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Higher education and academic credits in Sweden


Higher education in Sweden is divided into three cycles:

  • Bachelor's level (First cycle)
  • Master's level (Second cycle)
  • Doctoral/PhD level (Third cycle)

Academic credits - ECTS and HEC

Academic credits in Sweden are called Higher Education Credits (HEC). They are compatible with the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS).

1 HEC = 1 ECTS

  • 1,5 credits = 1 week of full time studies (approx. 40 hours)
  • 60 credits = 1 year of full time studies (approx. 40 weeks)

Transcript of records from Karolinska Institutet will record credits in HEC (hp in Swedish). However, compatibility between ECTS and HEC is stated in degree certificates and diplomas from Karolinska Institutet.

More about HEC

Read more about ECTS

Academic credits earned in Sweden before 2007

In Sweden, academic credits have been awarded since 1 July 2007 as Higher Education Credits (HEC, or in Swedish hp). The HEC system is an adaptation to the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS), with the aim of making different educational systems more comparable.

In the merit system used in Sweden before 1 July 2007, the term "points" was used. One week of full-time studies corresponded to one point and an academic year to 40 points.

Tuition fees and financing for bachelor's and master's level

Tuition Fees

Higher education in Sweden is free of charge for students within the EU/EEA and Switzerland. Students from these countries pay no tuition fees. Students from countries outside the EU/EEA and Switzerland have to pay tuition fees.

However, exchange students from partner universities do not have to pay any tuition fees.

Living expenses

There are no funds within Karolinska Institutet to support international students' living expenses. You will have to finance your stay in Sweden by means of scholarships, funding from your home country or private funds. Exchange students are supposed to cover their costs in Sweden by for example grants from exchange programmes such as Nordplus, Erasmus or Linnaeus-Palme. The minimum monthly budget for a student in Stockholm is approximately 8,000 SEK. You should always check with the Swedish Migration Agency for the exact requirements.

Financing for doctoral level

All doctoral students at KI are financially supported during their studies through doctoral studentships, employment by another employer or by external scholarships.

Doctoral education has no tuition fee regardless of the student’s country of origin.

Read more about study funding during doctoral education

Read more about doctoral education at KI in general

Student unions

Student unions in Sweden have traditionally played an important role in university life, and are often very influential forces at the universities. At Karolinska Institutet there are two student unions, arranging traditional student activities such as parties, theatre and sports.

The student unions also represent students at Karolinska Institutet in decision-making bodies at the university. As an exchange student you can become a member of one of the student unions at Karolinska Institutet by paying a fee of approximately 200 SEK per semester.

Student unions at Karolinska Institutet

The Swedish Higher Education Authority

You can find more information on higher education in Sweden on the website of the Swedish Higher Education Authority, the public authority that oversees higher education institutions in Sweden.

The Swedish Higher Education Authority