Study Civil Engineering in Sweden

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Civil Engineering Studies in Sweden

Are you a student of civil engineering and interested in participating in a study abroad program in a foreign country like Sweden—a program that would allow you to study and live for a semester or year in the country while earning valuable credits towards your degree?  The universities in Sweden, which rank among the best in the world, offer many programs for those seeking a civil engineering education in the country—a country that has traditionally welcomed international students from every corner of the globe.
Sweden, officially known as the Kingdom of Sweden, is a Scandinavian country located in beautiful Northern Europe, where it borders Norway and Finland, and is connected to Denmark by a bridge tunnel across the Øresund.
Sweden encompasses an area of nearly 174,000 square miles (450,295 sq. km), making it the third-largest country among European Union nations.  Despite its large territory, the country is home to only 9.6 million people as of the last census, giving the country a low population density of approximately 54 people per square mile (21/sq. km).  Most of the Swedish population is concentrated in the southern and more temperate region of the country, and about 85 percent of the population lives in urban areas, including Stockholm, Sweden’s capital and largest city.  Since the early 1800s, Sweden, known as a peaceful country, has generally remained neutral in world affairs and has largely avoided war of any kind.
Sweden is organized as a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary democracy form of government and a highly developed economy.  Sweden has the world's eighth-highest per capita income, and in 2013, it ranked second in the world on the Democracy Index, seventh (tied with Ireland) on the 2013 United Nations' Human Development Index, second on the 2013 OECD Better Life Index and fourth on the 2013 Legatum Prosperity Index.  Part of the reason for Sweden’s success and the high standard of living its citizens enjoy can be attributed to the country’s excellent system of education, particularly its system of higher education.

Civil Engineering Education in Sweden

Civil Engineering is a popular degree program that is offered at most of Sweden’s major universities at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, leading to Bachelor and Master’s degrees, respectively.  Undergraduate programs in this discipline generally span three years in duration, and while there is no official degree conferred at the conclusion of this stage, those who satisfactorily complete the undergraduate course of study become qualified to enter into the graduate or Master’s degree program in civil engineering—a two-year course of study that is generally seen as the minimum qualification for those planning to pursue a career in this advanced and often demanding field.  Graduates who earn a civil engineering degree are viewed as the brains behind some of the largest and most essential structures in our current society – buildings, transport networks, energy and water supplies.

In Sweden, a civil engineering undergraduate student will learn to apply mathematics and physics knowledge to real-life situations and problems, taking account of environmental, financial, legal and ethical considerations.  Most civil engineering degrees include a mixture of lectures and lab work, and there’s usually an emphasis on teamwork: an integral part of being a civil engineer.
There are many different types of specializations that fall under the umbrella of “civil engineering.”  These include:
  • Structural Engineering—concerned with the design and construction of physical structures (buildings, bridges, dams, etc.)
  • Architectural Engineering—a specialty that focuses on the various details and systems within structures (heating, lighting systems, etc.)
  • Transportation Engineering—a discipline concerned with the design of transportation-related infrastructure.
  • Hydraulic Engineering—these engineers are involved with the various systems used to move and manipulate large bodies of water or fluid.
Other specialties within civil engineering may include both Geotechnical Engineering and Environmental Engineering.
Before beginning the Master’s degree program in Sweden, students will be asked to choose one of these specializations in which to focus their studies.  Master’s degree candidates will also need to complete a capstone project prior to graduation and present that project to the program faculty.

Why Study Abroad in Sweden

Sweden is known throughout the world for its excellent higher education system and the quality of its universities and faculty.  However, the country is also a great place for learning about different cultures, studying a new language and/or sampling delicious local and international cuisine.  From an entertainment and sightseeing perspective, Sweden has everything a potential study abroad candidate could want:  trendy restaurants and bars, museums and galleries, natural landscapes, and architectural masterpieces.  Some of the more preferred destinations in the country include:


The world’s first open-air museum, Skansen was founded in 1891 by a gentleman named Artur Hazelius, who aimed to give visitors some insight into how Swedes once lived in centuries past.   As a visitor, you could easily spend a day here and still not see all that the museum has to offer.  The museum includes approximately 150 traditional houses and other exhibits from across the country, forming a type of miniature Sweden, complete with villages, nature exhibits, commerce and industry.  
Many different trades and entertainment styles are represented at the museum. The glass-blowers’ cottage is a particularly popular stop along the path, where visitors become transfixed on the intricate forms emerging from the glowing blobs of liquid glass.  Also well-liked is the Nordic Zoo, with elk, reindeer, wolverines and other native wildlife, which also includes a year-round petting zoo for the children.

Jokkmockk Winter Market

The Jokkmockk Winter Market is the oldest and biggest of its kind, attracting some 30,000 people annually. The market has been going strong since 1605, when King Karl XI decreed that markets should be set up in the Lappland region of Sweden to increase taxes, spread Christianity and exert greater control over the nomadic Sámi people.  Today it represents the biggest sales and social opportunity of the year for the native Sámi traders, who come to the market to sell their wares and visit with old friends.  Locals and tourists come from far and wide to splurge on the widest array of Sámi duodji (handicraft) in the country and to listen to traditional music. The Winter Market itself is held on the first Thursday through Saturday in February and is preceded by the opening of the smaller Historical Market, featuring several days of folk music, plays, parades, local cinematography, photography exhibitions, food tasting sessions and lectures on different aspects of Sámi life.


For those interested in the Sámi culture, a visit to the Atoklimpen is well worth the time and effort.  Standing at approximately 1006 meters above sea level, this monolithic and extremely bare mountain, located about 35km west of the city of Tärnaby, has been regarded as holy and the object of worship since the nomadic society’s early days. Here visitors can explore evidence of the Sámi’s existence and the many rituals that were once held on the mountain, some of which dates back to the 15th century.

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