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SWEDEN - ISEP Malardalen University

The Swedes invest more per capita in research and development than any other country in the world “in medical, technological and environmental areas as well as social research” with an emphasis on translating new ideas into practice. 

Mälardalen University (abbreviated MDH) is one of Sweden’s large institutes of higher education. The University has over 14,000 students studying our 52 programs and 1,000 courses, and almost 900 faculties and staff. MDH is characterized by close partnerships with businesses and the public sector in the region, making our University attractive to students - and our students attractive on the labor market.

Mälardalen University is situated in the densely populated and expansive region around Lake Mälaren, about one hour by train from Stockholm and Uppsala.

The University is characterized by its close cooperation with companies and with the public sector in the region and by its distinct environmental profile. Mälardalen University conducts education that leads to employment and invests in research which generates beneficial solutions for societal development.

This program would be suitable for students that are ready to be abroad, but would still like some of the academic services that a U.S. college provides.  It is a good choice for someone that is a world traveler OR has never left their hometown.

Learn more about Mälardalen University here! Read the ISEP Country Handbook to learn more about visa requirements, educational system, and culture.


To be eligible to participate in this program, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Good academic and judicial standing during time of application AND time of participation in program
  • Undergraduates must have completed at least two semesters of study at Lake Forest College AND have junior status or higher before participation. 
  • At least 18 years of age by the program’s departure date. 
  • Be able to stay at the host program for the duration of the semester, including through the exam and travel periods
  • Minimum GPA of 2.75.  

Students applying to ISEP must apply for an Exchange option (in any country) as a first choice but may apply to a Direct option as a back-up. Direct options may have an additional cost (see a financial section for more information).


The cities of Vasteras and Eskilstuna are beautifully situated on either side of Lake Mälaren, one of Sweden’s largest inland lakes. Both campuses are centrally located, which adds to the university’s attractions and to the vitality of both city centers. Whether a course is offered in Eskilstuna or Vasteras is of little importance, as students and staff travel between the campuses free of charge during working hours. 

The cities are large enough to provide a wide range of cultural activities, entertainment, and sporting facilities. The region also provides a range of outdoor leisure activities. During the summer there are excellent facilities for golf, sailing, swimming, and rambling. In the winter it is possible to ski and to skate on the frozen waters of Lake Malaren. The two cities are approximately 100 km from Stockholm and can easily be reached by bus or train within one hour.

To learn more about the visa process for this country, please visit the ISEP Country Handbook for Sweden. 


Academic Environment

Relations between students and teachers may seem informal to foreign students. Students are encouraged to ask questions both inside and outside the classroom. The lectures often contain discussion around chosen topics rather than teacher provided speeches.

You may if you desire to entitle your teacher with Mr/Mrs or his/her last name however it is common practice an equal approach between teachers and students. This does not in any way imply that teachers will accept anything but your best performance in class and during examinations.

Students enjoy a large measure of independence and are expected to do a substantial amount of work on their own initiative. This approach is demanding and you must be prepared to take a good deal of responsibility for your own studies. In return, you develop for example your planning skills, and your ability to determine which parts of all the knowledge that is most essential.

Classes are usually lecture-based, instead of discussion or group work. Classes are often much larger than those found at Lake Forest College. Grades are based heavily, at times almost entirely, on one end-of-term exam, though some courses will also offer a midterm.  Professors are often more formal than those in the United States.

ISEP students may take courses in all departments. Courses range from basic to specialized levels and are taken together with Swedish students. A wide range of courses taught in English is available. Strong fields include real-time systems, early childhood intervention, biochemistry, innovation technology, environmental engineering and sciences, public health, and international business. International students with documented good knowledge of Swedish and the appropriate prerequisites can choose from the entire range of courses offered by Mälardalen University.

Academic Environment and Teaching Style

Most professors will be European. Professors are often more formal than those in the United States, though still concerned with student success.  Some classes may tend to involve more lecture than group work or discussion, as is the norm in Europe.  Often, grades are based mostly on 1-2 exams rather than a collection of assignments, quizzes, and exams.

Please understand that the academic system is quite different. Classes are usually lecture-based, instead of discussion or group work. Classes are often much larger than those found at Lake Forest College. Grades are based heavily, at times almost entirely, on one end-of-term exam, though some courses will also offer a midterm.  Professors are often more formal than those in the United States.

All courses/modules may have prerequisites.  Some departments may have limitations on numbers of courses that can be taken within or outside it.  Be aware of these limitations.

