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Structure of Educational System
Pre-higher Education System
Higher Education System
Administrative structure of higher education  
Admissions to Higher Education and Recognition


Types of higher education institutions:

Universitet (University)

Högskola (University College)


School leaving and higher education credentials:

Slutbetyg Från Gymnasieskola

Certificate of Advanced Vocational Training




Magisterexamen (Master of...)






Pre-higher education:

Duration of compulsory education:

Age of entry: 7

Age of exit: 16

Structure of school system:


Type of school providing this education: Grundskola

Length of program in years: 9

Age level from: 7 to: 16

Certificate/diploma awarded: Slutbetyg Från Grundskola

Upper Secondary

Type of school providing this education: Gymnasium

Length of program in years: 3

Age level from: 16 to: 19

Certificate/diploma awarded: Slutbetyg Från Gymnasieskola

Upper Secondary

Type of school providing this education: Folkhögskola (Folk high school)

Certificate/diploma awarded: Studieomdöme från Folkhögskola (study assessment from folk school); Intyg om allmän behörighet (certificate about general eligibility for higher education) or "Intyg om särskild behörighet" (certificate about meeting specific requirements)

Upper Secondary

Type of school providing this education: Municipal adult school (Komvux)

Certificate/diploma awarded: Slutbetyg Från Komvux

School education:

The Swedish state school system comprises compulsory school and various types of voluntary schooling. Compulsory school includes nine years of compulsory basic school, school for the Saami people of Northern Sweden, special school and compulsory school for the mentally handicapped. Post compulsory education is offered through 17 National Programmes providing qualifications allowing the student to go on to higher education. Some of these programmes also include industrial work placement. The National Programme of upper secondary education is offered at Gymnasia and lead to the award of the Slutbetyg Från Gymnasieskola.Tuition is free.Outside the upper secondary school system there are folk high schools (Folkhögskolan) which provide state-supported adult education in one to three years of studies. There are no formal examinations.Post-secondary studies include advanced vocational training (Kvalifiderad yrkesutbilding) which is intended to meet the labour market's needs with the skills required for modern production of goods and services. About one-third of the course period takes place at the workplace. As from January 2002, this form of training is a permanent part of the Swedish educational system but does not belong to the higher education sector. Admission is based in three-year upper secondary education or corresponding proficiency. The training is intended to correspond to at least two years of study and leads to a Certificate of Advanced Vocational Training.

Higher education:

The Swedish system includes not only traditional university studies but also different kinds of Teacher Training, Health Care Training, Technical Training, etc. It is the responsibility of: the central government, regional authorities and private interests. All institutions of higher education fall under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education except the University of Agricultural Sciences (Ministry of Agriculture). Higher education is divided into undergraduate studies (courses combined towards a first degree) and postgraduate studies and research. The present Act on Higher Education in Sweden and a Higher Education Ordinance became effective on 1 July 1993.

Main laws/decrees governing higher education:

Decree: Förordning för Sveriges Lantbruksuniversitet SFS 1993:221 Year: 1993

Concerns: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Decree: Förordning om tillsånd att utfärda vissa examina SFS 1993:956 Year: 1993

Decree: Högskoleförordningen SFS 1993:100 (Higher Education Ordinance) Year: 1993

Concerns: the whole higher education system

Decree: Högskolelagen SFS 1992:1424 (Higher Education Act) Year: 1993

Concerns: the whole higher education system

Decree: Lag om kvalificerad yrkesutbildning (SFS 2001:239) Year: 2001

Decree: Lag om tillstånd att utfärda vissa examina SFS 1993:792 Year: 1993

Academic year:

Classes from: Aug to: Jun

Long vacation from: 15 Jun to: 15 Aug

Languages of instruction: Swedish, English

Stages of studies:


University level studies:

University level first stage: Undergraduate studies:

All basic higher education is offered in the form of courses. There is scope for individual choice but students may combine different courses into a degree programme. Study programmes are divided into credits. One credit corresponds to one week of full-time study. One year usually represents 40 credits. The Diploma (Högskoleexamen) is awarded after the completion of at least 80 credits (two years' full-time study). It is awarded by all universities and institutions of higher education. The Bachelor's Degree (Kandidatexamen)  is conferred after the completion of at least 120 credits (three years' full-time study). In the major subject, in-depth studies to at least 60 credits (three terms) are required, including an independent special project of at least 10 credits. As from 1 November 2001 there will be two types of Magistersexamen (Master of):  1)The Magisterexamen med ämnesdjup is awarded after the completion of at least 160 credits (four years' full-time study). In the major subject, in-depth studies to at least 80 credits (four terms) are required, including an independent special project of at least 20 credits or two projects of at least 10 credits each. 2) The Magisterexamen med ämnesbredd requires at least 40 credits including an independent special project of at least 10 credits. The Magisterexamen med ämnesdjup is awarded in addition to a degree of at least 120 points. Apart from the general academic degrees, there are some 50 professional degrees (Yrkesexamen). The professional degrees vary in length between 40 and 220 points, depending on their character. They include the degrees of Doctor of Medicine, Master of Science in Engineering or in Agriculture, and the Bachelor of Education for the Compulsory School.

