Course or programme?

Higher education in Sweden is offered as either courses or programmes. Find out what the difference is below.


When you study a programme, you get a complete “package" of courses that lead to a degree. At Bachelor’s level, you usually study A, B and C (introductory, intermediate and supplementary) courses in a main field of study, as well as other courses relevant to the theme of the programme. Some programmes may give you the opportunity to choose courses during an elective semester.​

When you are awarded a place on a programme, you automatically receive a place on all the courses it includes. Before the first semester you apply only for the programme, not the courses. Often, you choose the main field of study when you apply, but sometimes you may make this choice after one or two semesters. If the programme includes elective courses, you may need to apply for these separately.​

A programme is designed so that after you complete it you receive a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree.


You can also study courses rather than a programme, and combine them yourself to get a degree. For a Bachelor’s degree you must study A, B and C courses in a subject, as well as another three semesters that are each worth 30 credits.

Studying a course gives you the opportunity to try out the subject and see what higher education is like. However, you need to apply for courses prior to every semester. Information about how to put together your own degree

Often, you will study freestanding courses alongside students on a programme.

Language courses in Swedish

There are Swedish language courses for international students that start in both the autumn and spring semesters