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Study in Sweden

If you’re curious about studying in Sweden next autumn but don’t know where to start, look no further: here’s your guide to the process. The following factors make you study in Sweden.

1. Creativity is Central

When you study in Sweden, you’re encouraged to think independently, creatively and critically. You’ll develop your ability to question the status quo by assessing information, seeking new perspectives and coming up with well-informed opinions. You’ll be free to think creatively because of the informal and non-hierarchical nature of Swedish society, where everyone is encouraged to contribute ideas and opinions.

This independence of mind and the fact that everyone can make their voice heard are two of the reasons why Sweden ranks among the world’s most innovative nations. Another is that investment in research is among the highest in the world in relation to GDP.

Sweden’s status as a leader in innovation and a home of trendsetters and early adopters is nothing new: the list of Swedish world-changing inventions is a long one and includes the seatbelt, the pacemaker and the music service Spotify. Which one of your brilliant ideas will Sweden help make reality?

2. Coursework is challenging – in a good way

Sweden has a long and proud history of academic excellence and despite its relatively small population, it’s home to some of the world’s best universities. The entire Swedish higher education system is ranked as one of the best in the world, and several Swedish universities are ranked by the Times Higher Education and the Academic Ranking of World Universities as being among the world’s best.

In Sweden you’ll find a strong focus on rationality, reason and applying knowledge so that it makes a real difference. Look no further than the Nobel Prize, the world’s most prestigious academic distinction, for an illustration of the Swedish approach.

As a student here you’ll become part of this tradition of academic excellence. Just don’t expect to passively receive information: you’ll be encouraged and challenged to contribute, speak your mind and take your education into your own hands.

Swedish universities are well-adapted to the needs of international students, and Sweden consistently ranks in the top three in the world for English proficiency. You’ll be able to use English with everyone you meet, from the classroom to city the centre.

3. Sustainability and the environment are in focus

If you’re concerned with sustainable development for a greener future, you’ll feel right at home in Sweden. Environmental issues are high priority here, and Sweden has been named the most sustainable country in the world for its use of renewable energy (it has the highest percentage of renewable energy in the EU).

Environmental thinking and sustainability are a part of all aspects of life here, including education. Studying here will give you the chance to draw on Sweden’s deep environmental experience and apply its sustainable approach to your own chosen field.And it’s not hard to see why Swedes are so keen to protect the environment: nature here is breathtaking, with huge forests, beautiful beaches and snow-capped mountains. Sweden’s 29 national parks and nearly 4,000 nature reserves offer you the opportunity to ski, hike, fish, swim and mountain bike.

4. Equality and diversity are central to Swedish society

Swedish society is known for its inclusiveness and equality – you may have heard Sweden referred to as the most equal country in the world. It consistently places among the world’s top countries in gender equality, while lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights in Sweden are regarded as among the most progressive in the world.

The belief that everyone is of equal value contributes to Sweden’s consensus approach to getting things done, where everyone takes part in the decision-making process. During your studies, you’ll learn how to balance different interests, needs and ideas to bring out the best in everyone and solve complex issues as a team – vital skills for your global career, where teamwork across cultures is the norm.

5. You’ll learn skills for a global career

What’s the most important thing you’ll need for success in your career? According to a global study of CEOs, it’s creativity. And creativity is exactly what studying in Sweden will foster, along with other in-demand skills such as how to combine theory and practice, and how to navigate complex situations where there’s no easy solution.

Many degree programmes in Sweden include internships, which are a great way to get real-world experience while you build your professional network. If you’re interested in research, doing a master’s in Sweden can be a great way to make the contacts you’ll need to carry on and do a PhD.

The fact that Sweden is home to the largest number of multinationals per capita of any country in the world and is the birthplace of many world-conquering companies – including IKEA, TetraPak, Volvo, Ericsson, AstraZeneca and H&M – means that getting on the career ladder here can really take you places. Should you receive a job offer while you’re still studying here, you can apply for a work permit and enjoy the work-life balance that Sweden is famous for.

    Bonus: life is international student-friendly

  • Everyone speaks English – Sweden regularly ranks as one of the top countries in the world for non-native speakers of English. That means you don’t have to speak any Swedish to study here.
  • Public transport is widespread, and it works. Sweden’s extensive network of buses, trains, subways, trams, boats, planes and more can take you anywhere you want to go, car-free.
  • International students can work in Sweden. Though your studies are your number-one priority, there’s no legal limit to the amount of hours international students can work during their studies. After completing your studies, you can apply to extend your residence permit to look for work for up to six months. (If you do want to work, learning Swedish is important – it’s often a requirement for jobs).
  • Sweden is clean and safe, and the standard of living is high. If you’re curious about studying in Sweden next autumn but don’t know where to start, look no further: here’s your guide to the process.

