Studying Abroad

Studying in Sweden

Uni Compare  · Jun 8th 2021

Studying in Sweden offers students a world-class education at a fraction of the price of other European countries.

Swedish flag

The Scandinavian country is located in Northern Europe between Finland and Norway and has a history of academic excellence (no, it isn’t just famous for it’s meatballs and flat-pack furniture!)

Swedish is the official language of the country; however, a lot of Swedes speak fluent English. Although learning the language will help you to integrate with locals, it isn’t an essential skill you will need before moving.

Swedish universities offer many degree courses with links to industry, career prospects and valuable work experience opportunities, so let’s find out more about what you can expect.

Swedish education

The Sweden education system has over 50 academic institutions of higher education that are based on teaching and research. The degrees offered are generally at Bachelors, Masters and Doctoral levels and institutions have a lot of freedom to structure their degree courses and programmes.

Sweden uses a credit system to allow students to gain more control over their learning (not unlike UCAS points), however the universities also cooperate with the government’s terms as well as with the Bologna Process for international students looking to study in Sweden.

The Swedish academic year follows as:

  • An autumn semester – beginning at the end of August and ending mid-January including a short break for Christmas
  • A spring semester – running from mid-January to the beginning of June

Sweden is the birthplace of the Nobel Prize, the world’s most prestigious award, and the universities aren’t far behind with Lund University and Uppsala University being ranked very highly in the world university rankings.

What do I need to get into a Swedish university?

Students who wish to study for a Bachelor’s degree in Sweden need to have completed high school education after the age of 16 (usually college, A Levels or BTEC qualifications etc.) Students must also demonstrate their ability to speak and write fluently in English, whether they are a native speaker, by undergoing the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). The guidelines for language requirements may vary at each university. There are no specialised universities in Sweden for international students.

To study a course in Swedish, students will need to prove their language skills are higher or equivalent to the secondary level (high school) standard, and this can be done through the Test in Swedish for University Studies (TISUS).

How can I apply to study in Sweden?

If you are a free mover (a student who wants to study in Sweden on their own and not through another university or an exchange programme), then you will have to apply on your own and conduct your own research. For all Bachelor’s degree programmes in Sweden, there is an online application system (, and it can be used for all of the public universities in the country.

If you want to start the course by the autumn semester then your application must be completed by mid-January; however, we advise checking with the university you are applying for as deadlines may differ.

After you’ve applied you will get your admission notices in March for the autumn semester or in November for the spring semester. Some universities may ask students to apply for their programme of study on top of the general application; the university will send you an email or letter if this is necessary.

Studying in Sweden.

How much will it cost me to study in Sweden?

Students from the EU or EEA or Switzerland aren’t required to pay tuition fees in Sweden. Non-EU nationals will have to pay fees for Bachelor and Master programmes while PhD degree courses are free. Although tuition fees are zero there is a small but compulsory registration fee of around £25 that students have to pay the student union each semester/term.

If you are applying for university in Sweden as a free mover you will have to secure funding, your visas and immigration information on your own. Students are able to research scholarships and visa and passports beforehand. Keep in mind it can be difficult to get into a university in Sweden on your own as the educational system is popular, however, if you work hard and obtain good results then there won’t be anything that can get in your way!

Make sure you check out if studying in Sweden is a financially viable option for you, the more this works for you, the better! Don't rush into something you can't necessarily do.

Will I get funding to study in Sweden?

There are actually a range of scholarships available to international and EU students studying at all levels of higher education. The average living costs per month for Sweden in Swedish Krona (SEK) is SEK 7,660 which is equivalent to £670. The cost of living will depend on where students decide to live and their individual lifestyle, for example, Stockholm and Gothenburg will be more expensive than smaller towns.

There are maintenance loans available in Sweden but are only available to Swedish nationals or others who have permanently moved to the country; students aren’t eligible for this type of loan. Most students find part-time work to help fund their studies and living costs, and as an EU national you don’t need any extra permission to be able to seek employment.

Will I need a student visa to study in Sweden?

If you are an EU citizen, you are allowed to live in any EU country while studying if you:

  • Are studying for three months or more
  • Are enrolled at an approved educational institution/university
  • Have sufficient funds or income to live without needing income support (savings or job)
  • Have health insurance cover (EHIC and extra health insurance cover purchased)

Students need to register with the Migration Board within three months of arriving in the country and provide evidence of enrolment at an institution and access to funds to support their stay.

Where can I live when I study in Sweden?

Securing student accommodation can be difficult to arrange before you arrive but there are a number of student housing companies that look after each university. Once you have registered with a student housing provider, rooms are usually allocated on a queue system, the longer you have been waiting, the greater chance of you being allocated a room.

Some students stay in hostels when they first arrive and then look for more permanent accommodation in private rooms or house shares once they settle. As you will only have your luggage to take, you have to be careful and picky with what you take, you will need the typical university essentials, so be sure to check the university checklist out before you start packing!

Will I need health insurance for Sweden?

The healthcare in Sweden isn’t the same as the NHS in the UK; however, if you have your European Health Insurance(/advice/studying-abroad/european-health-insurance/) (EHIC card) then you will be entitled to be treated with the Swedish healthcare system.

There is a fee to access a lot of the services which varies between areas, on average an individual can pay £15 to £20 to see a doctor/GP. There is a yearly cap and once you hit that any further visits and treatments are free for those under the age of 20.

Living costs in Sweden Here are average costs for your day-to-day living and monthly bills in Sweden.

Type Price in Sweden UK equivalent
Dining out per-meal 100.00kr £8.55
McDonalds (per-meal) 80.00kr £6.84
Beer 69.00kr £5.90
Coke 19.48kr £1.66
Water 17.09kr £1.46
Milk 11.42kr £0.98
Bread 22.42kr £1.92
Bus ticket (one-way) 31.00kr £2.65
Bus ticket (monthly) 780.00kr £66.66
Utilities 758.41kr £64.81
Internet (60+ mpbs) 295.48kr £363.07
Cinema 130.00kr £11.11
Rent (Apartment: 1 bedroom) in City Centre) per-month 7,475.11kr £638.79

* All prices correct at the time of publication.

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