Amazing welfare, clean streets, and breath-taking sceneries are just some of the many things Sweden is known for. This largest Nordic country in Northern Europe is one of the best destinations for international students around the world to further their higher education.
Setting aside the country’s top-notch education and emphasis on innovation and research, international students get to experience the Swedish way of life – freedom, equality, and sustainability – and be a part of the creation of a better world. In this article, we will be looking at how international students can study in Sweden.
How to Study in Sweden for International Students
International students can study in Sweden using the following steps:
- You need to be able to fund your studies. To do that, you can save money and pay with your own funds, get some scholarships, attend affordable universities in Sweden, and/or work while studying.
- Then, you will need to meet the application requirements that Swedish universities have set for international students.
- Next, you will need to apply.
- Finally, you need to get a student visa
1. Know the Cost of Studying in Sweden
Depending on the university and program of your choice, you would need to pay between 80,000 to 295,000 SEK (about $8,000 to $30,000) a year to obtain a degree from a Swedish university.
The average tuition fee for an international student is 129,000 SEK (about $14,000) per year, and the average cost of living is around 8,500 SEK (about $900) per month. This monthly budget will cover your accommodation, food, transportation, and other miscellaneous costs while living as a student in Sweden.
As stated before, you need to be able to fund your studies whether that be paying out of your own pockets, getting scholarships, attending affordable universities, and/or work while studying.
2. Prepare to Meet the General Application Requirements for Swedish Universities
Undergraduate and graduate courses or programs are conducted in Swedish or English. Students who wish to apply to a Swedish university must demonstrate that they meet the minimum language requirements for the course or program they are applying for.
You need to meet these minimum requirements to be able to study in Sweden as an international student.
General Swedish and English Requirements (Undergraduate)
The general English language requirement for universities in Sweden, such as Lund University, Stockholm University, and Karolinska Institute, is IELTS 6.5, TOEFL iBT 90, or the equivalent of English studies at the Swedish upper secondary level, known as English 6 (advanced level).
For proof of Swedish language proficiency, students must meet the requirement equivalent to Svenska 3 in upper secondary schools in Sweden. To be eligible for studies that require knowledge in Swedish, international applicants should pass Tisus (Test in Swedish for University Studies) or complete level 8 of the Study Abroad Swedish Language program.
Some courses or programs may require a higher (or lower) level of English proficiency, so please refer to the university’s admission requirements.
General Swedish and English Requirements (Graduate)
The language requirements for graduate courses or programs are the same as above.
You may visit the University Admissions website for more information. University Admissions is the central application site for international students who wish to apply for their undergraduate and graduate studies in Sweden.
Application Requirements (Undergraduate)
These are the documents an undergraduate program applicant must submit to the University Admissions.
- High school diploma or graduation certificate
- University qualifications (if applicable)
- Official transcripts
- Proof of proficiency in English
- Copy of your passport or other forms of identification document
- A signed cover sheet (if you are sending your documents by post)
- High school qualifications evaluation by the Swedish Council for Higher Education (if applicable)
You should also check with the university’s admission requirements to find out if there are any other documents you need to submit.
Application Requirements (Graduate)
To apply for a graduate program in Sweden, you will have to provide these materials.
- Certificate of graduation
- Official transcripts of courses and grades
- Proof of proficiency in English
- Copy of your passport or other documents of identification
Some universities may ask for supporting documents such as recommendation letters, dissertations, letters of intent, etc. Please check the course or program description page on the university’s website for details.
3. Apply Following the Application Procedure
The next step of studying in Sweden for international students is applying. There are two academic semesters (autumn and spring) each year in Swedish universities, and each semester will have two rounds of applications. All international applicants are encouraged to apply in the first round, which starts from mid-October to mid-January for the autumn semester and early June to mid-August for the spring semester.
The second round of application, which begins from mid-March to mid-April for the autumn semester and mid-September to mid-October for the spring semester, is primarily for applicants from the EU/EEA. It is not recommended for international students outside of these countries to apply during this round, as it is unlikely that there will be sufficient time for a student to apply for and receive a student residence permit prior to the start of the semester.
For example, if you wish to apply to Lund University, you will need first to create an account on the University Admissions website, then complete your online application, and check the necessary documents that you would need to submit. There are also country-specific requirements for document submission that you must follow to be considered for admission.
Some universities may also require other materials, such as recommendation letters, statement of purpose, etc. so remember to check the admission requirements of the university you are applying to.
You can either upload the documents online or deliver them by post to the University Admissions.
You must then pay an application fee of 900 SEK (about $100), which is a one-semester-one-application-fee cost. What this means is that you may apply for multiple courses or programs in a semester, if you wish, without paying an additional application fee. You could also place your applications during different admission rounds in that semester with just the one application fee.
4. After you get accepted, you’ll need to get a student visa
If you are not an EU or EEA national, you would need to apply for a residence permit once you have received an admission offer from your university and paid your first tuition fee installment. The residence permit is necessary for students who are staying in Sweden for more than three months. If the duration of your studies is less than three months, you may need a visa instead.
Applicants are advised to start their residence permit application as soon as possible since the process can take up to several months. Once you have all the compulsory documents (refer to the list below), you can apply online on the website of the Swedish Migration Agency or apply in-person at the Swedish embassy or consulate in your country.
Documents you will need for the residence permit application are:
- Passport copy
- Letter of admission
- Proof of tuition fee settlement
- Bank statements or scholarship/stipend to prove that you have sufficient funds to support yourself in Sweden
- A health insurance policy that is valid in Sweden (if you are admitted to studies for less than one year)
Students who applied online will receive an invitation to attend an interview at the embassy or consulate.
Once your application for a residence permit is approved in Sweden, it will be generated and sent to the embassy or consulate in your home country for collection.
The application fee for a student residence permit is 1,500 SEK (about $160) if you apply on the Swedish Migration Agency website. The fees and payment terms may differ if you are applying at the embassy or consulate.
Please refer to the Swedish Migration Agency website to find all the information you need.
This should be fairly easy and probably the easiest step in our guide of studying in Sweden for international students. The hardest step is probably the first and second step for most students.
Congratulations! One final nugget: international students who are staying in Sweden for more than one year are generally required to register for a Swedish personal identity number (known as “personnummer”).
You can do so by completing an application form and submitting all required documents to one of the offices of the Swedish Tax Agency. Please visit the Skatteverket website for more information.
I hope that this article on how international students can study in Sweden was helpful. If you are interested, I highly recommend visiting the Europe Category.
All the best and may you gain an enriching and fulfilling experience living in Sweden.