Document Checklist for Study Abroad

  • Passport photo
  • Photocopy of valid passport
  • Photocopy of valid visa
  • Personal ID card
  • Health certificate
  • Certification of no criminal record
  • English language proficiency certificate
  • Letter of guarantee (parent or legal guardian of student signs a declaration by which he/she assumes responsibility for the student to abide rules and regulations of China and of the university)
  • Proof that you can support your studies in Sweden
  • Certificate/diploma from last graduated school
  • Academic transcript from last graduated school

More documents may be required, depending on each school’s request.

Entry Requirements:

For the pre-Masters courses, typical entry requirements are at least 3 years of higher education and UK IELTS 5.5 (minimum of 5.0 in all skills).

If you do not meet the English language entry level but have at let UKVI IELTS 4.5 (minimum 4.0 in all skills) you can do a course that includes extended English and skills (EES).

Intake: Students may be able to start in spring (January – April), summer (May – August) or autumn (September – November).

Turn in your application online by 15 January for second round.

The application deadline for programmes starting autumn 2018 is 15 January. It’s always a good idea to turn in your application a few days early to avoid last-minute stress! Supporting documents and your application fee (or proof of exemption) are due by 1 February.

Apply for Swedish Institute scholarships

There is a two-step application process for the Swedish Institute Study Scholarships, which are available for for master’s students from developing countries. If you’re planning on applying for a Swedish Institute scholarship, make sure to apply in time. The application period is open 2-9 February 2018.

Keep in mind you will need to send in your programme application by the 15 January deadline.

One application

Sweden is unique in that they have a coordinated admissions system. This means that applicants can apply for courses and programmes at all universities on the same application – and right here at Universityadmissions.se!

Convenient electronic application and process

    All of our international applicants apply electronically for courses and programmes. Here on Universityadmissions.se, you can:
  • create a user account
  • search for courses and programmes
  • fill out and send in your application
  • pay your application fee, if required
  • upload your required documents
  • follow your application
  • receive and print out your Notification of Selection Results
  • reply to any offers of admission (Second round only)

Follow the steps in this section to complete your application quickly and correctly.

One set of supporting documents

Students must submit documentation in support of their application. These documents can include upper secondary school transcripts, university transcripts and English test results. The documents you upload or send in to University Admissions in Sweden are scanned into our electronic admissions system. In that way, no matter where an admissions officer is in Sweden, he or she can bring up your record and look at all of your documents and your application information.

Preliminary assessment

Your application will be registered and checked in several steps and by different institutions. Because of the number of applications that we receive, this process can take some time.

Please note that in some cases, the final assessment will not be made until the very last week before selection.

Notification of selection results

Once the selection results have been published, you will receive an email reminder to log in to 'My pages' and check your results.

Your notification will be accessible online as well as in a printable PDF-file. If you are offered a place, read the instructions about applying for a student residence permit and payment of tuition fees (if required), as well as any information about enrollment/registration days or introductory meetings held by the university.

Reply online - Second round

If you applied for the Second round for the autumn or spring semester (application deadlines 15 April and 15 October), you will be required to reply online to your first Notification of Selection Results. If you fail to reply, or reply after the deadline, you will lose your place. Please be sure to reply on time!

If you applied to the First round for the autumn or spring semester (application deadlines 15 January and 15 August), you do not need to reply to your offer.

Read about different programmes and universities

Your first step is to get acquainted with the Swedish university system and the different options you have available. See Higher education in Sweden – the basics for a basic overview of what it’s like to study here and Degree programmes for a more in-depth look at your options. Once you have an idea of the basics, read up on the different universities in Sweden and consider what type of school would suit you the best. And make sure to check out the student blog to find what current international students think of living and studying in Sweden.

Choose a programme

Visit Universityadmissions.se to search the over 1,000 programmes at bachelor’s and master’s level that are offered in English in Sweden. You can also find programme listings at universities’ own websites. You can choose up to four master’s programmes or eight bachelor’s programmes to apply for in each application round.

The full list of programmes starting during the autumn 2018 will be available on 1 December 2017, though most universities post their programmes starting in October. While you’re waiting for the full list, you can browse through last autumn’s offering to get an idea of what will be on offer.

