I’ve written this really-long-but-very-thorough guide to getting your Master’s Degree in Sweden in collaboration with Study in Sweden — an official resource on studying in Sweden, built and maintained by the Swedish Institute, a public agency tasked with promoting Sweden abroad.
Getting your Master’s degree can be expensive, especially in the U.S.– the average cost is between $30,000-$120,000– EEK!
What if you could get your Master’s degree ABROAD — and on the cheap? You’ll kill two birds — save yourself money while getting incredibly valuable international experience that companies are paying big bucks for these days. Our world is becoming increasingly global and an international experience at any level will really plump up your resume and make you stand out from the crowd when applying and interviewing for post-grad jobs.
So, you’ll get the above and more if you choose to pursue a Master’s degree in Sweden. If you’re passionate about sustainability, international relations, human rights or technology, then a Swedish Master’s education is ideal for you.
This guide will tell you everything you need to know about applying for a Master’s degree in Sweden.
First — are you eligible to get a Master’s degree in Sweden?
There are two general pieces of criteria that you’ll need to be able to get your Master’s degree in Sweden:
- Have a Bachelor’s degree from an internationally recognized university; and
- Be able to show proficiency in English, through previous degrees taught in English or with an English language test (all courses are taught in English, which is a huge bonus for American students who want to study abroad but don’t have foreign language skills).
Some Master’s degree programs in Sweden might have other eligibility criteria depending on the subject, but if you meet the above, then congrats, you’re on your way!
Decide your degree (or at least narrow it down a bit)
Sweden offers more than 900 graduate programs, all taught in English, and is particularly known for its innovation in technology, climate change and alternative energy production, as well as equality, development and international affairs degrees. If you’re a graduate student who is passionate about solving complex problems that face our world today, Sweden is leading the charge on many of these issues.
Even if you’re interested in other topics, that’s cool too and Sweden likely has a program that is still a good fit for your interests. No matter your professional goals, having some direction or an idea of what you’d like to study can help reduce the number of options you’ll need to wade through.
Here’s some info on the basics of the Swedish higher education system, such as term length and differences between universities. It’s worth a read before continuing!
The degree search
You’ll be allowed to apply for four degree programmes with one application, so create a “favorites” list of up to seven that you’ll eventually need to narrow down to four (the next step will help you with this). Consider noting pros and cons of each for easy reference, such as cost, class size or whatever facets of graduate study are most important to you.
Browse all of the Master’s degree programs available in Sweden — there are more than 900!
Take a look at specific Swedish universities
Now that you’ve got a list of a specific degrees that caught your eye, do some research on the universities where they are housed. Every university will be different and not all of them will be a good fit for you. Check out this list of all of the Swedish universities plotted on a map, and you can browse the options based on location and subject areas available.
One of the most important things to research fairly heavily is the town or city that the university is in. Most people speak English but you’ll want to be comfortable beyond that. Do you want to live in a major city like Stockholm, or a small university town? Would you prefer to be within the hustle and bustle, or more in touch with nature? Do you prefer a small, close-knit community? Like anywhere else in the world, there will also be a difference in cost of living depending on location, and most likely tuition costs will vary too. Read on for more info on this.
How much can you spend on your Master’s in Sweden?
If your budget is limited, then you’ll want to figure out how much you’re able to spend so you don’t apply for degrees that might be above your budget. As mentioned above, studying in Sweden is a relatively affordable option compared to tuition prices in the U.S.
It’s important to note that not everyone who applies for a degree in Sweden has to pay application fees or, even better, tuition fees. If you hold a passport from a country in the EU you don’t have to pay tuition– this is HUGE. So even if you are American, if you have European ancestry that you can get a European passport through, I suggest looking into the cost of doing so, as it might save you a lot of money in the long run. This usually takes at least a year, so plan ahead.
Read this for more information on finding out if you’re required to pay tuition fees and application fees.
Tuition costs for a Master’s degree in Sweden
If you don’t qualify for free tuition, don’t worry– you’ll still get a good deal if you get your Master’s degree in Sweden. Programmes generally range between $8,500 – $15,000 per year (at the time of publishing this post), with all of them being just 1-2 years in length. This is significantly cheaper than the average Masters’ program in the U.S., and is likely to take less time too.
Also, once you have student residence permit, you can work in Sweden while studying. This is a huge bonus for graduate students who don’t want to put their career on hold, or just need spare cash while studying.