English-taught universities in Sweden

Are you looking forward to studying in Sweden? But you are not sure if it’s possible to find or enroll in a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree program that’s entirely taught in English? It’s understandable that you’ll have such concerns since the official language spoken in Sweden is not English. That’s why I have prepared a list of the best English-taught universities in Sweden to help bring your search to an end. You can also view list of English taught universities in Russia, and Norway.

Sweden, officially known as the Kingdom of Sweden is the fifth-largest country in Europe (having a total area of 450,295 km²) and a Nordic country in Northern Europe. Sweden is characterized by distinct seasons and dramatic landscapes. The country is bordered by splendid mountains in the north and fertile plains in the south. Sweden has more than 200,000 islands and the interesting fun fact is that most of those islands are inhabited which is not surprising because Sweden has a total population of 10.4 million, the largest of the Nordic countries.

Asides from the outdoor landscape and the country’s population, Sweden is home to several castles, historical artefacts, museums, and old towns. Additionally, Sweden has some of the cleanest cities in the world today. Sweden has progressive social policies on education, healthcare, children’s right, and family life. In total, it’s safe to deduce that Sweden has a high quality of life. In terms of education, according to the World Population Review, Sweden ranks tenth in the world which goes to prove that Swedish universities offer top-quality education to their students. That is why, in today’s article, we’ll be looking at the list of the best English-taught universities in Sweden.

How many English-taught universities does Sweden have?

According to the data gathered from the study.eu, there are about 40 universities in the country where you can study in English and they offer more than 1,000 different programs in English.

Do I need to learn Swedish, to be able to live and study in Sweden?

The answer is No. Even though the official language in Sweden is Swedish, you won’t face any difficulties or language barriers living and studying in Sweden. The reason for that is that Sweden is one of the best native English-speaking countries in the world. To be more precise, since 2012, Sweden has been ranked among the top 3 nations with the highest English proficiency in the annual EF English Proficiency Index (EF EPI).

Is Sweden a good country for international students to study?

The answer is a resounding Yes! Sweden, home of the Noble Prize is known not only for its high-quality teaching but also for its research. The Times Higher Education World University Rankings in 2021 included 12 Swedish universities and 5 out of the 12 belonged to the top 200.

Several programs are being taught in English in Swedish universities; more so at Masters’ and Doctorate levels. In addition, most citizens of Sweden have advanced English skills which make socializing easy.

Public universities in Sweden also offer free tuition similar to what Germany does; the difference is that it’s restricted only to people from the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA), Switzerland, as well as other Nordic countries. However, if you do not belong to the category of people who are eligible for tuition-free education then the tuition fees you’ll be expected to pay depending on your chosen university ranges from 7,500 to 25,500 EUR per year for both Master’s and Bachelor’s programs. All PhD programs in the country are free for students regardless of their nationality.

To further help international students from NonEU/EEA countries, individual universities in the country offer scholarships and also collaborate with academic foundations from around the globe. Additionally, it’s possible to also find Swedish universities that offer scholarships solely for international students. In terms of the cost of living in Sweden, depending on your lifestyle and spending power, you can spend anything between 700 – 1200 EUR per month (it could be more, it solely depends on you).

Can international students work while studying in Sweden?

Based on the information from the Swedish Migration Board, international students can work in Sweden while studying in the country. It’s possible to work while studying in Sweden when you have a valid residence permit to study in Sweden. In addition to that, with a valid residence permit, there’s no limit placed on the number of hours you can work regardless of your nationality.

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Is it possible for international students to stay in Sweden after graduation?

Whether or not you’ll be able to stay and work in Sweden after graduation depends on your citizenship. Students from the EU and EEA can immediately seek employment after graduation. Citizens from Finland, Norway, Denmark, and Iceland can work in Sweden without needing a residence permit but they’ll have to register with the Swedish Tax Agency.

People who are not from Nordic countries or citizens of the EU/EEA will have to apply for a work permit via the Swedish Migration Board. When applying, it’s best you do it before your residency permit for studies expires in order to enable obtain the permit while still in Sweden. Otherwise, you’ll have to go back to your country of origin and apply from there.

If you’ll decide to work in Sweden after graduation then you must fulfil the following requirements:

  • Have employment offer customary within the industry or occupation
  • A pre-tax salary of at least 1,229.99 EUR (SEK 13,000)
  • An employer that offers proper insurance.

For more information, you can visit the Swedish Migration Board’s website.

How to study in Sweden

There are two means to study in Sweden; you can either apply for a full degree or as an exchange student. The English requirements are the same and they apply to both full degree and exchange students who wish to study at any Swedish university.

