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Sweden: New degree structure for higher education

Sweden 17 July 2006, 22:06

Starting with the 2007 academic year, Swedish universities are switching to a new degree structure that fully conforms with the Bologna Process, a Europe-wide standardization drive for higher educati…

Starting with the 2007 academic year, Swedish universities are switching to a new degree structure that fully conforms with the Bologna Process, a Europe-wide standardization drive for higher education.

"The reforms of 2007 are some of the most sweeping changes in decades for the Swedish higher education system," said education and culture minister Leif Pagrotsky when announcing the government's decision on June 21, 2006. "These changes will improve the quality and boost the internationalisation of Swedish higher education."

The new degree structure creates three tiers of higher education: A basic level, an advanced level, and a research level, each with minimum requirements for entry. Specific degrees at every level will defined in terms of the expected results and abilities of students. Universities, too, will describe the goals of individual courses at the basic and advanced levels.

Sweden will also switch from its national credit point system to the ECTS credit system, which is the European standard. Forty Swedish credit points equals 60 ECTS.

At the basic level of study, there are two degree options: the "högskoleexamen", achievable after two years of study, and the "kandidatexamen", or bachelor's degree, achievable after three years.

At the advanced level of study, there are also two degree options: There is the new degree "masterexamen", or master's degree, for which students are eligible after two years of study at the advanced level.

And there is the "magisterexamen", which corresponds to the current post-graduate degree offered by Swedish universities, though it will be limited to one-year study programmes. One eligibility requirement for studying at the advanced level is a basic-level degree.

At the research level of study, students are eligible for a licentiate degree, "licentiatexamen", after two years of research, and a doctorate, "doktorsexamen", after fours years of research.

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