Sweden 1Choose to study Sweden, and you will find yourself in a nation which has always punched well above its weight. From being the center of an empire in the 17th century, to being the home and birthplace of the Nobel Prize, its influence has long spread well beyond its borders, despite the fact that its total population is no bigger than a large city. Swedish businesses such as Ikea and Volvo are known around the world, and its contributions to popular culture range from bouffant-haired 70s pop aristocrats ABBA to the groundbreaking films of director Ingmar Bergman.

Modern-day Sweden is known for its sense of social justice and fairness. It has the highest level of wealth equality in the world, one of the world’s lowest gender pay gaps, publically funded healthcare for all, and equal rights for homosexual and heterosexual couples. Add on striking northern European beauty, and free tuition for EU students (fees for non-EU students were introduced recently), and the appeal of studying in Sweden is pretty strong.

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Creativity is central

When you study in Sweden, you’re encouraged to think independently, creatively and critically. You’ll develop your ability to question the status quo by assessing information, seeking new perspectives and coming up with well-informed opinions. You’ll be free to think creatively because of the informal and non-hierarchical nature of Swedish society, where everyone is encouraged to contribute ideas and opinions.

This independence of mind and the fact that everyone can make their voice heard are two of the reasons why Sweden ranks among the world’s most innovative nations. Another is that investment in research is among the highest in the world in relation to GDP.

Sweden’s status as a leader in innovation and a home of trendsetters and early adopters is nothing new: the list of Swedish world-changing inventions is a long one and includes the seatbelt, the pacemaker and the music service Spotify. Which one of your brilliant ideas will Sweden help make reality?

Coursework is challenging – in a good way

Sweden has a long and proud history of academic excellence and despite its relatively small population, it’s home to some of the world’s best universities. The entire Swedish higher education system is ranked as one of the best in the world, and several Swedish universities are ranked by the Times Higher Education and the Academic Ranking of World Universities as being among the world’s best.In Sweden you’ll find a strong focus on rationality, reason and applying knowledge so that it makes a real difference. Look no further than the Nobel Prize, the world’s most prestigious academic distinction, for an illustration of the Swedish approach.

As a student here you’ll become part of this tradition of academic excellence. Just don’t expect to passively receive information: you’ll be encouraged and challenged to contribute, speak your mind and take your education into your own hands.

Swedish universities are well-adapted to the needs of international students, and Sweden consistently ranks in the top three in the world for English proficiency. You’ll be able to use English with everyone you meet, from the classroom to city the centre.

Sustainability and the environment are in focus

If you’re concerned with sustainable development for a greener future, you’ll feel right at home in Sweden. Environmental issues are high priority here, and Sweden has been named the most sustainable country in the world for its use of renewable energy (it has the highest percentage of renewable energy in the EU).

Environmental thinking and sustainability are a part of all aspects of life here, including education. Studying here will give you the chance to draw on Sweden’s deep environmental experience and apply its sustainable approach to your own chosen field.

And it’s not hard to see why Swedes are so keen to protect the environment: nature here is breathtaking, with huge forests, beautiful beaches and snow-capped mountains. Sweden’s 29 national parks and nearly 4,000 nature reserves offer you the opportunity to ski, hike, fish, swim and mountain bike.

Equality and diversity are central to Swedish society

Swedish society is known for its inclusiveness and equality – you may have heard Sweden referred to as the most equal country in the world. It consistently places among the world’s top countries in gender equality, while lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights in Sweden are regarded as among the most progressive in the world.

The belief that everyone is of equal value contributes to Sweden’s consensus approach to getting things done, where everyone takes part in the decision-making process. During your studies, you’ll learn how to balance different interests, needs and ideas to bring out the best in everyone and solve complex issues as a team – vital skills for your global career, where teamwork across cultures is the norm.

You’ll learn skills for a global career

What’s the most important thing you’ll need for success in your career? According to a global study of CEOs, it’s creativity. And creativity is exactly what studying in Sweden will foster, along with other in-demand skills such as how to combine theory and practice, and how to navigate complex situations where there’s no easy solution.

