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Living and studying in Sweden

Living and studying in Sweden and at KTH may differ from what you’re used to. When you have arrived and started your life in Stockholm there are a few things to sort out, for example getting a student discount card and a Swedish bank account. On this page we have collected some important things to know about living in Sweden, and differences in studies compared to other countries.

A group of friends hanging out in Hornstull during summer.
A group of friends hanging out in Hornstull during summer.

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Living in Sweden

Studies in Sweden and at KTH

Quick facts

Population: 10 million
Capital: Stockholm (2,3 million people)
Language: Swedish, English widely spoken
Currency: Swedish krona (SEK)
Time zone: GMT+1

Student discount card

As a KTH student, you can access student discounts through a digital student discount card from Mecenat. Discounts include many stores and brands in Sweden, and maybe most importantly Stockholm Public Transport (SL). SL provides various means of transport within Stockholm county: buses, subway, commuter trains, trams and boats. You are eligible for student discounts at SL, but only after you have received your Mecenat card with an SL-logo. You are entitled to the SL-logo if you are registered for at least 75% of a full semester's activity (22,5 ECTS).

A digital Mecenat card will automatically be ordered for you once you have registered for your courses, and you can have it on your smartphone via the Mecenat app. If you need support, please email the student union THS at .

Read more about how to get a student discount card (

Living sustainably

We have collected some tips on how you can live more sustainably in your everyday student life in Sweden. Several of the tips can also make you save money.

Live sustainable in Sweden

Personal identification number

The personal identification number is important for everyday purposes in Swedish society. You can apply for a personal identification number if you have a residence permit for at least 12 months or are admitted to studies for 13 months or more. 

Swedish personal identification number and ID card


The Swedish healthcare system is financed by social insurance that provides all citizens with subsidised healthcare through the government. There are both public and private providers of healthcare. If you have obtained a Swedish personal identity number, or are a holder of the European Health Insurance Card, you are entitled to healthcare at the standard patient fee, with some exceptions depending on tax payer status.


Banking and payments

Regardless of how long you will be studying in Sweden, you should make sure that you have enough money to cover your expenses for the first months of your stay. International debit and credit cards are widely accepted as a payment method in Sweden. We strongly recommend you bring a VISA or Mastercard to give you access to funds in your existing bank account. You can withdraw cash from all ATM’s and make your purchases with your card. An ATM cash machine is referred to as Bankomat in Swedish.

Banking and payments

Work during studies

Do you want to work part-time during your studies? International students with a residence permit for studies can work in Sweden during their study period. 

Work during studies

A group of friends hanging out in Stockholm's Old Town.
A group of friends hanging out in Stockholm's Old Town.
Cherry blossoms in Kungsträdgården during spring.
Cherry blossoms in Kungsträdgården during spring.

Lecturers are on a first name-basis

Formal titles are not very common in Sweden, and instead you will call your teacher by their first name.

You need to register for courses and exams

You will need to register yourself for courses and exams, and apply for programme courses each semester.

Read about registrations and other ways to administrate your studies

Lectures, seminars, laboratory work and group projects

While you will often spend a few hours every week in lectures, seminars and labs, a lot of your time will be independent studying or group work. At KTH, learning to work together is an integral part of education. You will get to explore your ideas and apply them in collaboration with others from around the world. Group dynamics and the ability to work across teams can play a significant role in the outcome of ideas, projects and innovation.

Course credits

The credit system used in Sweden is the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). Full-time studies means that you will take 30 credit points (högskolepoäng in Swedish) each semester, which equals 30 ECTS. One week of full-time studies equals 1.5 credit points.

Stockholm during sunset
A view of Riddarholmen during sunset.

A semester at KTH

A semester at KTH consists of several courses, usually three or four. Each course involves lectures, seminars, laboratory work, group projects and individual studies. As hands-on experience is regarded as an essential element of learning, laboratory sessions constitute an integral part of studies at KTH. Your overall course grade is determined by written or oral examinations twice a semester. Exercises and laboratory work may also form part of the examination. If you fail, there will be a second chance at the end of each semester.

Find semesters and courses in the programme syllabus

The academic year

The academic year at KTH is divided into two semester. The autumn semester starts in late August/early September and runs until the middle of January. The spring semester begins in the middle of January and runs until the beginning of June. Each semester consists of two study periods, each comprising three or four parallel courses during seven weeks of scheduled lectures, laboratory work, group work and smaller tutorial sessions. These are followed by one week of own work, free from scheduled education before the exams take place in October, January, March and June. Re-examination takes place in January, April and June.

Academic year and important dates

Aurora borealis in central Stockholm during winter.
Aurora borealis in central Stockholm during winter.
Two friends going for a swim during summer.
Two friends going for a swim in Nacka, Stockholm during summer.

Exams and re-exams

Exams are taken at the end of each course, and not at the end of the term. Some courses include optional partial exams. You also have the opportunity to take a re-exam if you do not pass your exam. KTH has many different types of examination such as written exams, digital exams and project work. You also need to register for exams before taking them.

Examination and exams


KTH generally uses a seven-grade goal-related grading scale (A, B, C, D, E, Fx, F) for courses. A–E are grades corresponding to a pass, with A being the highest grade. The grade Fx is not a final grade, and indicates that the result is close to a pass and may be upgraded to a pass. For degree projects, the grades pass (P) and fail (F) are used.

Examination results and grades

Canvas and Ladok, your learning platforms

Canvas is the learning platform used for all courses at KTH. In Canvas you will find course material and assignments and can keep in touch with teachers and fellow students.

In Ladok you will find your results on courses, register for courses and exams and access certificates.

Learn more about Canvas

Learn more about Ladok

Your personal menu on

You can access the most important things you need during your studies in the personal menu. It is the dark grey bar located at the top of When logged in, you can access services such as schedules, courses, programme information, Ladok and Canvas.

Personal menu

Influence your education

As a student in Sweden you have the right to influence your education. We encourage you to take an active part in developing your education. You have experience and knowledge of what works well or if there is something that could be done differently.

Influence your education


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