From California to Stockholm University for a master’s degree
When someone decides to pursue a master’s degree, they have a lot of things to consider. Some people see it as the next logical step in their career, like Daniel, who is studying physics with sights on working in research and development at a tech company. Others, like Summer, who is studying international and comparative education, want to change direction after being in the work world for a few years and hone their skills in something they are truly passionate about.

One thing prospective grad students should consider is the value of a degree from a foreign country.
In addition to expanding someone’s personal horizons and mindset, an international degree is also valued by potential employers as a mark of someone who is independent, culturally competent and willing to take on challenges. For example, Summer already knew that she loved to interact, share and connect with people across international boundaries, and the diversity of her classes and teachers allows her to continue to learn from other people’s experiences.
“I could describe education in Stockholm University like an open-ended exchange between teacher-student and student-student, which enhanced the depth and breadth of the education from understanding how my own and others' personal backgrounds influence our understanding," she says. "Truly this has changed my life.”
Daniel, who also finds the international atmosphere at Stockholm University stimulating, chose a master’s program abroad because he wanted international experience on his resume and he already had a connection to Sweden.


Another consideration is that tuition costs can be a fraction of that for an equally rated American university. As for the practicalities of attending a graduate program at Stockholm University, there are very good guides on the website – about everything from how to apply, to visas, to housing. After graduation it is possible to extend your residency in Sweden if you so choose.

Getting educated in Sweden can be a bit different from what's expected, mostly because of the “flat” society where the distinctions between boss and co-worker, teacher and student are more muted.
“In Stockholm it feels like professors are not just obligated to talk to you, but they actually want to help you learn and know you beyond who you are as a student,” says Summer.
“There is a huge responsibility here at SU for an individual to take control of their own work and learning," Daniel adds. "At times back home it feels like you can get away with not fully understanding material; that has never felt like an option here, but I have been more inspired by that. Fully understanding the material is very rewarding.”

Stockholm itself is a bit of a paradox – a vibrant, walkable city with a long history that is also teeming with green spaces. The thing that surprised Daniel was how much he liked the city. “I did not travel much before I moved here, so when I got here I was blown away by the style, or architecture, of the city. I loved the atmosphere and the views. It is honestly just so nice to take the train for 15 minutes and be in the city.”
For Summer, it was the effect that nature had on her: “Finding out that I can walk from my apartment to the library in 40 minutes with 30 minutes of that being forest was a pleasant discovery. Life feels calmer and more peaceful here, though I am unsure if this can be attributed to the balanced work/study culture, the people, or the nature that is always surrounding me.”
Not surprisingly, these two Californians also mention the presence of actual seasons. By the numbers, summer is like Seattle and winter is like Chicago, but everyone experiences it differently. When Summer’s friends ask about the winter weather, she sends them pictures.
“They tend to say that it looks like I live in a snow globe! While winter can be hard, the springtime is truly magical, and fall (my favorite!) makes me want to take up painting every time.”
Daniel thinks the divide is even sharper than that: “The other quite funny thing is the country can be broken into two seasons – winter and summer. During these times the country can be completely different. All of the sudden the sun comes out and people are everywhere: walking, biking, hiking, swimming, sitting outside eating. As someone coming from a place with no snow, I actually love winters here also.”

The application for studying at Stockholm University in autumn 2023 is open now.

Stockholm University offers 75 master's programs in English within the social sciences, natural science, humanities and law. The application for courses and programs commencing in autumn 2023 is open with a deadline of January 16, 2023.
At the website you can search the course catalogue and find information about the application process as an international student.
To get to know Sweden, Stockholm and Stockholm University better you can join one of our webinars. Find out more at