Many degree programmes in Sweden include internships, which are a great way to get real-world experience while you build your professional network. If you’re interested in research, doing a master’s in Sweden can be a great way to make the contacts you’ll need to carry on and do a PhD.
The fact that Sweden is home to the largest number of multinationals per capita of any country in the world and is the birthplace of many world-conquering companies – including IKEA, TetraPak, Volvo, Ericsson, AstraZeneca and H&M – means that getting on the career ladder here can really take you places. Should you receive a job offer while you’re still studying here, you can apply for a work permit and enjoy the work-life balance that Sweden is famous for.

Bonus: life is international student-friendly

So Sweden is green, creative, equal and open. What else should you know before you decide to study here?

Everyone speaks English – Sweden regularly ranks as one of the top countries in the world for non-native speakers of English. That means you don’t have to speak any Swedish to study here.Public transport is widespread, and it works. Sweden’s extensive network of buses, trains, subways, trams, boats, planes and more can take you anywhere you want to go, car-free.

International students can work in Sweden. Though your studies are your number-one priority, there’s no legal limit to the amount of hours international students can work during their studies. After completing your studies, you can apply to extend your residence permit to look for work for up to six months. (If you do want to work, learning Swedish is important – it’s often a requirement for jobs).
Sweden is clean and safe, and the standard of living is high

Credit System

Swedish universities use a credit system for first-cycle (undergraduate) and second-cycle (graduate) studies.

  • 1 Swedish credit = 1 ECTS credit
  • 1.5 Swedish credits = one week’s full-time studies (approx. 40 study hours).
  • One academic year = two semesters (5 months each) or 60 credits.
  • Full-time students take 30 Swedish credits per term (e.g. 4 x 7.5 credit courses per term).
    Students cannot take more than 45 Swedish credits per term without first obtaining special permission. (DU students can register for 45 credits only in any given term.)
Degree Structure

There are three cycles in the Swedish education system:

  • First Cycle (Undergraduate / Bachelor’s Level)
  • Second Cycle (Postgraduate / Master’s Level)
  • Third Cycle (Postgraduate / PhD Level)
First Cycle
  • University Diploma (120 Credits)
  • Bachelor’s Degree (180 Credits)
Second Cycle
  • Master’s Degree (60 Credits, One Year)
  • Master’s Degree (120 Credits, Two Years)
Third Cycle
  • Licentiate Degree (120 Credits)
  • Doctoral/PhD Degree (240 Credits)

Sweden is among the world leaders in higher education and some of the country’s reputation is due to the independent studies system that involves less teacher-led time and more group and independent study. In other words, higher education in Sweden is based on self-development coupled with “freedom and responsibility”.

The number of international students enrolled in the universities of Sweden is constantly growing and the percentage of those who are admitted is above half. So, studying in Sweden could be a really attractive option. But before you head to your application, you should know more about all of the financial aspects of studying and living in Sweden.

University tuition fees in Sweden

In Sweden, the students who are citizens of EU/EEA countries do not have to pay tuition. The universities only charge application fees for them, which are around 100 EUR and may vary depending on the institution. This fee can be paid online and are valid for both Bachelor and Master degree courses. In order to benefit from this, you should submit a copy of an official document (ID/passport) that show your citizenship.

Students from non-EU/EEA countries pay tuition fees. These differ according to the fields of study. Humanities, law and social science degree courses cost around 9,700 EUR/year and science programmes are worth circa 15,000 EUR/year.

Student living costs in Sweden

A student enrolled in a degree programme in Sweden usually has living costs a bit above other European countries. According to a study developed by Quartz, 85% of the country’s students graduate with a debt of circa 13,300 EUR.

A sum of all expenses leads to total living costs of 860 – 970 EUR/month. Of course, this applies to Sweden’s capital, Stockholm, the home of 17 universities and colleges and a significant education centre in the North of Europe.

Umea, Karlstad and Uppsala have lower average living costs of 700 – 870 EUR/month, while other small cities of Sweden involve total costs of 600 -700 EUR/month.

Accommodation costs

One of the most important expenses of students is accommodation. This is why 40% of the monthly expenses is represented by accommodation. This means housing and utilities go around 315 – 425 EUR/month. This is the average amount, which is sometimes exceeded, as you can see below.

