Sweden Experiences a Decreasing Number of Graduates

Sweden Europe Statistics Higher Education News by Erudera News Nov 22, 2022

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Fewer students are graduating from Swedish higher education institutions, as that number dropped by 1,100 graduates during the academic year 2021/2022, reaching a total of 73,500 graduates during this period.

According to University Chancellor's Office (UKÄ), 64 percent of the graduates were women, similar to the previous years, while graduating rates were more evident among men, as 900 fewer graduates were recorded this academic year. These rates stood at 200 people for women, Erudera.com reports.

The largest number of degrees were issued in disciplines like social sciences, commerce, law and administration, while bachelor's and master's degrees, both saw decreasing numbers of graduates. On the other hand, a university degree was the only category to witness increasing numbers of graduates.

The most common vocational degrees were civil engineering degrees, with a total of 4,440 of those being issued, followed by nursing. Compared to the previous academic year, the number of civil engineering degrees decreased by 320 graduates. This also means that it was the vocational degree that decreased the most. At the same time, certain degrees increased, such as basic teaching degrees, specialist nursing degrees and sociology degrees.

Similarly, the number of PhD students in Sweden is decreasing, as forecast by UKÄ’s forecast previously reveals. According to this forecast, in the next ten to 15 years, the number of doctoral students will drop, as the interest in postgraduate education decreases.

“During the three five-year periods (2021–2025, 2026–2030, and 2031–2035) covered by the forecast, 5,000, 3,200, and 3,500 PhD graduates will retire, respectively. In total, during the forecast period, there are 11,700 postgraduates, of which 10,700 are doctoral graduates,” the report reads.

The report also reveals that in 2018, there were 37,000 individuals working as researchers and teaching staff in the university, with 24,500 of those that had some form of postgraduate education and another 21,000 having a doctorate.

Linnea Carlsson, the chairperson of UKÄ, reveals that doctoral students from other countries represent 40 per cent of all students in the country. She also noted that during the 2020/2021 academic year, Sweden saw a 16 percent decline in international students, with these rates being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, international mobility almost saw pre-pandemic levels in the autumn of 2021, with the increase being stronger among women than men.

At the same time, the number of new exchange students coming to Sweden decreased by half in the 2020/21 academic year, while the trend reversed in the 2021 autumn semester.

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