Country information for Sweden - Teacher education for inclusive education

Teacher education programmes

In April 2010, the Swedish Government proposed that the degree of Bachelor/Master of Education should be replaced by four professional degrees:

  • a degree in pre-primary education;
  • a degree in primary school education;
  • a degree in subject education;
  • 1 degree in vocational education (‘Top of the class – new teacher education programmes’: Government Bill 2009/10:89).

These education programmes started in the autumn of 2011.

The degrees include knowledge objectives in the subject to be taught, other key knowledge and general skills for school and pre-primary teachers. The degrees give greater clarity in three components of teacher education: studies in the subject to be taught, a school placement (30 higher education credits) and an educational science core (60 higher education credits). Sixty higher education credits (European Credit Transfer System equivalents) are equivalent to one year of full-time study.

Degree in pre-primary education

The degree in pre-primary education comprises 210 higher education credits. The programme is clearly orientated towards work in pre-schools. Over the course of the programme, students acquire the knowledge and skills required to meet the learning and care needs of the youngest children, and gain very solid knowledge of how reading, writing and basic mathematical skills are acquired.

Degree in primary school education

There are three specialisations within the degree in primary school education:

  • Pre-primary class (for children the year before they start compulsory school) and years 1–3: This degree comprises 240 higher education credits. Students acquire a broad range of knowledge and are equipped to follow learners’ development and teach most subjects. Knowledge of the development of reading and writing skills and in-depth knowledge of mathematics for younger children becomes an essential part of their skills.
  • Years 4–6: This degree comprises 240 higher education credits. The requirements for a broad orientation and in-depth subject studies are considerably higher. Students acquire a well-defined profile as a teacher in school years 4–6 (ages approximately 10 to 12). Apart from knowledge of Swedish, mathematics and English, the subject studies allow for choice, with students choosing from social subjects, natural science subjects and technology, or one or more practical or artistic subjects.
  • Out-of-school care (in so-called recreation centres which cater for children before and after the school day and during holidays): This degree comprises 180 higher education credits. The programme primarily focuses on knowledge in the field of out-of-school teaching and one or more practical or artistic subjects.

Degree in subject education

There are two specialisations in subject education:

  • Years 7–9 of compulsory school (International Standard Classification of Education – ISCED – level 2): This degree comprises 270 higher education credits, 195 of which must be in the subjects themselves (this includes the degree project and parts of the school placement). Students acquire the skills to teach three subjects.
  • Upper-secondary school (ISCED level 3): This degree comprises 300 or 330 higher education credits, 225 or 255 of which are in the subjects themselves (this includes the degree project and parts of the school placement), depending on the choice of subjects. Students acquire the skills to teach two subjects.

These programmes provide a limited number of subject combinations to suit the needs of the school system and increase student teachers’ employability.

Degree in vocational education

The degree in vocational education comprises 90 higher education credits. To be accepted on the programme, basic eligibility for higher education studies is required, as well as advanced and relevant vocational knowledge. These programmes can be very flexible in terms of time and location, which can allow those with vocational skills to study to become a vocational teacher.

Other teaching qualifications

For those with sufficient knowledge of at least one subject, a supplementary teacher education programme can lead to a degree in subject education. This supplementary teacher education programme comprises 90 higher education credits.

Since 2007, a special supplementary educational programme has been offered at higher education institutions to those with foreign teaching qualifications to enable them to qualify for employment in the Swedish school system. This programme will be continued.

At present, many teachers are employed to teach subjects for which they lack formal qualifications. The government has therefore initiated a further educational programme for unqualified teachers. Through this, higher education institutions can validate previous professional teaching and offer individualised educational programmes. These enable participants to meet the requirements for a degree in education.

Entitlement to award degrees

Higher education institutions wishing to organise teacher or pre-primary teacher education apply to the Swedish Higher Education Authority (Universitetskanslersämbetet) and the Swedish Council for Higher Education (Universitets-och högskolerådet) for entitlement to award professional degrees.

Degree in special needs education

The Postgraduate Diploma in Special Needs Education includes specialisations for deafness or hearing impairments, visual impairments, serious language impairments and intellectual disabilities. This meets the needs of special schools and schools catering for children with disabilities, and of special needs teachers with specific knowledge about the groups of learners in these schools.


Last updated 13/03/2023

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