Study in Sweden

  • Most Swedes speak fluent English and 89% are bilingual, so communicating should never be a problem
  • Sweden has a long history of academic excellence and is even the home of the Nobel Prize!
  • Each year roughly 20% of new students in Sweden are international, meaning you'll have the opportunity to meet loads of new and interesting people

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Study in Sweden

Hakan Dahlstrom

Sweden's education system

Sweden's higher education system is divided into 3 cycles which represent 3 different levels of study and the types of qualification you can get at each differs:


  • First cycle: Undergraduate degree
    • University Diploma (120 credits)
    • Bachelor's Degree (180 credits)
  • Second cycle: Postgraduate degree
    • Master's Degree - 1 year (60 credits)
    • Master's Degree - 2 years (120 credits)
  • Third cycle: Professional degrees
    • Licentiate degree (120 credits)
    • Doctoral/PhD degree (240 credits)


The academic year in Sweden is split into two terms each lasting about 20 weeks. The first - autumn term - begins in later August/early September and ends mid-January, while the second - spring term - runs from January until June. However, while these are the term times, in between these there are no official winter or spring breaks other than public holidays.

Normally, students study for 30 credits per term or 60 over the academic year, but they can take up to 15 credits during summer school classes between the spring and autumn terms.

Courses are examined through oral exams - which may include presenting a paper or group projects and discussions - and written exams at the end of each course.

Swedish universities encourage independent thinking and open, informal relationships between students and teachers. Students are generally, encouraged to think critically, so they can develop socially and intellectually. This is achieved through teaching in small groups to emphasize the importance of dialogue, discussion, collaboration and debate - also by ensuring teachers are accessible to students outside lecture hours and by encouraging a high level of student input/involvement in university decision making processes.

Find out more about how to apply to university in Sweden

How much will it cost?

Tuition fees

In Sweden, tuition fees are free for all students from the EU, however, there is a small compulsory registration fee at the start of each term which is payable to the Student Union. This is around 300 SEK (£24) but in return you'll receive a student card which will give you discounts in Sweden and allow you to take your university exams.

Allie Caulfield

Living expenses

While tuition may be cheap in Sweden, it's still the second most expensive country to live in in Europe; goods and services cost 28% more than the EU average. Therefore, you should try to budget for around 7,800 SEK (£780) per month, this breaks down to:

  • Accommodation: 3,200 SEK - 4,800 SEK (£258 - 387)
  • Food: 2,000 - 2,500 SEK (£161 - £202)
  • Books and study materials: 400 SEK - 1,000 SEK (£32 - £81)
  • Social/Other activities: 750 - 1,100 SEK (£60-£89)

Find out more about student Visas and what you need to study in Sweden


The currency in Sweden is the Swedish Krona, depicted by SEK. The current exchange rate is 1 SEK : £0.081

Exchange rates can change quickly and, while this value is correct at the time of writing, it's worth checking again before you travel.

Financial assistance

Unless you already live in Sweden, or have moved there permanently for reasons other than to just go to university, then no financial aid - eg. maintenance loans - will be available.

Working while you study

As a student from the EU, you will not require any extra permissions to work in Sweden whilst enrolled in a Swedish university. However, there is a lot of competition for job with 6/10 students helping fun their studies by working part-time. You will increase your chances of finding work if you can speak and understand Swedish well.

Studying in Sweden stats

Living in Sweden

What to expect from people

Generally, Swedes are polite and respectful people. They're big supporters of gender and race equality and really respect rules, such as the laws against smoking in public places e.g. restaurants.

It might seem a little odd as well, but Swedes are really keen on queuing! In order to make it easier it's not uncommon for you to see ticket or number-based queuing systems installed in banks or shops around the country.

Swedes also tend to be very organised and punctual - even their nights out tend to be well planned!

Hans Dinkelberg


Like the UK, most Swedish universities have a student union which can help you with finding accommodation, solving problems and play a large part of your social life. Membership usually costs between 50 SEK - 350 SEK (£4 - £28), depending on the university, but included in this is a student card which gets you discounts on shops and travel and other things in Sweden.

Being a member of the student union means you can join in with clubs, sports and other activities around campus - a really easy way to make new friends.

In Sweden, it's usual for students to go out during the weekends. Here the legal drinking age is 18 in bars and restaurants, however in some of the bigger cities some pubs/clubs/bars will only admit people over the age of 20 or 23. You also have to be 20 to buy alcohol from a shop. If you go out on an evening, long queues for certain popular venues should be expected at weekends and some places may charge entry fees of between 50 SEK AND 150 SEK (£4 - £12).

Find out more about student accommodation in Sweden

Where to study?

Sweden has over 50 university and university colleges you can choose to study at. Out of these, 2 feature in the 2014 QS World Ranking's top 100; Lund University at 60 and Uppsala University at 81. A complete list of all Sweden's universities can be found below, with their world rankings noted in brackets:

Useful links

More from TSR

General external links

Tuition fees and funding

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