Fees and Expenses

Planning your budget is an important part of preparing to study in Sweden. Here’s an overview of the different costs you should include in your budget.

In Sweden, the currency used is the Swedish krona (SEK). We’ve given costs in SEK; use a currency converter like Google or xe.com to find up-to-date exchange rates. In January 2017:

  • 1 EUR = about 9.5 SEK
  • 1 USD = about 8.85 SEK
  • 10 INR = about 1.3 SEK

Application and tuition fees

Application and tuition fees apply for students who are not citizens of an EU/EEA/Nordic country or Switzerland studying at the bachelor’s or master’s level.

The application fee is SEK 900. This fee is paid as part of your online application at Universityadmissions.se.

Tuition fees in Sweden vary depending upon the subject though the average fee for master’s programme is SEK 129,000/year while bachelor programmes are generally less expensive.

A standard range of tuition fees for various subjects is shown below though the exact level may vary.

Social sciences and humanities SEK 80,000 – 110,000/year
Technical programmes and natural sciences SEK 120,000 – 145,000/year
Architecture and design SEK 190,000 – 270,000 /year

The tuition fees for each programme are listed at Universityadmissions.se and on each programme’s website.

Read more about tuition fees and figure out if you’re required to pay fees at Universityadmissions.se.

Living expenses

An average monthly student budget is about SEK 8,000 per month. Of course, your costs will vary depending on where you live and your personal preferences. Read more at Cost of living and on the student blog.

Programmes and Courses: What’s the Difference?

A degree programme at a Swedish university is made up of a number of courses in a particular field of study leading to a specific degree. Courses, sometimes known as modules in other countries, are the building blocks of each programme. Each semester, programme students follow one large course or several smaller courses.

Instead of applying for a full degree programme, it’s also possible to apply for admission to some courses directly. When you apply for and enroll on a course rather than a programme, you are only registered for that specific course. When you apply for and enrol on a programme, you will then register for many courses over the duration of your programme.

Degree programmes usually contain a mix of compulsory, recommended and optional courses.

Academic Calendar

    The Swedish academic year is divided into two semesters:
  • Autumn semester begins at the end of August and lasts until mid-January, usually with a short break at the end of December.
  • Spring semester runs from mid-January to the beginning of June.

Tina Stafren/imagebank.sweden.se

Course Structure

Full-time studies in Sweden correspond approximately to a 40-hour week, though you may only have a few hours of lectures or seminars each week. The rest of your time is spent reading and working on group projects and other assignments. You’ll often take only one course at a time for a period of several weeks, after which an examination is given directly. After the examination, a new course begins. For instance, during a 20-week semester, you might take four courses in a row for five weeks each. In some programmes, you might instead take several courses at the same time, with an examination at the end of the semester. The structure of individual courses varies with the subject area. Technical programmes often include a high proportion of classroom and lab hours, whilst courses in the social sciences may involve fewer classroom hours and more independent and group work.

Costs in Living

Like everywhere, living costs in Sweden depend on your personal lifestyle and where you live. Here’s an average monthly budget:

Food: SEK 2,000
Accommodation: SEK 3,700
Local travel: SEK 550
Phone/internet: SEK 300
Hobby/leisure, miscellaneous: SEK 1,450
Total: SEK 8,000 (around €850 or $1,000).

Work After your Studies

Sweden is a great place to start your career, and innovative, international companies are found throughout the country. You can apply to extend your residence permit for up to six months to search for a job or start a company, and if you receive a job offer meeting certain conditions you can then apply for a work permit. For more information on requirements and how to apply for an extension or a work permit, visit the Swedish Migration Agency’s website.

Living expenses

An average monthly student budget is about SEK 8,000 per month. Of course, your costs will vary depending on where you live and your personal preferences. Read more at Cost of living and on the student blog.

Health Insurance

See Health insurance and medical care for information on health insurance for international students in Sweden.

Student union fees

Students usually join the local student union for a small membership fee. This gives you access to various student activities and student discounts. Fees range from SEK 50-350 per semester, depending on the union. Your relevant student union can provide information on membership fees and benefits.

Textbooks

On average, expect to spend about SEK 750 per month on textbooks. In some subjects, like law and natural sciences, this figure is likely to be higher. Many student unions organise book sales where students can buy used textbooks cheaply; it’s also common for students to post notices on campus selling their used copies of previous years’ textbooks. Websites for buying used textbooks are also popular.

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