The exchange program at KTH in Stockholm, Sweden began in Autumn 2001. The department approves sending up to two CSE undergraduate students and five CSE graduate students to KTH in a given year. Our expectation is that undergrads will most likely have greater interest, since graduate student participation will depend on individual faculty members having specific research links.
Requirements & Application
Undergraduate students interested in visiting KTH should speak with a CSE advisor. The information session for CSE students interested in one of the departmental programs takes place early in Winter quarter for the following academic year. The session is run by the exchange program coordinator (Alan Borning), a CSE advisor, and students who have participated in the exchange before. This session is your opportunity to ask questions, hear about others' experiences, and learn about the application process. The departmental application to select students typically consists of a brief statement of interest and a review of your academic record and background. Our goal is to notify students selected for the exchange no later than early March.
Ideally, students will plan to spend their junior year at KTH, and then return to UW for the senior year and capstone project, but an exchange during senior year is also possible. The correspondence between KTH and CSE courses are evaluated on a case-by-case basis once students return from the exchange, but you should be able to apply a significant number of KTH computer science courses toward your UW degree.
KTH offers a stipend of 20,000 SEK (approximately $3000) to help up to two CSE exchange students with living expenses at the university. Students must set up a bank account upon their arrival in Sweden in order to receive these funds.
Before You Go
After you are selected for an exchange, you must confirm your intention to go abroad (usually within a couple weeks, or before March 1). Then you will have a number of pre-departure tasks to complete for UW Study Abroad and for KTH. Please allow some time for all of these, and keep deadlines in mind. It's the student's responsibility to complete all the necessary steps for both KTH and UW to study and live abroad.
CSE will notify the UW Study Abroad Office of your nomination for an exchange abroad no later than March 1. Study Abroad will contact you direct about their requirements. CSE will also introduce you, via email, to our coordinators at KTH. Once you are have applied to and are accepted to KTH, you will receive information from their admissions office about housing and enrollment.
The KTH application is mostly a formality, but it will take some time to prepare. Applications must reach KTH by mail by April 15, so begin early! The application requires a number of components: a transcript, a copy of your passport, a learning plan approved by CSE outlining the courses you want to take, a photo, plus a completed application form. Consult Information for Admitted Exchange Students on the KTH site for full details. We recommend you review the application requirements early, so you know what is required.
The KTH exchange, like other exchanges at UW, operates under the Home Tuition Program: students continue to pay UW tuition but no tuition at the visiting school. In addition, students are required to concurrently enroll and pay a UW Study Abroad fee to maintain these benefits while away:
- Concurrent enrollment;
- Financial aid and scholarship eligibility;
- Graded UW credit for coursework completed abroad;
- Pre-registration privileges at the UW;
- Continued deferment of school-related loans;
- Satisfaction of residency graduation requirements;
Passport & Visa
If you do not currently have a passport, you should apply for one as early as possible. The processing time can take up to 3 months.
Once you have your letter/certificate of acceptance from KTH, you can move forward with obtaining your visa from the Swedish Consulate in Seattle. You will want to check with the consulate directly about the required documents and payment you must provide.
Arriving in Sweden
To help you transition to KTH, the school hosts "Arrival Days" just before the start of August language courses and before autumn semester. This includes some social and informational activities, plus a mandatory registration meeting. There may also be transportation from the airport to KTH. Check for dates under the "Arrival and Introduction" link on the page for admitted students. KTH also has this student organization that arranges welcome events for new international students.
KTH's academic calendar is very different from UW's: in semesters instead of quarters, with different start and end dates than UW's school year, and with some exams running long after courses end. If you go abroad for a full year, none of these are big issues. If you spend half the year abroad and half at UW, you'll need to carefully consider which courses will be offered at each school in each term and whether you should stay abroad through re-exams (allowing for this second opportunity to take each exam could be useful, but it may mean returning to UW much later). Note that not all courses have exams in the extended exam period, and some faculty may be willing to schedule earlier exams if necessary. Also note that tuition may vary depending on your combination of semester abroad and quarters at UW (one semester + one quarter is cheaper than one semester + two quarters).
Although you are not required to speak Swedish, we strongly encourage participating students to take the opportunity to learn the language to enhance their experience at the university and in Stockholm, as well as to increase course options at KTH.
Courses are taught in two different ways at KTH. First, the Master's courses in scientific computing are taught entirely in English. Second, students can take ordinary KTH courses, with lectures given in English or in Swedish with English slides. To prepare for this, students can take intensive summer language courses (paid for by KTH) in Swedish, starting in early July and early August, to have access to whatever classes they want.
KTH reports that they have had very good experiences with students taking the summer course - they subsequently manage very well, especially since most of the textbooks are in English. In lecture, students can also at any time ask a question in English and receive an answer in English. (Nearly every Swede at the university level will speak excellent English.)
Exchange students are expected to take a full-time load of 24-30 ECTS credits per semester (excluding language courses). In order to not jeopardize student or financial aid status at the UW, a minimum of 48 ECTS credits must be taken for a year-long exchange. If you have any concerns about a course or your expected grade while at KTH, please talk with a CSE advisor about that before making any decisions about dropping the class.
Exchange credits and equivalents are determined by IP&E and CSE after you return to Seattle. You will need to have a KTH transcript sen to the IP&E office once your exchange is complete and your final grades are reported. Please see the IP&E Credits for Exchangesfor an overview of the credit conversion process.
Courses are frequently offered as 5, 7.5, 10, 15, 20, 30 ECTS credit courses. A normal full time load for a semester is 24-30 ECTS and at least 48 ECTS for an academic year.
- 1 ECTS credit = approximately 0.75 quarter credits
- 16 ECTS credits = 12 quarter credits
- 20 ECTS credits = 15 quarter credits
- 24 ECTS credits = 18 quarter credits