me, myself & andrei

24 Jan 2010 Application

The War

“‘Tagline: Win the application battle. Worry about the admission later!”’


Sweden has a centralized system that works with most of the universities. You register online, you choose your desired courses/programmes and then you send your documents only to the National Admissions Office (few rare exceptions apply). This system has been in place for Swedes for some years now, but 2007 was the first for international applicants. Read more about this on [].

So you have a central office called the National Admissions Office. This office will take care of both your online application and your paper documents that are required by the programmes.

The admission office is reachable online at , hence the titles.


First you should “‘decide what you want to do”’, look at what programmes are available, under which departments, and with what specializations. And you can only do that by finding out which are the biggest universities or which cities are academic focused. You can do that at [].

There’s another easy way. [ Sydsvenska Industri- och Handels Kammaren] ([ The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Southern Sweden]) has a “‘ranking list of Swedish universities”’. It is not an entirely academic focused ranking, but it offers a good start in my honest opinion - [ 2007 ranking list is available as PDF].

Concerning Engineering the most important centers are to be found at Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan (The Royal Institute of Technology) in Stockholm and Chalmers Tekniska Högskola (Chalmers Institute of Technology) in Göteborg (Gothenburg). Then you have the universities in Uppsala, Linköping, Göteborg, Jönköping and others.

You could also take a look at [ the European universities’ ranking list for Sweden].

Another useful list that you need to look at is concerning the “‘available Swedish Institute scholarships”’. You can do so at [].

If you don’t fit into any of the region-specific or bilateral scholarships, then the only one that you might be able to apply for is “‘the Guest Scholarship”’ ([ description]). Not all programmes are eligible for one, so make sure you check it out. The list is updated annually, and can provide you with some sort of hierarchy when you will have to choose which programmes to apply for. All SI Scholarships are around 8000 SEK. provides a “‘search”’ engine “‘for masters programmes”’, though I found it to be inefficient. You may want to try the one at [], though I would say the best way is to just Google for the universities’ websites that you know of and look into their available masters programmes. Take notes for each of them that sound interesting! Remember to always look for specific requirements, especially the ones concerning [ ECTS] credits. For some programmes you may not have enough ECTS credits in the required domain. It might be even worse: you are required to have graduated specific courses!

At the moment when this article was written, there were no fees implemented for any type of Higher Education in Sweden, although [[ Fees there seems to be an ongoing push into that direction]] starting with 2010/2011.

# Summarize your goals!

After you have this preliminary list, I would recommend building an Excel list. Just put in every university you’ve found to have a programme in your area of interest, and the title of each programme.

You can/should then build a table with

#Each “‘university’s ranking from the Chambers of Commerce”’ (scale 0-150)
#Each “‘university’s ranking”’ from your personal perspective (scale 0-10)
Include your personal feeling, the website’s information, the photos on Flickr, any review of the university that you’ve read, etc.
#Each “‘programme’s ranking”’ from your personal perspective (scale 0-10)
Consider the perspectives that the programme will give you - commercial sector, PhD, etc -, or the subjects they are teaching
#Each “‘programme’s eligibility for a scholarship”’ (0 or 1)
#Each “‘university’s extra points”’ (0, 0.25 or 0.5)
This should refer to the sub-sections that were ranked by the Chamber of Commerce, like Teaching skills, International students, Resources, etc. Any of them that you find to be of great importance to you

You then set a [[wikipedia:Weight Formula weight formula]] for each of them, and you end up with a score and a personalized ranking. This should give you a very good start to what you apply for.

You can always check out “‘the statistics”’ information that include number of available places, filled in places and the dynamics of the selection rounds. All that is available on the [ VHS Statistik] page. Of course, it’s all in Swedish, but you can easily find your way around. “VT” refers to Spring term, while “HT “refers to Fall term. “programutbildningar” refers to programmes, while “kurser” refers to courses. “urval” refers to selection round.

