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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

Kvalificerad yrkesexamen


Yrkesexamen (Undergraduate)


Magisterexamen med ämnesdjup

Magisterexamen med ämnesbredd

Yrkesexamen (Postgraduate)






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: Intyg om allmän behörighet (certificate concerning general eligibility for higher education) or "Intyg om särskild behörighet" (certificate concerning specific eligibility)

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 that allow students to go on to higher education. Some of these programmes also include industrial work placements. The National Programmes of upper secondary education are 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 lasting between one and three years of studies. There are no formal examinations. Post-secondary studies include advanced vocational training (Kvalificerad yrkesutbilding) which is intended to meet the labour market's needs for 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 on three-year upper secondary education or corresponding proficiency. The training is normally intended to correspond to two years of study and leads to a Certificate of Advanced Vocational Training (Kvalificerad yrkesexamen).

Higher education:

The Swedish system includes not only traditional university studies, but also Teacher Training, Health Care Training, Technical Training, etc. It is the responsibility of: the central government, regional authorities and private interests. All higher education institutions fall under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education except for 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.

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 tillstånd att utfärda vissa examina SFS 1993:956 Year: 1993

Decree: Government bill on the degree system Year: 2004

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

Concerns: Advanced Vocational Training

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

Concerns: Private higher education

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 higher education institutions. 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 of at least 60 credits (three terms) are required, including an independent special project of at least 10 credits. Since 1 November 2001 there are 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 of 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 ämnesbredd is awarded in addition to a degree of at least 120 points. Apart from the general academic degrees, there are some 60 professional degrees (Yrkesexamen) which vary in length between 40 and 220 points, depending on their character and field of study. They include the degrees of Doctor of Medicine, Master of Science in Engineering or in Agriculture, as well as 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. which 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

A new teacher training programme was introduced on July 1 2001. It includes a 60-credit course in pedagogics, special education and teaching practice that is common to all students. There is, in principle, only one teaching degree (lärarexamen) for the public school but with different specializations in terms of age groups, subject areas or other competences. The length of study for pre-school teachers and teachers at lower grades of primary/basic school is at least 140 credits. According to provisional regulations, students who started studying in teacher training programmes (to become e.g. grundskollärare) before July 1 2001 have the right to be awarded a degree according to the previous regulations until the end of June 2008.

Training of secondary school teachers

Teacher training for upper secondary schools (Gymnasielärarutbildning) is based on a combination of subjects within often one and the same field, e.g. Mathematics-Natural Sciences, Languages, Humanities. A total of 180-200/220 credits including pedagogical training is required. These subjects are studied up to a level of 60 or 80 credits. Instead of this integrated model for teacher training, it is also possible to follow a consecutive route. In this case, the subjects are studied first at the university followed by a 60 credit education course (Kompletterande-Pedagogisk Utbildning, including pedagogics, teaching methods and teaching practice) at a teacher training institute/faculty.


Non-traditional studies:

Distance higher education

IT-supported higher education distance courses are offered by various higher education institutions in Sweden.

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 organised 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.




Administration & co-ordination:

Responsible authorities:

Utbildnings - och kulturdepartementet (Ministry of Education, Research and Culture)

Head: Leif Pagrotsky, Minister

Drottninggatan 16
SE-103 33 Stockholm

Tel: +46(8) 4051000

Fax: +46(8) 7231192




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


Högskoleverket (National Agency for Higher Education)

Head: Sigbrit Franke, Chairman

PO Box 7851
Luntmakargatan 13
SE-103 99 Stockholm

Tel: +46(8) 56308500

Fax: +46(8) 56308550




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


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

Head: Bo Sundqvist, Chairperson

Administrative officer: Bengt Karlsson, Secretary-General

Rådmansgatan 72
SE-113 60 Stockholm

Tel: +46(8) 321388

Fax: +46(8) 329370




Myndigheten för Sveriges Nätuniversitet (The Swedish Net University Agency)

PO Box 194
SE-871 24 Härnösand

Tel: +46 611349500




Role of governing body: Information, marketing, coordination, development of IT supported distance education.


Myndigheten för kvalificerad yrkesutbildning (Swedish Agency for Advanced Vocational Education)

Head: Sonja Eriksson

Järnvägsgatan 3
281 31 Hässleholm

Tel: +46 45145480

Fax: +46 45145499




Role of governing body: Central administrative authority for advanced vocational training.


