Directives, either central (issued by the Government) or local (from each university), are imposed on the teaching of psychology. However each Faculty retains some decision-making power on certain particular problems specifically related to education.
Each university has its own University Board which includes two students from SFS (The Swedish National Union of Students). Similarly, each Faculty has its own Faculty Council and a Faculty Working Committee, all with student representatives. Each department of psychology has a Department Board with two post-graduate students and four undergraduate student representatives.

Any student who has earned high marks in Gymnasium (high school) and with a minimum of one year of professional experience is eligible for admission to the psychology program
An entrance examination is organized for any student who does not meet these requirements, provided that (s)he has at least five years of professional experience.

After five years of study, a degree in psychology is awarded. This is an academic degree more or less equivalent to a master’s degree.
N.B: Swedish universities do not provide any specialization opportunity in psychology, so all students enrol in the same curriculum. The only avenues open for limited specialization within these five years is the supervised internship on the one hand and the two compulsory theses on the other hand (see below), with the exception of Uppsala University where students have a choice in course K between behaviouristic and psychodynamic psychotherapy. The question of specialization has been discussed for some time, and the Psychologist Union has now decided that specialization for psychologists will take place in Sweden but at a postgraduate level and will not be compulsory.
One further year of residency (practical work under the supervision of a psychologist) leads to the "licensed psychologist" certificate. This professional title is protected by the National Board of Health and Welfare, and allows professional practice.


Under the rules applied in Swedish universities the five years of study are broken down into ten semesters of 20 weeks each. Weeks are conventionally referred to as "credits"; so a full-time student must gain 20 credits per semester, thus 200 credits in five years.
Theoretical courses are given on an average basis of ten hours a week, plus various practical work (field trips, field work, applied exercises). Many different types of seminars are also held (course discussions, theses, literature, etc.)

On the one hand, general theoretical psychology instruction is provided. Required reading amounts to approximately 3000 pages a semester (150 pages/credit). In the first term, required books provide an introduction, with specialization in specific subjects coming later. Scientific articles are introduced at an early stage.
On the other hand, this theoretical curriculum is rounded off by general practical work including 15 weeks of internship (third year), psychotherapeutic work with a long-term client (fourth and fifth year). There is also practical work related to the various courses as well as seminars intended to prepare the student for his/her professional life. Students also are required to undergo a personal psychotherapy of at least 50 hours during the program.
The vocational training of psychologists also includes research. This covers subjects such as statistics, research methodology, and research projects. Two theses are required: one of ten credits (third or fourth year) and another of 20 credits (fifth year).
N.B: Internship : complete freedom of choice but material and organizational restrictions (e.g. limited number of positions).
Thus the common courses include both of the following orientations:
* psychotherapy, including supervision, and
* research, including two theses.

The following description is based on the program in Stockholm, the content and the order of individual courses can vary from university to university but all courses are based on the curriculum required by the government. Groups of subjects make up courses that can be spread over several semesters.

An introduction to the program as such (1 cr), is followed by a course in Introductory Psychology (6 cr). Elementary Statistics (3 cr) covers primarily descriptive statistics, but also includes an orientation in inference and hypothesis testing.
All of the above is covered during the first semester. In addition, a series of seminars geared toward professional preparation and held throughout the program is also part of Course A. The seminars assume different forms at various stages of the program. During semesters 1-3, the focus lies on discussions of the discipline of psychology and the role of the practising psychologist, as well as basic experiential exercises. During semesters 4-5, the student spends one day per week in a school setting, making classroom observations and working with a school-age client. In connection with this, the students are supervised in small groups. The full-time internship during semester 6 is complemented by seminars, which analyse the professional role and its relation to the legal and organizational framework. Near the end of the program, semesters 7-10, the seminars in professional preparation aim at identifying theoretical and scientific issues as they arise in applied work.

This course is aimed at giving fundamental knowledge of how society and social change may be scientifically described and analysed. Theoretical as well as practical research problems are highlighted. A historical overview is given in a section entitled Swedish Societal Structure (4 cr). Fundamental Theories of Sociology (3 cr) introduces central concepts and theories on a macro as well as a micro level. The last section of the course is Research Methods in Sociology (3 cr), in which basic techniques as well as problems of measurement and the application of statistics are discussed.

