Annual report 2015: Education

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"During the year, the Board of Higher Education has focused on securing the quality and research basis of study programmes. Part of this work involves extensive reorganisation to bring most programmes under the delegated responsibility of the KI departments. We have produced and implemented a more transparent model for allocating resources, and a project has been initiated to review the distribution and follow-up of research funding for teachers. The board has also worked strategically to increase internal dialogue and to make education issues visible."

Annika Östman Wernerson, Dean of Higher Education

Range of courses and study programmes

Karolinska Institutet, KI, has a wide range of study programmes in medicine and healthcare. This wide range is unique in Sweden.

It is important that the range of courses and study programmes corresponds to student demand and labour market needs. According to labour market forecasts for the years ahead, there will be a great demand for the professions educated at KI.

In 2015, KI offered over 40 study programmes and about 60 free-standing courses. The majority of the range offered are programmes leading to a professional qualification and supplementary education for those who already have an education in medicine and healthcare.

This year has seen the start of a new master’s programme in molecular techniques in life science. The programme leads to a joint degree with Stockholm University and KTH Royal Institute of Technology within the framework of the Science for Life Laboratory (SciLifeLab).

Global Bachelor's and Master's Programmes

Freestanding courses



KI’s study programmes generally have a high number of applicants per admitted student. The number of qualified first-choice applicants continued to increase in 2015, but a rise in admissions figures led to a decrease in the number of applicants per admitted student. A lower number of applicants per admitted student can particularly be noted for one- and two-year master’s programmes, having increased for a couple of years. On the other hand, the number of applicants per admitted student for undergraduate programmes has increased and is unchanged for the specialist nursing programmes.

Competition was greatest among applicants for the Study Programme in Medicine with eight qualified first-time applicants per student admitted, but the Study Programme in Psychology (5.6 applicants per student admitted) and the Study Programme in Dental Hygiene (5.0 applicants per student admitted) also had a high acceptance ratio.

Number of applicants per place by programme type (qualified first-choice applicants) 2012–2015. Number of applicants/place in brackets.
  2012 2013 2014 2015
Beginner’s 1,736 (3.5) 1,718 (3.9) 1,789 (4.1) 1,822 (4.2)
Continuation (excl. master’s) 843 (2.4) 905 (2.2) 915 (1.9) 974 (1.7)
Master’s 470 (1.6) 547 (1.8) 452 (2.0) 621 (1.6)
Total 3,049 (2.9) 3,170 (3.1) 3,156 (3.2) 3,417 (3.0)

Widening participation

In 2015, KI responded to a survey from the Swedish Council for Higher Education (UHR) about KI’s work to widen participation. In completing the survey, it became apparent that many of the activities that KI started in the early 2000s have today been implemented in core operations. Notable are KI’s Academic Writing Support and the opportunity to shadow a student.

During the year, KI participated in UHR’s hearing on widening participation, which showed that work by higher education institutions would benefit from a clear definition of the concept of widening participation and from goals being set for this work. The survey and hearing results will form the basis of KI’s actions in 2016. KI has continued to take active part in Include, a network organisation for sharing experience and tools in widening participation matters.

Student influence

KI seeks to promote a study environment in which students, teachers and management take a joint responsibility for effective student influence. This is a prerequisite for achieving a very high quality of operations. According to the Higher Education Act, the primary task of a student union is to monitor and be involved in the educational development. The student unions at KI have the opportunity to appoint representatives to all bodies that have direct responsibility for education issues. In order for these bodies to be quorate, at least one student representative must be present, provided that such a representative has been appointed by the student union.

During the year, KI has made a decision on which student associations will have the status of student union at the university for the period 2016–2018. An application for union status was submitted by two student associations – the Medical Students’ Association and the Student Union of Odontology. Both were granted student union status, with responsibilities for student influence and the monitoring of education within their respective areas of activity. KI provides financial support for this, as well as for the students’ and doctoral students’ ombudsmen.

KI organises annual training for students who participate in KI’s planning and decision-making bodies supporting student influence. The training focuses on laws and regulations and organisational and decision-making structures. It is offered in both Swedish and English.

