Sweden is a Scandinavian country renowned in various areas. For one, its innovative approach to education serves as a hallmark for most of the world. Another prominent area is that of Swedish healthcare, contributing to a stellar quality of life and increased aging population. Because of the latter, medical doctors in almost all specializations are in high demand in Sweden.

As a progressive country, it welcomes medical professionals from all parts of the globe. However, studying and practicing medicine in Sweden comes with both requirements and demands. To learn more about becoming a medical doctor in Sweden, check out the article below.

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How to Become a Medical Doctor in Sweden

1. Before deciding to pursue a medical career in Sweden, your language skills will need to be up to par.

Unlike other countries, Sweden requires all medical workers to be fluent speakers of Swedish in both rural and urban areas. The same is true for medical programs offered at Swedish universities – without knowing the language, you will not be able to follow along.

Thus, it would be ideal to start language courses sufficiently before enrolling in a medical program in Sweden. Of course, some opt to take more alternative routes as well. For one, some students enroll in local Swedish language courses before applying to a medical program and continue learning the language during their studies. Although the latter is a viable alternative, it is nevertheless a more difficult route to take.

2. In addition to language proficiency, another necessity for medical practitioners in Sweden is a medical degree.

For fluent or native speakers of Swedish, it is best to enroll in a Swedish medical program, as most have received international recognition and are known for academic excellence. However, because of the programs’ stellar reputations, future students will need to excel academically and show a clear focus on subjects such as biology and chemistry during their secondary education. To prove they can follow the medical program, foreign students will be required to demonstrate their language proficiency before admission.

In becoming a medical doctor in Sweden, all medical programs last for five and a half years. During this time, students acquire both theoretical and practical knowledge. They also move from general to highly specialized medical notions. All of this serves to prepare them for the next crucial step – residency.

3. As noted above, upon graduation, all medical students need to complete their residency training if they wish to become licensed medical practitioners.

Simply put, residency refers to the obligatory supervised work all medical graduates must complete before applying for a medical license.

To become a medical doctor in Sweden, the residency period lasts for a year and a half. However, before applying for residency positions, students should think about their preferred specializations and submit their resumes accordingly. Securing the residency of choice depends on both recommendations and academic performance.

4. With a medical degree and residency training under your belt, the last step to becoming a medical doctor is the national medical examination.

In Sweden, this test is referred to as Kunskasprovet and requires both theoretical and practical knowledge. After completing medical studies and a residency program in Sweden, the Kunskasprovet will not pose a great obstacle.

Nevertheless, each individual may take the test three times to obtain the best possible result. The only requirement is that the three attempts be during five years.

Another important note to make for students wishing to become medical doctors in Sweden is that the Kunskasprovet is conducted entirely in Swedish. Thus, foreign medical practitioners must be both fluent in conversational Swedish and familiar with Swedish medical and scientific terms before applying.

5. There will be additional requirements for foreign medical doctors coming to Sweden.

In addition to language proficiency, foreign medical graduates will need to consider a few more steps before becoming medical doctors in Sweden.

The first factor at play is the country where you obtained a medical degree. Thus, medical degrees from EU/EEA countries and Switzerland are automatically recognized by the Socialstyrelsen, the National Board of Health and Welfare in Sweden. The only requirement is that the applicant submits their diploma for validation, along with a few other documents. The same requirements refer to medical practitioners who have obtained a medical license in the EU after graduating from a medical school outside of the EU.

On the other hand, medical practitioners licensed outside of the EU are required to take a few extra steps to obtain a Swedish medical license. Firstly, they must submit their medical diploma to the Socialstyrelsen for validation. Once validated, it is considered equivalent to a Swedish medical degree. Foreign medical doctors will then need to take the Kunskasprovet, along with a course on Swedish laws and regulations. The final step is completing a six-month supervised internship at a Swedish hospital or medical center. Regardless of previous experience, this is a requirement for all foreign medical doctors coming from outside the EU.


I hope that you found this article on how to become a doctor in Sweden informative and helpful. You can also find more information on different European universities and scholarship opportunities on the Europe Scholarships Page!