Sweden is an incredibly popular country to study in, as we’ve explored in detail in the Why Study in Sweden section of this website. There are two main ways for you to apply to attend university in Sweden, each of which will differ depending on where you currently reside and what your intentions are. Those two ways are as a Free Mover and as an Exchange Student, both of which we will explore more in this section of this website.
Applying as a Free Mover
Free movers, in short, are people who decide to apply to a Swedish higher education program on their own, and not through another university that has an exchange program. If you are a Free Mover, then you will have to apply on your own and you will have to do a lot of your own research and everything regarding what university you want to attend.
Here is a quick step by step of the application process that you will go through in order to attend university as a Free Mover.
- You will want to do research as to which universities you want to attend. There is a program database available at Study in Sweden’s website. This is a very easy to use search engine that can help you find the type of program that you are looking for.
- For all of the Bachelor’s degree programs in Sweden, you can use a general online application system. This system is found at Universityadmissions.se; this general application can be used for all of the public universities throughout the country.
- Like many systems, Sweden’s semesters start in the autumn and in the spring. If you are looking to attend university in the autumn, you need to have your application completed by mid January (this may differ depending on the university you wish to attend; double check with them before making any assumptions). You will get your admission notices in March (autumn semester) or November (spring semester) so that you can plan accordingly.
- Some universities will require that you apply for your program of study (“major”) separately from the general application. They will send you an email notice and/or a paper notice if that is necessary. If you aren’t sure about this step, you can find out more at the general application’s website or from the university that you are applying to.
If you are trying to attend university as a Free Mover, you will have to secure funding and your visa and immigration information on your own. We have more information about those topics in our scholarships and visa and passports sections of this site. The university that you are seeking to attend will also have information available for you about funding and migration laws as well.
Keep in mind; it is much more difficult for you to get into a university in Sweden as a free mover, due to the popularity of the educational system in Sweden and how many international students attempt to get into programs in Sweden every year. You are going to have to do very well in your classes and show a lot of potential when it comes to your application. You are most certainly going to have to work hard in order to get into your program of choice, but if it is truly what you want to do, then the effort will be worth the reward.
Applying as an Exchange Student
Exchange students have it much easier than their Free Mover counterparts, because most of their arrangements, including accommodations and tuition arrangements, are taken care of through the program that they are studying in. The package can include credit transferring, orientation, and even social activities that you will be involved in while you are attending university on campus. It is also much easier for you to apply to an exchange student program and get accepted than it is to get in as a free mover, which we explained above.
The largest exchange program that enables you to study in Sweden is Erasmus. Erasmus is actually an interesting program, because it allows students from the 27 European Union states, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Croatia, Macedonia, and Turkey to do exchange programs. Over 20 of the Swedish universities are involved in the system, and no matter where you end up studying, you will be able to go back to your home university and transfer all of the credits there. You can also finish your degree in Sweden, if you wish.
There are some requirements, of course. You have to be a student that is in a degree program with the intention of completing the program for a degree or certificate. This can include post graduate study, so even Master’s and Doctoral level students (Advanced Degrees) can study at other universities with the Erasmus program. As you would expect, you would have to be a citizen, refugee, stateless person, or permanent resident in one of the countries that we mentioned above. You also cannot study abroad through the Erasmus program until you have completed your first year of your degree program.
The funding for Erasmus is better than most programs, because you can receive grants, scholarships, and other monetary assistance. Each university has a limited amount of money for their Erasmus program, but most universities have enough to send a number of students to different degree programs. The European Union website explains the entire process in even more detail.
Even though the Erasmus program is the most prominent program, there are other programs available. The Nordplus Program is a program that the Nordic and Baltic countries are involved in, and it allows most students in those countries to study at other universities in the region without having to apply for a visa or go through any of the other hoops that people from other countries have to go through.
Lastly, the Linnaeus-Palme program is another program for exchange students. It originated in Sweden and helps people in developing countries to get the education that they need in order to give back to their communities. It also helps to make the Swedish universities much more diverse with the inclusion of people from developing countries, which is great for those who are attending Swedish universities and want to interact with those from around the world.
These are the most prominent exchange student programs that send students to and from Swedish universities. If you are interested in studying in Sweden, talk to the exchange student office or international studies office at your university. They can help you to determine if your country is included in these exchange programs or if there are others that could send you to Sweden to study.
You can also contact the international studies office or student union at the university you wish to attend, or, in the case of an exchange student, you can contact the university that you are currently studying at.