If you're looking for a world-class education at a fraction of the price, you really ought to consider studying in Sweden...
Sweden is a Scandinavian country, located in Northern Europe between Norway and Finland. Famed not just for IKEA and Swedish meatballs, Sweden has a long history of academic excellence.
Swedish is the official language, and while learning the lingo will 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, good news for work experience opportunities and career prospects.
The Swedish education system
There are over 50 institutions offering higher education in Sweden, which is based on teaching and research. Degrees are generally offered at three levels: bachelor's, masters and doctoral.
Institutions are 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.
Universities and university colleges enjoy a great deal of freedom in Sweden and operate via an agreement with the government, which allows them to be self-governing and independent.
Masters programmes in Sweden collaborate closely with local industry and many institutions are obliged to interact with the surrounding society by specialising in specific subject areas.
The Swedish academic year is divided into two semesters:
- autumn semester - beginning at the end of August and ending mid-January with a short break for Christmas;
- spring semester - running from mid-January to the beginning of June.
Choose from seven Masters programmes in sustainable energy, each offering a rare combination of engineering and entrepreneurship
The only prerequisites for entry on to bachelor and postgraduate programmes is that you have completed high school and post 16 education, and have obtained an undergraduate degree respectively.
You must also be able to demonstrate proficiency in English, whether you are a native speaker, or 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.
To study courses in Swedish, you will need to prove your language skills are equivalent to the secondary level (high school). This can be done through the Tisus - Test in Swedish for University Studies.
Students from within the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland do not pay tuition fees in Sweden. Non-EU nationals will have to pay for bachelors and master programmes, while PhD courses are free.
There are a range of scholarship options available to international students studying at all levels of higher education.
Funding to study in Sweden
There are scholarships available for international students coming from outside the EU area. It's normal for Swedish students to complete their studies without scholarships or funding.
According to Study in Sweden, the official resource on higher education in Sweden, you will need around (Swedish Krona) SEK 7,660 per month for living costs, which currently corresponds to around £670.
Living costs will of course depend largely on where you live and your individual lifestyle. Stockholm and Gothenburg will be slightly more expensive than smaller towns. Visit your international office for more information as there is likely to be discrepancies at each university or town.
Swedish exchanges and placements
Students attending a UK university can take part in the EU's education, training and youth support programme Erasmus+. The scheme replaces its predecessor 'Erasmus' and offers study, training, work experience and voluntary placements to millions of students. 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. Check that your university is involved in the programme and offers the Erasmus+ scheme in your subject.
It isn't always necessary to speak the language of your host country and you can arrange intensive language courses before you go. Speak to the Erasmus+ coordinator at your university about available opportunities.
As an EU citizen, you are permitted to live in any EU country while studying as long as you:
- are studying for more than three months;
- are enrolled at an approved university/other educational institution;
- have sufficient income (from any source) to live without needing income support;
- have comprehensive health insurance cover.
Some countries require you to register with the local authority after three months. Find out how to register at Europa - Rights, Conditions and Formalities.