Higher education in Sweden
Higher education in Sweden is divided into three levels, or cycles – first cycle (Bachelor’s level), second cycle (Master’s level) and third cycle (doctoral level). All higher education at Uppsala University is offered in the form of courses. Students can apply for admission to a freestanding course or to a degree programme, which is a package of courses that leads towards a degree.
At the national level, the Ministry of Education and Research is responsible for higher education and research. Sweden has a higher education degree structure and other reforms in line with the current European-wide Bologna process aiming at harmonising higher education structures in Europe.
The academic year in Sweden is divided into two semesters. The academic year consists of 40 weeks (20 weeks per semester), and begins with the autumn semester and finishes with the spring semester. There are no formal holiday periods during the semester. There are however short breaks over Christmas and Easter.
- Autumn 2022: 29 August – 15 January (weeks 35–02)
- Spring 2023: 16 January – 4 June (weeks 03–22)
- Autumn 2023: 28 August – 14 January (weeks 35–02)
- Spring 2024: 15 January – 2 June (weeks 03–22)
- Autumn 2024: 2 September – 19 January (weeks 36–03)
- Spring 2025: 20 January – 8 June (weeks 04–23)
- Autumn 2025: 1 September – 18 January (weeks 36–03)
- Spring 2026: 19 January – 7 June (weeks 04–23)
Higher education in Sweden is divided into three levels, or cycles:
- First cycle (Bachelor’s level).
- Second cycle (Master’s level).
- Third cycle (doctoral level).
All higher education at Uppsala University is offered in the form of courses. Students can apply for admission to a freestanding course or to a degree programme, which is a package of courses that leads towards a degree.
At the national level, the Ministry of Education and Science is responsible for higher education and research. Sweden has a higher education degree structure and other reforms in line with the current European-wide Bologna process aiming at harmonizing higher education structures in Europe.
Teaching and learning at Uppsala University is based on the concept that students take responsibility for their own learning and development, with the support of teaching staff. Unlike many countries around the world, the academic environment in Sweden is informal and highly interactive. Here, students are on first name terms with their professors, and are free to engage in discussions and express their points of view. Lectures, laboratory work, seminars, group work, excursions, distance learning and independent study are just some of the teaching methods used by the University. As a student, you should feel confident engaging in classroom activities and sharing your thoughts, ideas and feelings.
There are some common learning concepts and examination methods you will get familiar with when studying in Sweden. Here are some examples.
You will need to take responsibility to structure your own studies. This also means that you will spend a large amount of time reading and studying on your own outside the classroom. Of course if you prefer, you may study independently together with your classmates as well. You can find various study places on all campuses. There are also many university libraries and city libraries with a large amount of study spaces. All are free for you to use.
At a seminar, you present your ideas and discuss with your classmates regarding a course book or other material that you are required to study before the seminar. The teacher usually only moderates the discussion. The aim is to develop critical thinking and collaborative skills. All students are expected to be active participants in all forms of discussions.
You complete assignments together with your classmates outside the classroom. This way, you learn from each other and you train to be a team player. You can find many spaces for group work on campuses and at libraries.
You choose among a range of courses within your study field that can be included in your degree programme. This way, you can tailor your education according to your interests and career plans. Your selection is usually made in dialogue with your teachers or study counsellors, to ensure that your choices suit your qualifications and interests, as well as that you achieve the specialisation you are seeking.
This is an unsupervised examination. You need to complete tasks independently at home within a certain amount of time. The purpose is to test your ability in applying knowledge to new information or your understanding of a topic. You can check your course book or other study material, but you must use your own insights and deliberations to create your answers.
The duration and extent of programmes and courses is expressed in a system of credits equivalent to ECTS credits - that is, you take 30 credits per semester for full-time studies. A full academic year corresponds to 60 credits, thus, one semester corresponds to 30 credits. Furthermore, one semester corresponds to 20 weeks and one week corresponds to 40 hours of study. Each week of full-time study is worth 1.5 credits.
How to calculate ECTS credits?
In our requirements and selection criteria, you can see that we have instructions regarding credits. The credits refer to the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) credits. If your previous university uses a different credit system and does not provide conversion between your local credits and ECTS credits, we will convert your local credits into ECTS credits.
60 ECTS credits correspond to one full-time academic year. Knowing the total number of credits needed to get a degree in your local credit system and the duration of the degree (the number of years), we can estimate the conversion factor (CF) as follows:
CF = (the number of years × 60) / the total number of credits
For example, if your 3-year Bachelor’s degree corresponds to a total of 120 credits in your system, then:
CF = (3×60) / 120 = 1.5
This means that a 4-credit course in your system corresponds to 4×CF = 6 ECTS credits.
Uppsala University uses five different grading scales. Each faculty decides which of the grading scales will be used in that faculty. The syllabus for a course must always specify which grading scale will be used for that particular course.
It is very important to note that if a student receives a passing grade, no re-takes or supplemental assignments can be done to receive a higher grade, nor can a student be re-registered on the course.