Education

Education to at least upper secondary school level is usually required to get a job in Sweden. If you do not have upper secondary or compulsory school skills, there is an opportunity to study these educational programmes.

You can read more about various programmes on this page and you can look for programmes based on your interests at utbildningsinfo.se. Find out more about how the Swedish education system works at Omsvenskaskolan.se. The page has been translated into several languages.

Grants and loans from CSN

Most education programmes in Sweden are tuition-free as they are funded by the Swedish taxpayers. As studying usually means you don't have an income, you can apply for student finance from The Swedish Board of Student Finance (Centrala Studiestödsnämnden), CSN. You can apply for student grants and loans for most education programmes.

You are usually entitled to grants and loans from CSN if you have a permanent residence permit. You are also entitled to them if you have been granted a residence permit by the Migration Agency because you are a refugee or otherwise in need of protection, or due to particular hardship circumstances. This applies even if your permit is valid for a limited period. You also have to fulfil the other conditions for receiving student aid, e g that the education programme you are attending entitles you to student aid.

Asylum seekers are not normally entitled to grants and loans for studies from CSN.

Study guidance

If you are not sure what you need to study or what area you want to work in, you can contact a study and careers adviser in your municipality. Contact your municipality or visit studera.nu to find out more.

Komvux – municipal adult education

Anyone who has not attended compulsory school or upper secondary school is entitled to study via Komvux, Sweden's municipal adult education. Studies via Komvux can give you general admission to universities and university colleges. If you study via Komvux you can apply for financial aid for studies from CSN.

Feel free to contact your municipality or read here to find out more.

Folk high school

Folk high school ("Folkhögskola" in Swedish) is a form of education where over-18s can study programmes at compulsory and upper secondary school level.

Folk high schools offer a range of programmes:

  • General programmes, which you can study at upper secondary – or sometimes at compulsory – school level.
  • Special programmes, which focus on a specific subject or vocation.

Studies at folk high school can give you general admission to universities and university colleges. If you study at a folk high school, you can apply for financial aid from CSN. Some folk high schools also offer accommodation while you study.

Find out about the programmes and courses you can study at folk high schools here.

Higher Vocational Education

Higher Vocational Education ("Yrkeshögskola" in Swedish) is a post-secondary form of education directed at various occupations. The aim of the programmes is to satisfy the labour market's skills requirements, and they are run in close co-operation with employers and industry.

Most Higher Vocational Education (HVE) programmes combine theory with practical training in the workplace. This way you learn more about your vocation. You also make industry contacts which could make your job search easier.

Some HVE programmes offer Swedish with a vocational focus to give extra support to students for whom Swedish is not their first language. If you would like to find out more about the HVE programmes available, read here or contact the Swedish National Agency for Higher Vocational Education.

You must have a secondary school diploma or equivalent to study an HVE programme. If you do not meet the eligibility requirements, the organiser can, in some cases, make an exception if they think you will be able to successfully complete the programme and work in the vocation the programme leads to. Contact the school directly to find out if this is possible for the programme you are interested in.

You can usually apply for financial aid from CSN for HVE programmes, with some exceptions.

University college and university studies

In Sweden there are both university colleges (högskolor) and universities (universitet). The difference between them is that a university must offer postgraduate studies, which is not required of university colleges. Programmes at university colleges and universities award the same points and degrees.

At university or university college you can study an entire educational programme or individual courses.  For example, to graduate as a doctor, social worker, lawyer or engineer you have to follow the educational programme set out. If you study separate courses, you choose the courses yourself and the order in which you study them. If you would like to find out more about the courses and programmes offered by universities and university colleges in Sweden, visit studera.nu, which has been translated into several languages.

You can apply to CSN, the Swedish government authority in charge of financial aid for studies, for financial support if you study at a university or university college.

You must meet the general entry requirements to apply to a university or university college. This means you must have completed upper secondary school education, including the subjects of Swedish, English and Mathematics. If you have completed upper secondary education outside of Sweden, you can apply for an assessment to find out if you meet the general entry requirements. The assessment may also show what you need to add to study at a higher level. The assessment is carried out by the Swedish Council for Higher Education.

Supplementary programmes

A supplementary programme is vocational and designed according to individual needs. The aim is to supplement your previous vocational experience to ensure it matches the requirements of the Swedish labour market.

A supplementary programme could, for example, be a labour market programme you can study via Arbetsförmedlingen. You must be registered with Arbetsförmedlingen to enrol in such a programme. Contact your local employment office for further information.

This site contains information about the Swedish society and is run by the County Administrative Boards of Sweden
© Copyright 2016 County Administrative Board of Västra Götaland

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