I have taken the time to translate a bit the statistics for HT2007 (Fall term 2007) and VT2008 (Spring term 2008). You have good chances of finding some of the programme alternatives you have chosen. You can “‘download it in English”’ from [ here].


# Step-by-step


#”‘Figure out what field”’ you would like to go into.
Don’t be extremely specific! It could narrow your search beyond need, and you might ignore programmes that would interest you.
#”‘Figure out what academic centres”’ are the most interesting
Write them down as City, University.
#browse []
find the ranking list from [ the Chamber of Commerce]
#*find out which is the application period

In Depth

#”‘Search for masters programmes”’ Write them down as University - Programme Title - Requirements - Description - Thoughts.
#[ google] each institution that you found and look into its available programmes
browse []
#*browse [] (not actually recommended)
#”‘Find out about the scholarships”’ You may be eligible for one because of your nationality, or depending on the programme, etc.
#*browse [
__10499.aspx Swedish Institute’s scholarships]
If you are eligible only for the Guest Scholarship, then download the list of masters programmes that are eligible for a scholarship
#browse [ the bilateral scholarships]
browse [
_7470.aspx other scholarships]
#”‘Squeeze the list”’ On your personal impression after reading the requirements and description of each programme, along with the eligibility of a scholarship, you should be able to squeeze the list down to just 12-15 programmes if you have more.

Get a Clear Perspective

#”‘Build an Excel list”’ ##University Name
##University Ranking - Chamber of Commerce (scale 0-150)
##University Ranking - Personal (scale 0-10)
##University Extra (scale 0, 0.25 or 0.5)
##Programme Code
##Programme Title
##Programme Ranking - Personal (scale 0-10)
##Scholarship Eligibility (scale 0 or 1)
##Any other criteria
#”‘Build a weight formula”’ For example, let’s say that we want a maximum of 5 points. Out of these 5 points, we put a weight of 2 points for the Chamber of Commerce Ranking, 1.5 points for the Personal Ranking, 1 point for the Programme’s Personal Ranking and 0.5 points for the Scholarship. So you would have “2 x CCranking/150 + …” Remember you have the extra points! So you can indeed have a score of over 5!
#”‘Calculate the score for each programme”’ #”‘Sort them out”’ according to the score


#”‘Take out some of them”’ like the programmes that you would find less interesting, or those not eligible for a scholarship
#”‘Sort the rest according to your own preference”’ and be aware that the priority will deeply influence the score/ranking that you will get for that programme
Deparments will often prioritize those students who put their programme as high as possible on the list.
#”‘Analyze”’ your order with the previous sorting and make a decision
#”‘Squeeze the list to the maximum allowed”’ At this moment, there is a maximum of 8 masters programmes that you can apply to through .
#”‘Make a final choice”’ regarding the order
Your order of preferences is vital. The system works like a domino game. If you get in at one programme, the ones bellow it, in your preference list get ignored!
#Log in, add the programmes to your cart and “‘submit your application”’ at
Please note that you should tick the SI scholarship box, in case you apply for one.
#Delete/change it afterwards
I would advise you to erase this thought from your mind. Although it is possible to “play” with your application (your chosen programmes) until the deadline of the application process, for your own peace of mind I would say… think well beforehand, put the programmes in the online application, submit it, submit your papers and just say: “May the best win!” There have also been voices saying that their application number has changed along with changing their options, which would imply that if you already sent your documents with the old application number (included on the cover sheet), you need do send a new application package with the new application number (included on the new coversheet), or else try to call VHS and link the two application numbers. The bottom line is do not fool around with - it is as fragile as a software product can get.


Paper Documents

The following bullets refer to documents needed for Masters applications, but they are the same for Bachelor applications unless stated otherwise.

