Studying in Sweden

Studying in Sweden combines gaining an excellent education and enjoying student life in a sustainable, liberal country, with a landscape that takes your breath away. Currently, over 38,000 international students have chosen to study in Sweden. This number, which is going up from year to year, is attracted by its long-established institutions of higher education – the University of Uppsala opened its doors in 1477, and the University of Lund was founded in 1666 – and ground-breaking research output. 

Sweden – general knowledge

Sweden is the third largest country in the EU, bordered by Norway and Finland and linked to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel. Swedes are lovers of the outdoors and winter sports ,including cross-country skiing, while sailing and camping in its many birch and pine forests are traditional summer leisure pursuits. The country has a low population density outside the main cities of Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö which are  lively centres of the arts, music and nightlife. Sweden has the sixteenth strongest global economy and a high standard of living, but this does make it slightly more expensive than countries in Southern Europe. Luckily, EU students do not pay tuition fees if they study in Sweden and are free to take part-time jobs, without having to apply for a work visa.

Studying in Sweden – Swedish universities

Below, you will find the current global university rankings:

UniversityQS rankings 2023
Lund University95
KTS Royal Institute of Technology89
Chalmers University of Technology125
Uppsala University128
Stockholm University153
University of Gothenburg185
Linköping University320
Umeå University369

If you start browsing through lists of Sweden’s 39 universities, you will notice that some are called University while others are termed University College. There is no difference between them, in terms of standards of teaching or degrees, EXCEPT for the fact that the majority of university colleges do not offer PhDs, only Master’s and Bachelor’s qualifications. Among the most popular university colleges, known as Högskola, are:

  • The Royal Institute of Art
  • The Royal College of Music
  • The University of the Arts, Crafts and Design
  • Stockholm University of the Arts
  • Stockholm Academy of Dramatic Arts

Classes in university colleges tend to be slightly smaller than in universities.

Swedish universities have a collaborative and exploratory approach to learning. If you decide to study in Sweden, you will find yourself involved in many group projects. The universities have long-established and strong links to industry,so you will discover that the teaching is designed to tackle real world problems and the needs of the contemporary job market, rather than focussing purely on theory. In the process, you will acquire practical, cutting edge and sought after skills. Swedish universities value critical thinking, innovation, creativity and collaboration. 

The academic year is divided into two terms and first degrees take three years to complete, whereas Master’s run for 1-2 years. Furthermore, Sweden abides by the Bologna Process, therefore, your qualifications are recognised all over the world.

Studying in Sweden-Can I study in English?


There are approximately 1,000-English-taught courses available, although 900 of these are at Master’s level. The only subjects which you will not find being taught in English are:

  • Medicine
  • Veterinary Science
  • Nursing
  • Dentistry
  • Teaching

The choice at Master’s level is huge,with courses in architecture, biotechnology, chemical sciences, materials sciences and engineering, and mathematics. Medical engineering and physics are also on offer in English at KTH, the Royal Institute of Technology,which produces a third of Sweden’s research output in engineering and technology.

Őrebro University offers English taught Master’s programmes in economics and econometrics, global journalism, robotics, and sports medicine and physiology.

At undergraduate level, there are 97 courses taught in English across the whole of Sweden, including:

  • Computer games programming
  • Furniture design
  • Fine Arts
  • International Relations
  • Fashion design
  • International tourism management
  • Marketing management
  • Molecular biodesign
  • Development studies
  • International migration and ethnic relations
  • Human rights
  • Creative dance
  • Forest and landscape
  • New media design
  • Social work
  • Software engineering

Study in Sweden -choosing a course and a location

As you can see, the courses taught in English range across every field and area from life sciences to the Internet of Things, metal art to prosthetics, and you are sure to find a course which inspires you to study in Sweden.

You are also able to choose from a wide range of locations and ambiences across this large country, whether you have set your heart on studying close to the Arctic circle in Luleå, and taking trips into Lapland, or are looking to immerse yourself in Stockholm’s alternative and techno music scene and its buzzing atmosphere.


