As one of the few but famous countries, the Kingdom of Sweden is part of one of Europe’s most historically and culturally rich regions widely known as Scandinavia. With a vast territory ranked third-largest in the EU and a compact population, there is no doubt the Swedes have brought a lot to the world. And yes – far more than the Viking heritage, Volvo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic!
You are right – we will be focusing on Sweden’s higher education system and in turn – its Masters degree opportunities in English! So what makes Sweden a far more different and diverse European university center? Are there any distinctive features in the tutoring and degree system? Find out below!
To sum up, there are a total of 35 educational institutions in Sweden, which can be divided into two types – universities and university colleges. The main difference is that the first focus more on research and research-oriented subjects while the second revolve around applied sciences.
And between these lines you can find one of Sweden’s major features in terms of education – the aim to provide a more personal and independent approach towards each study.
Speaking of studies, just take a look at some of the most common areas of study:
And while the first two definitely make sense, as the country is home to many advance industries and companies – Ericsson, IKEA, Skype, Volvo, etc., the last one might raise some eyebrows. However, it shouldn’t – Sweden is constantly referred to as “the most sustainable country in the world” taking environmental issues seriously.
Fun fact: Did you know that the Swedes are planning to develop a full 100% renewable energy production by no later than 2040?
But where does all of this lead to? Well, according to the latest rankings of Times Higher Education, there are a total of 7 Swedish institutions in the Top 250 of the world. And on a more general note, Sweden annually ranks as one of the globe’s most innovative countries maintaining a strong economy with low unemployment, high investments in research and steady GDP growth.
Furthermore, Sweden is ranked 2nd as one of the world’s most proficient in English without having the language as an official one. Maybe that is exactly why there are more than 900 study programmes taught entirely in English in different kinds of areas!
Let’s face it – you are already considering your options to spend a year or even two at a Swedish university. And if that is the case, here is what you should know.
In general, the structure of a Masters programme does not differ from other major European countries. The typical duration is between one and two years awarding 60 or 120 ECTS credits, respectively.
As already mentioned, make sure to prepare for more hands-on coursework rather than listening to regular lectures, as you will be expected to prepare analyses, conduct researches and directly apply theory to practice. Just like preparing for a Nobel Prize – there is no wonder that it is awarded by Swedish institutions!
Try to shortlist a few Masters programmes in Sweden with our Masters Search tool – this will help you better understand and plan the next stages.
Without a doubt, the first and the most important document that should be on hand is your Bachelor’s degree in the same or similar study area of application. Secondly, you should consider your options regarding the demonstration of your English language skills.
This is possible by providing either IELTS with a score between 5.0 and 7.0 depending on the level of English required or TOEFL ranging from 530 to 600 points for the paper based version or from 72 to 100 for the internet-based one.
Additionally, you can also apply with a Cambridge certificate – FCE, CAE, CPE.
Important: Note that there might be some additional specific requirements set by each university/university college, so make sure to check the corresponding official website of the institution for more details. These can be, for example, a mandatory submission of a motivation/reference letter or the undergoing of a personal interview.
Keen on enrolling for a Masters taught in Swedish? No problem – several universities offer full-time and part-time qualifying courses in Swedish allowing participants to continue with subject-based studies afterwards.
Now that you have your two documents ready, you can easily submit your application through Universityadmission.se - the central online platform of the Swedish Council for Higher Education allowing you to easily apply online for up to 4 different study programmes.
You can check if you can upload the full set of the required documents online and even avoid nerve-wracking postal services! However, if you are a student coming from a country outside of the EU, EEA or from Switzerland there might be certain restrictions and even fees upon online application.
Application deadlines? They are not an issue – there are two sets of admission rounds. Still, aim to apply as soon as possible, more specifically before the 15th January for the autumn/winter semester and during August for the spring/summer semester.
And again, if you are an international student from a third country, it is highly recommended that you apply early so that you can also consider receiving your residence permit or Visa.
Here comes the best part – prospective students from the EU/EEA or Switzerland seeking to enroll for higher education in Sweden are exempt from tuition fees.
In all other cases, participants have to consider a budget in the area of SEK 130,000 per year for a general Masters programme. Here is an overview for some of the most popular study areas and the standard costs:
Important: Even though Sweden is part of the EU, the country uses the Swedish krona (SEK) as the official currency.
Drawn back by hefty costs? Don’t worry – there are several funding opportunities offered by the Swedish government and the universities themselves:
Up for a challenge? Make sure to check out additional scholarship opportunities offered by companies, foundations and other organizations. Keep in mind that certain criteria and eligibility restrictions may apply.