Skolverket (Swedish National Agency for Education)

Head: Per Thullberg

Alströmergatan 12
SE-106 20 Stockholm

Tel: +48(8) 52733200




Role of governing body: Central administrative authority for the Swedish Public School System


Svenska Institutet (Swedish Institute)

Head: Per Wästberg, Director-General

PO Box 7434
Skeppsbron 2
SE-103 91 Stockholm

Tel: +46(8) 4537800

Fax: +46(8) 207248





Information Service on Folk High School

PO Box 740
SE-101 35 Stockholm

Tel: +46(8) 7960050

Fax: +46(8) 218826





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

Head: Berit Olsson, Director

Sveavägen 20
SE-105 25 Stockholm

Tel: +46(8) 6985314

Fax: +46(8) 6985656







Admission to university-level studies

Name of secondary school credential required: Slutbetyg Från Gymnasieskola

Minimum score/requirement: 90% of credit hours must be passed with mark G or higher

Alternatives to credentials: Slutbetyg från Komvux (adult education), Intyg om allmän behörighet 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: no

Numerus clausus/restrictions: Yes

Other admission requirements: For most courses there are additional specific entrance requirements expressed in terms of courses at secondary school level. Work experience is required for some programmes. Auditions and proven artistic ability for most of the arts programmes.The deadline for applications to higher education starting in autumn is April 15.

Foreign students admission

Admission requirements: All foreign students should apply directly to the universities and university colleges for courses and programmes. Foreign student counsellors 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 objectives of the degrees are stipulated in a special degree ordinance.  With respect to undergraduate education, degrees are divided into general academic and professional degrees.The National Agency for Higher Education decides about the right of specific institutions to award certain degrees and evaluates the quality of all programmes and subjects.

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

NARIC/ENIC (Högskoleverket)

Head: Lars Petersson, Director

Luntmakargatan 13
P.O. Box 7851
SE-103 99 Stockholm

Tel: +46(8) 56308500

Fax: +46(8) 56308650




Deals with credential recognition for entry to: University and Profession

Services provided & students dealt with: Evaluates foreign degrees/diplomas, deals with foreign credential recognition for professional purposes, recognizes foreign teacher qualifications as the competent authority for the teacher profession and gives advice to HEI concerning academic recognition. Individual application accepted for residents in Sweden and/or citizens of EU Member States.


National Admissions Office to Higher Education (Verket för Högskoleservice)

P.O. Box 24070
Karlavägen 108
SE-104 50 Stockholm

Tel:  +46(8) 54551540




Services provided & students dealt with: Deals with foreign credential for admission to higher education (for residents in Sweden)


The National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen)

Head: Kjell Asplund, Director-General

SE-106 30 Stockholm

Tel: +46(8) 55553000

Fax: +46(8) 55553420




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 studies in veterinary medicine. Information on other competent authorities:

Special provisions for recognition:

For access to university level studies: Established by higher education institutions and Verket för Högskolservice (VHS). For recognition of periods of studies: Higher education ordinance, chapter 6 §§12-13.

For access to advanced studies and research: Established by higher education institutions

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/Recognition of Qualifications Concerning Higher Education in the European Region

Year of signature: 2001

Name of agreement: Nordic Declaration/Recognition of Qualifications Concerning Higher Education (Reykjavik Declaration)

Year of signature: 2004

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



National student associations and unions

Sveriges Förenade Studentkårer (SFS)

Wollmar Yxkullsgatan 16
S-112 34 Stockholm

Tel: +46(8) 54570100

Fax: +46(8) 54570110




Health/social provisions

Social security for home students: Yes

Social security for foreign students: Yes

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: 6300 (Swedish Krone)

Home students tuition fees: Minimum: 150 (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(0) 60186000

Fax: +46(0) 60186193




Deals with: Loans

Category of students: For Swedish citizens only.

The Swedish Institute

P.O. Box 7434
Skeppsbron 2
SE-103 91 Stockholm

Tel: +46(8) 4537800

Fax: +46(8) 207248




Deals with: Grants

Category of students: All university levels, all nationalities.

Publications on student services and financial aid:

Title: Scholarships for Study and Research in Sweden

Author: The Swedish Institute



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

International Programme Office

Head: Ulf Melin, Director-General

Kungsbroplan 3A
P.O. Box 22007
SE-104 22 Stockholm

Tel: +46(8) 4537200

Fax: +46(8) 4537201




The Swedish Institute (Svenska Institut)

Head: Per Wästberg, Director-General

P.O. Box 7434
Skeppsbron 2
SE-103 91 Stockholm

Tel: +46(8) 7892000

Fax: +46(8) 207248




Participation of country in multilateral or bilateral higher education programmes

Name of exchange programme: ALFA

Name of exchange programme: ASEM DUO

Name of exchange programme: Comenius

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 with distinction) and MVG: Mycket Väl Godkänd (pass with high distinction).

Highest on scale: Mycket Väl Godkänd

Pass/fail level: Godkänd

Lowest on scale: Icke Godkänd

Main grading system used by higher education institutions

Full Description: Väl Godkänd (distinction). Godkänd (pass). Underkänd (fail)

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 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: 2005-2006

Source: IAU from Högskoleverket/National Agency for Higher Education, Stockholm, December 2005

Note on Higher Education Institutions: Some institutions awarding postgraduate degrees are listed in the 'Other Institutions' section because they are entitled, at national level, to award undergraduate degrees only.

Copyright © IAU, World Higher Education Database (WHED)