Studying in Europe: An Introduction

Our previous international officer, Jack Perrott-Webb, has put together a handy guide, with everything you need to know about studying abroad.

Why Should I Study in Europe?

Free, English language study to boost your degree and your knowledge base. There’s just one catch: you may need to visit another country for a few days.

What, like a holiday? Exactly.

It’s coming round to the time of year when some universities start to offer individual courses in a wide variety of topics. This is a fairly alien concept to students at many UK universities, where you are often set in a strict module pathway to come out with your degree and nothing more. Imagine though if you could boost your physics degree with some fundamental computer architecture, or your aerospace qualification with an awareness of bioenergy – or even your geography degree with quantum mechanics!

As the years have gone on, the focus of study areas has shrunk, removing us from the age of true polymaths and into niche focused specialisations, which, although critical to future careers and scientific growth, can also hinder and close our minds.

Anyone can take courses abroad. It can be a scary step to move out of your comfort zone – but also an incredibly rewarding experience. And you often don’t even need to leave the UK: many courses allow you to gain extra official university credits from the comfort of your duvet, without ever having to buy a plane ticket. The downside, of course, is that in these cases there’s no excuse to leave the UK.

How can I study in Europe?

Jack has taken several courses in Sweden, and has some of advice about the system there. There are links to information about other countries and institutions below.

In Sweden, there is a central Swedish Admissions Center, similar to UCAS in the UK. All you need to do is upload a set of supporting documents (these usually include a passport scan, your university transcript, and anything else that might boost your chances) and you’re good to go!

The next step is to select 10 (or fewer) courses that you’d like to apply for – more explicit details are given on the relevant websites.

At this stage, check over your application and submit it. Depending on the system or institution the length of time that you have to wait for confirmation of your place (or rejection) may vary. Once you have your place, it’s just the simple process of completing the course.

What can you study in Europe?

The full list of courses available in Sweden can be found here. However, to whet your whistle, here are a few sample choices: for those working towards a Bachelor’s degree, some highlights may include Applied Quantum Mechanics, Bioenergy Technology and Intelligent Technology – Computation and the Brain. These are all either fully distant, or include only minimal visits. Always check with the university if you don’t want to travel! Master’s level students may prefer a higher level study, such as Cyborgs and Humanoid Robots, Mobile Games and Entertainment, or Solid State Physics (II).

As with applying to university courses in the UK, there are entry requirements to check out; if a course looks appealing, even if it is a master’s course and you are yet to get a degree, read the requirements and see whether you may be able to justify an application – you’re allowed ten in total.

We’ve compiled a list of courses in Sweden and across the rest of Europe. There’s also a handy FAQ page.

Note also that while our lists only include distance courses, there are almost 900 courses available just in Sweden on a much wider range of topics if you’re willing to travel to the country for a longer period of time. The official list for Sweden is here.