#Please keep your application package as simple and tidy as possible. Problems arise because required documents can be overlooked due to the number of pages that must be reviewed. Furthermore, concerning the time factor, an excess of documents only delays the evaluation of your application.
#Remember to sort the documents in the same order as stated in this list. Only send one set of documents. Avoid using staplers, paper clips, and documents printed on both sides.
#Except for some counter-part papers in your own national language, you should have all of the above in English, Swedish, French or German.
#You do not need and you must NOT have more than one document of the same type and in the same language in your application package. All your documents are scanned when they arrive and they are uploaded to a database that all universities can access.
#All of these documents should be in the same package. Exceptions:
#Your references want to send the letters themselves. They need to include your coversheet along with their letter, and they will send it to the National Admissions Office and not to individual universities. This is not recommended, though, since it creates overhead.
Your programme requires a dissertation or an essay. If the writing is more than 2-3 pages in length, then send it separately to that specific university.
#*Your programme requires a portfolio (graphics, photography, etc). Send it separately to that specific university.
#”Make sure to send all required documents/credentials marked with your application number to [..]” stated in your application confirmation refers to the fact that you are required to put your coversheet in all envelopes that you might send with your supporting documents. This is the only way for them to link the supporting documents with your application.
#If you discovered that you made a mistake with your application package after you sent it, just send another package with the missing or correct documents and attach your coversheet once again.

Cover Sheet

*produced by

Bachelor Diploma/Certificate

*“‘This should be in its original language, and translated to English, Swedish, French or German. Both certified by a notarius publicus.”’ In case you are allowed to apply for a masters while you are in your final year of your bachelor studies, you should provide “‘a summary of your degree project”’ instead, if it’s a requirement of your undergrad studies. Write this in English, Swedish, French or German. Remember that it’s usually just EU/EEA citizens that can apply during their final year of bachelor studies due to the lack of a visa requirement, but exceptions apply: several non-EU/EEA in their final bachelor year have been accepted in 2008. It is assumed to be a university decision on how to react to non-EU/EEA applications with unfinished bachelor studies
*Also, if indeed you can apply during your final bachelor studies, you need “‘a letter from the dean”’ of your department assuring that under normal circumstances, you will finish your bachelor degree at a specific date, allowing you to continue with your masters. If you have this one in another language, you must translate it into English, Swedish, French or German, and provide both of the versions certified by a notarius publicus.
*You do not need to attach a High School diploma/certificate, unless stated explicitly on the programme’s web page, or on the university admission’s web page.
*For Bachelor applications: “‘High School Certificate”’
“‘This should be in its original language, and translated to English, Swedish, French or German. Both certified by a notarius publicus.”’

Transcript of Records

*Do not include High School Records if you’re applying for the masters, unless stated explicitly on the programme’s web page, or on the university admission’s web page. Those are only requested regarding Swedish prospective students, in order to assess their English skills.
*“‘This should be in its original language, and translated to English, Swedish, French or German. Both certified by a notarius publicus.”’ *If you were an Erasmus student, it might not hurt to have the Erasmus records as well, if they are not included directly in your bachelor transcript. Usually those are provided in English, so you only need to get a signed&stamped copy or one certified by a notarius publicus.
*You do not need to have your course descriptions included, but you do need to have your course names listed (not just course IDs).
*The requirement of sorting “them” in reversed order refers to the transcripts, and not the courses! Courses are sorted in chronological order on all transcript of records. [ KTH is quite clear on this topic].
*For Bachelor applications
Of course, you need your high school Transcript of Records, and if you are already enrolled for bachelor studies, you can attach a partial Transcript of Records for your bachelor as well. It may help with ranking you on a better position. “‘This should be in its original language, and translated to English, Swedish, French or German. Both certified by a notarius publicus.”’

