The Swedish Institute Study Scholarships (SISS) are awarded to students from selected countries for full-time master’s level studies in Sweden starting in the autumn semester 2016. The scholarships cover both living costs and tuition fees.
An estimated 300 scholarships will be available. The scholarship application period opens with a first application round 1–15 December 2015, followed by a detailed second application round for successful candidates from the first round, on 1–13 February 2016.
Who we are looking for
SISS is the Swedish government’s international awards scheme aimed at developing global leaders. It is funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Sweden and administered by the Swedish Institute (SI), the programme offers a unique opportunity for future leaders to develop professionally and academically, to experience Swedish society and culture, and to build a long-lasting relationship with Sweden and with each other.
The goal is to enable the scholarship holders to play an active role in the positive development of the societies in which they live. Ideal candidates are ambitious young professionals with outstanding academic qualifications, demonstrated leadership experience and a clear idea of how a study programme in Sweden would benefit their country.
Priority will be given to applicants choosing study programmes with an emphasis on gender equality, sustainable development, democracy, human rights or poverty reduction.
The Swedish Institute Study Scholarships (SISS) aims at diversity. We welcome applicants regardless of age, gender or religious beliefs. Applicants must come from a SISS-eligible country, and show proof of work and leadership experience. Scholarships will only be granted to candidates who have followed the steps of the university admission and been admitted to one of the eligible master programmes in Sweden.
The programme is open to three different categories of countries. Approximately 100 scholarships within each category will be available.
Citizens of Albania, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Georgia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Russia, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine cannot apply within this programme, but are instead eligible within other SI scholarship programmes.
Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mozambique, Myanmar (Burma), Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Brazil, China, Colombia, Egypt, India, Indonesia, South Africa and Syria.
Up to 25 scholarships within Category 2 will be allocated for applicants from South Africa (10) and Syria (15), for which there are separate initiatives. The remaining scholarships will be allocated to the remaining countries within this category.
South Africa: In connection with the Binational Commission agreement between Sweden and South Africa, the Swedish Institute allocates up to 10 scholarships for South African students. Applicants must be South African citizens but may, at the time of their application and admission, reside in a country other than South Africa, including Sweden. Priority will be given to applicants who have completed bachelor’s studies from a South African university.
Syria: Due to the difficult situation in Syria, the Swedish Institute allocates up to 15 scholarships for Syrian students. Applicants must be Syrian citizens, with a bachelor’s degree from a Syrian university. Applicants may at the time of application and admission reside in a country other than Syria, including Sweden.
Candidates with citizenships from countries on the DAC list of ODA recipients other than the above, or ODA countries included in other SI scholarship programmes, can apply within this category.
Regardless of country, you are not eligible for the SI Study Scholarships if you:
- have already lived in Sweden for cumulatively two years or more prior to the scholarship period (August 2016).
- have a Swedish or EU/EEA citizenship, permanent residence permit or work permit in Sweden (not applicable for students from Syria).
- have previously been awarded a Swedish Institute scholarship for master’s level studies or research at a Swedish university/university college.
- already hold a degree from a Swedish university/university college.
- are currently enrolled in a study programme at a Swedish university/university college.
Applicants must ensure that they have at least two years’ work experience (equal to 2,800 hours) when submitting their scholarship application in the first application round. They will be required to certify that experience in the second round. If you do not already have the required level of work experience, your application will be deemed ineligible. However, it is not required that you are employed at the time of the application.
The types of work experience eligible for the SI Study Scholarships are:
- Full-time employment
- Part-time employment
- Voluntary work
- Paid or unpaid internships
- Position of trust
Your work experience can be completed before, during, or after graduating from your undergraduate studies.
Work experience within the listed fields below will be given priority. The list is organised in alphabetical order; no priority or ranking is implied.
- Agriculture and food security
- Conflict resolution, peace and security
- Democracy, HR
- Equality/Equal opportunities
- Environment and climate
- ICT and E-solutions
- Innovation, entrepreneurship management and/or leadership
- Life science
- Market development
- Sustainable development
- Trade and investment
Here are two examples of how to calculate your employment hours.
Scenario 1: Currently employed, working part time 10 hours per week for 50 weeks per year for 4 calendar years, and previously employed working part time in a voluntary position 12 hours per week for 35 weeks per year for 2 calendar years.
The calculation is (10 hours x 50 weeks x 4 years = 2,000) + (12 hours x 35 weeks x 2 years = 840) = 2,840 hours.
An applicant within this scenario would be eligible for a scholarship within the SI Study Scholarships.
Scenario 2: Part time voluntary employment, working 10 hours per week for 35 weeks per year for 3 calendar years.
The calculation is (10 hours x 35 weeks x 3 years) = 1,050 hours.
An applicant within this scenario fails to meet the eligibility criteria for a scholarship within the SI Study Scholarships.
- You do not need to meet the work experience requirement in one period of employment, nor do you need to have been working in your current role for two years in order to be eligible to apply.
- If you hold more than one position of employment at the same time, all hours can be used to meet the work experience requirement.
- If you are in a current employment, it is not a requirement of the SI Study Scholarships that you resign from your position.
- Work experience within the listed fields above will be given priority.
- You are advised to discuss your application with your employer. It is also your responsibility to ensure that you will be granted a leave of absence from your work in case you are selected for a scholarship. SI cannot, and will not, intervene in this.