University level second stage: Postgraduate studies:

The Licentiatexamen (Licenciate degree) requires 80 points (two years of study and research) including a larger thesis, after completion of at least 120 points at undergraduate level. This degree can also be awarded as an intermediate degree towards the Doktorsexamen. A Doctorate  degree requires a minimum of four years' full-time study beyond completion of at least 120 points at the undergraduate level. Doctoral studies consist of seminars, reading and methodology courses, individual literature surveys and independent research. The thesis must describe and account for organization and results of research, be published and be publicly defended.


Teacher education:

Training of pre-primary and primary/basic school teachers

In 1988, a Teacher Training Programme was introduced (Grundskollärarutbildning). Teachers are trained to teach grades 1-7 (Swedish and Social Sciences or Mathematics and Natural Sciences) or grades 4-9 with specialization in one of the following tracks: Swedish and Foreign Languages; Social Sciences; Natural Sciences; Mathematics and Natural Sciences; or Practical/Artistic subject and another subject. The length of studies is 3.5-4.5 years (140-180 credits).

Training of secondary school teachers

Teacher training for upper secondary schools (gymnasielärarutbildning) is based on a certain combination of subjects within one and the same field, e.g. Mathematics-Natural Sciences, Languages, Humanities. A total of 180-200/220 credits including pedagogical training is required. As from 1992, it is possible to combine any two subjects within a teacher training programme. These subjects are studied at the university up to a level of 60 or 80 credits. It is also possible to study first the subjects at the university and then a 40 credit Education course (praktisk-pedagogisk utbildning, including Pedagogics, teaching methods and teaching practice) at the Teacher Training Institute/Faculty. In October 2000, the Swedish Risdag (Parliament) decided on a reform of teacher education. It came into effect on July 1, 2001. Teacher education will lay more emphasis on pedagogics, teaching methods, special education and teaching practice in a 60-point course which will be common to all students. There will be, in principle, only one teaching degree for the public school system, but with different specializations in terms of age groups, subject areas or other competences. The length of study for pre-school teachers and vocational studies teachers will be prolonged to 140 and 120 points respectively.


Non-traditional studies:

Distance higher education

Universities and institutions of higher education now offer hundreds of distance  courses in different subjects. It is mostly those over 35 who participate in this form of training. The Government has appointed a special authority to promote methods of distance learning.

Lifelong higher education

Folk high schools: each school determines its own curriculum within the framework of the Folk High School Code. Some courses can qualify students for university studies. Studies focus on topic areas rather than on single subjects. Other forms are correspondence schools and courses arranged by the broadcasting media. Formal adult education ("komvux"), both general and vocational, is offered by the local education committees in all municipalities and in certain educational fields (e.g. the health sector) by county councils. Universities have comprehensive programmes for further education, including commissioned education, part-time and evening courses, as well as summer courses.

Higher education training in industry

Industry cooperates with universities/university colleges and vice versa for industrial needs and also for the needs of the labour market.

Other forms of non-formal higher education

Universities and institutions of higher education offer courses during the summer months. They provide an alternative to further education and training during term time. Evening classes and part-time courses are available in higher education and are mainly found in the Humanities and Law.




Administration & co-ordination:

Responsible authorities:

Nordic Association of Universities

Head: Lars Ekholm, Secretary-General

Rådmansgatan 72
SE-113 60 Stockholm

Tel: +46(8) 324-604

Fax: +46(8) 329-370





Ministry of Education and Science (Utbildningsdepartementet)

Head: Thomas Östros, Minister

Administrative officer: Agneta Bladh, Parliamentary Under-Secretary

Drottninggatan 16
SE-103 33 Stockholm

Tel: +46(8) 405-1000   +46(8) 405-1889

Fax: +46(8) 723-1192

Telex: 141 32 unicol s




Role of governing body: Overall development and planning of all higher education and research, supervision.