Don’t forget that finances set aside for textbooks and other academic materials are also an essential component of your early tuition fees. For this reason, you should budget around SEK 800 each month so that you can prevent any nasty surprises.
The official body that is responsible for the assessment, effects, results and quality of higher education in Sweden is the Swedish Higher Education Authority. As for the awarded degrees, you can be awarded with one or more of the following below:
Thinking about your health is always a good idea, especially if you are far away from home. If you plan to study in Sweden as a student from the EU/EEA or Switzerland, just make sure to bring your European Health Insurance Card or register for one.
Together with it you can easily pay the same amount of money as a native resident for any paid health service and become eligible for the same health benefits.
However, if you are an international student with a residence permit for at least one year, remember to register at the Swedish Tax Agency in order to receive the same as above.
Important: You should not risk leaving your healthcare benefits behind, as the fees for medical treatment in Sweden are extremely high. Even a single appointment at the doctor can end up costing you more than SEK 200.
Without a doubt, Sweden is a great place to study – but even a better place to live in. And so far there is no denying – everyone speaks English, the standard (of living) is high and the whole country is green. Still, this is only the icing on the cake, as the cherry is yet to be placed.
In terms of finding a place to stay, the options are the same as in other countries – you can either go for a student dormitory or pay for private accommodation.
As for the first case, you will be looking at a monthly rent of around SEK 2,000 to SEK 7,000 depending on your location – a big city such as Stockholm and Gothenburg is more expensive than a smaller one such like Umeå. Unfortunately, this option requires additional application and often ending up in a queue system and availability issues.
If you are searching for a private flat, however, you will be gazing at a double or maybe even triple amount of the figures above excluding the finances that you would have to budget for electricity, water, TV and any other utilities.
Important: Finding suitable accommodation is a subjective and sensitive matter. For this reason, it is best that you prepare your own research through the various provided guides and websites either of your chosen university or third parties.
In terms of living costs, the cheapest way is to attend student buffets or simply prepare some basic dishes by yourself. You can get some basic groceries such as bread, milk, rice, eggs and regular chicken meat for less than SEK 100 and easily live through a whole week. You can hardly afford a meal at an inexpensive restaurant for the same amount!
Nevertheless, you should definitely spend a few nights out so you can enjoy some traditional Swedish food – Lingonberries, Gubbröra, Husmanskost, Raggmunk. Quick tip – some of the most delicious dishes usually sound the strangest! Oh, and prepare for a lot of seafood.
Last but not least, public transport in Sweden is of very high order. Each city and town offers an extensive network of different buses, boats, trains and subways that can take you from one point to another. Check in with the local service provider for information about student cards and discounts.
In total, prepare no more than SEK 8000-9000 each month for your daily life in Sweden. In comparison, this amount equals almost €900 which is not much higher than the amount you would need at another European university country.
At some point you might decide that it is a good idea to reduce your costs and gain some experience by finding a job or applying for a paid internship. In order to do that, you just have to prepare a CV and make sure that you have applied for a work permit if you are an international student.
Some good places to start applying are the various employment fairs organized around Sweden – sometimes by companies like IKEA and Volvo themselves.
Of course, registration at your local university career center or simply taking part in student union sessions related to student jobs are also recommended However, memberships there are usually paid and cost somewhere in the area between SEK 50 to SEK 400.
Finally, there are always employment websites that can provide you with detailed online information.
On the other hand, internships offered by associations and private organizations are also a decent option. Regardless, knowledge in Swedish is usually mandatory so make sure to take up some private lessons or classes at university if possible.
One of the best ways to spend your free time in Sweden is by taking up a sport. Most universities offer their very own fitness centers and regularly recruit talented people interested in handball, hockey or football into youth or even professional teams.
Hiking and skiing are also good ideas, as the country offers various mountain regions where you can practice similar outdoor sports. Did you know that there are 12 peaks in Sweden reaching a height greater than 2000 meters? And a lot of lakes and forests as well – perfect for fishing and camping. Ready for an adventure?
You can find out more about some outdoor places to visit with the helping hand of the Swedish Tourist Association.
Lastly, city exploration is hugely popular in Sweden. In a matter of a few weekends you can easily scratch off Gothenburg, Malmö, Stockholm and Uppsala from your map and explore popular sights such as Drottningholm Palace, Oresund Bridge, the Vasa Museum and Uppsala Domkyrka - some of the most iconic symbols of the country.
Fun fact: Keep your eyes peeled and ears open for any upcoming concerts around the country, as there are a handful of world popular Swedish singers and musicians – with the legends from ABBA and the extremely talented DJ Avicci who sadly left us some of the biggest stars.