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.

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