Why not Sweden for higher studies?

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IMPRESSIVE: A view of the Uppsala University in Sweden.
IMPRESSIVE: A view of the Uppsala University in Sweden.

The right place for quality education, excellent atmosphere and research options.

Higher education in European countries hardly attracts Indian students who are besotted with the U.S., the U.K. or Australia for whatever reasons. Call it non-promotion of their education or lack of knowledge about the facilities available, European countries rarely figure in their search. More so, smaller countries such as Sweden.

But Indian students looking for free quality education and excellent atmosphere, coupled with ample research opportunities, can turn towards Sweden.

14 universities

With 14 universities and 22 other higher educational institutions, Sweden’s academic system aims to develop critical thinking and independence of thought and action.

With a budget of nearly 67 million SEK, Swedish higher education appears to be well placed to appreciate the challenges of globalisation in terms of courses and curriculum.

There is no tuition fee for any course in Sweden and about 15 per cent of university budgets is for the welfare of the disabled. State runs the 14 universities and one of the objectives is that higher education is expected to be relevant to the practical life, closely related to the real lives of the people.

To make education relevant, the Swedish Government set up a Globalisation Council recently to promote deeper knowledge of globalisation and its various issues and the economic and social implications.

A grant of 7,538 million kronors has been allocated for initiating research in new areas.

Oldest varsity

Uppsala University is the oldest university in the region, set up in 1477, followed by Lund University in 1660. Uppsala is ranked as one of the best universities in the world.

It offers 18 master’s level programmes through seven faculties including Arts, Languages, Law, Medicine, Science & Technology, Social Sciences and Theology.

The range and relevance of the programmes are much appreciated. For instance, courses like Gender and Historical Change, Roads to Democracy, International Health Applied Biotechnology and Sustainable Development are interesting, besides the evergreen ones like Development Studies. Nearly 1,500 students apply for this course every year from about 50 countries.

(Details can be had on or by emailing to The programme is found to be useful for working in foreign services, United Nations and non-Government sectors.

There are further interesting courses like Financial Mathematics (as part of the programme in Maths). Some programmes start only in autumn while a few others have admissions in spring also.

The minimum eligibility for admission to the two-year master’s programme is a three-year degree. Usually the deadline is February. More information can be had from


Selection is usually based on previous academic record, statement of intent, work experience, subject focus etc. There are options to write dissertations also. It is sometimes possible to complete the two-year course within one year. Admissions are finalised in May. The academic calendar is divided into two semesters — autumn from September to January and spring semester from January to June.

The university has strong disciplinary domains — Arts and Social Sciences; Medicine and Pharmacy; and Science and Technology and Education and research in nine faculties.

About 40,000 students are pursuing education and a highlight of this university is that it has student exchange programme with 50 countries.

It has 3,000 international collaborative research projects and turns out 400 plus doctorates per year and 5,000 publications per year, indicating the strong research base. Engineering education is offered in English.

E. Srilatha, a student from Political Science Department, Hyderabad Central University, who came to study in Uppsala as an exchange student opines that there is no pressure on the student in most universities in Sweden. And the best part of the learning is real rather than exam based.

Ph.D programmes

Admission to Ph.D. programmes is based on publication of an article with the scholar as the first author in a referred journal. Ph.D. students are paid SEK 14,000 (one Swedish Kronor is equivalent to Rs.7).

The learning culture is promoted through discussion or debates.



LineasPalme Fellows,

Uppsala University, Sweden



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