Postgrad foreigners dominate in Sweden

Postgrad foreigners dominate in Sweden
Master's programmes offered at universities in Sweden are often dominated by foreign students. And many have no Swedish participants at all, a new report from the National Agency for Higher Education shows.

Sweden is a signatory to the so-called Bologna Process which aims to standardize higher education across the European Union. In the autumn of 2007 many Swedish universities launched two-year master’s programmes in line with the new directives.

The Swedish National Agency for Higher Education on Thursday published a report which shows that Swedish students are outnumbered on many of the courses and in some cases completely absent.

“This is natural. The two-year master’s programmes are new to Sweden and most are conducted in English. The pattern is the same across the EU,” said Lena Eriksson at the agency to The Local.

Asked whether this was considered a problem Eriksson replied.

“I don’t really see why it would be. Maybe in the cases where there are no Swedish students at all.”

“But this is an issue for the seats of learning to address. Our task is to monitor developments and report on them.”

The two-year master’s programmes are often offered side-by-side with the old Swedish “magister” (basically an additional year on top of a three-year bachelor’s degree).

Taken as a whole the figures indicate that the same total number of students are pursuing “magister” and “master’s” courses – around 10,000 per annum.

The agency reports however that many of Sweden’s universities are allocating an increasing amount of resources to the new master’s programmes.

At the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm, master’s programmes accepted a total of 1,300 students for the 2007/2008 academic year while the institute’s “magister” programmes attracted only 163.

The agency’s figures show that foreign students dominate both the “magister” courses (54 percent) and master’s programmes (61 percent).

With so many of the master’s and “magister” programmes conducted in English, The Local asked Lena Eriksson if there was a danger that the national language would disappear from higher education in Sweden.

“No. I don’t think that there is a risk of that. We are talking about advanced courses here. Most of the tertiary education is still conducted in Swedish and dominated by Swedish students.”