Because a translation between Swedish and US grade is lacking, it is up to the home institution to award credit as they see fit. One method is to compare the Swedish grade description with those of the ECTS, and then ECTS with US. 

To Earn 4 Lake Forest credits, students must take 27 ECTS credits.

To Earn 3 Lake Forest credits, students must take 21 ECTS credits.

The number of credits listed here is estimated, and GEO will work with you, your advisor, and the registrar to ensure you are earning enough credits to keep you on track for graduation.


Economics, Marketing, Management, International Business, Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Intercultural Studies program, Psychology, International Social Psychology program, Caring and Public Health Sciences, Computer Sciences. Computer Engineering, Electronics, Information Design, Product, and Process Development, Environmental Science, Energy Engineering


Follow the link: Courses Offered for Exchange Students. Select the Courses link on the left-hand side for the appropriate semester. Review the pdf file of available courses.

Please review the ISEP country handbook for more information on the education system, grades, class hours, and classroom etiquette.

Student Life

Founded in 1977, Mälardalen University is among the younger universities in Sweden. The university has two main campuses: Västerås (main) and Eskilstuna. Total enrollment: 13,000 (including about 500 international students). 

Students at Mälardalen University have everything they need to be able to enjoy their studies. Laboratories and computer facilities are plentiful. All university buildings have been adapted to enable handicap access and handicap aids are available. The Student Union arranges numerous social events, and also plays an active role in setting up contacts with companies, international exchanges, cultural and athletic activities, and in providing access to information technology. 

Students are allowed to work on campus while studying in Sweden. 


During the orientation program, a series of informative meetings, lectures, and social activities are offered for all our international students. 
During orientation week, meetings with the School’s coordinators are scheduled. During these meetings, you will receive all the necessary information for your course registration. 

You will also meet with your host ISEP coordinator for information on the Swedish academic system, receiving your meal stipend, and opening a bank account. You will also receive practical information about library cards, university e-mail accounts, computer facilities and student health services etc. 

Representatives from the Student Union and their International Committee will inform you about their activities and their Swedish buddy system. There is a guided tour of the campus and the city and the University Chaplain invites all international students, regardless of religion and belief, to a typical Swedish “fika” (coffee & cinnamon buns) to become acquainted. 

The Student Union and the Swedish student buddies arrange a dinner for all exchange students with a party afterward. They also provide other social activities during the introduction week as well as throughout the academic year. 

The host will provide arrival directions with the acceptance packet.

Housing and Meals

ISEP students are housed in single-occupancy rooms in residence halls or in shared student flats. Cooking facilities are available. A meal stipend is provided. 

Financial Information

For all approved programs for guaranteed financial aid transferability, students pay their Lake Forest College tuition plus a program fee. The program fee for a semester with the ISEP Exchange includes orientation, on-site director, college fees, housing, and the equivalent of 19/meals per week.  

Here is an estimated budget for the Fall 2018/Spring 2020 programs:

Budget Item


Lake Forest College Tuition


Program fee (estimated)

Note: Spring may have added cost for Southern Hemisphere programs, as that starts a new academic year.


Total Expected Billed by Lake Forest College


ISEP Confirmation and Application Fees


ISEP-required health and repatriation insurance (estimated, $90/mo)

Note: Some countries require national insurance, which may be instead of, or in addition to, ISEP insurance. Check ISEP


Additional Meals


Estimated Airfare

*Students placed on ISEP Exchange may be eligible for up to $750 airfare award


Estimated Personal Expenses (passport, visas, immunizations, textbooks, supplies, personal expenses, additional national insurance if required, travel insurance, additional travel etc.)


Total Expected Out-of-Pocket Expenses




Tuition rates and program fees are subject to change each year, but this information was up-to-date as of March 2019. We will notify applicants, and update this page if the program fee or other estimates change.

You can discuss with Financial Aid your specific aid package and your expected family contribution.

Deposits to other programs, if required, are paid by the student to the host program, and will appear as a credit on your study abroad term bill from the College.

Keep in mind that you may spend more or less in certain areas like personal expenses, travel, meals, or airfare, depending on exchange rates and your own spending habits. Classroom or lab fees are not included in this estimate and will depend on your course registration choices.  

Don’t forget to apply for scholarships! A great listing can be found here.  

  • Contact:

    For Questions About the Initial Application Process:

    Alexandra Olson
    Coordinator of the Global Engagement Office