This course consists of two major sections. The first, Physiological Psychology (7 cr), covers the biological bases of psychological functions, i.e. elementary physiology in general and neurophysiology in particular. Also, clinical neuropsychology and psychosomatics are introduced. Psychophysiological perspectives on motivation, emotion and learning are presented. The section entitled General Psychology (8 cr) emphasizes an information processing approach to perception, learning, memory cognition, and problem solving. Experimental design as well as data collection and analysis are introduced; laboratory sessions are also included.

During the first section of the course, human development is described from an evolutionary and ethological perspective (2 cr.). The core section of the course deals primarily with cognitive, social and emotional development from infancy through young adulthood (12 cr). Aiming at a holistic view, environmental and socioeconomic aspects are discussed. An orientation in the psychology of aging is given.
Cultural and Educational Influences on Human Development (3 cr) comprises the final section of the course, covering major theories and issues in childhood education. Cross-cultural comparisons are made. Contemporary curricula and educational research methods are touched upon.

The four sections of the course extend over semesters 2 through 5. Personality I (3 cr) presents major theories of personality, highlighting underlying assumptions as well as personality assessment and intervention pertaining to the respective theories. Interview Technique (2 cr) involves both theory and practice, focusing on the interpersonal process. In Personality II (10 cr) fundamental assessment techniques are introduced, involving some practice with relatively structured techniques. Much time is devoted to the areas of psychopathology, psychiatry and psychosomatics. Also, the student’s knowledge of personality theory is enhanced by an independent reading section, and a series of seminars presenting current issues in personality research and application.

This course dominates semester 4, and consists of two major sections. The first, Social Psychology and Organizational Theory (10 cr), introduces major theories and research findings of the areas. Particular interest is given to group dynamics and to concepts and perspectives in organizational theory. Research methods are presented, and some practical exercises are carried out, describing and analysing structures and processes in groups and organizations. Exercises in group leadership are conducted. In light of the social psychological body of knowledge, psychological prevention is discussed.
Educational Planning and Evaluation (5 cr) involves methods of measuring educational needs, the formulation of goals, programming, and means of evaluation. Practical training is included.

This course is given during semester 5, and consists of four sections. Interview Technique (2 cr) builds on previously acquired skills, aiming at a deeper understanding of interviewing as a method of data collection and of the interpersonal perspective. Assessment and Intervention in Various Areas of Application (6 cr) presents topics and cases from the psychiatric field and from children’s clinics, as well as the areas of rehabilitation and mental retardation. The focus lies on the process of assessment rather than intervention. Report writing is practised. Psychological Testing (4 cr) focuses on skills training. In interpreting test results, the student is required to consider the nature of the test as well as situational variables. The final section of the course, Social Legislation (3 cr), gives a general orientation of the legal and organizational framework for health care and social work, highlighting implications for practitioner psychologists. Legal and practical aspects of confidentiality are given special consideration.

Course H may be conceptualized as an integration and application of all prior course work.
The Internship involves spending 15 full weeks in an applied setting under the supervision of a practising psychologist. The student should gain insight into the organizational framework at hand, guidelines, and specific methods. Client work is emphasized, including assessment and, if possible, intervention. Oral and written communication of psychological data is an important part of the internship.
The Thesis (10 cr) involves training in independently conducting and reporting research. The problem area chosen must be of some significance to psychological application.

As a prerequisite, the student should complete 50 hours of individual or 120 hrs. of group insight oriented therapy.
The course proper extends over semesters 7 through 10, beginning with an extensive theoretical section, followed by a combination of applied and theoretical course work. The main perspective presents a psychodynamic theory of personality and psychopathology, particularly object relation theory (10 cr). This theoretical orientation serves as a basis for psychodiagnostics and for the three-semester Supervised Psychotherapy section (6 cr). Psychosomatics is reviewed in the light of psychodynamic theory (2 cr). Family therapy and other alternative forms of therapy are given less emphasis (4 cr). Theory of Scientific Method as it applies to psychotherapy, ethics, and confidentiality are covered (2 cr). A brief section deals with Consultation and Supervision of Personnel (1 cr).