  • Students living alone: 508 EUR/month
  • Students living with partner/children: 604 EUR/month
  • Students living in residence halls: 479 EUR/month

All of these costs are above average, but the quality is also in the same category. Accommodation in residence halls may be a bit of an issue since only 28% of the students that annually enrol in a Swedish university find a place in the halls provided by universities. According to a recent European study, out of the total number of students who do find a room on-campus, 71% are satisfied with the conditions they find. This aspect also shows the good housing conditions, since the international satisfaction average is 60%.

If you don’t find accommodation on-campus, you will have to check out the private rental apartments market.

See what these students have to say about studying abroad in Sweden:

  • Janine’s study experience
  • Antonio’s study experience
  • Eleni’s study experience
  • Andrea’s study experience
Food costs

When in Sweden, you will pay around 215 EUR for food monthly. This number depends on your eating habits, but you also have cheap options such as products from Lidl, Willy’s, or supermarkets from the city suburbs.

You can’t know a city until you’ve eaten at one of its restaurants. In order to do this in Sweden and get away with small amounts, you will need 10 EUR. Three-course meals for two in an average restaurant cost around 65 EUR. A light drink in a bar with your colleagues around the country will cost you 6 EUR.

Transportation costs

In Sweden, you will notice that public transport in highly appreciated among students as around 40% of them use it to get to their university and to locations in their city. Public transport will cost you 85 EUR/month. You can also choose a bicycle for transport and pay for it around 110 EUR. Out of all the students in Sweden, 27% ride bicycles.

Extra costs

During your study, you will also need textbooks, research magazines, and other supplies. These usually cost 80 EUR/month. Find out more about regular expenses in Sweden.

Scholarships and grants
In Sweden, you can get financial aid from public or private institutions.

  • The Swedish Institute, which is a government agency, offers scholarships yearly to international students through a variety of programmes. Find out more here.
  • Universities also have scholarship programmes which aim to cover tuition fees or living costs during the degree course.
Tips for saving money
  • Buy books, household products or accessories such as skates or others from stores that sell used products.
  • If you want to also learn about Sweden, some of the museums have a free entry on certain days. Get informed and get cultural!
  • Buy groceries and cook instead of eating out, since many of the restaurants can be expensive.
  • If you wish to travel to another Swedish town, you should know that the largest transport company offers discounts for students who are below 26 years old. Look for the conditions and buy your ticket in advance!
  • Ready to study in Sweden? Here’s some more helpful information like the best Scandinavian universities, applying for the Swedish student visa, or enrolling in a Swedish university.

List of Universities

  • Blekinge Institute of Technology
  • Chalmers University of Technology
  • Dalarna University
  • ErstaSköndal University College
  • GIH – the Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences
  • Halmstad University
  • Jönköping University
  • KMH – Royal College of Music in Stockholm
  • KTH Royal Institute of Technology
  • Karlstad University
  • KarolinskaInstitutet
  • Konstfack
  • Kristianstad University
  • Linköping University
  • Linnaeus University
  • Luleå University of Technology
  • Lund University
  • Malmö University
  • Mid Sweden University
  • Mälardalen University
  • Royal Institute of Art
  • SLU – Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
  • SMI – University College of Music Education in Stockholm
  • Sophiahemmet University College
  • Stockholm School of Economics
  • Stockholm School of Theology
  • Stockholm University
  • Stockholm University of the Arts
  • Södertörn University
  • Umeå University
  • University West
  • University of Borås
  • University of Gothenburg
  • University of Gävle
  • University of Skövde
  • Uppsala University
  • Örebro University
Applying for a Sweden Student Visa in 5 Steps

Students who are citizens of countries from outside the European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) and want to study in Sweden will require a student visa or a residence permit. Student visa is granted to students who wish to pursue one of the following categories of study programme in Sweden: University or College study in Sweden, Secondary school study in Sweden, Exchange study in Sweden and for other study in Sweden.

Visas and residence permits for international students in Sweden depend on the duration of your course of study. If you intend to stay in Sweden for less than three months, you will need a visa in case you are not a citizen of one of those countries that are exempted from visa requirement in Sweden. If your course of study will last more than three months, you will require a residence permit to enter and study in Sweden.

