study for free in sweden
PhD courses in Sweden are free for all international students. Source: Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP

Ask graduates and many will say to study for free in Sweden is a dream come true for any international student. Why? First off, you’ll be part of a student-centric system, where relationships between students and teachers are very relaxed — you are even expected to call your teachers by their first names).

Another key reason is the famed Swedish education system. It focuses on your academic interests and values team players. Most degree programmes combine lectures with practical work in direct preparation for the job market.

In Sweden, you’ll also be surrounded by inspiring innovation. As one of the world’s most modern countries, it’s also where many successful corporations are founded. Spotify (now worth US$67 billion!), H&M, and IKEA are a few of the many businesses that have made it big. 

scholarships for Sweden

From unique food to breathtaking vistas, there are hundreds of reasons to study for free in Sweden. Source: Tom Little/AFP

More reasons you should study for free in Sweden

Sweden is just as green as it is innovative. It is known to be the most sustainable country in the world — some of this can be seen through their efforts through electric buses, urban farming, food banks, and encouraging beekeeping. 

We could go on and on but we’ll skip to the best part: if you’re an EU citizen, tuition fees are free. If you’re from a non-EU country, costs are approximately 7,500 euros to 25,000 euros a year (depending on the uni and programme).

This makes it cheaper than the 21,000 euros to 30,000 euros at public unis in the US. What’s more, PhD courses are free for all international students. 

Several scholarships — by the government and unis — make it possible for international candidates to study for free. We take a look at some below. 

ICLD 2022 Women’s Political Leadership for elected young women in developing countries

This is a 12-month training programme for women who hold an elected seat in their local government. This programme is open to women candidates in Albania, Botswana, Georgia, Indonesia, Kosovo, Moldova, Montenegro, Namibia, North Macedonia, Rwanda, Serbia, Tanzania, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, Vietnam, Zambia and Zimbabwe. It focuses on political leadership skills.

scholarships for Sweden

Many scholarships let you study for free in Sweden, home to innovative companies like Spotify. Source: Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP

The Swedish Institute Scholarships for global professionals

Offered the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Sweden and the Swedish Institute, the programme provides a fully-funded journey for master’s candidates. If you are ambitious with a side of great expertise, this programme is for you. 

As a contribution to the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, it seeks out scholars with a professional backgrounds from the following regions: Africa, Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East. 

Fully-Funded Rotary Peace Fellowships

Every year, Rotary chooses around 130 peace and development leaders around the globe for full academic fellowships related to peace and conflict resolutions. You can study for free at Sweden’s Uppsala University, pursuing an MSc in Peace and Conflict Studies. 

In the international relations field, the fellowship is for professionals with work experience in it. Demonstrating leadership skills and committing to cross-cultural understanding is a key here.

Erasmus Mundus Scholarships

The EU programme for education, training, youth and sports funds academic mobility and cooperation projects throughout the world. Sweden is part of this programme that helps cover tuition, travel, and living costs. 

Swedish Institute Management Programme (SIMP) Africa 

This programme brings together business leaders that have a mission for economic, environmental and socially sustainable change. Under this programme, you’ll gain knowledge to understand sustainable and responsible business preparing you for a role in leadership and change. 

Working on a sustainability challenge, you’ll be making a positive business impact. You can apply for this if you are a citizen of Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda or Zambia. 

Nordic Africa Institute (NAI) African Scholar Programme

This is targeted at researchers based in Africa who need time and an environment for their ongoing research. Spanning 12 months, the scholarship requires that you tackle topis such as climate change, sustainable development, conflict, security and democratic transformation, mobility and migration, and gender equality.

NAI Claude Ake Visiting Chair for researchers in African countries

This is intended for scholars (like the person it’s named after, Claude Ake) who are committed to social justice. For three months, you’ll be based at Uppsala University. This is open to social scientists working at African universities on problems related to war, peace, conflict resolution, human rights, democracy, and development on the African continent.