SISS – Eligibility criteria

The Swedish Institute Study Scholarships (SISS) aims at diversity and gender equality among scholarship holders. We welcome applicants regardless of age or religious beliefs.

The eligibility criteria described on this page is only for studies starting in the autumn semester 2017 and the deadline for applying has passed. Next call will be at the end of 2017 for master’s studies starting in the autumn semester 2018 and the eligibility criteria may differ from this year.

The recipients of Swedish Institute Study Scholarships 2017/2018 have now been determined. See the lists of recipients.

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.

Eligible countries

The programme is open to three different categories of countries, as well as South Africa and Syria for which there are special initiatives. Approximately 210 scholarships will be available for category 1. Approximately 50 scholarships will be available for category 2 and 50 scholarships for category 3. Up to 10 scholarships will be allocated to South African students and 15 scholarships to Syrian students.

Citizens of South Africa should apply within the Swedish Institute Study Scholarships for South Africa.

Citizens of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine cannot apply within this programme, but are instead eligible within other SI scholarship programmes.

Applicants who hold dual citizenships and both countries are eligible for SI scholarships, should choose only one of the citizenships when applying for SI scholarships. Therefore applicants can only apply to one SI scholarship programme or one category/initiative within SI Study Scholarships. Applicants who apply for SI scholarships with more than one citizenship will be disqualified.

Category 1:

Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burkina-Faso, Cambodia, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mozambique, Myanmar (Burma), Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Kindly note that Sweden does not accept Somali passports which have been issued or extended after 31 January 1991 and therefore Somalian scholarship recipients who only hold a Somalia passport issued/extended after 31 January 1991 cannot be granted for a residence permit by the Swedish Migration Agency. If you hold a Somalia passport and another passport from a country listed on the DAC list of ODA recipients, and you identify yourself as a Somalian, you are suggested to apply as a citizen from Somalia when applying to SI Study Scholarships.

Category 2:

Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Ghana, Indonesia, Iran and Vietnam.

Category 3:

Candidates with citizenships from countries on the DAC list of ODA recipients other than the above mentioned and those countries included in other SI scholarship programmes, can apply within this category.

Special initiative:

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.

Read more about this special initiative, the eligibility criteria and application procedure for the Swedish Institute Study Scholarships for South Africa.


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. Priority will be given to applicants who have 3,000 hours’ work experience and leadership experience.


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 2017).
  • 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.
  • have a dual citizenship from countries not listed on the DAC list of ODA recipients.

Eligible programmes

Check the list of eligible master programmes for the academic year 2017/2018.

Work experience

Applicants must have had at least 3,000 hours’ work experience prior to 1 February 2017 (not required for students from South Africa and not compulsory for students from Syria). Applicants will be required to certify that experience in the second application step. 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 (for instance, president at student union)

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, Human Rights
  • Education
  • Engineering and technology
  • Entrepreneurship management and/or leadership
  • Environment and climate
  • Equality/Equal opportunities
  • Health
  • ICT and E-solutions
  • Law
  • 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 11 hours per week for 50 weeks per year for 4 calendar years prior to 1 February 2017, 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 (11 hours x 50 weeks x 4 years = 2,200) + (12 hours x 35 weeks x 2 years = 840) = 3,040 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 prior to 31 December 2016. Is only employed until 31 December 2016 and does not have another employment afterward.

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.

Note that

  • 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 3,000 hours 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.
  • 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 or you will be released in time, in case you are selected for a scholarship. SI cannot, and will not, intervene in this.
  • You must be able to provide certification for the 3,000 hours’ work experience in the second application step. For more information please see the application procedure and key dates.
  • Working hours after the submission of your application in the first application step but prior to 1 February 2017 can be included in the calculation only if the employment for this period is already decided when you submit your application.

Leadership experience

Applicants must be able to demonstrate their previous leadership experience through certificates or assessments in the second step (not required for students from South Africa and not compulsory for students from Syria). 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.

The leadership experience has no requirement in regards to the minimum number of hours.

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.

University application

Regarding university application, the applicants must also:

  • be required to pay tuition fee according to the information at University Admissions (not applicable for applicants from Syria who currently live in Sweden on a residence permit that was granted on a basis other than studies). Kindly contact University Admissions directly regarding questions related to the application and tuition fee.


Read more about the application procedure and key dates, as well as frequently asked questions.