Eligibility Criteria for Students requiring a Residence Permit in Sweden

To be eligible for Residence Permit in Sweden to pursue an educational course you require the following things:

  • You must be admitted to a full-time accredited university for studies in Sweden.
  • You must have paid the first instalment of the tuition fees for your course of study.
  • You must have valid supporting documentation to support your residence permit application.
  • You must have a valid passport with a validity of minimum six months
  • You must possess letter of admission from the university that has offered you admission in its course of study
  • You must provide proof of your financial ability so as to support yourself financially during the course of your study in Sweden
  • In case you are to stay in Sweden for a period of less than one year, you must have comprehensive health insurance and will need to provide its proof
  • You must fully intend to leave Sweden at the end of your course of study
Steps to follow to apply for Sweden Residence Permit

After you become sure about your eligibility to apply for a Sweden student visa or residence permit and you are in possession of the required documents, you can go ahead with the following procedure:

Step 1: Fill out your application form

Fill out the application form. You can apply online. You will require filling up the application form with details about yourself and your studies. In case your family accompanies you to Sweden you can apply for their permits in your online application form. Enclose the necessary documents with your application form.

Step 2: Pay the application fee

You need to pay an application fee for processing your application. If you apply online, you can pay your application fee with a debit or credit card. If you are applying at an embassy or consulate-general, you will be required to pay the fee when you hand in your application. For proper information about the fee, contact the embassy or consulate-general where you are applying, as they do not have the same fees and terms of payment as the Migration Board.

Step 3: Wait for the Migration Board to process the application

If you apply online, the Migration Board will start work on your application form. It is necessary to fill in all the details correctly and include all the necessary documents for smooth processing of your application form. However, the Swedish Migration Board may investigate your application further, even after you have provided all the necessary details and documents.

Step 4: Visit the Embassy or Consulate-General

You will be required to visit the Swedish embassy or consulate-general to be photographed and fingerprinted. You will need to contact the embassy or consulate-general before you visit them. You can contact them primarily through email.

In case you do not require an entry visa, you can travel to Sweden without a residence permit card. However, you will be required to show a decision from the Migration Board to enter Sweden. In such a case you are not required to go to the Swedish embassy to obtain your residence permit card. Instead, you can hand in the documentation for a residence permit card to the Migration Board once you arrive in Sweden.

Step 5: Receive the Embassy’s decision

You will get an email informing you that a decision has been made regarding your application. Once you receive the email you need to contact the embassy or consulate-general to get your decision and book an appointment for this purpose. Remember to bring your passport along with you when you come to collect your decision. Some embassies and consulates-general may send the decision and residence permit card by post. You need to contact the embassy or consulate-general for more information regarding this.

To apply online for Sweden Residence Permit

In case you are applying online for a Swedish residence permit, you need to do the following:

  • You will be required to have paid a portion of your tuition fees to the concerned university or educational institute
  • You will be required to have a valid email address
  • You need to be able to pay the application fee through a VISA or Mastercard / Eurocard
  • You will need to scan the documents that you are required to attach with your application form
  • You will be required to have a software programme in your computer that can read PDF files, such as Acrobat Reader
Required Fees for Sweden Student Visa

Fees for an Adult – SEK 1,000 (INR 8,455.17)
Fees for a Child under SEK 18 – 500 (INR 4,227.59)


  • Your application fee will not be refunded if your visa application is refused.
  • The conversion into Indian currency is based on current conversion rates which may change.
Sweden Student Visa Waiver Program

You will not need a visa or a residence permit to study in Sweden if you are a citizen of one of the countries listed below.


  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • United Kingdom

Dos and Don’ts for Sweden Student Visa or Residence Permit Application
Remember the following dos and don’ts while applying for Swedish Student Visa or Residence Permit:


  • Bring all original documents with you at the time of submitting the application at the Swedish Embassy.
  • Remember to extend the validity of your passport in case it is about to expire. Remain aware that you can obtain a residence permit for a period of time that is not longer than your passport’s period of validity.
  • As the application process for residence permits can be lengthy, you should apply as soon as you have received your notification of admission.


  • Do not submit any false documents in support of your application
  • Do not hide or misrepresent facts in your application form

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