Gothenburg is a popular option for international students. It is a thriving port, and its famous Avenyn (the Avenue) is a chic boulevard lined with elegant coffee houses, and leads you to possibly the best museum of art in the Nordic region. 

The museum has a huge collection of Impressionists, a room dedicated to Picasso (where you can see “Family of Acrobats with Monkey”) and many Old Masters. Gothenburg’s lucrative seafaring tradition is reflected in its many churches and the headquarters of the East India Company, and in spring there is nothing better than strolling along its canals and seeing carpets of flowers  peeking through swathes of grass. The choice is yours and we at Elab are ready to help you compare and contrast the many options open to you when you decide to study in Sweden.

The popular image of Sweden as an outpost of the frozen North is not accurate. Summer brings white nights, several weeks when it never becomes truly dark and you find yourself walking  home with fellow students at 2am, and not realising it is so late because the sun has not fully set. If you choose a Northern university, the opposite is true, since the sun takes a step backwards during the winter months and is rarely seen, snow falls can be heavy and the temperature is considerably lower than that of the middle and south of the country, which enjoy temperate continental conditions. However, if skiing, tobogganing, ice skating and pristine snow as far as the eye can see appeal to you – and you have dreamed of seeing the Northern Lights –  then you could opt for a northern university – and start packing very warm clothing!

Studying in Sweden-What is the application process like?

Applications are processed through, the national online platform, where you can submit eight applications for undergraduate courses and four for Master’s programmes. You should fill in the online form by mid-January if you are intending to  begin studying in the autumn term (and most English-taught courses have an autumn start date). There is a fee (which covers all the universities) of  approximately 90 euros. 

You will need to supply some or all of the following documents:

A certificate of your last diploma (secondary school for first-cycle studies, bachelor’s degree for Masters programmes)

Transcripts of any other qualifications

Proof of English language proficiency -IELTS,TOEFL etc

A copy of your passport

Once you have received the offer of a place, and arrive in Sweden, you will need to register with the Swedish Population Register, which is administered by the Swedish Tax Agency. When the paperwork is completed,  you will be given your Swedish personal identity number (personnummer) which you will need for work, any official paperwork and administrative matters, accessing health services and getting a mobile phone contract etc. 

Studying in Sweden-What is the cost of living?

In terms of academic costs, EU students do not pay tuition fees, but they are liable to pay a modest student union fee, which varies from five to 30 euros per term.

It has been calculated that students in Uppsala, Lund and Linköping need to set aside around 850 euros a month to cover their accommodation, food and leisure activities, whereas this rises to 1250 or more in Gothenburg and Stockholm.

If you are offered a place in a residence hall or a dormitory, you can expect to pay from 240-600 euros a month, whereas flat shares cost from 350-700 euros upwards, depending on location.

Public transport is efficient and reliable, and a monthly pass will cost you between 40 and 50 euros. More than 25 per cent of students at Swedish universities choose to buy a bicycle, which costs around 120 euros.

Basic utilities are around 85 euros a month and you can eat a cheap café meal for 10 euros, or grab a MacDonald’s for 8.5 euros and wash it down with a four-euro cappuccino.

Ultimately, what you spend depends on your lifestyle, personal choices and where you decide to study in Sweden.

Studying at a Swedish university in Sweden – a summary

Home of the Nobel Prize , IKEA, and Abba, Sweden is pushing the boundaries of technology and engineering and offers international students the opportunity to gain an outstanding education in an egalitarian and diverse environment. Its public services -health, transport, communication, and education – are of the highest quality, and university life encourages students to bloom and develop their practical skills, creativity, and teamwork. 

If Sweden appeals to you, call or email us here at Elab, so that we can help you choose between the many available options and universities in Sweden and the Kingdom of the North.

We are here to help and can provide you with all the information you need to make the right decision. In addition, we run a Europa Programme, which compares the higher education sector across all of Europe, if you are still trying to decide on your final destination and find the university of your dreams.

Study in Sweden!

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