Laws and regulations

It is mainly the Higher Education Act and Higher Education Ordinance that govern the operations of higher education institutions in Sweden.

The Swedish Higher Education Authority (UKÄ) exercises supervision of the HEIs, which means ensuring their compliance with the statutes and regulations that apply to higher education.

The Higher Education Act

The Higher Education Act is enacted by the Riksdag (parliament) and contains regulations about the operations of HEIs. These are often supplemented by the provisions laid down in the Higher Education Ordinance. The Higher Education Act contains basic regulations about the courses and programmes offered by HEIs. For instance, it sets out what should characterise these courses and programmes at the different levels and stipulates freedom of research. It provides a framework for the organisation and governance of the HEIs, and states that every HEI must have a board of governors and a vice-chancellor.

It also has regulations about the duties of teachers and contains provisions about student influence. HEIs must also foster equality of opportunity and broaden recruitment.

The Higher Education Ordinance

The Higher Education Ordinance is laid down by the Government and is linked to the provisions of the Higher Education Act. For instance, the Ordinance states that students must be able to influence their courses and programmes. It contains regulations on entrance qualifications and selection for courses and programmes, as well as the appointment of teachers and doctoral students. It also includes regulations on course and programme syllabuses, grades and qualifications.

Annex 2 to the Higher Education Ordinance and the annexes to the Ordinances on the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and the Ordinance on the Swedish National Defence College are qualifications ordinances that contain the descriptors for all qualifications.

Go to to find out more about the Higher Education Act and Higher Education Ordinance.

This page was last updated 27 January 2023

Tags: Student