Proof of English Skills

*“‘This should be certified by a notarius publicus.”’ *Please note that for “‘TOEFL”’ (and “‘IELTS”’) you are required to send your scores directly through the TOEFL Test Center (send them to institution code 9520 and choose any department), and you are not required to attach a certified copy to your application. You go online and make a request for that, or you can put the National Admissions Office among the 4 institutions that should get your TOEFL score, right after you take the exam. Either way, it doesn’t hurt if you put a certified copy by a notarius publicus of the paper certificate, though it would be regarded as a not-required document. If not, have a printed paper stating your score, examination date, your TOEFL ID along with your signature.
*[ Under certain circumstances], students can get an exemption from this:
**Students with a Bachelor’s degree from a university where English is the only language of instruction, in accordance with the recommendations in the latest edition of International Handbook of Universities.
**Students with a Bachelor’s degree (equivalent to a Swedish Kandidatexamen) where English is the main subject.
**Students with a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering, Computer Science, Medicine, Pharmacy, Science or Technology from India or Pakistan.
**Students with 30 higher education (HE) credits from a Nordic country where the language of instruction of the course is English.

Other paper-based requirements

These documents are programme/university specific. Look for them on the university websites! Even so, these are often:

#”‘Summary of Degree Project”’ #In both cases, if you have your Bachelor degree, or you are in your final year, programmes may require this summary. The later is most often the case to provide a summary, even if you are not asked to.
#”‘Letter of Motivation”’ (also called Letter of Intent or Personal Statement)
First things first - do not print motivation letters with the same content, but with different programme names. Your document gets scanned, and will be made available to all reviewers of all programmes. Thus, your motivation letters for KTH will be visible at Uppsala, Chamers, Lund, etc. as well.
#Keep it as short as “‘one page”’ (single spaced, Times New Roman, 12) and approx. “‘350-400 words”’!
In my opinion this should be a general Letter of Motivation, and not specific to each university/programme. This should be easy to do because generally you apply to programmes inside a certain domain, and not to a specific university/programme. In case you apply to quite different programmes, I would feel it’s appropriate to put one letter of motivation for each domain, but that’s a very narrow case I guess. Otherwise, just put “To: Swedish Universities - Masters Programme” as header. This is what I did. It’s better to have one very good Letter of Motivation that covers your pursuit in a certain field than spending time on figuring out how to butter up the reviewers for each and every programme. Not to mention that you might have the same reviewers for all the programmes in a certain field. Do not forget that if you
#Chalmers, though, [ formulates] this requirement by stating that this is “A letter explaining your interest in the programme(s) you are applying for and what you expect from your studies at Chalmers. You may add more than one letter, each directed to a specific programme.”
> “‘SiniÅ¡a Bratulić from Croatia (2008 prospective student)”’ If you are applying for a bachelor programme, I agree that the letter should be general. But when applying for graduate studies you’re supposed to demonstrate some kind of ‘academic’ maturity. Saying that you’re interested in a certain domain is not enough, you’re demonstrating your general interest already by applying to a programme. Nowdays it’s easy to apply to a programme, you just tick a few boxes in a form. That also means that a lot of other people will be applying. To secure a position you need to somehow ‘stick out’ in a positive way. The easiest way of doing that is through a letter of motivation. It’s probably a good idea to do some research about the programme plan, to state your weaknesses and strenghts and say how they relate to the programme. Saying from which courses you will benefit the most is a good way of showing that you’ve done your homework. Also, showing that you have specific goals in life says a lot about you and your motivation.</p> The above statements are all correct, but what I would like to be clear in your mind as a prospective student is that the Letter of Motivation will not “secure” (like SiniÅ¡a says) your position. Not when the system makes it so easy to apply to so many programmes and thus when the number of applicants got so high.This letter doesn’t give you a seat, but can shed some light over your future potential, will and realism. Therefore it can make a difference, no matter if it’s small or big, but it cannot and will not do miracles.
Bottom line - if you have two fields, or two quite distinct programmes, that you are applying to, then have two different letters of motivation. Have them at least 50% different. Changing a paragraph in a general motivation letter, stating how you might interact with certain courses that you will take inside the programme is not enough, and you will only waste paper, burden the people doing all the scanning, and ultimately on the reviewers.
#”‘Two (2) Letters of Reference/Recommendation”’ #First things first - do not have reference letters printed and sent with the same content, except for the different programme names. Your document gets scanned, and will be made available to all reviewers of all programmes. Thus, your reference letter(s) for KTH will be visible at Uppsala, Chamers, Lund, etc. as well.
In my opinion these should not be directed to a specific university/programme. I strongly believe that any argument, like having letters from people who are better known to a certain university, are not real arguments per say. Applications to different jobs, programmes, etc. is also a time to prioritize and to make decisions. Your CV will show the broad possibilities of your skills, even if you do not put 10 Letters of Reference from all “the Nobel Prize Laureates” who can recommend you. One Nobel Prize Laureate is enough!
#The exception for having more than 2 Letters of Reference with different content would be implied from the above Motivation Letter paragraph. If you are going to apply to more than one domain, say Journalism and Management, you might have a third, fourth, etc. person that can give you specific references for one of the two, so you might end up having 2 Letters of References for your Management focused programmes, from two people that can bring your very unique Management skills forward, and another 2 Letters for your Journalism focused programmes, from two other people that can highlight your very unique Journalism skills.
Reference Letters need to be signed and/or stamped!
#If your references want to send the letters themselves, then they must attach your coversheet as well and send them to the same address where you are sending your main application package.
#”‘Curicullum Vitae/Resumè”’ #”‘Relevant work experience (if any)”’ #”‘High School Diploma/Certificate and/or Transcript of Records”’ #
Some programmes require you to provide a High School diploma/certificate or a high school transcript of records, even if you are applying to Master programmes. This should be clearly stated on the programme’s webpage or on the university admission’s web page. Unless stated there, you do not need to attach these to your application package.

