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Sweden is known for its openness toward the international community – and its education system is no exception. International students from all over the world study in Sweden, where there are over 1,000 degree programs taught entirely in English. Unlike many countries, Sweden gives their international students the right to work in Sweden during their studies. If you’re interested in working in Sweden – the innovation capital of Europe –  after you complete your studies, you can apply for time to search for employment even if you’re not from an EU/EEA country. Read on through this Study in Sweden guide to learn the practicalities of how to study in Sweden as well as get a glimpse into student life.

About the Swedish Wa

Sweden – Facts & Figures

Population10 million
Area Size450,000 km²
Students (International students)343,000 (39,000)
Academic YearAugust – June
CurrencySwedish Kronor (SEK)
Calling Code+46
Time zoneCET (UTC+1)

Entry Requirements for Swedish Universities

In order to study in Sweden, you’ll need to meet general entry requirements in addition to program-specific entry requirements. You can find specific requirements for different academic programs in Sweden on university websites. When you’re ready to apply, you’ll use to submit the necessary paperwork according to both sets of guidelines.

Find a Program in Sweden

Requirements for a Bachelor Degree

In order to meet the general entry requirements for bachelor’s level studies, all students must:

  • have successfully completed their upper secondary (high school) education (post-16).
  • be able to demonstrate proficiency in English. The entry requirement for studies at the bachelor’s level in Sweden is the equivalent of the Swedish upper secondary course English 6. See English Language Requirements.

For students who received their final school grades after 31 December 2009, there is an additional entry requirement for mathematics as follows:

  • The student must have successfully completed courses in mathematics to reach the level of the Swedish courses Mathematics 1a, 1b or 1c.

A note about previous university studies:

If you have previous university studies, you must submit your upper secondary (high school) qualifications in addition to your university qualifications. For some courses and programs, students are only offered places based on their upper secondary qualifications and NOT on their university qualifications. 

How to Apply

Requirements for a Master Degree

To meet the entry requirements for master’s level (second cycle or graduate) studies, you must:

  • have been awarded a Bachelor’s degree (equivalent to a Swedish Kandidatexamen) from an internationally recognized university.
  • be able to demonstrate proficiency in English. You can do this by means of an internationally recognized test, such as TOEFL, IELTS, etc. Previous upper secondary studies or university studies completed in some countries can also meet the requirement. Check the website of the university where you would like to study for more information about language requirements as they determine what level is required for Master’s course and program.

How to Apply

Requirements for a PhD Program

Generally speaking, to be admitted to a PhD program, you must:

  • Hold a university degree equivalent to a bachelor’s degree or higher with a focus in the same subject as the intended field of study. In most cases, a master’s degree is required. Previous studies must have included a degree thesis presenting the results of independent research.
  • Have a good command of English. Skills in Swedish are also important in some subjects where lectures and seminars are conducted in Swedish.

Further specific admission requirements are set by the department that has advertised the position.

How to Apply

Tuition Fees & Study Costs in Sweden

For other international students, the yearly higher education costs in Sweden vary depending on the university and program. Tuition fees in Sweden range from approximately SEK 80,000 per year (approximately 7,915 EUR or 9,523 USD as of Feb, 2021) to SEK 295,000 (or approximately 29,188 EUR or 35,117 USD as of Feb, 2021).

Living costs depend on the location of study (bigger cities are generally more expensive) but are approximately 8,568 SEK per month including rent (approximately 848 EUR or 1,020 USD as of Feb, 2021).

Cost of accommodation in Sweden

The types of accommodation available for international students vary by university and city. Your university may provide guaranteed housing for international students but some may not. Most universities should provide some kind of accommodation service or advice – so check with your university first.

Rent and demand for student housing tend to be higher in big cities like Stockholm as well as in traditional student cities like Uppsala and Lund.

Monthly rent ranges between SEK 2,500 and 6,500. The rent you pay will generally depend on several things including city, and size and type of accommodation.

Other costs of studying in Sweden

All students in Sweden need to buy their own textbooks and on average spend 750 SEK/month for this purpose.

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 to SEK 350 per semester, depending on the union.

The cost of healthcare for international students varies depending on whether you are an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen or not as well as the duration of your studies in Sweden.

Do I need a student visa to study in Sweden?

This depends on your country of citizenship, that is, whether you are an EU/EEA/Nordic citizen, a Swiss citizen, or not. The length of time you’ll be studying in Sweden – less than or more than three months –  can also affect whether or not you’ll need to apply for a residence permit.

Scroll down for the general requirements for citizens of different countries.