This course can best be described as an advanced course in social psychology and organizational theory, building on the previously described course F.
Physical aspects of work, living, and recreational environments are presented (4 cr), and environmental influences on individuals and groups are discussed. Fundamentals of ergonomics are also covered. Social Psychology (4 cr) attempts to bridge the gap between advanced theory and practical issues in personnel management and development. Other topics include conflict resolution, leadership development and consulting, the latter involving some practical skills training. In the section on advanced organizational theory (4 cr), contemporary theories are analysed from the perspective of management, labour, and the individual, respectively. Structural change and its effects on work contents and demands is another central topic. Personnel Management and Policy (4 cr) is presented, including an orientation in current legislation and other guidelines. Preventative health measures and ethical problems in personnel work are discussed. Issues in scientific methodology are explored (2 cr). Finally, through auscultation (2 cr), the student gains some practical insights into the area of personnel management.

Extending over semesters 6 through 8, this is a course in research methodology. It is intended to aid the student in his own research. Special time is devoted to the statement of problems and research planning. Research methods from a variety of scientific approaches are presented. Instruction in computer methods is given, including practical skills training. Qualitative methods are also introduced. The more advanced section of the course emphasizes evaluation of outcome, and theory of scientific method.

Original research is conducted and reported. The standard should correspond to what would generally be recognized as a master’s thesis.

Each Faculty or University Department has kept its specific research features, which may somewhat influence the education in terms of individual teachers’ perspective in required course lectures or in the thesis work if the student chooses to be part of an already-existing research project.
The following is a description of the main fields of research at the universities. There may of course be individual research projects that fall outside of these fields.
The direction ist general-psychodynamic. There is a cognitive, Personality, Developmental, Work science and Environmental psychology division
Cognitive, Industrial, and Physiological Psychology.
Personality, Environmental, Cognitive, and Physiological Psychology.
Health psychology/behavioural medicine,
Developmental and Clinical psychology; Perception and Cognition.
Cognitive, Developmental, Industrial, Perception, and Geriatric psychology; Psychotherapy research

A council composed of students and professors works to assess the quality of basic literature. The evaluation procedures differ from university to university. There is a rule at every university saying each student should make a written evaluation after each course. How much anyone cares to pay attention to these evaluations differs from university to university and from year to year. There are no evaluation procedures dealing with the teaching staff.


There are two national councils of psychology students. One, UTBILDNINGSRADET FOR PSYKOLOG STUDENTER, is part of "The Swedish National Union of Students" (SFS) which brings together 150,000 members of university organizations. The second, STUDERANDERADET, is part of "The Swedish Psychologists’ Association" (SP) which has 6000 professional, research and student members (on an individual basis). Each national council brings together representatives from local associations of psychology students in the five universities mentioned. Local councils of psychology students also exist. There are ten seats in each council, and each student can be elected. In spite of this remarkable structure, these associations still have too few active members.
The councils have widespread concerns. They aim at improving the quality of teaching, look for vacant positions to organize their allotment to every student searching for a job under supervision after the fifth year, and deal with social and professional issues.
There is also the so called Swedish EFPSA-Committee - Svenska EFPSA Kommitten - which is the EFPSA representative organ in Sweden. It consists of members of the UR and SR.


Stockholm is the capital of Sweden and also the country’s largest city, offering all the amusements of a big city: theatres, pubs, discos and so on. Stockholm is a very beautiful city situated on islands at the edge of an archipelago. There are also many great many parks and green areas in Stockholm. The university is situated in the largest green area "Kungliga Djurg†rden" which used to be the king’s hunting area.
In Stockholm all psychology students are members of the "psychology club". The club organizes parties, other social activities and lectures with well-known psychologists, authors and psychotherapists. Some of the students in the "club" are working with student politics, e.g. as members of the department board (see above).

Gothenburg is a seaport and the second largest city in Sweden. It is situated on the west coast and is often called "Little London" because of its British architectural style and its friendly inhabitants. There are a lot of pubs, restaurants, cinemas, discos, etc. The main street inn the central part of the city, called "Avenyn", is where the Gothenburgers stroll about to see other people and to be seen just like in the southern parts of Europe.
Some of the psychology students work with student politics as representatives in the department board. Sometimes the students arrange parties at the department. At the moment the student activity is very low at the local psychology department, but it is possible to engage in activities arranged by student associations and clubs at the university i.e. sports, culture and politics.

