Startpage for Swedish National Agency for Higher Education

Please note! The Swedish National Agency for Higher Education was closed down on 31 December 2012. Instead two new agencies have been established: the Swedish Council for Higher Education and the Swedish Higher Education Authority. This website will continue to operate as the new agencies will have links to information it contains.  

First cycle (undergraduate) programmes

The Higher Education Act and the Higher Education Ordinance state that first cycle (undergraduate) programmes must have an academic or artistic basis and be grounded in best practice.

A study programme or self-contained courses

Swedish students may apply to study self-contained courses or a full study programme. By selecting self-contained courses, students may build up degrees or other qualifications. On completing courses, students are awarded credits. Students are awarded a qualification or degree after accumulating the appropriate number of credits in appropriate combinations.

Alternatively, a student may apply for a full study programme lasting for four semesters/two years or six semesters/three years. Study programmes are made up of self-contained courses some of which are compulsory and some optional. Some of the study programmes lead to professional or vocational qualifications.

Qualification descriptors

All course and programme specifications must state the intended learning outcomes in terms of mastery of intellectual skills, mastery of knowledge and conceptual understanding, and must give details about teaching and learning strategies and methods of assessment.


Self-contained courses vary in length but usually last for five, ten or twenty weeks. A normal workload is 30 credits per semester/60 credits per year.


There is some form of assessment at the end of every course. This may take the form of a written or oral examination or, for example, a group presentation at a seminar. There may be various forms of continual assessment. Attendance and participation, for example in seminars, may be monitored.


The most common form of grading is: fail, pass and pass with credit. However, a higher education institution may decide its own grading system and an increasing number, in light of the Bologna Process, are adopting a seven-tier grading system.

First cycle qualifications

A university diploma in the arts, sciences, and social sciences, as well as in artistic and professional fields, may be awarded on completion of 120 higher education credits, including an independent project.

A Bachelor's degree in the arts, sciences, social sciences and artistic fields may be awarded on completion of 180 higher education credits, including 90 credits in advanced studies in the main field, and an independent project equivalent to 15 credits.

A professional Bachelor's degree may be awarded on completion of 180 higher education credits (BEd 210 credits), including an independent project equivalent to 15 credits.

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