For degree-seeking students, the first thing you should do is to choose the university (preferably an English-taught university) and the study program you are interested in before submitting your application through the centralized Swedish admissions system.

For exchange students, one of the easiest exchange programmes for most students is Erasmus+, which is available to all the students in the EU/EEA and a range of partner countries. Asides the Erasmus+, your local university might need to have agreements with Swedish universities. You can ask your local international officer for more details.

What are the application requirements for English-taught universities in Sweden?

In order to study in English at any Swedish university, you’ll have to meet certain application requirements. Some of the most common ones are:

  • Previous diplomas (High School, Bachelor’s, or Masters’s)
  • Personal essay or statement
  • Academic transcripts of grades or records
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Proof of English language proficiency
  • Up to 4 passports sized photos
  • GMAT or GRE test results (Needed for some Business degrees)
  • Copy of ID or Passport

What are the required TOEFL or IELTS test scores to study in English in Sweden?

Being proficient in the English language is a very important admission requirement for students who are applying to study at Swedish universities. Hence, if English isn’t your native language or mother tongue then you will have to take an English test and submit your English test score alongside your application to your chosen university.

The Swedish application process isn’t daunting—you don’t have to be Einstein to be able to apply—thanks to their centrally organized format and the English requirements you’ll need to meet are also easy to understand. In general, all major English tests are accepted. Tests like IELTS Academic, TOEFL, Cambridge and Pearson PTE.

Many universities in Sweden set their English requirements to the levels called “English 5”, “English 6” or “English 7”, all of which relate to how the English language is taught in the Swedish school system. However, English 6 (also known as English B) is by far the most popular requirement to study any English Bachelor’s or Master’s degree program in Sweden.

After determining the English level set for your chosen university, you can now go through the requirements to find out what is required of you in order to obtain that level.

For the English 5 level you’ll need either:

  • An IELTS score of 5.5 (i.e., with no section below 5.0)
  • A TOEFL iBT score of 17 on the written test with an overall average score of 72
  • A TOEFL PBT score of 4.0 on the written test with an overall score of 530.
  • A Pearson PTE Academic score of 47
  • The Cambridge English First Certificate in English (FCE) Grade A, B, or C
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For the English 6 level you’ll need either:

  • An IELTS score of 6.5 (with no section below 5.5)
  • A TOEFL iBT score of 20 on the written test with an overall score of 90
  • A TOEFL PBT score of 4.5 on the written test with an overall score of 575
  • A Pearson PTE Academic score of 62 (writing 61)
  • The Cambridge English Certificate in Advanced English (CAE)

For the English 7 level you’ll need either:

  • An IELTS score of 7.0 (with no section below 6.0)
  • A TOEFL iBT score of 20 on the written test with an overall score of 100
  • A Pearson PTE Academic score of 68 (writing 61)
  • The Cambridge English Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE)
  • A TOEFL PBT score of 4.5 on the written test with an overall score of 600

However, there are cases where you don’t have to take the test. Some of the most common exceptions are:

  • If during your previous studies in the EU/EEA, you had already obtained at least 60 ECTS credit points in courses that were taught in English or you attained 60 credit points in English-taught courses in Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, USA, or the English-speaking parts of Canada.
  • You are a student from Africa and you have a 3-year Bachelor’s degree from any of the following countries: Botswana, Zimbabwe, Eritrea, Zambia, Ethiopia, Swaziland, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Namibia, Lesotho, Malawi, and Liberia.
  • If you are a student from Pakistan or India and you have a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering, Medicine, Computer Science or Computer Applications, Pharmacy, Natural Sciences or Technology—this will not work for you only if it was documented that the language of instruction was not English.

List of the best English-taught universities in Sweden

1. Karolinska Institute (KarolinskaInstitutet)

The Karolinska Institute, also known as the (Royal) Caroline Institute in English is a research-led medical university that’s located in Solna found within the Stockholm urban area of Sweden. What makes this institute so special? Asides from being among the list of the best English-taught universities in Sweden, the university is consistently ranked among the world’s best medical schools in the world; in a recent year (2021) they were ranked 6th worldwide.

The university was founded on the island of Kungsholmen on the West Side of Stockholm in 1810. The main campus was later relocated to Solna, just outside Stockholm. In Sweden, the Karolinska Institute is the third oldest medical school after Lund University (founded in 1666) and Uppsala University (founded in 1477). The university is one of Sweden’s biggest centres for research and training, accounting for 30% of the medical training and over 40% of all academic medical and life sciences research being conducted in Sweden.

