Studying in Sweden

Students' Experiences of Sweden

Why study in Sweden?

Sweden has a reputation for being an expensive country to live in, and when it comes to food and alcohol it certainly lives up to the stereotype. But in terms of education, the country is at the other end of the spectrum.

  • Sweden has 53 universities and university colleges and tuition is free for EU students, although fees have recently been introduced for non-EU students.
  • Given the country was the birthplace of the world’s most prestigious award, the Nobel Prize, it should hardly come as a surprise that its universities are well-regarded. 
  • There are a large number of programmes taught in English, both at Master’s and Bachelor’s level. Study in Sweden provides a searchable database of all English-language courses.

Entry and visa regulations

EU students do not require a visa to study in Sweden.

  • You must register with the Migration Board within three months of arriving in the country, providing evidence of your enrolment in an institution and access to funds to support your stay. 
  • University Admissions is the centralised application portal through which university places are administered. To apply for a place in a standard autumn intake, you need to apply in the January admissions round.

Funding your study

  • Although tuition costs are free, there is a small compulsory registration fee of about £25 payable to the student union each semester.
  • Maintenance loans in Sweden are usually only available to those who’ve moved to the country permanently for some reason other than study; if you’ve moved to Sweden just to take a course you won’t be eligible for financial aid.

Accommodation can be difficult to arrange before you arrive, although there are a number of student housing companies looking after each university.

  • Once you’ve registered with a student housing provider, rooms are usually allocated on a queue system, so the longer you’ve been on the waiting list, the greater your chance of finding a room.
  • Many students stay in hostels when they first arrive and then seek out more permanent accommodation in private rooms or houseshares.

According to Eurostat data, Sweden is the second most expensive country in the European Union, with goods and services costing 28% more than the EU average. As a guide, average costs (GBP, March 2015) include:

  • Apartment rent, 1 bedroom: £310 - £484 per month
  • Meal, inexpensive restaurant: £6.22
  • Meal at McDonalds: £5.36
  • Domestic beer (0.5 litre draught): £4.28
  • Imported beer (0.33 litre bottle): £3.89
  • Cappuccino: £2.41
  • Coke/Pepsi (0.33 litre bottle): £1.34
  • Water (0.33 litre bottle): £1.22
  • Loaf of bread: £1.52
  • Cigarettes: £4.28
  • One-way ticket local transport: £1.94
  • Cinema ticket: £8.94

Many students work part-time to help cover living costs. A 2009 study found that six out of every 10 university students had a part-time job.

  • EU students don’t require any additional permission to seek employment, although be prepared for fierce competition for jobs from other students. It is much harder to find employment if you can’t speak any Swedish.

Health and safety

Healthcare in Sweden is subsidised by the government but is not free at the point of use as it is with the NHS.

  • UK students with a European Health Insurance Card will be entitled to access the Swedish healthcare system the same way as nationals, but there is a fee to access most services. This varies between areas, but will typically involve paying £15–20 to see a doctor at a GP practice or accident and emergency service. There is a yearly cap and once you hit that level, further visits are free. Treatment is free for those aged under 20.
  • Sweden is generally considered a safe country, although pickpocketing and bag-snatching is a risk in some of the larger cities.

Helpful links

International Rankings

University Rankings 2017–18

University QS
QS World University Rankings 2017–18

Global university rankings compiled annually by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS). QS ranks institutions by the following key indicators; academic peer review, faculty student ratio, citations per faculty, recruiter review, international orientation.

See the QS World University Rankings here, and more on making sense of international rankings here.

THE World University Rankings 2017–18

Global university rankings compiled annually by the Times Higher Education (THE). THE ranks institutions by performance in the following categories; Industry Income, Teaching, Research and Citations.

See THE World University Rankings here, and more on making sense of international rankings here.

Chalmers University of Technology 133 201-250
Karolinska Institute - 38
KTH 98 155
Lund University 78 93
Stockholm University 182 136
University of Gothenburg 247 180
Uppsala University 112 86