EU/ EEA Citizens

If you’re an EU / EEA citizen, you don’t need to apply for a visa or residence permit to study in Sweden.

If you’re planning to stay in Sweden for more than a year, you should register in the Swedish Population Register. You will then get a Swedish personal identity number – a “personnummer”.

Swiss Citizens

Citizens of Switzerland won’t need a visa or residence permit to enter Sweden.

If you’re staying over 3 months, you’ll need to apply for a residence permit before you come to Sweden. But you can start studying in Sweden even before your application is processed.

If you’re planning to stay in Sweden for more than a year, you should register in the Swedish Population Register. You will then get a Swedish personal identity number – a “personnummer”.

Non-EU / EEA / Swiss Citizens

Depending on your country of citizenship, you may need to apply for a visa before you enter Sweden. Citizens of some countries do not need to apply for a visa if they are planning to stay in Sweden for less than 3 months.

If you’re planning to stay in Sweden for more than 3 months, you’re required to apply for a residence permit before you move to Sweden.

If you’re planning to stay in Sweden for more than a year, you should register in the Swedish Population Register. You should ensure that your residence permit is valid for at least one year.  You will then get a Swedish personal identity number – a “personnummer”.

If you’ve determined that you’ll need to apply for a visa or residence permit, click on the link below to learn about the paperwork and documentation you’ll need, and the official government websites to submit your application.

List of Universities in sweden

Swedish universities offer degree programs according to the European standard. Most courses require full-time study, or 40 hours every week. Sweden has a highly independent learning style, so while you may only attend a few hours of lecture each week, you’ll be expected to read, research, and meet with classmates to get the most out of your time in the classroom.

Get details about how long the programs take to complete, study format, if you qualify, and how to apply by selecting which level of study you’re planning to pursue.

More on degree programs

Blekinge Institute of Technology

One of the most distinctly profiled universities in Sweden, where applied IT and innovation for sustainable growth are in focus.

Chalmers University of Technology

At Chalmers University of Technology, students and researchers from around the world work as a team to develop the technology of tomorrow.

Dalarna University

What makes Dalarna University (DU) so special is the concept of closeness: close contact between students and teachers, and you’re always close to adventure.

GIH – the Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences

The Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences (GIH) has been home to ground-breaking health science for over 200 years.

Halmstad University

Halmstad University offers cutting-edge programs in one of Sweden’s greenest, most liveable and most innovative small coastal cities.

Jönköping University

Jönköping University (JU) is an international university in the heart of Sweden. JU is one of the most international universities in Sweden in terms of the number of international students and faculty as well as student-exchange opportunities.

KMH – Royal College of Music in Stockholm

Orchestrating excellence in music education for more than two centuries. Open-mindedness and an inquisitive spirit are in the spotlight at KMH, and the school, like music itself, never stops changing and developing. 

KTH Royal Institute of Technology

A leading European technical university in the heart of Stockholm. KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm is the largest and oldest technical university in Sweden.

Karlstad University

Karlstad University (KU) is a young university with an adventurous outlook. As one of the youngest universities in Sweden, we aim to be adventurous in challenging the established and exploring the unknown.

Karolinska Institutet

Karolinska Institutet (KI) – renowned medical university and home of the Nobel Assembly. KI is a one-faculty university dedicated solely to the medical and health sciences, with a reputation for top quality research and innovation. 


A leading design school in Stockholm, Konstfack, the largest university college of arts, crafts and design in Sweden, was established in 1844 and educates more than 900 students each year.

Kristianstad University

A modern university with a friendly spirit. Kristianstad University (HKR) is an international, modern and progressive university situated in southern Sweden.

Linköping University

A leading young comprehensive university in a friendly city. LiU is known for student-centered learning with a high student satisfaction rate, an interdisciplinary approach to studies and close collaboration with the business world.

Linnaeus University

A modern university in southeastern Sweden with a strong international profile. LNU is named after Carl Linnaeus, the most famous and world-renowned Swedish scientist of the last few centuries. 

Luleå University of Technology

Unique degrees at the northernmost university of technology in Scandinavia. Luleå University of Technology is the northernmost university of technology in Scandinavia. We offer world-class education and research in a variety of unique fields.

Lund University

Founded in 1666, Lund University is one of northern Europe’s oldest, broadest and finest universities. Lund University (LU) is one of the world’s top 100 universities and the most popular university in Sweden for international students. 

Malmö University

Multi-disciplinary programs designed to keep you ahead of the competition at a modern and globally-aware university in an inventive city.

