There are a total of ten different higher education qualifications and a number of professional qualifications offered in Sweden at the bachelor's (first cycle), master's (second cycle), and doctoral (third cycle) levels.  Find out more here.

A higher education qualification is proof that you have studied a subject to a certain level or that you've completed a specific programme. 

Education levels

All courses and programmes at universities and university colleges are divided into three levels: bachelor's (first cycle), master's (second cycle) and doctoral (third cycle). All levels build on the level before. Each course or programme has entry requirements. As a beginner, you'll apply to courses and programmes at the bachelor's level.

The Bologna Process and study levels (cycles)

As a member of the European Union, Sweden conforms to a number of guidelines for higher education in Europe. In order to promote student mobility and make it easier for students to study in another European country, the Bologna Process was adopted. These guidelines help all countries describe higher education in the same way. By following the Bologna Process, Swedish universities have similar levels of education, credit schemes, and degree descriptions as other countries in the European Union.

According to the Bologna Process, courses and programmes are to be organised into different levels called cycles - first, second and third. First cycle is for the most part equivalent to what is known as the undergraduate level, or bachelor's level of studies. Second cycle corresponds to graduate level or master's level studies. Third cycle corresponds to doctoral or PhD level studies. Different types of qualifications can be offered at all three cycles. 

These are unfamiliar terms for the majority of individuals. Here at Studera.nu, we most often use the terms bachelor's, master's and doctoral to describe study levels as we have found that they are the most familiar and make the most sense to individuals from other countries. 

Bachelor's level (First cycle)

At this level, you start studying a course or programme in a subject area that doesn't require previous studies at a university or university college and is for beginners to higher education. Most programmes offered at the bachelor's level in Sweden are 3 years of full-time studies in length and award 180 credits.

Master's level (Second cycle)

In order to study a programme at the master's level, you must have successfully completed a Swedish 3-year degree at the bachelor's level, a bachelor's degree from a foreign country, or a corresponding qualification.

If you wish to take freestanding courses (instead of being admitted to a study programme) at the master's level, you must have studied the course at the bachelor's level. Here, there is no requirement that one must complete a degree at the bachelor's level.

Doctoral level (Third cycle)

In order to study at the doctoral level, you must have completed a degree at the master's level. 

Qualifications/Degrees

Every education level has its own qualifications and degrees. Below you can see a diagramme of the qualifications/degree system.

Click here for a bigger picture of the diagramme

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bachelor's level higher education qualifications

At the bachelor's level (first cycle), you can study for: a general qualification; a qualification in fine, applied and performing arts; or a professional qualification. The contents of each qualification are found in the Higher Education Ordinance, annex 2. 

To the Higher Education Ordinance, Annex 2

General qualification

Most university and university college programmes lead to a general qualification. It shows that the student has studied a subject or subject area to a certain level and depth.

General qualifications at the bachelor's level (first cycle):

  • Högskoleexamen (Higher Education Diploma), 120 credits including a degree project
  • Kandidatexamen (Degree of Bachelor), 180 credits, at least 90 credits must be in the main field of study, including a degree project of at least 15 credits.

Fine, applied and performing arts qualifications

A fine, applied or performing arts qualification is awarded after studying an artistic higher education programme.

Artistic qualifications at the bachelor's (first cycle) level:

  • Konstnärlig högskoleexamen (Higher Education Diploma), 120 credits including a degree project.
  • Konstnärlig kandidatexamen, (Degree of Bachelor), 180 credits including a degree project of at least 15 credits.

Professional qualification

There are some qualifications that lead to a specific profession, for example teacher, engineer or nurse. In many cases, you must have completed a specific programme in order to be licensed to work in your profession. These qualifications are called professional qualifications. 

The contents of professional qualifications are different. Find out what professional qualifications are awarded at the bachelor's (first cycle) level in the list below titled "How long does it take to receive a qualification?".

Qualifications at the master's (second cycle) level

At the second cycle level - master's - you can earn a general qualification, an artistic qualification or a professional qualification. 

The contents of each qualification are found in the Higher Education Ordinance, annex 2. 

To the Higher Education Ordinance, Annex 2

In order to study at the master's (second cycle) level, you must have completed a general exam (first cycle qualification), artistic qualification, or professional qualification at the bachelor's (first cycle) level. This usually means a kandidatexamen from Sweden, or a bachelor's exam from another country.

General qualification

At the master's level, there are two general exams:

  • Magisterexamen (Degree of Master of Arts), 60 credits, at least 30 credits in the main field of study, including a degree project of at least 15 credits.
  • Masterexamen (Degree of Master of Arts), 120 points, at least 60 credits in the main field of study, including a degree project of at least 30 credits.

Fine, applied and performing arts (artistic) qualification

There are two fine, applied and performing arts qualifications at the master's level:

  • Konstnärlig magisterexamen (Degree of Master of Fine Arts), 60 credits, including a degree project of at least 15 credits.
  • Konstnärlig masterexamen (Degree of Master of Fine Arts), 120 credits, including a degree project of at least 30 credits.

Professional qualification

There are also qualifications at the master's level that lead to a specific profession, called professional qualifications. Some examples are teacher or midwife. 

In some cases, you must have already completed a programme from which you received a license to work in that profession.

The contents of different professional qualifications are different. Find out what professional qualifications at the master's level are available in Sweden in the list below under "How long does it take to get a qualification?".

Qualifications at the doctoral level

At the doctoral (third cycle) level, there are general and artistic qualifications.

General qualifications

  • Licentiatexamen (Degree of Licentiate), 120 credits including a scholarly academic paper of at least 60 credits. 
  • Doktorsexamen (Degree of Doctor), 240 credits, including a doctoral thesis of at least 120 credits.