National Agency for Higher Education (Högskoleverket)

Head: Sigbrit Franke, Director-General

PO Box 7851
Birger Jarlsgatan 43
SE-103 99 Stockholm

Tel: +46(8) 5630-8500

Fax: +46(8) 5630-8550




Role of governing body: Evaluation and analyses of higher education, quality issues, information, international issues (including mobility and recognition).


Association of Swedish Higher Education (Sveriges universitets-och högskoleförbund)

Head: Christina Ullenius, Chairperson

Administrative officer: Lars Ekholm, Secretary-General

Rådmansg. 72
SE-113 60 Stockholm




The Swedish Institute (Svenska Institutet)

Head: Erland Ringborg, Director-General

PO Box 7434
Hamngatan 27
SE-103 91 Stockholm

Tel: +46(8) 789-2000

Fax: +46(8) 207-248





Department for Research Cooperation (SAREC), Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA)

Head: Berit Olsson, Director

Sveavägen 20
SE-105 25 Stockholm

Tel: +46(8) 698-5314

Fax: +46(8) 698-5656







Admission to university-level studies

Name of secondary school credential required: Slutbetyg Från Gymnasieskola

Minimum score/requirement: IB or EB

Alternatives to credentials: Slutbetyg från Komvux, Studieomdöme från folkhögskola (Folk High School) or a foreign secondary school leaving certificate equivalent to Slutbetyg Från Gymnasieskola and giving access to higher education in the country of origin. 25 years old, 4 years' work experience, knowledge of Swedish and English.

Entrance exams required: For many courses specific entrance requirements are needed.

Other admission requirements: Work experience is required for some programmes. Auditions and proven artistic ability for most of the arts programmes.

Foreign students admission

Admission requirements: All foreign students should apply directly to the universities and university colleges for courses and programmes. Foreign student cousellors and the admission offices can provide the necessary information and forms. The application procedure may vary depending on the applicant's status, nationality and knowledge of Swedish. Forms and deadlines for course applications and programmes applications may also differ. For further information see

Recognition of studies & qualifications:

Studies pursued in home country (System of recognition/accreditation): The Government decides which degrees are awarded by the higher education system. The requirements, orientation and scope of the degrees are stipulated in a special ordinance. The National Agency for Higher Education decides about the right to award certain degrees in the higher education system. With respect to undergraduate education, degrees are divided into general academic or  professional degrees.

Studies pursued in foreign countries (bodies dealing with recognition of foreign credentials):

National Admissions Office to Higher Education (Verket för Högskoleservice)

PO Box 12615
Drottningholmsvägen 37, plan 2
SE-112 92 Stockholm

Tel: +46(8) 725-9600  +46(8) 5455-1540



Swedish NARIC/ENIC, National Agency for Higher Education (Högskoleverket)

Head: Ulf Öhlund, Director

PO Box 7851
Birger Jarlsgatan 43
SE-103 99 Stockholm

Tel: +46(8) 5630-8500

Fax: +46(8) 5630-8650



Deals with credential recognition for entry to: University and Profession

Services provided & students dealt with: It evaluates foreign degrees/diplomas, deals with foreign credential recognition for professional purposes, recognizes foreign teacher qualifications as a competent authority for teacher profession and gives advice to HEI concerning academic recognition.


The National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen)

SE-106 30 Stockholm

Tel: +46(8) 5555-3000

Fax: +46(8) 5555-3420



Deals with credential recognition for entry to: Profession

Services provided & students dealt with: Recognition to be registered as doctor, midwife, chiropractor, speech therapist, psychologist, psychotherapist, physiotherapist, dentist, nurse, optician, pharmaceutics, occupational therapist, hearing disorder assistant, biomedical analyst, dietician, orthopedic engineer, X-ray nurse, hospital physicist


Other information sources on recognition of foreign studies: The Swedish Board of Agriculture for Veterinary Medicine. Other competent authorities:

Special provisions for recognition:

For access to university level studies: Each institution of higher education. Verket för Högskolservice (VHS).

