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Enrolment spike for Swedish universities

Applications to study in Sweden increase for the seventh year running

malmo library

More students than ever are opting to complete their higher education in Sweden, with application numbers on the increase for the seventh year in a row.

With a boost of 9,500 registrations since 2013, the Swedish Council for Higher Education was pushed to extend the registration deadline by a day in order to meet demands. In those additional 24 hours, the Council received an extra 20,000 applications for study programmes to begin in semester one of the 2014 academic year.

Sweden’s bigger institutions were top picks amongst prospective students, with the most applications coming in for Stockholm University, Uppsala University and Lund University: all universities offering degree programmes in popular study areas Medicine, Economics, Law and Psychology.

 At a cool 40,200, Stockholm University received the highest overall number of first-hand applications, with most interest expressed in programmes within the university’s capital institute, followed by those in Law. The Karolinska Institute’s medical programme brought in 2,258, comprising the highest amount of applicants for a single study programme.

Application spikes were felt by smaller universities, too: Linnæus University reported a 20% increase in international student enrolments in its Masters programmes, and a 59% overall increase in applications from international students. Likewise, Umeå University experienced a dramatic rise in Masters applications from international students, with study areas Finance, Molecular Biology and Business Development amongst the most popular.

Sweden, it seems, is recovering from the slump in enrolments following the introduction of tuition fees for non-EU students in 2011. From 2010-2011, international student applications dropped by a third, with a dismal 79% decline in the amount of applications from non-EU students.

Whilst many institutions were affected by the fees, programmes in Natural Sciences and Engineering were the most keenly affected, with interest in two-year international Masters programmes taught in English also significantly waning. Now, however, things are looking up.

 ‘We have worked hard to recruit international students for our Masters programmes, and it is amazing to see the interest in both new and previous available courses increasing so dramatically,’ Uppsala’s Vice-Chancellor Eva Åkesson said in a university release.

‘Finally we see a clear turning point in the number of applicants since tuition fees were introduced in 2011.’ This year, Uppsala saw a 60% increase in applications for its international Masters programmes: the highest figure since fees were introduced.

Lund University (67th) and Uppsala University (79th) are the only Swedish universities to rank within the world’s top 100, with a further two within the top 200.


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malmo library

Monica Karpinski received her BA (Media and Communications) and Diploma in Modern Languages (French) from the University of Melbourne, Australia. An art and culture aficionado, in her spare time Monica enjoys film, reading and writing about art.