What's it like to study at a university in Sweden?

As a student at KI you will have freedom in planning how you will use your time, but you are also expected to be independent and take an active part in your learning. On this page you can find the basics of how university studies work and learn about methods of teaching, examination and the grading system.

Freedom with responsibility

Studying at a university can be compared to having a job. Full-time studies take about 40 hours per week. All of these hours are not included in your course schedule. Some of your time will be spent reading your course literature and completing assignments. Depending on your programme you will have more or less lecture time, seminars and other forms of scheduled teaching. No matter what programme you choose to study, you will have freedom in planning how you will use your time.

Critical thinking

The teaching at KI, and many other Swedish universities, promotes critical thinking. Students are expected to question what they learn, or to question beliefs that are often taken for granted. Debating with peers and lecturers is accepted and welcomed.

60 credits per year

KI uses the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). One ECTS credit equals one Higher Education Credit (hp). An academic year is 40 weeks long and divided into two semesters - autumn and spring. If you study at a full-time pace, you'll be taking 60 credits worth of classes per year. The number of credits for each course vary from 2 to 30 credits, and is determined based on the amount of work normally required to reach the course objectives.

All programmes are made up of courses

All higher education study programmes are comprised of a number of different courses. Some courses are only a few weeks long, while others can cover an entire academic year. Most of the time courses are taken one at a time throughout the semester.

Different types of teaching

How a course is taught and what components are a part of the syllabus can vary. Here are some of the ways classes are taught. Group work is common at KI. It encourages students to learn from others and solve complex issues as a team.

For more information on types of teaching check your Programme website.

Examination and grading

Examinations are typically held directly after the completion of a course and before the next course begins. An exam can be retaken up to a maximum of six times, if needed.

Examination forms

An examination can take many different forms. The following is a list of some of the more common ones.

For more information on types of examination and grading check your Programme website.

Grading system

Karolinska Institutet uses the following grading system:

  • Fail
  • Pass
  • Pass with Distinction

A selected number of programmes and courses, however, use the seven-point scale: A, B, C, D, E, Fx and F (where Fx and F are failing grades).

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