attending a UK university can take part in the European Union's (EU) education, training and youth support programme Erasmus+. The scheme offers study, training, work experience and voluntary placements to students in partner countries. Opportunities last from three months to one academic year.

Financial support is available through the Erasmus+ initiative to any UK public, private or not-for-profit organisation actively involved in education or training.

Your university must have a formal agreement with a partner university in another EU country, so be sure to check that your university is involved in the programme and offers the scheme in your subject. Speak to the Erasmus+ coordinator at your university about any available opportunities in Sweden.

Degree courses in Sweden

Almost 100 Bachelors degree courses are offered in English, with these three-year, full-time programmes amounting to 180 ECTS credits. Applicants must have successfully completed upper secondary school (sixth form or college).

The majority of courses end with a thesis in the final semester. Many also include an internship component.

Swedish speakers can apply for courses taught in the native language. For more information on a Swedish degree or kandidatprogram, visit Antagning.se.

Masters degrees

With more than 900 courses taught in English across many disciplines, there's plenty of choice if you're looking to gain a Masters degree in Sweden. Requiring one or two years of study, equating to 60-120 European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) credits, these graduate programmes are internationally recognised and meet European standards.

The only prerequisite for entry onto a postgraduate programme is that you have completed high school and post-16 education, and have obtained an undergraduate degree.

Academic courses typically consist of compulsory core units with electives in related areas, enabling you to develop a deep understanding of your specialist field. They also usually have a strong practical focus, with advanced coursework culminating in a research-based thesis.

PhDs

Sweden is a renowned destination for research, with Doctoral programmes typically lasting a minimum of four years of full-time study - the equivalent of 240 ECTS credits.

PhDs can take the form of a collection of several smaller pieces of work or one larger department project, with your research usually culminating in a dissertation. You'll be assigned an individual tutor to oversee your work.

These places are typically paid for by universities or an external funding source, so Doctoral students can expect to receive a monthly wage and won't have to pay any tuition fees.

Course fees

Students from within the EU, European Economic Area (EEA), a Nordic country or Switzerland do not pay tuition fees in Sweden.

According to Universityadmissions.se, non-EU nationals pay an online application fee of Swedish krona (SEK) 900 (about £82) for Bachelors and Masters programmes, with tuition fees ranging from between SEK 80,000 (£7,317) to SEK 140,000 (£12,805) for the academic year.

You should expect to pay around SEK 8,000 (£732) a month on living expenses, depending on where you are based, the cost of accommodation and your individual lifestyle. Stockholm and Gothenburg are slightly more expensive than smaller towns.

Funding to study in Sweden

There are a range of scholarship options available to international students studying at all levels of higher education, including provision for those coming from outside of the EU. It's normal for Swedish students to complete their studies without scholarships or funding.

Swedish Institute Study Scholarships (SISS) are postgraduate awards, covering tuition fees and living costs. They are open to full-time students from selected countries.

Other university scholarships and awards can be viewed on the Study in Sweden website.

How to apply

Online applications for undergraduate and postgraduate programmes are made through Sweden's central application portal, Universityadmissions.se. However, you should check your university's website for guidelines on how to apply to specific courses.

In addition to completing the online application form, you'll also need to provide additional documentation such as examination results and proof of your English proficiency.

The Swedish Council for Higher Education (UHR) is responsible for evaluating international qualifications, with your credentials looked at more closely once you've applied for a Bachelors or Masters course.

For more general information on how to apply, see Study in Sweden.

Language requirements

You must be able to demonstrate proficiency in English if you're not a native speaker, by means of testing systems such as the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Exact guidelines for language requirements will vary at each university and course.

To study courses in Swedish, you'll need to prove that your language skills are equivalent to secondary school level (high school). This can be done through the Test in Swedish for University Studies (TISUS).

Student visas

As an EU citizen, you're permitted to live in any EU country while studying as long as you:

  • are enrolled at an approved university/other educational institution;
  • are studying for more than three months;
  • have comprehensive health insurance cover;
  • have sufficient income (from any source) to live without needing income support.

Students from non-EU countries looking to study at a Swedish university for a minimum of three months will need to obtain a residence permit. The application process can be lengthy, so ensure that you allow enough time for this to be issued before the start of the course. See the Swedish Migration Agency for more details on residence permits and visas.

This visa information is still valid following the UK's decision to leave the EU and will be updated if changes happen.

Comparison to UK qualifications

Existing undergraduate qualifications acquired in other European countries will usually be recognised and accepted by Swedish universities. Your Swedish Masters degree will also be internationally recognised, including by UK employers.

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