Basic Information about Sweden
Sweden is a European country located on the east side of the Scandinavian Peninsula in North Europe. The population is nine million inhabitants, of which almost two million live in and around the capital, Stockholm. For a sparsely populated country in the far north of Europe, Sweden has done remarkably well in establishing and maintaining an outstanding reputation abroad, based on many and varied commercial, technological, cultural and political achievements. Despite its natural riches, Sweden is a country built on people. Today, knowledge is Sweden’s prime asset, with education kept in the public domain and developed to a standard that ranks consistently among the highest in OECD statistics.

The Higher Education System
In Sweden there are 14 public universities and 21 public university colleges as well as a number of independent institutions of higher education. The Swedish higher education institutions have a degree structure that conforms to the Bologna Process; a Europe-wide standardization drive for higher education. There are three levels of higher education, each with minimum requirements for entry: a first level (Undergraduate studies), second level (Master’s studies) and third level (Licentiate and PhD degrees).

The PhD programs are fully funded but require certain prerequisites. A requirement for studies at the third level is possession of a second-level degree — a Degree of Master (Two Years) or a Degree of Master (One Year) — or the completion of four years of full-time studies — three at the first level and at least one year at the second level. Comparable international degrees are also admissible, and specialized knowledge may suffice as well.

Tuition fees and living costs
Tuition fees apply only to bachelor’s and master’s programs and courses, while PhD programs are fully funded.

Universities set their own fees, and these vary between approximately SGD 15,000-27,000 per academic year for most subjects. However, programs in the fields of medicine and art have notably higher fees.

As for the living costs, students will need approximately 7300 SEK per month for ten months of the year. This is a requirement for acquiring a residence permit.

Contact us  for up-to-date information.

Scholarships and fee waivers are sometimes available through the universities. Check with the university you intend to study at. Some programs may also have specific scholarships connected only to the program or the subject area.

Other organizations, both Swedish and foreign, also sponsor scholarships for foreign students in Sweden. If you are interested in studying in Sweden and if you are looking for financial support/Schalorship, we strongly recommend that you reach our counselor who would assist you to find all the information on available scholarships.

It is about to become easier for international doctoral candidates and students to stay and work in Sweden after graduation.

Beginning in July 2014, doctoral candidates will be able to qualify for permanent residence in Sweden – provided they have held a study permit in Sweden for four out of the past seven years. In addition, foreign students will be allowed to stay in Sweden for an as-yet-unspecified amount of time to look for work or set up their own companies after graduating.

This will replace current laws about work and immigration that foreign students in Sweden have been protesting; such laws allow doctoral students only ten days to find work in Sweden after graduating. A Statistics Sweden study estimated there were roughly 5,000 foreign PhD students in the country in 2013.

New legislation should significantly boost Sweden’s competitiveness
The new legislation should allow Sweden to regain some competitiveness it is alleged to have lost as a result of:

  • “Antiquated” policies regarding international students’ ability to remain in the country post-graduation;
  • The introduction, in 2011, of tuition fees for non-EU international students.

When fees were introduced, enrolment of non-EU nationals dropped by 80% from nearly 8,000 to 1,600, with the greatest fall-off among African and Asian students.

An op-ed piece in DagensNyheter explains the need for further reforms :

Last year, we wrote about the effects of increasing the “stay rate” for international students, and stressed how much a destination country’s visa, work, and immigration policies impact post-graduation retention. In the article, we noted that one research report found that if The Netherlands were to “retain 20% of international students after graduation, it would imply economic benefits worth €740 million.”

Boosting the attractiveness of an already well-respected higher education system
Before 2011, Sweden was one of the few countries in the world to offer free tuition to all foreign students, including those from outside the EU. This, combined with Sweden’s well-regarded higher education institutions and overall study environment, made it a very attractive destination market.

The introduction of tuition fees in 2011 had an immediate negative effect on international student enrolments, but the government quickly allocated funding to non-EU international student scholarships to help defray the new costs. In addition, several Swedish universities intensified their international recruitment efforts. The combination of scholarships and marketing showed signs of prompting an international student rebound only a year after the tuition fees were introduced. As we noted in 2012 :

Sweden’s easing of current restrictive work and immigration policies can only spur non-EU students’ enrolments further, since despite the increase of available scholarships, there is still a contingent of international students who a) don’t receive a scholarship and b) are then forced to leave the country because they can’t find work fast enough.

The latest UNESCO figures estimate there are 28,629 international students (EU and non-EU) studying in Sweden.

Overall, Sweden’s reputation for quality education remains strong
In 2014, the number of students applying to Swedish universities increased for the seventh year in a row. While in the most recent Times Higher Education ranking, just one Swedish university (The Karolinska Institute) made the top 100 list, Sweden is still considered by most to have a world-class education system.

And now, in addition to its moves to introduce additional work and immigration opportunities for foreign graduates, the Swedish government is also expanding its investment in Swedish language training for foreign students. The current government intends to increase spending on language training in the Swedish school system by nearly 2 billion kronor (about US$250 million), a move that is expected to result in a large number of new teaching positions and an important boost to the country’s language training capacity.

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