Higher Education

After gymnasieskola, students can apply to a university in order to receive a tertiary education. General academic degrees are offered by public universities and university colleges that tend to attract students on a regional basis. Besides general academic degrees, the higher education system in Sweden also provides a number of professional and vocational degrees in fields such as engineering, law and medicine.
As of autumn semester 2011, higher education is free of charge only for Swedish, EU/EEA, and Swiss citizens.

On 1 July 2007, a new higher education system came into effect in Sweden. Higher education became divided into three levels: basic level (grundnivå), advanced level (avancerad nivå), and doctoral level (forskarnivå). The new changes also included removing several professional / vocational degrees (yrkesexamina) as well as redefining other pre-existing degrees.
Higher Education from 1 July 2007

Type of education Level Designation Degree Designation
Doctoral level
Degree of Doctor (PhD)
240 higher education credits
4:e året
3:e året
Degree of Licentiate
120 higher education credits
2:a året
1:a året
Avancerad nivå
Advanced level
2:an Årskurs 2 Masterexamen
Degree of Master (Two years)
120 higher education credits
Professional Degrees
(3-5 years long)
5:an Årskurs 5
1:an Årskurs 1 Magisterexamen
Degree of Master (One year)
60 higher education credits
4:an Årskurs 4
Basic level
3:an Årskurs 3 Kandidatexamen
Degree of Bachelor
180 higher education credits
3:an Årskurs 3
2:an Årskurs 2 Högskoleexamen
University Diploma
120 higher education credits
2:an Årskurs 2
1:an Årskurs 1 1:an Årskurs 1

Basic level (grundnivå)
To be admitted to a programme at the basic level, a student must complete an education at the gymnasieskola level or its equivalent. The degrees that can be obtained at the basic level are:
University Diploma (högskoleexamen), 2 years, 120 higher education credits (högskolepoäng)
Degree of Bachelor (kandidatexamen), 3 years, 180 higher education credits

Advanced level (avancerad nivå)
To be admitted to a programme at the advanced level, a student must have obtained a 3-year Swedish degree at the basic level or a corresponding degree from another country or some corresponding qualification. The degrees that can be obtained at the advanced level are:
Degree of Master (One year) (magisterexamen), 1 year, 60 higher education credits
Degree of Master (Two years) (masterexamen), 2 years, 120 higher education credits
Both degrees require completing a thesis.
The Degree of Master (Two years), masterexam, is a new degree that is intended to be closely linked to continuing education at the graduate level.

Doctoral level (forskarnivå)
To be admitted to a programme at the doctoral level, a student must have obtained a Swedish degree at the advanced level or completed at least 4 years of full-time study with at least one year at the advanced level or a corresponding degree from another country or equivalent knowledge. The degrees that can be obtained at the doctoral level are:
Degree of Licentiate (licentiatexamen), 2 years, 120 higher education credits
Degree of Doctor (PhD, doktorsexamen), 4 years, 240 higher education credits
Postgraduate academic titles are docent (associate professor) and professor (professor). Each department has an administrative officer, the prefekt, who often is a docent.

Three sets of grades exist in Swedish universities and university colleges. Some universities have introduced a seven-grade scale (A-F, Fx), that similar to the ECTS scale, but with a criterion-referenced grading instead of relative grading. The most common scale is a three-grade scale that consists of U (Underkänd in Swedish, fail), G (Godkänd, pass) and VG (Väl godkänd, pass with distinction). In this set VG is the highest. The other grade set consists of (U, 3, 4, 5) where 5 is the highest. This grade set is normally given in courses within technical professional degrees. Finally there are some courses, within two systems of grading, in which you can only get G (pass) or U (fail). For instance, for a one semester thesis (specialized level) in Computer Science for a Master's degree at some institutions one can only get the grade G (pass) or fail, while for an equivalent thesis at other institutions one can also receive the grade VG.

Language requirements
Before being accepted to a higher education programme in Sweden, all applicants must demonstrate a minimum proficiency in Swedish and English by either taking 2 years of Swedish and English or passing Swedish B and English A. For international applicants, the Test in Swedish for University Studies (TISUS), is an international exam that can be taken to demonstrate proficiency in Swedish. For those whose native language is not English, international applicants can demonstrate proficiency in English by obtaining a minimum score of 173 points on the TOEFL or a minimum grade of B on the Cambridge First Certificate in English exam. Exchange students may have different language requirements.

Student aid
Swedish students receive economic help from the Swedish National Board of Student Aid (CSN) for studying. Every student is entitled to 12 semesters of allowances and loans, totaling 2,230 SEK per week (June 2016: 261 EUR, 268 USD, 185 GBP) for full-time studies (after 1 July 2006). Allowances are usually 699 SEK per week (June 2016: 75 EUR; 84 USD; 58 GBP) with loans covering the rest. The limits for loans and allowances may be substantially increased under certain circumstances.

Swedish legislation about student democracy is made by:
the Higher Education Act (issued by the Parliament)
the Higher Education Ordinance (issued by the government and frequently revised)
Such legal basis form regulations for all Swedish public universities. They principally state that:
the state provides institutions for higher education
higher education should be based on research
higher education institutions should cooperate with the surrounding local communities
quality efforts on all things are a joint matter for staff and students
students should take an active part in the work, with further development of the education
there must be student representatives in all drafting and decision-making bodies
Complaints about the implementation of legislation on student democracy can be sent to the Swedish Higher Education Authority (Universitetskanslerämbetet) . Even if there is no fine, universities usually follow the agency's decisions.

Core issues
The main issues about student democracy in Sweden are:
Granting a low threshold in entering universities, by:
no fees, for Swedish, EU/EEA, and Swiss citizens
simple rules of admission (no entrance test)
Widening participation, introducing new groups into higher educations (ethnic minorities, low-income citizens); it is worthy noting that affirmative actions are not allowed by Swedish legislation, as a form of positive discrimination.
Securing gender equality for staff, students and perspectives of education
Strengthening the international perspective in all education, in order to help in creating understanding of the international society

The Equal Treatment Act
In 2001, the Act for Equal Treatment of Students in Higher Education was issued, stating that:
Equal treatment should be granted regardless of sex, ethnic origin, religion, sexual orientation, and/or disabilities.
Harassment (from staff or students) and discrimination are to be prevented.
An annual plan has to be issued by each university to actively promote equal treatment.
Weak spots are to be found in cooperation with students.
In case of reported harassment or discrimination (based on the student's feelings), there's an obligation to investigate and take measures.