2. Lund University (LundsUniversitet)

Lund University is a public research university that is located in the city of Lund, in the province of Scania, in Sweden. The university is one of the oldest in Sweden as its roots can be traced back to the year 1422 when a Franciscan stadium generale was founded in Lund. However, the university wasn’t officially founded up until after Sweden won Scania from Denmark in 1658; it was officially founded in 1666 on the location of the Old stadium generale next to the Lund Cathedral.

The university has nine faculties and additional campuses located in the cities of Helsingborg and Malmo with about 44,000 students studying different 270 different programmes and 1,400 freestanding courses. The university has partnerships with 640 universities in almost 70 countries. In addition to that, the university belongs to the League of European Research Universities and the global Universitas 21 network. Just like the Karolinska Institute, Lund University is consistently ranked among the world’s top universities.

Lund University is also on the list of the best English-taught universities in Sweden.

3. Uppsala University (Uppsala Universitet)

The Uppsala University is a public research university that was founded in 1477, located in Uppsala, Sweden. It is the oldest university not only in Sweden but also in the Nordic countries still in operation. Uppsala University belongs to the Coimbra Group of European universities as well as the Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities. Worldwide, the university is ranked among the top 100 best universities.

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Uppsala University has nine faculties that are distributed across three disciplinary domains: Science and Technology, Medicine and Pharmacy, and Humanities and Social Sciences. In 2020, the university had 2,200 PhD students and an approximate 52,000 registered students at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. In terms of architecture, the Uppsala University has traditionally had a strong presence in Fjärdingen—the neighbourhood around the cathedral on the west side of the River Fyris.

Uppsala University is among the list of the best English-taught universities in Sweden.

4. Stockholm University (StockholmsUniversitet)

Stockholm University is a public research university that was founded as a college in 1878, obtained the university status in 1960 and is located in Stockholm, Sweden. The university has four different faculties—social sciences, law, natural sciences, and humanities—with over 33,000 students making it one of the largest in Scandinavia. According to the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), the university is placed or ranked among the top 100 best universities in the world.

Stockholm University is one of the oldest Swedish universities, precisely the fourth oldest university in Sweden. Just like other public universities in Sweden, Stockholm University’s Mission includes research and teaching anchored in society at large. Stockholm University offers English-taught courses making it a part of the list of the best English-taught universities in Sweden.

Stockholm University offers courses to students both at the undergraduate and advanced levels. There are a total of 190 study programmes, 75 English-taught master’s programmes and 1,700 courses you can choose from in science and human science. Students of the university are offered the opportunity to study one or more free-standing courses and each may last between five weeks and one semester or may apply for a full study programme.

5. University of Gothenburg (GöteborgsUniversitet)

The University of Gothenburg is located in the city of Gothenburg, Sweden’s second-largest city. The university is the third-oldest in the country and has 6000 staff members with 37,000 students making it one of the largest universities in the Nordic countries.

In terms of structure, the university has eight faculties and 38 departments making it one of the most versatile and wide-ranging universities in the country. The university’s eight faculties offer training in the Creative Arts, Natural Sciences, Education, Business, Health Sciences, Social Sciences, Humanities, Information Technology, Economics and Law.

The university is one of the most popular in Sweden having the highest number of applicants per study place in many of its courses and subjects. The university offers English-taught courses and degrees which placed it among the list of the best English-taught universities in Sweden.

6. KTH Royal Institute of Technology (KungligaTekniskahögskolan)

The KTH Royal Institute of Technology, called KTH for short, is a public research university located in Stockholm, Sweden. The university conducts education and research in engineering and technology; it’s also the largest technical university in Sweden. At present, the university has four campuses and five schools in and around Stockholm. The five schools are individually responsible for research and education activities. Each of the five schools heads several departments, study programmes, and centres of excellence.

KTH Roya Institute of Technology was established in 1827 at the time as the TeknogiskaInstitutet (in English, Institute of Technology) and had its roots in (or from) the School of Mechanics (Mekaniskaskolan) established in 1798, in Stockholm. The university has provided notable alumni worthy of mention which include Immanuel Nobel (Inventor and Industrialist), Gustaf Larson (co-founder of Volvo), NiklasZennström (co-founder of Skype), Joe Armstrong (creator of the programming language Erlang, and Christer Fuglesang (ESA astronaut, physicist, and the first Swedish citizen in space).

The university offers English-taught programs just like every other top Swedish university which places it among our list of the best English-taught universities in Sweden.

Other top English-taught universities in Sweden include:

  • Charmers University of Technology (Chalmers tekniskahögskola)
  • Linköping University (LinköpingsUniversitet)
  • Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SverigesLantbruksuniversitet)
  • Umeå University (UmeåUniversitet)

There you have it, our list of the best English-taught universities in Sweden.

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