Copy of your Passport/European Union ID

*“‘This should be certified by a notarius publicus.”’ *“‘Applicants that are not born in EU/EEA countries”’, but have EU/EEA citizenship or a Swedish residence permit, can apply during the second stage (with the first notification in July), but they need to send a copy of their passport or an identification card that proves the citizenship or a copy of the residence permit.
*“‘If you are not an EU/EEA citizen”’, the you must apply during December-January (first stage). Applications during the second stage will be ignored.

Swedish Institute scholarship (2008)

*Fill in [ the form] (Guest Scholarship), print and sign it. Questions are to be answered within a limit of 300 characters, if not specified otherwise.This is only required when you are applying to a Swedish Institute scholarship.
*In 2009, the procedure for SI scholarships seems to have changed. [
__20492.aspx No SI form needs to be attached to the application package. Instructions awaited.]


Send your Application

All of the documents above will be scanned at the National Admissions Office and uploaded to a database, which will be available to each university’s admissions office to deliberate.

All of them should then be mailed using “‘a recommended letter”’ to

{| class=”wikitable”
! Name
| University Studies in Sweden
! [[wikipedia:P.O._Box|P.O. Box]]
| FE 1
! Zip Code, City
| SE-833 83 Strömsund
! Country
*“‘SE-833 83 is the correct Zip Code”’. Only Swedes are required to send them to SE-833 82!

In case you are sending your papers through “‘DHL, FedEx, UPS or any other express/air courier”’, I received an official notice saying that you should use the following address (dated January ande December 2008). I confirm that my documents have been delivered at the right place (dated 2008-01-21) and that the delivery has been confirmed by the Office as well (dated 2010-01-24).

