The learning environment and teaching style
Many international students find the learning environment and teaching style to be different in Sweden. Below you will find a summary of what to expect.
Studying in Sweden and at Lund University
Home of the Nobel Prize – the world’s most prestigious academic distinction – Sweden is ranked as one of the best countries in the world when it comes to providing higher education. As one of the world's most creative countries, Sweden has a proud tradition of innovation and entrepreneurship.
An open environment
Students experience an open, informal study environment with teachers and students usually on a first-name basis. The traditional academic hierarchy is replaced by a more collaborative approach, where students are respected as junior colleagues and their opinions valued and encouraged by more experienced peers. This approach encourages dialogue and collaboration between students and teachers and creates opportunities to bring forward new ideas and innovations.
The student is at the centre of the education provided at Lund University. There is a lot of support in terms of pedagogy and the teachers make themselves available to help students and ensure course content is fully understood. There is a focus on enabling students to develop their critical and analytical thinking skills, independent research skills, group work, problem solving and leadership skills so as to prepare them for their career.
Lund University is proud to have a strong international profile – we attract students from almost 150 countries. This creates global classroom environments where students encounter different cultural perspectives and start to build their international network.
Studies at Lund University are usually undertaken one course (unit/module) at a time, with an examination or essay at the end of each individual course. Studies at the Faculty of Engineering are an exception in that two or more courses are often studied in parallel. Courses can be anything from two to 20 weeks long, with five, 10 and 20 weeks being the most common lengths.
The most common form of instruction is lectures to groups of 25–30 students. Attendance at lectures is required but students are also expected to work independently and develop an in-depth knowledge of their subject through independent study. Some courses, mainly in engineering, have as many as 30 formal lecture hours per week as well as laboratory work, while some, for example in the social sciences, may have as little as 10 hours, and rely more on the students’ individual reading.
A large part of the learning process takes place outside the classroom as students read and discuss the course material with each other. Students at Lund University are trained to efficiently assess large amounts of information. Study techniques are taught in the classroom and also by study advisors and through workshops.
Group work is common for many of our degree programmes. The goal is for students to practise teamwork in small groups, across different cultures within the class, and also to develop problem solving and leadership skills. Group work is an important aspect to the learning experience in order to simulate the real dynamics of an international work place.
Case studies and guest speakers
The teaching methods used focus on the critical analysis of the course content with the use of real case studies wherever possible. International guest lecturers and speakers from business, government, NGOs and research regularly feature as part of the curriculum to further connect studies to the professional world. The University is located in the dynamic Lund–Malmö region; Malmö was named the 4th most inventive city in the world by Forbes in 2013. The region hosts an impressive breadth of global companies and a unique, world-class environment for technology, knowledge, innovation and entrepreneurship.
Research-intensive university setting
Education at Lund University is closely aligned to current research, often drawing on the interdisciplinary research approach that has helped secure Lund University’s place as Sweden’s strongest research university. Lund University educates some 40 000 students per year, and close to 60% of the University's budget goes to research, illustrating our commitment to being one of the world's top research-intensive universities.
Critical thinking and freedom of mind
Critical thinking and freedom of mind are the cornerstones of academic life at Lund University.
By critical thinking we mean the ability to assess information on different topics and to form independent and well informed opinions; to scrutinise and question beliefs that are sometimes taken for granted; to revise opinions in the light of new evidence or knowledge; and to give and receive criticism in a constructive and generous manner, as well as the readiness to engage in discussion with fellow students and to learn from others.
By freedom of mind we mean the ability to liberate oneself from narrow-minded and conventional wisdoms, to value the authenticity of ideas and experiences in whatever shape they may come, and to appreciate and seek fresh perspectives on old ideas; in short, the ability to think ‘outside the box’.
Critical thinking and freedom of mind are stimulated in all activities at the University. In seminars, workshops and experiments, students analyse and present solutions to given problems and assignments. Theoretical concepts are tested in practical situations, and practical experiences are employed to develop and enrich theory.