Different education programmes

Last updated: 14/12-2023

If you want to study you can choose between different programmes depending on what you want to study, what you have studied earlier and what form of studying suits you best. Information is available here about several different education programmes for adults.

The municipality arranges adult education programmes at the basic and upper secondary level. This is known as Komvux (short for "kommunal vuxenutbildning"). Komvux is intended for people who need to complement subjects or courses at the basic or upper secondary level, but who are too old to attend compulsory or upper secondary school.

You can study in Komvux if you have turned 20 years of age, are registered or are going to be registered as resident in a municipality, and lack the qualification that the programme will provide.

Before you begin your studies, your previous knowledge will be assessed, so that you can start at the right level. You can study one or several courses in Komvux. You can study full time or part time. Then you can continue studying in higher or higher vocational education, or start working.

Benefits when you study in Komvux

If you are studying in Komvux and you are not receiving an introduction benefit, for example, you can apply for grants and loans from CSN.

Validation of your previous knowledge

In Komvux you can have a validation made of your previous knowledge. That means that your knowledge is surveyed, assessed and documented. This knowledge you may have acquired in different ways, for example by working or studying. A validation can increase your chances of getting a job or continuing your studies. The validation must be carried out in accordance with your circumstances and needs.

If you want to study, or have a validation made, ask the study and work guidance counsellor in Komvux what you should do. You can also contact your case worker at Arbetsförmedlingen, if you are participating in the introduction programme via Arbetsförmedlingen.

Special needs adult education is intended for people who have an intellectual impairment or have suffered a brain injury. The Swedish abbreviation for special needs adult education is Särvux and Lärvux (which are the same thing). The municipality provides special needs education at the compulsory school and upper secondary school levels. You can also study Swedish for Immigrants, Sfi, as part of special needs adult education.

You can attend special needs education for adults if you have turned 20 years of age, are registered or are going to be registered as resident in a municipality, and lack the knowledge that the programme will provide. Your previous knowledge will be assessed before you begin studying, so that teaching can begin at the right level.

A vocational training programme provides training in a specific profession. You can attend a vocational training programme in Komvux or special needs education for adults. You can also attend a vocational training programme at one of the vocational training colleges.

You will have a lot of contact with companies during the training programme. You will be doing apprenticeships or internships, for example. This will increase your chances of getting a job after you complete the training.

Apprenticeships are a form of vocational training that is offered in Komvux and special needs education for adults. You can do an apprenticeship in order to get basic vocational training and more experience of a profession. You can also acquire more knowledge about the professional area, with the help of a supervisor in the workplace.

A folk high school is a school for adult students where you can take courses at the basic and upper secondary levels. It is possible to board at many folk high schools while you study there.

Folk high schools offer general as well as specialised courses. You can take general courses instead of upper secondary school and sometimes instead of compulsory school. You can also take specialised courses that focus on a particular subject such as music or art, for example. You can also learn a specific profession.

Each folk high school determines who can study at the school. Folk high schools have their own grading system, but studying there can help you meet general entry requirements for universities and university colleges. Meeting general entry requirements means that you possess the knowledge you need in order to begin higher education studies.

If you were trained for a profession in another country, or have worked in a profession in another country, you may need to attend supplementary training in order to be able to work in that profession in Sweden.

Supplementary training programmes are offered at universities and university colleges. They include programmes for:

  • economists
  • engineers
  • nurses
  • social workers
  • information systems engineers
  • doctors
  • teachers

The training programmes are between 1 and 2 years long. You are eligible for financial aid from the Swedish Board of Student Finance, CSN, while you attend a supplementary training programme.

Labour market training programmes focus on professions in which there is a great shortage of adequately trained staff. What programmes are available depends on what the labour market looks like at the time.

There is no guarantee that you will get a job if you attend a labour market training programme, but by doing so you increase your chances of getting a job, and you make yourself more attractive in the labour market.

Distance learning

Another way to study is through distance learning. Distance learning means that you don't go to a school or university to study, instead you can choose where you are going to study. For example, you can study at home or in a public library.

On some distance learning programmes you only use the internet. Other programmes include meeting teachers and other students on a few occasions each year. Between these meetings you keep in contact via the internet, email or phone.

There are many different types of education you can do through distance learning. You can do short courses as well as longer programmes, and distance learning can be full time or part time.

Universities and university colleges

If you want to study at a university or university college

You don't have to be a Swedish citizen or a resident in Sweden to study at a Swedish university college or university. But in order not to have to pay tuition fees you have to be a citizen of an EU or EEA country, or of Switzerland, or have a permanent or temporary residence permit (not due to studies) in Sweden.

If you want to pursue higher education you can study on individual courses or on programmes at university colleges or universities. There is a large selection of courses and programmes to choose from, but they have different admission requirements. The various university colleges and universities offer different programmes and courses. In order to find out what courses and programmes are offered at the different institutions and what admission requirements each course or programme has, visit the following websites:

Qualifications for studying at universities and university colleges

In order to be able to study in higher education you need to have completed earlier education. You need to have a basic qualification in the form of a full upper secondary school diploma from upper secondary school, municipal adult education, or folk high school. You also need to have completed certain specific courses in order to fulfil the requirements of a basic qualification.

Most programmes require you to have special qualifications, and these may differ between different programmes. This usually means that you have to have studied and passed certain specific upper secondary courses, but you may also have to have work experience, work samples to show, or completed higher education courses.

Supplementary studies

If you are not qualified to study on the course or programme you would like to, you have the option of supplementing your qualifications. You can do this by taking courses in municipal adult education or at folk high schools.

Study cycles at universities and university colleges

All courses and programmes at universities and university colleges are divided into three levels, or cycles. These are the first, second and third cycles. Each level is based on the preceding one – if you are going to study at a university or university college for the first time, it will be in the first cycle.

First cycle

You begin by taking a course in a subject or field that does not require previous higher education studies. Most first-cycle programmes are three years long if you study full time.

Second cycle

In order to be admitted to a second-cycle programme you need to have a qualification from at least three years of first-cycle studies, or the corresponding foreign degree or qualification.

You can also study on individual, or freestanding, second-cycle courses if you have done previous first-cycle studies. You don't need to have a degree.

Third cycle

If you want to do third-cycle studies you have to have a second-cycle degree.