{| class=”wikitable”
! Name
| University Studies in Sweden
! Street Name and Number
| Ulriksfors 420
! Zip Code, City
| SE-833 93 Strömsund
! Country
! Contact Person
| Jeanette Wikberg Henrik Sjöberg
! Contact Phone Number
| +46 67016053
*Due to the remote location of Strömsund, mail deliveries will usually be carried out to Stockholm, and then the Swedish Post Office will deliver it to Strömsund. Therefore, for instance with DHL, you will see on your tracking page that your last message saying that delivery has been set up, and you should expect no further details from this point. It means that they cannot track down what the Swedish Post Office is doing. But if you sign up for delivery confirmation by phone, you will receive an SMS, as soon as the Swedish Post Office has made the final leg of the delivery (Stockholm - Strömsund).
*“‘SE-833 93 is the correct Zip Code”’, although it is not the same as the zip code used in previous address (833 “‘83”’)
*This address has been provided through an official response to my questions. If you Google it, you will find it as being used in 2007 by Chalmers specifically for international prospective students who need to use DHL/FedEx or similar. It is also to be found at UmeÃ¥ University’s website at or at - slightly different, but pointing at the same place (Antagningen = Dept. of Applications; lacks the street number for Ulriksfors; gives a contact person in the name of Ingela Forsén)

[[:Studera.nu_Pre-Admission#Introduction ’'’Please read about the outcomes of 2008 deliveries as well, in order to get a good perspective on the delivery process.’’’]]

The National Admissions Office (VHS) can be reached through the information available here: (Applications related only). Although addresses connect to both Stockholm and Strömsund, make no mistake. It is the same office. This is due to Arbetsmarknadspolitisk åtgärd (labor market policy measure): state jobs need to dispersed throughout underdeveloped Swedish lands (quote from [ Per]).

You should NOT mail anything to the universities, unless specifically requested to do so (photography portfolios, etc)!

And you only need one and only one package to be sent! The cover sheet that you print from will link to all the chosen programmes/universities!

“‘Please do not leave the mailing down to the last minute. Allow the delivery two weeks to be on the safe side, since Strömsund is a remote area and it takes around 3 days just to get the documents from Stockholm or another mailing backbone node to Strömsund.”’


Important Dates

Important dates during the application procedure for fall 2008 programmes.

They might still be valid for the coming years, but you need to check.


{| class=”wikitable”
! width=”200” |
! width=”300” | non-(EU/EEA)
! width=”300” | EU/EEA
! Online Application begins
| Autumn 2008: December 1, 2007
“‘Autumn 2009: December 1, 2008”’ | Autumn 2008: March 17
“‘Autumn 2009: March 16”’ |-
! Online Application ends
| Autumn 2008: February 1
“‘Autumn 2009: January 15”’ | Autumn 2008: April 15 (extended to 18)
“‘Autumn 2009: April 15”’ |-
! Papers arrive before
| Autumn 2008: February 15
“‘Autumn 2009: February 1”’ | Autumn 2008: June 19 - July 5 (for IB/EB)
“‘Autumn 2009: June 18”’ |}


{| class=”wikitable”
! width=”200” |
! width=”300” | non-(EU/EEA)
! width=”300” | EU/EEA
! Online Application begins
| Autumn 2008: December 1, 2007
“‘Autumn 2009: December 1, 2008”’ | Autumn 2008: March 17
“‘Autumn 2009:”’ |-
! Online Application ends
| Autumn 2008: February 1
“‘Autumn 2009: January 15”’ | Autumn 2008: April 15 (extended to 18)
“‘Autumn 2009:”’ |-
! Papers arrive before
| Autumn 2008: Mid-February
“‘Autumn 2009: February 1”’ | Autumn 2008: April 15 (extended to 18)
“‘Autumn 2009:”’ |}


# Accommodation

You might be wondering “What?? I must read about accommodation?! And I barely read about my application procedure?”

Well, yes actually. You should prepare yourself, since “‘getting a place to live in is not an easy thing”’ in Sweden. Not as easy as you might assume anyway.

Please read about [[ Admission#Accommodation this here]].


Please take some time to read [[ Pre-Admission what comes next]] once you have sent your application package.
[[ Application]]