Higher education credits, self-study and distance learning — plenty of new terms get thrown around when you start your studies, but what do they actually mean?

Learning approach and self-study

The Swedish learning approach at university level is largely based around self-study. There might not be many classes each week, and students are expected to study independently between lectures. This requires students to do a lot of coursework independently or in groups, without direct supervision, and take responsibility for their own learning. Lectures and seminars are largely seen as a chance to reflect around the subject and students are expected to take an active part in the lecture. 

Distance learning

Most students at Malmö University study on campus, meaning that they regularly go to lectures and meet up for group work with their classmates. Some programmes give students the opportunity to study remotely, without regular face-to-face contact with teachers and fellow students. This allows a certain degree of flexibility but can also be demanding, as independent study requires self-motivation and the ability to manage time efficiently.

Higher education credits

Higher education credits are a standard used by universities to measure and assess students’ work and indicate the scope of an education. In Sweden, 60 credits correspond to one year of full-time academic study. Different parts of the world use different credit systems, and credits can sometimes be converted or transferred between these systems.

Courses can have different timeframes and different study-paces. The duration of a course depends on how many higher education credits are earned once the student has completed it. Some courses may run at a slower pace; for example, a part-time course that runs over two semesters.

Good to know about higher education credits

  • 30 credits are equivalent to one semester of full-time studies
  • 15 credits are equivalent to half a semester of full-time studies, or a full semester of part-time (50%) studies 
  • 7.5 credits are equivalent to one-quarter of a semester of full-time studies, or a full semester of part-time (25%) studies

Grading Systems at Malmö University

Malmö University uses a criterion-referenced grading system, not to be confused with the relative grading system as ECTS.

Most courses at Malmö University have a three-level grading scale: VG  (Pass with Distinction), G (Pass), and U (Fail). A number of courses use only two grades: G (Pass) and U (Fail).  For most courses taught in English, grades are awarded on a scale from A to E and U (Failed).

A= Excellent
B= Very Good
C= Good
D= Satisfactory
E= Pass

U= Failed

In order to receive a minimum passing grade = G (Pass) or E (Pass) the student has to meet all the learning outcomes of the course. In courses graded with A-U, a higher grade than E (Pass) require additional accomplishment. The learning outcomes are specified in each course’s syllabus, where the assessments and the grading scale of the course also are explained.

If credits from previous studies at other universities are counted within an education here at Malmö University, the transferred credits will be marked "Credited" in the degree certificate or "TG" in Ladok.

Grade Point Average

Please note that there is no national grading system in Sweden. The Swedish higher education institutions may determine freely which grading system is to be used for any of the courses on offer. Partly due to this variety of grading systems, no overall grade or GPA is given for a degree certificate and our graduate students are not ranked in any way.

There is also no officially determined methodology for translating the Swedish grades to any other foreign grading system. Ultimately, this is a question for the higher education institution that a graduate from Malmö University is applying to.

Programmes and courses

All programmes are made up of several courses. You can pick and choose any number of courses to study individually, or you can take a particular set of courses chronologically as part of a programme, resulting in either a bachelor's or master's degree.

Combining courses

You can choose to combine part-time courses so that they add up to full-time studies. Be sure to check both course dates and credits carefully to make sure the number of credits adds up to full-time studies. It is very important that you make sure that you do not, for example, choose two full-time 15 credit courses that run during the same dates.