Karlstad University: The ultimate student experience

“You should not judge Karlstad by the first impression you may have during your first visit in Winter. Although small, it gives you the calm, peaceful working and living environment you rarely find anywhere else.” – Farzaneh Karegar, PhD student in Computer Science, Karlstad University

The Swedish city of Karlstad has a deep-held love and respect for the student. Widely acknowledged as a hub for all things sport, arts and culture, this is a metropolis that has transformed into a global hub for world-class education.

Blessed with year-round beams of sun and a spirit enriched with innovation, it is hardly surprising that Karlstad is known as one of the nation’s top student cities. It is a place that is both friendly and intimate, boasting a small city vibe with big city attractions, and draws student talent from all over the globe.

“I chose Sweden and Karlstad University for several reasons,” says Farzaneh Karegar, a Karlstad PhD student from Iran. “I’ll say the strangest first: the stereotype! It may look like a paradox, but when you hear people repeatedly say the same things about a place they have never been in, you get curious to just go there and experience it yourself.”

Hearing that Karlstad University is home to one of Europe’s most thriving Computer Science schools, Karegar could not wait to submit her research application. “I heard about the Computer Science department,” she says, “and it intrigued me to gain more information about the opportunities and facilities they provide for researchers. It left me with no doubt that I should apply to study here. Sweden is one of the world’s most innovative countries, something that also affects the quality of education. Swedes excel in almost every different aspect, from IT to design, the music and environmental industries, and also in English, just to name a few.”

Many students such as Karegar are drawn to the unrivalled research options on offer at Karlstad Computer Science (CS). This is a school that constantly breaks new ground in the globally-relevant fields of networking, software engineering, IT security and privacy-enhancing technologies – three distinct research areas which are helping to make the World Wide Web a safer place. Together with a range of external partners, Karlstad conducts research that educates and empowers a global knowledge economy, building a better and brighter world as we progress through the digital age.

“Right now we have about 15 exciting research projects going on with academic and industrial partners all over Sweden, Europe and the rest of the world,” explains Sebastian Herold, program coordinator for Karlstad’s Master in Computer Science. “In one of the largest projects in terms of number of involved partners, we collaborate with almost 30 partners from five different countries, which gives us plenty of opportunities for master theses, for example.”

Karlstad CS hosts a faculty that constantly strives to keep students motivated and engaged, providing a wealth of hands-on experience as they interact with potential employers. The school’s tight-knit, warm and inclusive culture encourages strong bonds between students and teachers, ensuring every member of the CS community receives the one-to-one guidance and advice they deserve. This, in turn, allows Karlstad students to make the most of their research experience, putting them in front of the industry players who could see their future ignite.

“Students can work on research projects after just one year of the Master program,” Herold adds, “providing them with foundational knowledge in the school’s three research fields as well as the particular areas they’ve decided to focus on,” the Assistant Professor explains. “Almost every project is done in collaboration with industry and so are our Master theses. We are also involved in a network called SNITS together with many local IT companies. The goal of this network is to foster exchange between industry and academia, for example, by the ‘Snitslunch’, a seminar series in which companies present to students what working for them is like, or by the organization of guest lectures, industrial study mentors, and many more.”

Jonathan Vestin, a former Master in Computer Science student, can vouch for the ultimate experience gained in his time at Karlstad CS. He claims that heavy teacher involvement allowed him to excel, opening a clear and undeniable path to academic and industry connections. “It benefited my studies by teachers typically being available during programming assignments, answering questions and providing immediate feedback to completed assignments,” Jonathan explains.

“Both my Bachelor’s and Master’s theses were published in condensed versions as scientific papers,” he adds. “I had the full support and encouragement of my supervisor during and after the project, and I know of many other students who are in the same position.”

Karlstad CS is an institute committed to the constant generation of knowledge. Powered by cutting-edge initiatives such as SNITS and unparalleled industry engagement, students here gain knowledge and insight in the context of impactful research.

“At Karlstad University,” Karegar concludes, “working as a group means a lot in everyday working life. Open-minded, professional, well-known research staff at CS have been helping me overcome the difficulties I am encountering throughout my research journey. Their ultimate goal is to help us make progress and gain the abilities required for potential future job positions, both within the industry and in academia.”

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