A great deal of preparation needs to be done when you apply to a course or programme abroad.

Compare courses

Find out as much as you can about the courses/programmes and the universities in which you are interested. Compare the lengths of the courses, entry requirements and costs. Always contact the university for information about entry requirements and the admissions process.

Studera.nu has links to information about the 60 most common host countries. Ploteus, the European education database, also has information about higher education in Europe.

Information and useful links for the 60 most common host countries (in Swedish)

Ploteus, the European education database

Find out about costs

Overseas universities often charge tuition fees. Contact the relevant university for more information. If you are studying abroad, it is possible to apply for extra student funding for tuition fees, provided that the course/programme is approved by the Swedish Board of Student Finance (CSN).

Read more about financing your overseas studies

Find out what the course is worth

Not all courses can have their credits transferred to Sweden. Are you planning on continuing your studies in Sweden after returning from overseas? Before you travel, talk to your Swedish university to establish whether you will be able to have the credits transferred from the overseas courses.

If you are intending on studying an entire programme abroad, it is a bit more difficult to find out what it is worth in Sweden in advance. One way of doing this could be to contact a study counsellor on an equivalent programme at a Swedish university. You can also email the Swedish Council for Higher Education (UHR) to find out whether others have studied an equivalent programme overseas and, if so, how it was assessed.

Read more about credit transfers in the article After studying abroad

Email the Swedish Council for Higher Education at godtagbarstandard@uhr.se

Obtain a Certificate of Eligibility

In order to be admitted to a foreign university, it is almost always necessary for you to have basic eligibility for higher education in Sweden. The Swedish Council for Higher Education can provide you with a Certificate of Eligibility.

Information about certificates for overseas studies on the Swedish Council for Higher Education’s website (in Swedish)

Take a language test

For most courses, you must have passed a language test. There are various tests – the overseas university to which you are applying will have more information about what is needed to study there. Remember to plan well in advance, as tests are only offered on specific dates and it make take time before the results arrive.

Universities sometimes offer intensive language courses to prepare for studying abroad. The most common language tests can be taken in Sweden.


Folkuniversitetet has information about:

  • Cambridge exams
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

The British Council has information about:

  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

The Educational Testing Service (ETS) website has information about:

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). TOEFL is a common test prior to studying in the USA.

Information about language tests in several languages at Folkuniversitetet

More about the International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

More about the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)


EU citizens no longer need to take a language test before applying to universities in France. However, a pass in these tests is recommended:

  • Diplôme d´Etudes en Langue Française (DELF)
  • Diplôme Approfondi en Langue Française (DALF)
  • Test de Connaissance Français (TCF)

More information about these tests is available from L´Institut français de Suède

Information about language tests at L´Institut français de Suède (in Swedish)


Folkuniversitetet has information about the following language tests:

  • Diploma de español como lengua extranjera - (DELE) Diploma básico
  • Diploma de español como lengua extranjera - (DELE) Diploma superiór

Information about Spanish language tests at Folkuniversitetet’s website (in Swedish)


When you register at a German university you take a language test called Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang ausländischer Studienbewerber (DSH).

You can also apply if you've passed one of the following language tests from the Goethe-Institut:

  • Kleines Deutsches Sprachdiplom, (KDS), tests reading comprehension, writing and speaking. The diploma is valid in all German-speaking countries as a certification that you have adequate skills for higher education.
  • Großes Deutsches Sprachdiplom, (GDS), demands fluent spoken and written German.
  • Zentrale Oberstufenprüfung, (ZOP), is at the same level as KDS.

Information about language tests in German on the Goethe-institut’s website (in Swedish)

Take an entry exam

Some universities have entry exams. You may also need to provide written motivation for why you want to study that particular course. You can also send a letter of recommendation from someone who knows you well, such as a teacher.

Write your application carefully

Contact the overseas university at which you are interested in studying and ask for application documents and instructions. Make sure that your application is done correctly, otherwise you risk it being rejected immediately. Some countries have a central admissions authority. In others you send your application straight to the university.

Apply early

The deadline for applications is usually long before the course starts. Some universities only have an admission process once a year, others three times each year.

Translation of upper-secondary grades

You often need to translate your upper-secondary grades to the country’s language. This also applies to other grades that show you fulfil the entry requirements. The requirements for the translation can vary; sometimes you can do your own translation or the school who issued your grades can do it. Always contact the university to find out which rules apply.

  • Kammarkollegiet’s website has a register of authorised translators.
  • The Swedish National Agency for Education has a template for translation to English. They also have a description in English of the Swedish education system, which you can send with your application.
  • Many upper-secondary schools can translate your grades.
  • The Swedish Council for Higher Education’s website has a Swedish-English dictionary for words and terms in higher education.

Authorised translators on Kammarkollegiet’s website

The Swedish National Agency for Education’s information about translating upper-secondary grades to English (in Swedish)

Swedish-English dictionary on the Swedish Council for Higher Education’s website (in Swedish)

Explanation of Swedish upper-secondary grades

Sometimes a university can require an explanation of how the Swedish upper-secondary grading system works. The Swedish National Agency for Education has a page in English that explains the system. It also has a document you can print out that summarises the system.

The Swedish National Agency for Education’s page about Swedish upper-secondary grades

Never send original documents

You should never send original documents, even if the overseas university asks you to.

Certifying documents

It may be necessary to have official confirmation that your grades and documents are genuine and correct. In most cases they should be certified by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, but sometimes it's also necessary to have an apostille from a notarius publicus (a lawyer appointed by the county administrative board).

Information from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs on certification and apostille (in Swedish)

Translation of grades from higher education

If you want to translate grades from higher education, you should contact the relevant department at your university.


Page last updated 2019-05-29