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Higher Education System in Sweden

Higher Education in Sweden is of the highest standard, with Swedish government's investment in education being amongst the most eminent in the globe. Sweden provides higher education by a broad range of institutions. They are based on two sets of activities, educational activity and research.
It provides students knowledge and skills in the area of education concerns, and an ability to independently identify, formulate and resolve problems, alacrity to adapt to the changes at the workplace.

Role of the Swedish Government 

The higher education is under the legal power of the Swedish Government. The Swedish government is in charge of granting university status, formulating laws concerning the higher education sector, financing higher education study programs and research activities and administering the agencies involved in the higher education.

Quick Facts about Sweden Higher Education

  • Number of Universities: 37
  • Number of international students studying in Sweden each year: 38,000 of which over 15,000 are exchange students 
  • Number of students studying in Sweden each year: 360,000 
  • Number of doctoral students (International) studying in Sweden: 6,500 (each year)
  • Number of English-language programs at first cycle (bachelor) and second level (master): more than 70

Higher Education Institutions: Snapshot

There are many institutions providing higher education in Sweden. The higher education institutions in Sweden are: University and University Colleges.

University and University Colleges:  Most of the universities and university colleges in Sweden are public authorities, while other universities and university colleges are autonomous, i.e. they function on the basis of an agreement with the Government and are required to abide by the legislative acts pertinent to the higher education sector. Besides, there are a few independent organisations, having a degree granting power in the field of Psychotherapy.

Higher Education Degree Structure: At a Glance

The higher education in Sweden follows a three-cycle degree structure

Basic Level (First Cycle)

The first cycle comprises of a University Diploma and Degree of Bachelor.
  • University Diploma (hogskoleexamen): The duration of this level is two years and is awarded after attaining 120 credits.
  • Degree of Bachelor (kandidatexamen): This degree is awarded after successful completion of three years and at least 180 credit points.

Advanced Level (Second Cycle)

The Second Cycle comprises of two types of Masters:
  • Degree of Master (magisterexamen) (One year): The duration of the study is one year and requires 60 higher education credits.
  • Degree of Master (masterexamen) (Two years): The length of this degree is two years and requires 120 higher education credits.

Doctoral Level (Third Cycle)

Two qualifications are offered at the doctoral level
  • Degree of Licentiate (licentiatexamen): The duration is of two years and requires at least 120 higher education credits.
  • Degree of Doctor (PhD, doktorsexamen): The duration of this degree program is four years and requires 240 higher education credits.

Academic Year

The academic year is split into two semesters: autumn and spring semesters. The majority of courses and study programs begin in the autumn semester.
  • Autumn Semester: The autumn semester begins at the conclusion of August and continues until mid-January of the following year. 
  • Spring Semester: The spring semester begins in mid-January and terminates in June.
Between the spring and autumn semesters, many higher education institutions have a short summer term. A student is generally granted a maximum of 15 credit points for courses undertaken during the summer term. 

Grading System

The standard grading scale at the University level is:

 Grade Grade Description Description (In English)
 VG Val Godkand Passed with distinction
 G Godkand  Passed
 U Underkand Fail

Sweden does not follow any national grading scheme. The higher education institution decides onto which grading system is to be applied. No overall grade is given for a degree and students are not ranked either. 

International Students

Sweden holds a custom of being receptive to international influences and looking beyond its boundary. The academic environment is culturally diverse with more than 38,000 international students studying at Swedish higher education institutions. 

Higher Education Facts and Figures

Sweden higher education in recent years has undergone many developments. The foremost development is that it is becoming more international with an increasing level of global enrollment. This development has been observed for several years in admissions to all the three degree cycle of studies in Sweden. About every fourth new student in Sweden, i.e. 24 per cent was an incoming Higher education freshman in the academic year 2012/13.
The second development was in the field of higher education research. During the last ten years revenues for research and third-cycle degree programs have risen by SEK 7 billion, which equates to 24 per cent.
Source: Swedish Higher Education Authority

In Sweden, 87% of adults in the age group of 25 to 64 have obtained the equivalent of a high-school degree, higher than the OECD average of 75%. Sweden can expect to go through 19.2 years of education aged 5-39, more than the OECD average of 17.7 years. This high degree of education expectancy reflects Sweden’s high standard performance in the educational attainment of its 25 to 34 year-old population.  
Source: http://www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org/countries/sweden/
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