Marie Cederschiöld University

Marie Cederschiöld University is dedicated to studies in the fields of social work, nursing and health care, psychotherapy, theology and church music and has a clear ethical and religious focus..

Mid Sweden University

A forward-thinking university in the center in Sweden. We combine the intimacy of a small college with the educational variety and resources of a large university.

Mälardalen University

A young university with a modern approach to teaching located in one of Sweden’s main business regions.

Royal Institute of Art

An independent college of fine arts in Stockholm. RIA is an independent fine arts university college. Our small size creates an intimate atmosphere and allows students a high degree of influence over their studies.

SLU – Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

SLU brings a sustainable Swedish perspective to the study of biological natural resources. SLU is Sweden’s only university of agricultural sciences, with a focus on sustainability. 

SMI – University College of Music Education in Stockholm

An independent institute of music education in the heart of Stockholm. SMI is an independent university college offering degree programs in music and related arts education. 

Sophiahemmet University College

Sophiahemmet University is a modern university with high-quality education and research in Nursing Science and related areas. We offer regular campus programs and courses as well as contract education.

Stockholm School of Economics

One of Europe’s leading business schools with unique ties to the Scandinavian and Nordic business communities.SSE is an international business school in the heart of Stockholm offering rigorous education in business administration and economics at all levels.

Stockholm University

Sweden’s largest university and one of Europe’s leading centers for higher education and research in science, humanities, social sciences and law, located in one of the world’s most dynamic capitals.

Stockholm University of the Arts

Stockholm University of the Arts was inaugurated on January 1, 2014 when DOCH University of Dance and Circus, the University College of Opera, and Stockholm Academy of Dramatic Arts merged in order to create a leading international education- and research milieu.

Södertörn University

Södertörn University offers high-quality research and education in a friendly atmosphere and an inspiring environment.

Umeå University

2015 marks the 50th anniversary for the largest institution of higher education in northern Sweden, with over 31,500 students. UMU is renowned for its comprehensive educational approach and creative learning environments, including its large ‘American style’ main campus and contemporary Arts Campus by the riverside.

University College Stockholm

University College Stockholm is one of the leading institutions of higher education in Northern Europe, in the domains of theology and human rights.

University West

A modern university with a focus on work-integrated learning. University West is a dynamic university with a clear focus on education and research of high international quality. 

University of Borås

A unique, modern university located in a centre for Swedish commerce. The University of Borås is known for its unique educational offerings, including some programs that are only offered here.

University of Gothenburg

A leading comprehensive university in the heart of Gothenburg. Since 1891, students at the University of Gothenburg (GU) have enjoyed our comprehensive range of degree programs, benefitted by continuous access to the latest research.

University of Gävle

A strong regional university with a focus on sustainable living. The University of Gävle is a medium-sized university with a strong regional presence and a global network. 

University of Skövde

Hi-tech and modern with close ties to industry. The University of Skövde is a modern and welcoming university with first-class programs and internationally competitive research, a place where we strive for the greatest accomplishments. 

Uppsala University

Uppsala university – since 1477. The first university in Sweden. Top 100 in the world. Uppsala University is internationally recognized as being one of the top 100 universities in the world.

Örebro University

A young, comprehensive university offering competitive research and education. Students choose Örebro University for our broad range of courses and programs. 

Swedish Culture

When you get to Sweden, you’ll discover there are a few key values that underpin life in Sweden. These include freedom, equality & sustainability and make up the Swedish Way. While it might be unusual for strangers to strike up conversations with you on the street, you’ll find that Swedes are quietly passionate about working together to create a radically better world.

Depending on the country you grew up in, you may or may not be surprised by the differences you encounter while studying in Sweden. So what is it like to study and live in Sweden on a cultural level?

Swedes value openness and cooperation at universities and workplaces and abhor ranking some people as more valuable than others. Although you may be surprised to call your professor or boss by their first name and find them dressed more casually than expected, you’ll soon grow used to the egalitarian nature of Swedish dynamics.

In Sweden, you have the freedom to be who you want to be, how you want to be. And you have the freedom to express your opinions, fight for your rights, and make a difference in society.

Sweden is one of the most gay-friendly countries in the world. In recent decades, Sweden has passed laws to try and ensure that the LGBTQ+ community has the same rights as everyone else. Some of these laws include gender-neutral wedding laws (2009) and a prohibition of discrimination based on sexual orientation (2011).

An important element of what makes Sweden one of the most progressive countries in the world is that people continue to fight and work – for improvements, as well as to ensure their freedom and rights are protected.

