Share of International Doctoral Students in Stockholm Soars to 43 Per Cent

STOCKHOLM, 31 October 2019 – A new report from the Stockholm Academic Forum shows that the proportion of international doctoral students in the Swedish capital has increased by 14 percentage points over the ten-year period 2008–2018. That means that as many as 43 per cent of Stockholm’s 5,440 doctoral students now come from another country. In 2008, the national equivalent was at 36 per cent.

Most international doctoral students are enrolled at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, where 58 per cent of all doctoral students are of foreign origin, which corresponds to almost 1,000 people. Meanwhile, the biggest increases have been registered at the Stockholm School of Economics and the Stockholm University.

At Stockholm School of Economics, the share of international doctoral students increased from 25 to 53 per cent. During the same period, the proportion of international doctoral students rose from 19 to 42 per cent at the Stockholm University, which educates the highest number of doctoral students after the KTH Royal Institute of Technology.

“It is a testament to the great reputation of our higher education institutions. We know that Stockholm is highly valued by foreign researchers, and in international comparisons, we often see that higher ranked universities have a higher proportion of international doctoral students. The reason is, of course, that a reputable university is able to recruit the best in the world,” says Maria Fogelström Kylberg, CEO of the Stockholm Academic Forum, which represents the City of Stockholm and its 18 higher education institutions.

Swedish doctoral education also comes with the advantage of being tuition-free for all.

“This certainly helps to make Swedish postgraduate education unique and attractive. We also know that many people value the fact that the academic culture in Sweden is free from strict hierarchies and that the doctoral student is regarded as an equal in the research team,” says Maria Fogelström Kylberg.

As of 1 July 2014, Swedish legislation also makes it possible for doctoral students from countries outside the EU/EEA to obtain permanent residency in Sweden after four years of research. Previously, doctoral students had to leave Sweden within three months of their dissertation unless they had found employment.

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About the Stockholm Academic Forum

The Stockholm Academic Forum (Staf) is the peak collaborative body of the City of Stockholm and its 18 higher education institutions. As the collective voice of its members, Staf promotes and supports Stockholm’s position as one of the world’s leading academic centres. For more information, visit


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