Umeå is called "the city of birches" and is situated 700 kilometres north of Stockholm and 400 kilometres south of the arctic circle. There is a lot of snow in the winter but the summer is warm with "white nights". Umeå is a "youthful" town: the average age of the 90,000 inhabitants is just 33 years. Umeå† offers many educational opportunities and there is a very active cultural life in all fields: music, opera, ballet, the visual arts and social debates. If you are not used to it, the climate can be tough, with long, cold winters. On the other hand it gives you the opportunity to try all kinds of winter sports.
As a psychology student you automatically join the local "psychology club". The club works with many different subjects, ranging from organizing various festivities to work on more specific issues of student political character. The club has its own radio program and a paper called "Skinner Box". Even though Ume†l is called "the capital of Norrland", it is far away from everything and especially from home. This is true for most of the students but contributes on the other hand to the willingness of people to turn to each other with an open and warm attitude, which in turn creates an active and engaging atmosphere.

Lund is one of the oldest cities in Sweden. By the late 10th century there was a permanent settlement centred around the church and the royal mint near the present-day city square. From the Lund university hospital you can see over to Copenhagen on the other side of the sound. Several university departments are situated in nearby Malmö which is the third largest city in Sweden. In Lund and Malmö you can find a variety of theatres, cinemas and concerts. You can also take part in all kinds of sports activities. The Number of Students 33000 (in a city of 85 000) which makes ist the biggest university and research centre in Scandinavia.
The student union arranges a wide assortment of programs every week, i.e. debates with political leaders and concerts with popular musicians. The social life of Lund is filled with traditions, such as the thirteen "nations", which are connected to the different geographical areas of Sweden. It used to be each student joined the same "nation" as the area s/he originally came from but nowadays everybody can join the "nation" of their choice and participate in the rich nightlife they arrange, with pubs disco and ballroom dances. The psychology students have recently started a "club" where they can meet and discuss different courses, find out how to improve the education and exchange ideas about psychology today.

Uppsala is Sweden’s 4th largest city, beautifully situated 70 kilometres northwest of Stockholm. Uppsala University, the second-oldest university in Europe after Heidelberg, was founded in 1477 and the university gives the city much of its character. Uppsala is thought of by most Swedes as the university city, but Lund claims the right to that title as well.
Both student associations are represented at the department with local "boards". Apart from student politics they also arrange parties and sometimes lectures and debates with well-known psychologists. Uppsala, being an old university city, offers a lot of activities for students. There are several so called "nations" which is something like student self-help organizations. Each "nation" covers a geographical area of Sweden and were founded for the students coming from these areas, to be "a home away form home". Each "nation" has its own building, with restaurants, pubs, libraries and so on. They have their own housing, as well as grant programs, sports clubs choirs, theatre clubs, orchestras and so on. Every student must belong to one of these "nations" to be allowed to study at the university. There is also a large student-run athletics organization offering different kinds of sports activities. A foreigners club arranges "pub-evenings" where foreigners and Swedes can meet.


- Complete upper secondary schooling .
- English fluency
- Swedish fluency. A preparatory Swedish Language Course is compulsory for all non- Swedish-speaking students or if the student already has a good knowledge of Swedish s/he must establish this by passing a special competency test.

Admission to studies in Sweden covers both the preparatory Swedish language course and undergraduate studies. The language course takes one year of study. A passing grade in the final test of the Swedish language course is a condition for final admission to a study program or subject courses. The language course is given at all the universities offering the psychologist training program. Application procedure for a residence permit and undergraduate studies (e.g. the psychologist training program)
The Swedish embassy or consulate in your country will supply you with application forms for a residence permit and for studies. When applying for a residence permit you must also make an appointment for an interview at the embassy/consulate. The deadline for submitting your application forms for studies and for a residence permit to the Swedish embassy/consulate in your country is the first of December. Courses begin the last week in August.

Living in Sweden is expensive and you must be able to meet your own living expenses. A budget for ten months comes to approximately SEK 68 000 (US$ 8,600, autumn 1993), including food, lodging, books and so on. As a work permit is not granted to visiting students, the immigration authorities will ask you to prove that you will have enough money to cover your whole stay in Sweden before you can get a residence permit. At present a sum of SEK 6800 per month for at least a 10 months per year is required. Visiting students are not entitled to Swedish state study assistance.
As a visiting student you cannot work during the semesters. You may work during summer vacation. There is no guarantee, however, that you will find a summer job in Sweden.
Swedish Institute Guest Scholarships are awarded regardless of nationality, but only for studies or research where Sweden can offer special scientific or scholarly advantages, i.e. studies that cannot equally well be pursued in any other country.