Read about what it’s like to be an LGBTQ+ student in Sweden

Food in Sweden

The Swedish love of the outdoors carries over into their food culture. When you make Swedish friends, you’ll probably be invited to go to a crayfish party which might involve setting traps and feasting on this shellfish. If crayfish aren’t appetizing, you can enjoy the outdoors by picking berries and mushrooms in one of Sweden’s many forests.

Lingonberries picked in the forest are often made into a jam and eaten throughout the year as a condiment for many Swedish foods. Fresh and pickled herring are common in Swedish cuisine as the Baltic sea is bountiful in herring. Herring is also a staple in Swedish holiday foods for midsummer and Christmas. You might be shocked the first time you order a sandwich in Sweden and only receive one piece of bread. Swedish sandwiches are typically open-faced with meat, vegetables, and sauce piled on top.

Swedes are typically health-conscious and their diets reflect this with one exception: Saturday candy. The average Swedish person consumes approximately sixteen kilos of candy per year and most of that consumption likely happens on Saturdays where adults and children eat a large amount of candy.

Want to know more about Swedish food and culture? Here are student stories written by international students studying in Sweden right now:

Hear from Students Studying in Sweden Right Now!

Study in Sweden - Swedish Holidays

Holidays in Sweden

Like much of Europe, Sweden takes holidays seriously with ample time off of school and work to celebrate with family and friends. Sweden’s biggest holidays are Christmas and Midsummer.


Midsummer is celebrated on the summer solstice – the longest day of the year. As a northern country, Sweden has a long period of daylight and in the northernmost reaches of the country, the sun never sets. The prolonged daylight leads to prolonged parties as Swedes flock to the countryside to celebrate. Traditionally, Swedes wear flower crowns and dance around a maypole and eat several meals, drinking schnapps accompanied by rowdy drinking songs.


Soon after the winter solstice, Swedes end the year by coming together with family and friends to celebrate Christmas in their homes. Although the cuisine varies depending on the region and family, typical dishes include ham, meatballs, herring, hard bread, and mulled wine. A unique tradition that many Swedes partake in is gathering in front of the television to watch a Christmas Disney special in the afternoon that has aired for decades. Like Christmas celebrations around the world, Swedes exchange presents with the addition of writing rhymes as clues that are read aloud before each present is opened.

Basic facts about Sweden

Capital: Stockholm

Population: 10,521,556 people , 0.13 per cent of the world’s population

Life expectancy: Men 81.34 years , women 84.73 years

Language: Swedish (main language); and five official minority languages: Sami, Finnish, Meänkieli (Tornedalen Finnish), Yiddish and Romani Chib

Religion: The Church of Sweden is Evangelical Lutheran, but there are also many other religions and faiths in the country

National Day: 6 June


Form of government: Constitutional monarchy, with parliamentary democracy – political power lies with the parliament and government; the monarch has ceremonial functions

Parliament: Called ‘riksdag’ – 349 members of parliament in a single chamber

Head of state: His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf; heir to the throne is Crown Princess Victoria

Education and work

Education: Ten years of compulsory schooling, but most students continue to the three-year upper secondary school. Around one-third go on to higher education at universities and colleges throughout Sweden

Working hours: Standard work week is 40 hours, minimum paid holiday allowance is 5 weeks (25 working days)

Employment rate (20–64 years): Men: 71.8% ; women: 67.0% ; total: 69.4%

A view of wintry Swedish west coast archipelago.
Winter on the Swedish west coast. Photo: Per Pixel Peterson/

Geography and nature

Longest north–south distance: 1,572 km

Longest east–west distance: 499 km

Land area: 410,000 sq km

Total area: 528,447 sq km, the fifth largest country in Europe and roughly the same size as California
– Forests: 63% (69 % of the land area)
– Lakes and rivers: 9%
– Marshland: 6.5%
– Agricultural land: 7%
– Grasslands: 7%
– Urban and industrial land: 3%
– Exposed rock and mountains: 4.5%

Highest mountain: Kebnekaise (2,099 m)

Biggest lake: Vänern (5,650 sq km)

Number of lakes larger than 100m x 100m: 95,700

Biggest cities and their population:

  • Stockholm: 984,748
  • Göteborg: 596,841
  • Malmö: 357,377

Number of national parks: 30

Time zone: GMT +1

Money and trade

Currency: 1 krona (SEK) = 100 öre ≈ EUR 0.095

GDP: SEK 5,985 billion (2022)

Most important export goods: Vehicles and machines, pharmaceuticals/chemicals, electronics, minerals, wood products, energy, foods, shoes and clothes

Source: Statistics Sweden

Contacting Sweden

Calling code: +46

Internet code: .se

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