STAIRWAY TO SUCCE SS
State-of-the-art research facilities, employment opportunities and industrial exposure are few of the several perks of studying in Sweden.
At 4,50,295 square kilometres, Sweden, is the third largest country in the European Union. Its captivating landscape and architecture make it one of the most visited places in Europe. However, they are not its only attraction. It is home to more than 4 lakh students from across the globe. In the fall of 2010, a total of 3,74,000 aspirants applied for admission to universities and university colleges, of which 2,40,000 were admitted. Clearly indicating that quality education is not just restricted to the well known European nations such as the UK, Germany and Russia, but the balance is now tilting towards the low profile, high quality education providers.
Higher education in Sweden is financed largely by tax revenue. Until last year, this has applied to all students regardless of their nationality. From 2011, however, tuition fees have been introduced for students from outside the European Union and Switzerland. But that is definitely not a deterrent in the number of enthusiastic applicants. According to statistics published by the Agency for Higher Education Services, a total of 8,075 people have been offered places on international masters degree programmes at Swedish universities ahead of the autumn term 2011, while a further 1,944 have been accepted to other international courses.
Some of the most popular Swedish Universities are KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenberg, Lund University, Lund and Malmo
University, Malmo. Their popularity can be attributed to their state- of- the- art infrastructure, competitive academic programmes, large number of Nobel Prize winners and quality of education.
Ram Nath, a Ph. D student in Industrial Biotechnology at KTH Royal Institute of Technology says, “I joined the university in 2008 for my masters programme. While most of my batchmates chose US as their higher education destination, Sweden was the best choice for me given its standard of education and infrastructure to pursue a Ph. D degree.” Nath, like many international students has found his calling in research. This, he attributes to his faculty and the legacy of the institute, in terms of time and experience.
Some of the Swedish institutes have been in existence for nearly 200 years. Also, each institute specialises in specific subjects and researches. Karolinska Institutet, for instance— whose expert panel selects the Nobel Prize winner in Physiology and Medicine— last year celebrated its 200th year of inception. It offers the widest range of medical education. Harriet Wallberg-henriksson, president, Karolinska Institutet, says, “Our’s is a medical university at heart. We have constantly been seeking new knowledge for educating healthcare personnel. We also run a one-of-a-kind bio entrepreneurship programme.” Another university with a legacy is the Uppsala University. The 534 year-old university has consistently been ranked among the top 100 universities in the world.
Suparna Sanyal, associate professor, Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Uppsala University says, “Given its reputation, the university has attracted several international students. In fact the masters programme in applied biotechnology and molecular biology has been quite popular among Indian students.” The university is known not just for its biology programmes but also for its literature programmes and for its highly popular Department of Government.
Swedish universities, by virtue of their world class infrastructure and emphasis on community development, have been known for producing Nobel prize winners. Two of such pioneers are the Uppsala University and Karolinska Institutet. One such example is the Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenberg. Ranked among the top 100 best universities in engineering and IT, it is a popular destination for several Indian students. “Till about last year, free education was a crowd puller, but now due to imposition of fee there might be a decline in the number of non-european students, but scholarships and grants offered by various universities will continue to attract students,” says Prakash Vishnoi, alumni, nanotechnology programme, Chalmers. One of the most popular courses of the university is the masters programme in automotive engineering.
Another popular university is the Lund University. Based in the small town of Lund, the university has 47,000 students and 6,300 faculty members from all over the world. Per Eriksson, vice chancellor, Lund University says, “Students get a global exposure and the difference in teaching method and personal attention to each ward widens their horizons.”
Having divided its academics into engineering and social sciences, Sweden also offers out- of- box courses. One such university is the Malmo University. Based in the industrial city Malmo, the university offers six bachelor and 12 masters degree programmes. These include inter national immigration and ethnic relations and sustainable urban management.
While living costs depend upon the requirements of students, Sweden, is a reasonably priced country. A student aspiring to pursue social science courses in these universities will have to shell out 1,00,000 SEK (`8,00,000 ) annually and those interested in engineering will be required to spend around 1,45,000 SEK (` 11,60,000) annually. Students at Malmo University would have to pay 80,000 SEK (`6,40, 000) to 3,20,000 SEK (`25,60,000) annually based on their programmes. With a large number of Indian students willing to travel offshore for higher education, Sweden is a good bet for those interested in research and quality education.