One of the most common problems for international students is the language barrier. And such is the case for foreign nationals in Sweden, where all medical programs are in Swedish. Although most Swedish people speak English, and Sweden even ranked 2nd out of 80 non-native English-speaking countries in EF English Proficiency Index. In this article, we will be looking at the best medical schools in Sweden.
Medical schools in Sweden are also compliant with the Bologna process and European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System, which means the medical degree they grant is valid in any European country.
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Can international students enroll in medical schools in Sweden?
It is a Yes from Sweden. Swedish currently caters to thousands of international medical students and remains open for any aspiring high-achiever medical students from around the world. Although medical education in Sweden is only free for Swedish, Nordic, and European Union citizens, international students can still avail themselves of the program for 7,500 – 25,500 EUR/year.
Just note that since Sweden is a rich country, the cost of living may be expensive depending on the region. Once you are sure that you can cover the expenses, here are the basic requirements to start your medical journey in Sweden.
- Completion of secondary/high school
- Submit Transcript of Records from secondary school
- Obtain a residence permit in Sweden
- Meet the special entry requirements in Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, and other equivalent courses.
- TOEFL/IELTS certification
- Swedish Language Proficiency of at least level 3
- High Swedish scholastic aptitude test scores
- Documentation requirements such as recommendation letter, diploma, passport, and CVs vary according to country.
It is vital to check the University Admission website, which regulates international application to a higher-education institution in Sweden. The website contains information on the complete requirements depending on each country and which document needs translation into Swedish.
Most medical schools in Sweden accept international students like Karolinska Institutet, Lund University, Uppsala University, and Gothenburg University.
What is the medical curriculum like in medical schools in Sweden?
Similar to most EU countries, the candidates can take medical programs in Sweden directly after high school. But unlike any of them, it only lasts for five and half years or 11 semesters in Sweden. As all medical programs are in Swedish, it poses an extra challenge for overseas students.
Nonetheless, it will be all rewarding considering Sweden is home to top schools in the world like Karolinska Institutet, which ranks 6th in QS World University Rankings for Medicine. Here is the medical program outline from the same university:
Swedish medical programs offer a unique medical curriculum having multiple modules per semester instead of being organized as studying only a single module for a short period then moving to the next. This design enables students to maximize individual and group studies instead of classroom lectures.
The program has two levels: basic level (1-6 semesters) and advanced level (7-11). The advanced stages primarily occur in teaching hospitals, in which students take part in providing patient care under the supervision of medical professionals.
After graduation, the students are not eligible for a physician license awarded by the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) yet, since they only grant it after the mandatory 18-24 months internship in medical hospitals. The students can then opt to practice generally or proceed to a specialization that lasts another five years.
Best Medical Schools in Sweden
1. Karolinska Institutet
Started in 1810 as an academy for the training of skilled army surgeons, Karolinska Institutet is the best medical school in Sweden. It is also the country’s center for academic research and home to the Nobel Assembly, which has the full right to evaluate and select the Nobel Prize awardees in Physiology or Medicine.
Karolinska Institutet currently has the most extensive range of medical programs and courses offered in the country and is one of the leading medical universities worldwide. The medical programs taught in Karolinska are entirely Swedish. As such, proficiency of Swedish 3 plus English 6 and other entry documents is part of the admission requirements.
2. Lund University
Lund University is one of the oldest schools in Northern Europe, founded in 1666. It is a public school that grew to become one of Sweden’s leading medical schools. It consistently ranks in the top 100 schools worldwide in a variety of programs which includes medicine. Medicine in Lund lasts up to 5.5 years, consisting of eleven semesters.
The first five years are problem-based learning that tests students’ practical knowledge, occurring in different hospitals every three semesters. The requirements to be admitted as a medical student is similar to Karolinska Institute since they both have medical programs in the Swedish language.
3. Uppsala University
Established in 1477 and known as the oldest university in all Nordic countries, Uppsala University offers two ways to get a Medicine degree. The university values choice and independence. Accordingly, students are free to tailor their unique program by choosing a combination of independent courses that suit their tastes except for programs that will lead to a professional degree and internship. It is also a great choice if you prefer the class environment.
4. University of Gothenburg
The University of Gothenburg, one of the best medical universities in Sweden, is at the heart of the second-largest city in the country. Founded in 1891 in Gothenburg, it is a public and city university with a multidisciplinary academic offering. It is also one of the largest universities in the Nordic countries. Sahlgrenska Academy, the faculty of medicine of the university, prides itself on its successful research advancements.
Its most notable studies include aging, cancer, metabolism, neuroscience, obstetrics, odontology, vaccines, and virology. Proficiency in the Swedish language is still required to study medical courses, and it can be learned for free in the university by enrolling in their Swedish language courses.
5. Umea University
Known as the fifth oldest university in the country and for its research of genomes and its Institute of Design, Umea University – Faculty of Medicine offers education and research in medicine, odontology, and health care, from tiny microbes to risk factors of the whole population. The faculty boasts successful research in the cure for diabetes and the advancement of knowledge about prostate cancer. Umea University welcomes international students to study medicine in the university as its medical program’s language of instruction is English.
6. Linköping University
Linköping University has a history that dates back to 1975. It initially offered courses in Industrial Engineering and Management and Applied Physics and Electrical Engineering; it was only after a few more years that Health Sciences began in this top medical school in Sweden. Linköping University was the first Sweden university to introduce a radical yet practical teaching method called Problem-Based Learning that stimulates students’ development of professional competence and independence in learning. This new philosophy resulted in the first university students being allowed to practice medicine on an actual patient on health wards.
7. Orebro University
Orebro University began its service in 1999 after the Uppsala University branch in Örebro, the College of Physical Education and Sport Science, the College of Social Science, and Preschool Teaching Seminary merged in 1977. However, the university only had the power to pide a medicine degree in 2010. Despite having only ten years of clinical education, Obrero University offers one of the best medical programs in Sweden, with the pursuit of Bildung at its center.
8. Malmo University
Malmo University is a young public medical university in Sweden established in 1998. Located in Malmo, the university contributed to the formation of the town into a center of learning. Aside from its high-quality medical education, the university is also involved in interdisciplinary researches in biomedical sciences. Malmo University also values internationalization at its core, manifested in its high acceptance of international students and partnership with international medical institutions.
Being home to some of the medical schools included in the top 1% internationally, Sweden is an excellent choice to receive world-class education and training for students from around the world. I hope this article helped enlighten you in choosing the best medical school in Sweden for you. You can also find more information on different European universities and scholarship opportunities on the Europe Scholarships Page!