As a country located in Europe according to iamhigher, Sweden is a dream destination for nature lovers and is known for its warm people and idyllic towns. But what if you don’t want to go on vacation, but want to study there ? What is the Swedish study system like? What kind of degrees are awarded? The following text provides answers to these and other questions.
The structure of the study system in Sweden
As in most European countries, the course is divided into an undergraduate and a postgraduate section. The academic year is also composed of two parts, the fall semester ( hösttermin ) from August to January and the spring semester ( vårtermin ) from January to June.
The task of the Swedish universities is to provide students with an education that is based on a scientific and artistic foundation as well as on experience. They also do research and development work in various areas and are socially committed.
In Sweden, since 2007, the course has been divided into so-called cycles across universities : the first, second and third cycle. The division describes the respective time periods in which you find yourself depending on the study phase. The first two cycles are considered undergraduate, the third as postgraduate. Within these sections, students obtain degrees from Bachelor to Doctorate, which build on each other.
The students can either put together the necessary courses themselves or take part in a fixed study program. In the study system in Sweden, they collect 30 “ higher education credits ” per semester, which correspond to 60 ECTS points.
The classic degrees
In Sweden, students can take the classic route and obtain a bachelor’s, master’s and doctor’s degree in turn. Of course, each of the degrees is an academic title in itself.
Two years after the start of their studies, students in the so-called first cycle already have a higher diploma ( Högskolexamen ) in their pockets, but this is not a full academic degree. Within three years you will get a recognized bachelor’s degree ( candidate exam ) in the study system in Sweden.
The Abitur is the number one admission requirement. The Swedish Council for Higher Education ( Universitets- och Högskolerådet ) stipulates further conditions such as technical or linguistic competencies for vocational courses. For other degree programs, the universities themselves decide on the admission requirements.
In the study system in Sweden there are generally no large final exams, but the performance is continuously checked and assessed. The grading system in Sweden is quite simple and consists of only three grades between “good” and “fail”. After three years or 180 ECTS points, students have a bachelor’s degree under their belt.
The second cycle is about master’s degrees (master’s exams ). In order to take part in a corresponding course of study, students need a first academic degree such as a bachelor’s degree.
There are different master’s degrees in the study system in Sweden: one lasts a year with 60 higher education credits, another two years with 120 higher education credits. In addition, students can obtain a job-related master’s degree, which is worth 240 to 330 higher education credits.
For the study in the Third Cycle are two to four years provided. Students usually obtain their degrees through research, teaching, autonomous learning and writing a thesis. After two years, students can already licentiate ( licentiatsexamen ) finish.
The prerequisite for a doctoral degree ( doctoral examination ) is an academic degree from the second cycle, i.e. a master’s degree. Here, too, the universities themselves determine further criteria, which can differ from subject to subject.
Each student will be two supervisors granted, they take a little of the hand and guide the work in the right direction. In the end, successful students receive a doctorate ( PhD, Doctor of Philosophy ) in their chosen field.
Shorter study stays in Sweden
Many universities offer options that allow students to come into the country and study for a limited time. These include, for example, semesters abroad in Sweden or summer sessions.
During the semester abroad, students usually choose their courses freely from the university’s general offer. Under certain circumstances, you can even have your work credited at your home university, provided that all requirements are met. It is best to discuss this with the relevant departments at the university in advance of the stay abroad.
Summer sessions are usually either self-contained programs lasting a few weeks or a range of courses that students can choose from. These courses are like compressed semesters abroad and also do not last long, so that they can be completed during the summer semester break.
The study system in Sweden compared to Germany
In contrast to Germany, students in the postgraduate area can obtain a licentiate. It is a research-based degree that sits between a master’s degree and a doctorate.
Otherwise there are no longer any great differences in the study system in Sweden compared to Germany. Since the Bologna reform, the recognition of academic achievements has become much easier thanks to standardization through the ECTS ( European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System ). Degrees such as Bachelor and Master are also available in both countries. However, that does not mean that no problems can arise – each case must be examined individually.