- Share 50% of the costs of the personal therapy. This is a problem for many students. Therapy costs are about 600 SEK per session (1993) In Umea 510 SEK is payed per session
- No entrance fee (no examination fee either), but books and other material to pay.
- Loan from the state: up to 5700 SEK/ month.
- grant: 1500 SEK/ moth

About 75% must be paid back. It is possible to survive on but if you live in a normal apartment the rent may be higher and the cost of therapy takes a large amount of the money, especially if you decide to continue therapy after the required 50 hours which a lot of students do since admission to postgraduate psychotherapy education requires more hours. This means some students have to work part-time to meet the budget.
The major problems students have to cope with are the cost of the individual therapy and housing.


The title psychologist is not yet protected by law, the title "licensed psychologist" is protected. Only psychologists with the education approved by the government (see above, curriculum and degree) are entitled to call themselves "licensed psychologist"
The oversight committee for practising psychologists is the National Board of Health and Welfare, which is the authority that gives the license to the psychologist and which also can take it away if the psychologist commits a serious breach of ethical or professional conduct.
In regard to role and status: clinical psychologists can in some parts of Sweden be responsible for the administration of a hospital clinic or a centre for children with psychological problems, while in other areas only a medical doctor can bear this responsibility. All psychologists are responsible for the psychological treatment of their own clients or patients, while medical doctors still are responsible for the medical aspect. In general it can be said that although psychologists in Sweden have almost as long an education as physicians, the physicians still enjoy higher status, but the level of the psychologists’ status is rising. The demand for psychological knowledge in all parts of society is increasing at present, as is the demand for psychologists. This development hopefully will soon lead to a higher status for psychologists in all working fields.


The number of psychologists in Sweden has been growing rapidly and is now approximately 6000. Most psychologists work in the public sector as clinical-, school-, and industrial psychologists or as psychotherapists. Another working field in the public sector is care of elderly and mentally retarded people. Psychologists also work with forensic psychiatry, in prisons and in the Swedish National Defence. A growing working field is organizational psychology with psychologists working in companies and in public administration. Some psychologists work with public relations, research or education.
Many psychologists are self-employed and have their own private business in the field of education, supervision, psychotherapy and as consultants for organizations and companies.
The situation in the labour market has varied in recent decades. At present, there is a demand for psychologists, and that demand is expected to increase in coming years as the number of working fields expands and as the need for psychologists in these fields increases. Many of today’s psychologists are approaching retirement age.


The National Board of Universities and Colleges (UH)
Box 45501
S-140 30 Stockholm
Admissions Office (UHŽ)
Box 45502
S-140 90 Stockholm
The Swedish Immigration Board
Box 6113
S-600 06 Norrköping

Department of Psychology
University of Stockholm
S-109 91 Stockholm
Department of Clinical Psychology
University of Uppsala
Box 1225
S-751 42 Uppsala
Department of Psychology
University of Lund
Box 117
S-221 00 Lund
Department of Psychology
University of Gothenburg
S-411 24 Göteborg
Department of Clinical Psychology
University of Umeå
S-901 87 Umeå

National Association of Student Unions in Sweden (SFS)
S:t Eriksplan 2
S-113 20 Stockholm
( The Student Council of The Swedish Psychologists’ Association)
Sveriges Psykologförbund
Box 30092
S-104 25 Stockholm
Uppsala Student Union
Box 2081
S-750 02 Uppsala
Lund Student Union
Akademiska Föreningen
Sandgatan 2
S-223 50 Lund
Göteborg Students’ Association
Utlandsgatan 24
S-412 80 Göteborg
Umeå Student Union
Box 6102
S-900 06 Umeå
Stockholm University Student Union
Box 50006
S-114 89 Stockholm

Swedish Institute
Box 7434
S-103 91 Stockholm

SSSB Bostadscentralen
Box 5654
S-114 89 Stockholm

Stiftelsen Studentstaden i Uppsala
Box 12032
S-750 12 Uppsala

Stiftelsen Umeå Studentbostder
Box 244
S-90106 Umeå

Stiftelsen Göteborgs Studenthem
Utlandsgatan 24
S-412 80 Göteborg

Akademiska Föreningens bostder
Box 799
S-220 07 Lund

9. List of sources, literature

National Swedish Board of Universities and Colleges. (1987). Studying in Sweden, Higher education for visiting students
(Valid for 1988/89 and 1989/90)