Learn Swedish

English may be the working language at research institutions and it may also be sufficient to use English in everyday life, since most Swedes are reasonably fluent in English. However, good Swedish skills facilitate the start of your new life in Sweden and you may find that learning Swedish will help you to integrate more easily. Swedish can also boost your career opportunities since many employers value bilingual or multilingual candidates who can speak Swedish and English.

According to the Language Act Swedish is the main language in Sweden. Good knowledge of Swedish is also needed in day-to-day work, in teaching, for leadership assignments and in contacts with the surrounding community. Being able to speak and write in Swedish is also often crucial when applying for a job in Sweden.

A new government inquiry has proposed that adults seeking permanent residency from 2027 will have to pass two tests, one on the Swedish language and the other on Swedish society. The proposal states that applicants would be expected to have a level of Swedish equivalent to A2 on the CEFR, equivalent to SFI level C.

There is a wide range of Swedish courses available.

Learn Swedish in advance

You can study Swedish before coming here! Swedish language and culture are taught in several countries and there are also web courses in Swedish. More information about Swedish around the world 

Folkuniversitetet also offers a number of distance learning courses. Other possibilities on the internet to learn Swedish are duolingo, digitala spåret, kreativpedagogik

The MedineLingua website was developed into a comprehensive resource to support learning of medical languages.

Learn Swedish at KI courses at Folkuniversitetet

All doctoral students who are admitted to KI (admission decision or Ladok transcript) and postdocs at KI (registration in IDAC) are offered to take one Swedish language course* free of charge at Folkuniversitetet Karolinska Institutet Swedish courses. Levels A1, A2, B1, B1+ and B2 consist of three sub-courses. The KI offer is valid for one sub-course (20 lessons of 45 minutes = 1,5 hours once a week for 10 weeks or twice a week for 5 weeks). The International Office will pay the invoice, see how to register below.

You register with Folkuniversitetet Karolinska Institutet Swedish courses and do an online placement test before enrolling in a course. A booking is always binding and an invoice is sent to Ulla Tunkara at International Staff Services (re free courses for doctoral students and postdocs) or your department even if you attend only once. If you cannot attend your course for a short period due to work or illness, contact your teacher to see what you can do to catch up with the progress of the rest of the group.

Please, note that this offer does not apply to visiting doctoral students. 
Staff, researchers as well as postdocs and doctoral students interested in additional courses are welcome to join but the course fee has to be paid by department or individual.

Dates: New evening courses starting in September, October and November 2024.

Location: Folkuniversitetet Holländargatan 38, T-bana Rådmansgatan, Odenplan 

Fee: Doctoral students admitted to KI (admission decision or Ladok transcript needed) and postdocs at KI are offered one Swedish sub-course* at Folkuniversitetet Karolinska Institutet Swedish courses free of charge. Other participants may join and if paid by KI department (the ZZ code needed) the fee is 1 490 SEK excl. VAT per course*. It is also possible that you pay yourself 1 863 SEK incl. VAT.
*KI has a frame agreement with Folkuniversitetet Karolinska Institutet Swedish courses regarding Swedish language courses (20 lessons of 45 minutes = 1,5 hours once a week for 10 weeks or twice a week for 5 weeks) especially for KI students and staff. Other Swedish language courses at Folkuniversitetet are not covered by the agreement and not paid for from central funds.

Registrationwww.folkuniversitetet.se/karolinska/  Kindly use your KI e-mail address and Ulla Tunkara as reference if you are doctoral student or postdoc at KI and want to use the offer.

Questions? Contact ki-utbildningar.stockholm@folkuniversitetet.se

More courses

Swedish Language café

Online språkcafé
Onsite språkcafé Stockholm area, Solna

Other courses

Folkuniversitetet, Medborgarskolan, Swedish for professionals, Swedish teacher Berlin, Online Swedish offer Swedish language courses for individuals. These courses are not offered free of charge.
You can study Swedish as a Foreign Language at Stockholm university.
There are several recognised tests available that measure proficiency in the Swedish language.

Swedish for medical staff online You can start with distance course for Medical Staff 1 if you are on Swedish B1 level (you have finished the distance course 3 of the Swedish as a foreign language program). 

Swedish for immigrants (SFI) provides knowledge of the Swedish language and Swedish society, free of charge. Municipalities have an obligation to offer SFI to newly arrived adult immigrants with a personal identity number. Also EU citizens who do not have a personal identity number are entitled to attend the SFI programme if they have the right to reside in Sweden. Check with your municipality:
SFI in Stockholm 
SFI in Solna
SFI in Huddinge

SIFA Intensive studies in Swedish for adults with an academic background (economists, lawyers, engineers or educators; distance learning, classroom learning). See presentation of SIFA

SFx-medicin fulltime intensive Swedish courses for medical staff daytime in Huddinge. No distance, no part-time courses. 

Nyheter på lätt svenska: Svt, Radio Sweden

Språkkraft offers free and easy to use apps and digital tools to efficiently learn Swedish language.

Licence to work as medical professional in Sweden

To be able to get a Swedish licence, you need to have language skills in Swedish, Danish or Norwegian. For example, you can prove your language skills by submitting a passing grade or approved results from

  • Swedish at Level C1 in accordance with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.
  • Swedish, level 3 or Swedish as a foreign language, level 3 for example from Komvux.
  • Another course or a test that makes you eligible for studying at a Swedish university/college, go to antagning.se.

Translation help

a dictionary on-line that translates words between different languages. Other free translation services: Free translation online, Google translate and ChatGPT.

Proposals for Swedish language tests for permanent residence permit and citizenship

A new government inquiry has proposed that adults seeking permanent residency from 2027 would be expected to have a level of Swedish equivalent to A2 on the CEFR, equivalent to SFI level C. The language test would only measure listening skills. The civics test would be held in Swedish, so a high enough level of reading skills will be needed. The proposal is sent for consultation so the law is not in place yet.
The Goverment: Inquiry report on knowledge requirements for a permanent residence permit presented
SR: Language test and 'life in Sweden' exam to be required for permanent residency

A government inquiry proposes that requirements for knowledge of Swedish and understanding of the Swedish society be introduced for the acquisition of Swedish citizenship as of 1 January 2025. Reading and listening comprehension equivalent to B1 according to the (CEFR), while written and oral skills should be at A2 level.There is no final proposal yet. Se Krav på kunskaper i svenska och samhällskunskap för svenskt medborgarskap SOU 2021:2

Language levels of the European scale 

Source: Sfx Svenska för medicinsk personal

Language levels of the European scale and SFI
The CEFR levels Swedish for immigrants (SFI) Level
A1 SFI A, B Basic user
A2 SFI C Basic user
B1 SFI D Independent user
B2- SVA grundläggande Independent user
B2 SVA 1 Independent user
C1- SVA 2 Proficient user
C1 SVA 3 Proficient user
C2 Tvåspråkig (Bilingual) Proficient user
Content reviewer:
Ulla Tunkara