Applicants must be able to demonstrate their previous leadership experience through certificates or assessments in the second application round. The experience may be demonstrated through previous work experience, from a position of trust, through student unions, involvement in civil society organisations, or volunteer assignments.
Leadership experience involves the ability to lead and organise other people, or to organise events. Leadership experience is also expected to include familiarity with decision-making processes.
The experience need not be for the above-mentioned hours (2,800 hours) and can be limited.
Regarding university application, the applicants must also:
- be required to pay tuition fee according to the information at University Admissions. Kindly contact University Admissions directly regarding questions related to the application and tuition fee (not applicable for students from Syria).
- have paid the application fee for master’s programmes at University Admissions before 1 February 2016.
- be admitted to one of the eligible master programmes in the first selection round at university admissions by 29 March 2016. Students who are listed as reserves will not be considered. There are no scholarships available for late admissions. A list of eligible master programmes, selected among the Swedish universities/university colleges, will be published on this page in December 2015.
The scholarship application period for the Swedish Institute Study Scholarships (SISS) opens with a first application round 1–15 December 2015, followed by a detailed second application round for successful candidates on 1–13 February 2016. Successful candidates from the first application round will be notified via email by 8 January 2016.
To be considered for a scholarship you must complete your separate application to the master’s programme(s) before 15 January 2016 by using the national online application service universityadmissions.se. You must also pay your university admissions application fee before the fee deadline 1 February 2016. Kindly note that no other documents than the mandatory enclosures will be considered. Applicants must complete the application documents in English. If any mandatory document is not used, or is not completed in English, the application is deemed ineligible.
Once you have submitted your application to the master’s programme(s) onuniversityadmissions.se, you will be assigned a personal application number consisting of seven digits. You must use this application number when applying for a Swedish Institute scholarship in the second application round.
Steps to complete your Swedish Institute scholarship application
First application round 1–15 December 2015:
- The first part of the application process will open on 1 December 2015. Apply through our online system. A link to the online system will be published here.
Second application round 1–13 February 2016:
- Prepare a motivation letter according to the Swedish Institute template. Motivation letters in any other templates or formats are NOT valid. Make sure to read the questions in the motivation letter thoroughly, and be specific and personal in your reasoning. Answers may not exceed the allowed number of characters (letters and spaces) for each question. The template will be uploaded here in January 2016.
- Prepare a Curriculum Vitae (CV) in English, only using the Europass format of maximum three pages. A CV submitted in another format than the Europass format is NOT valid. Additional pages will not be considered.
- Prepare two references according to the SI template. At least one of the references must be in connection to one of the work experiences you mention in your application. Remember that a letter of reference which is not signed is NOT valid. The reference template will be uploaded here in January 2016.
- Prepare a copy of your passport to enclose with your application. Your personal data including citizenship and photograph must show clearly.
- The online application portal opens on 1 February 2016. Apply through our online system. A link to the online system will be published on this page on 1 February 2016.
An application without a valid and completed motivation letter, CV, letter of reference or copy of passport is deemed ineligible.
You need to submit a separate copy of your scholarship application for each eligible master’s programme which you have applied to. For example, if you have applied to the maximum four master’s programmes, you must submit four separate and complete online scholarship applications.
Each application must have a motivation letter, a CV, two letters of reference and a copy of your passport attached. You may use the same motivation letter, CV, passport copy and letters of reference for each application, or create unique ones for each master’s programme.
- 1–15 December 2015: First part of scholarship application round. Apply for a Swedish Institute Study Scholarship through the online application service.
- 1 December 2015–15 January 2016: University application and payment of application fee on universityadmissions.se.
- 8 January 2016: Candidates from the first scholarship application round will be notified via email.
- 1 February 2016: Deadline for supporting documents and payment of application fee for master’s programmes. For detailed information see universityadmissions.se.
- 1–13 February 2016: Second part of scholarship application round. Apply for a Swedish Institute Study Scholarship through the online application service.
- 29 March 2016: Notifications of the first selection round for university admission are published on universityadmissions.se.
- 14 April 2016: Deadline for accepting your study place on universityadmissions.se.
- April 2016: A list of successful candidates for the Swedish Institute scholarships is published at si.se.
- April 2016: The Swedish Institute formal scholarship offer to successful candidates is sent by email.
What happens with my scholarship application?
All eligible and complete applications are assessed by a selection committee taking into consideration the relevance and quality of all components within the application process including motivation letter, the CV and the letters of reference.
In late April, the Swedish Institute will publish a list of successful scholarship candidates at si.se.
Due to the large number of applicants, only those who are offered a scholarship will be notified after the second selection round. Each successful candidate will receive an official scholarship offer by email and is requested to accept or reject this offer by the deadline indicated.
Please note that you have to accept your place at the study programme at universityadmissions.se before the indicated deadline.
Will there be a reserve list for the SI Study Scholarships?
Applicants who fulfil the formal requirements for a scholarship but have a merit rating lower than the successful candidates can be placed on a waiting list for a reserve place. Scholarship offers which are rejected by successful candidates may then be offered to applicants on the reserve list in order of ranking. Kindly note that being placed on a reserve list does not guarantee that you will be offered a scholarship.
SI will publish the reserve list when announcing the successful scholarship recipients. If your name is not on the list you have not been offered a reserve place.