Multilateral agreements concerning recognition of foreign studies

Name of agreement: Council of Europe Convention/European Agreement On Continued Payment of Scholarships To Students Studying Abroad

Year of signature: 1969

Name of agreement: Council of Europe/Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications Concerning Higher Education in the European Region

Year of signature: 2001

References to further information on foreign student admissions and recognition of studies

Title: Study in Sweden. A guide for foreign students

Author: The Swedish Institute, SI

Publisher: The Swedish Institute (



National student associations and unions

Sveriges Förenade Studentkårer (SFS )

Wollmar Yxkullsgatan 16
S-112 34 Stockholm

Tel: +46(8) 545 70100

Fax: +46(8) 545 70110



Health/social provisions

Social security for home students: Yes

Cost/fee (per year): 0 (Swedish Krone)

Social security for foreign students: Yes

Cost/fee (per year): 0 (Swedish Krone)

Foreign student social security provisions: Students from Scandinavian countries: same benefits as Swedish citizens; EU citizens must fill in form E111. All students staying more than one year may benefit from reduced costs for medical care.

Special student travel fares:

By road: Yes

By rail: Yes

By air: Yes

Available to foreign students: Yes

Student expenses and financial aid

Student costs:

Average living costs: 63000 (Swedish Krone)

Home students tuition fees: Minimum: 350 (Swedish Krone)

Maximum: 500 (Swedish Krone)

Foreign students tuition fees: Minimum: 350 (Swedish Krone)

Maximum: 500 (Swedish Krone)

Type of financial aid available:


Higher vocational/technical studies:

Home: Yes

Foreign: No

First Degree studies:

Home: Yes

Foreign: Yes

Advanced/doctoral studies:

Home: Yes

Foreign: Yes


Higher vocational/technical studies:

Home: Yes

Foreign: No

First degree studies:

Home: Yes

Foreign: No

Advanced/doctoral studies:

Home: Yes

Foreign: No

Bodies providing information on student financial aid:

Centrala Studiestödsnämnden

SE 851 82 Sundsvall

Tel: +46(60) 186600



Deals with: Loans

Category of students: For Swedish citizens only.

The Swedish Institute

PO Box 7434
SE-103 91 Stockholm

Tel: +46(8) 7892000

Fax: +46(8) 207248

Telex: 100 25 swedins s



Deals with: Grants

Category of students: All university level all nationalities.

Publications on student services and financial aid:

Title: Scholarships for Study and Research in Sweden

Author: The Swedish Institute

Publisher: Swedish Institute

Title: Study Abroad 2000-2001

Publisher: UNESCO/IBE

Year of publication: 1999



Principal national bodies responsible for dealing with international cooperation and exchanges in higher education:

International Programme Office

Head: Boo Sjögren, Director-General

Kungsbroplan 3A
PO Box 22007
SE-104 22 Stockholm

Tel: +46(8) 453-7200

Fax: +46(8) 453-7201




National Agency for Higher Education (Högskoleverket)

PO Box 7851
Birger Jarlsgatan 43
SE-103 99 Stockholm

Tel: +46(8) 5630-8500

Fax: +46(8) 5630-8550

Telex: 100 25 swedins




The Swedish Institute (Svenska Institut)

Head: Erland Ringborg, Director-General

PO Box 7434
Hamngatan 27
SE-103 91 Stockholm

Tel: +46(8) 789-2000

Fax: +46(8) 207-248

Telex: 100 25 swedins




Participation of country in multilateral or bilateral higher education programmes

Name of exchange programme: LEONARDO

Name of exchange programme: Linneus-Palme (with developing countries)

Name of exchange programme: NORDPLUS

Name of exchange programme: SOCRATES

Name of exchange programme: TEMPUS



Usual grading system in secondary school

Full Description: IG:Icke Godkänd (fail), G:Godkänd (pass), VG:Väl Godkänd (pass not without distinction) and MVG: Mycket Väl Godkänd (pass with distinction). Until 30 June 1994 a 5 point scale was used, 5 being highest on the scale.

Highest on scale: Mycket Väl Godkänd (until 1 July 1994, 5 point

Pass/fail level: Godkänd (until 1 July 1994, 2-3)

Lowest on scale: Icke Godkänd (until 1 July 1994, 1)

Main grading system used by higher education institutions

Full Description: A system of credits. One year of successful full-time study equals 40 credits. Most degree programmes are of 120 to 160 credits; a minimum of three years or four years respectively. Full-time study requires at least 40 hours per week and 40 weeks per year.

Highest on scale: VG Väl Godkänd  (distinction)

Pass/fail level: G Godkänd (pass)

Lowest on scale: U Underkänd (fail)

Other main grading systems

For some programmes only pass level (Godkänd) is used. For some programmes in Engineering the 3-5 scale is used where 5 is highest on the scale and 3 is pass level. In Law, the scale B-BA-AB is used where AB is highest and B is pass level.





Data for academic year: 2001-2002

Source: National Agency for Higher Education, Stockholm, 2002

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