Fine, applied and performing arts (artistic) qualification

  • Konstnärlig licentiatexamen (Degree of Licentiate), 120 credits including a scholarly academic paper of at least 60 credits. 
  • Konstnärlig doktorsexamen (Degree of Doctor), 240 credits, including a doctoral thesis of at least 120 credits.

How long does it take to get a qualification?

Bachelor's level (first cycle) qualifications

General qualifications    
Qualification Length Credits
Högskoleexamen (Higher Education Diploma) 2 years 120
Kandidatexamen (Degree of Bachelor) 3 years 180
Artistic qualifications    
Qualification Length Credits
Konstnärlig högskoleexamen (Higher Education Diploma) 2 years 120
Konstnärlig kandidatexamen (Degree of Bachelor) 3 years 180

 

Professional Qualifications    
Qualification Length Credits
Degree of Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy 3 years 180
Degree of Bachelor of Science in Audiology 3 years 180
Degree of Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Laboratory Science 3 years 180
Degree of Bachelor of Science in Fire Protection Engineering 3.5 years 210
Degree of Bachelor of Science in Dietetics 3 years 180
Higher Education Diploma in Veterinary Nursing 2 years 120
Higher Education Certificate in Folk High School Education 1 year   60 
Degree of Bachelor of Science in Physiotherapy 3 years 180
Degree of Bachelor in Preschool Teaching 3.5 years 210
Higher Education Diploma in Equine Science 2 years 120
Degree of Bachelor of Science in Engineering 3 years 180
Degree of Bachelor of Science in Landscape Construction and Management 3 years 180 
Higher Education Diploma in Agricultural and Rural Management 2 years 120
Degree of Bachelor of Science in Optometry 3 years 180
Degree of Bachelor of Science in Prosthetics and Orthotics 3 years 180
Degree of Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy 3 years 180
Degree of Bachelor of Science in Diagnostic Radiology Nursing 3 years 180
Degree of Bachelor of Science in Nursing 3 years 180
Degree of Bachelor of Science in Marine Engineering 3 years 180
Degree of Bachelor of Science in Nautical Science 3 years 180
Degree of Bachelor of Science in Forest Management 3 years 180
Higher Education Diploma in Forest Management 2 years 120
Degree of Bachelor of Science in Social Work 3.5 years 210
Degree of Bachelor of Arts in Study and Career Guidance 3 years 180
Higher Education Diploma in Dental Hygiene 2 years 120
Degree of Bachelor of Science in Dental Technology 3 years 180
Higher Education Diploma in Horticultural Management 2 years 120
Higher Education Diploma in Vocational Education 1.5 years   90

 

Master's level (second cycle) qualifications

General qualifications    
Qualification Length Credits
Magisterexamen (Degree of Master of Arts 60 credits) 1 year 60
Masterexamen (Degree of Master of Arts 120 credits) 2 years 120
Artistic qualifications    
Qualification Length Högskolepoäng
Konstnärlig magisterexamen (Degree of Master of Fine Arts 60 credits) 1 year 60
Konstnärlig masterexamen (Degree of Master of Fine Arts 120 credits) 2 years 120

 

Professional qualifications    
Programmes that award a professional qualification at the master's level can be applied for by beginners, if other requirements are not indicated.    
Qualification Length Credits
Degree of Master of Science in Agriculture 4.5 years 270
Degree of Master of Science in Pharmacy 5 years 300                                                       
Degree of Master of Architecture 5 years 300
Postgraduate Diploma in Midwifery (requires Degree of Bachelor of Science in Nursing and professional status qualification) 1.5 years 90
Degree of Master of Science in Business and Economics 5 years 300
Degree of Master of Science in Engineering 5 years 300
Degree of Master of Arts in Primary Education 4 years 240
Degree of Master of Science in Horticulture 5 years 300
Degree of Master of Laws 4.5 years 270
Degree of Master of Science in Forestry 5 years 300
Degree of Master of Science in Landscape Architecture 5 years 300
Degree of Master of Science in Speech and Language Pathology 4 years 240
Degree of Master of Science in Medicine 5.5 years 330
Degree of Master of Science in Psychology 5 years 300
Postgraduate Diploma in Psychotherapy (requires Degree of Master of Science in Psychology, Degree of Master of Science in Medicine with specific specialisation, Degree of Bachelor of Science in Social Work or the equivalent) 1.5 years 90
Degree of Master of Science in Medical Physics 5 years 300
Postgraduate Diploma in Specialist Nursing (requires Degree of Bachelor of Science in Nursing and professional status qualification) 1 year, 1.25 years for specialisation in district nursing 60 credits, 75 credits for specialisation in district nursing
Postgraduate Diploma in Special Educational Needs (requires Bachelor of Arts in Education) 1.5 years 90
Degree of Master of Science in Dental Surgery 5 years 300
Degree of Master of Science in Veterinary Medicine 5.5 years

330

Degree of Master of Arts/Science in Secondary Education, Degree of Master of Arts/Science in Upper Secondary Education (Subject teacher) 4.5/5/5.5 years 270/300/330

 

Doctoral level qualifications

General qualifications    
Qualification Length Credits
Licentiatexamen (Degree of Licentiate) 2 years 120
Doktorsexamen (Degree of Doctor) 4 years 240
Artistic qualification    
Qualification Length Credits
Konstnärlig licentiatexamen (Degree of Licentiate) 2 years 120
Konstnärlig doktorsexamen (Degree of Doctor) 4 years 240
Page last updated 2016-05-12