Study in Sweden: The Lowdown

Samuel Clennett

Studying abroad can give you a unique way to see a different part of the world, as well as furthering your education. You’ll be able to make new friends, learn a new language, experience a new way of life - and make your resume stand out from the crowd, too.

Sweden is a great choice for Australian students looking to spend time overseas - not least because universities in Sweden are world class, and offer courses in English. You’ll also be able to choose from a range of locations including the capital Stockholm, and university cities such as Gothenburg and Uppsala, which combine a vibrant cosmopolitan culture with easy access to nature if you want to explore.

This handy guide will give you all you need to know about studying in Sweden. We’ll also take a brief look at how you can cut the costs of studying abroad, with Wise. Using Wise to pay your tuition fees or rent, and covering your day to day spending with a multi-currency borderless account from Wise can mean you save money compared to using your regular bank. More on that later.

Studying in Sweden

Sweden is famously progressive, multi-cultural and welcoming. Some 15% of the population were born in a different country, and English is widely spoken. This makes it a great country for incomers to settle, study, and feel at home. You’ll have the opportunity to explore the rich natural and cultural heritage of this region, and experience the Swedish way of life¹.

There are 38 universities in Sweden, 8 of which rank among the top in the world. You’ll find a wide range of courses, many of which are offered in English.

One challenge when it comes to life as an international student in Sweden is the cost. Tuition fees can be relatively high, and the cost of living isn’t cheap either. To give an example, taking a BA History course at the university of Sydney will cost in the region of $6,700 for the first year of study as a domestic student. A similar course as an international student at a Swedish university will set you back $12,300 - $17,000 a year. The fees may be higher for more advanced levels of study, or specialist courses such as architecture. So if you want to take a Masters, or study medicine in Sweden, for example, you’ll likely pay even more for your tuition²,³.

There are ways to manage the costs of study, including applying for one of the many scholarships available for international students⁴. You may also choose to work while you’re studying - even minimum wage positions in Sweden are relatively well paid, to reflect the higher cost of living.

Study Visa

If you’re planning on studying in Sweden for more than 3 months, you’ll probably need a residence permit⁵.

You can find all you need to know about getting your paperwork in order, on the Swedish Migration Agency website. Apply as soon as you’ve been accepted onto a course, as even a simple residence visa for bachelor studies at a university might take a month or two to process. There’s advice about the length of waiting time you’re likely to face, on the website⁶.

You’ll also find a full list online of the documentation required to support your application. This is likely to include the following:

  • Valid passport
  • Admission letter from your university or college
  • Proof you can pay for yourself during the course of your stay - this maintenance amount is currently set at SEK8,370 per month⁷
  • You may also need health insurance if you’re planning on being in Sweden for less than a year

All documents will need to be in Swedish or English. If the original is not in one of these languages, you’ll be asked to provide a certified translation when you apply for your study permit.

Cost of studying in Sweden

Before you decide to study in Sweden, it’s worth taking a close look at the tuition fees at your chosen institution, as well as the overall living cost.

Here’s a rundown of the average fees based on the type of course you choose².

Fee typeIndicative Cost
Application feeSEK900 (AUD140)
Bachelor’s programme - annual fee for social science or humanities coursesSEK80,000 - SEK110,000 (AUD12,300 - AUD17,000)
Bachelor’s programme - annual fee for technical or natural science coursesSEK120,000 - SEK145,000(AUD18,500 - AUD22,300)
Bachelor’s programme - annual fee for architecture and design coursesSEK190,000 - SEK270,000 (AUD29,300 - AUD41,600)
Master’s programme (annual fee)SEK129,000 (AUD20,000)

Daily living costs

To get a study permit you’ll usually need to show you have enough money to support yourself during your stay in Sweden. This means you must have savings, a scholarship, or access to income worth SEK8,370 - roughly AUD1,300 - per month.

One good way of comparing the cost of living in Sweden with your current home, is to use the Numbeo website. Here you can find live, dynamic data looking at the costs of everyday expenses, rent and travel in cities around the world. The information is provided by people living in these cities, to create a realistic picture of what life really costs.

At the time of research, Numbeo data suggests that consumer prices including rent are some 12.7% cheaper in Stockholm compared to Sydney, for example. Although eating out in Sweden is more costly than in Sydney, renting a place in Stockholm is cheaper, bringing down the cost of living overall.

Universities in Sweden

There are universities throughout Sweden, including the capital Stockholm, second city Gothenburg, and famous university towns like Uppsala.

Here are the top ranked universities in Sweden for you to take a look at, when choosing the institution which is right for you⁹.

  • Lund University
  • KTH Royal Institute of Technology
  • Uppsala University
  • Chalmers University of Technology
  • Stockholm University
  • University of Gothenburg

Cut the costs of studying abroad with Wise

Studying overseas is a great way to learn about a new culture and get a unique experience of a different way of life. However, it can be costly. If you are looking for a way to send money to Sweden, Wise could be an option.

One smart way to save money is to use Wise for international payments and currency conversion. If you need to send money from Australia to Sweden to cover your tuition fees or rent, for example, using Wise can be up to 16x cheaper than using your regular bank, according to independent research.

With Wise you’ll get safe, quick international payments with no hidden fees. Currency conversion is always done using the mid-market exchange rate, and you’ll only pay a low upfront fee per transaction.

You can also make your day to day spending simple, and cut your costs, with a multi-currency borderless account from Wise. Open an account online, and get your linked debit Mastercard for free. There’s no monthly fee or minimum balance to worry about, and you’ll never be charged to spend using a currency you hold in your account. Just top up your account in dollars and switch to Swedish krona using the mid-market exchange rate, for a low transparent fee.

With cosmopolitan cities, a rich history and beautiful nature to explore, Sweden is a popular destination for adventurous students looking for something different. If this brief guide has inspired you, you’re in for a treat. Invest some time in finding the right course and institution for you, and get ready to make your dream a reality.


  1. Quick facts about Sweden
  2. Fees and Costs
  3. Cost of Studying in Sydney
  4. Scholarships
  5. Visas
  6. Q&A re Swedish Migration
  7. Universities
  8. Compared Cost of Living
  9. Top Universities

All sources accurate as of 9 Dec 2019

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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