Medical Students’ Association

Student Union of Odontology


Full-time equivalent students (FTEs) and annual performance equivalents (APEs)

In 2015, the number of FTEs was 6,062 and the number of APEs was 5,534 within the framework of the funding cap. This is a small increase in the number of FTEs, but a decrease in the number of APEs compared with 2014. The APE figure is lower than the previous year for a number of programmes. This is partly attributable to the fact that the academic year consisted of 41 weeks, which is a week more than is normally the case.

Full-time equivalent students and annual performance equivalents (in brackets) 2012-2015





Beginner’s programmes        
Occupational therapy 205 (193) 213 (204) 224 (217) 231 (216)
Audiology 48 (46) 48 (45) 55 (55) 58 (54)
Biomedicine 145 (128) 158 (136) 157 (141) 172 (142)
Biomedical laboratory science 196 (166) 205 (185) 205 (186) 204 (184)
Public health sciences 65 (69) 38 (45) 14 (17) 0 (2)
Physiotherapy 340 (315) 357 (360) 370 (355) 365 (338)
Speech and language pathology 94 (90) 111 (105) 108 (101) 116 (109)
Medicine 1,516 (1,402) 1,591 (1,500) 1,667 (1,660) 1,651 (1,583)
Optometry 103 (102) 110 (101) 127 (114) 130 (121)
Medical informatics 1 (2) 0 (2) 0 (1) 0 (2)
Podiatry 0 (1) 0 (0) 0 (0) - (-)
Psychology 251 (223) 285 (270) 300 (276) 320 (290)
Radiography 105 (100) 114 (106) 112 (114) 109 (91)
Nursing 601 (521) 788 (713) 792 (745) 806 (733)
Dental hygiene 86 (78) 82 (72) 85 (70) 89 (75)
Dentistry 396 (364) 412 (363) 433 (396) 443 (416)
Dental technology 35 (41) 19 (20) 5 (7) - (-)
Continuation programmes        
Midwifery 95 (84) 101 (96) 101 (94) 111 (102)
Psychotherapy 22 (18) 21 (20) 20 (18) 17 (16)
Specialist nursing 457 (428) 458 (409) 456 (423) 447 (409)
Odontological prophylactics 20 (14) 20 (25) 15 (13) 16 (9)
MSc (1-2 years) 405 (386) 395 (381) 389 (379) 415 (376)
Single subject courses 701 (535) 488 (429) 341 (233) 362 (268)
Totalt 5,885 (5,307) 6,014 (5,589) 5,978 (5,613) 6,062 (5,534)


The total number of degrees awarded has increased in comparison with 2014. This is a general increase as regards professional qualifications, which is largely due to previous increases in places on several programmes. The specialist nursing programmes now also lead to a one-year Master’s degree, which explains the great increase in general qualifications.

Number of degrees awarded 2012–2015
  2012 2013 2014 2015
Professional qualifications 1,223 1,256 1,432 1,578
General qualifications 655 891 1,106 1,246
Total number of degrees 1,878 2,147 2,538 2,824
Total number of individuals 1,668 1,758 1,964 2,105


KI’s commissions include contract education and contracted courses from other higher education institutions and of other commissions. Revenues from commissions amounted to just under SEK 81.5 million in 2015, an increase of seven per cent compared with 2014. See the pie chart above for information on revenues from different sources of funding.

Contract education

In order to meet society’s need for continuing professional development of healthcare professionals, KI offers a wide range of contract education in the area of healthcare.

In 2015, specialist courses, e.g. for nurses and dentists, psychotherapy courses and specialist competence courses (SC courses) constituted a major proportion of turnover. However, contract education covers almost 150 different education activities for a variety of professional categories. In particular, it is worth noting that the number of courses for personnel working with children and young people has increased and that our cooperation with the City of Stockholm has continued to develop.

In 2015, the first cohort of medical doctors completed the Master’s Course in Dementia Care, and a corresponding course for occupational therapists and physiotherapists started for the first time.

Online courses continue to represent a significant portion of KI’s contract education.

The decrease in the number of FTEs and APEs is mainly due to fewer participants in the longer psychotherapy courses and to the fact that one of the specialist nursing programmes did not start during the year. Despite this, turnover increased, which is above all due to a greater scope of international commissions and a greater scope to commissions from municipalities. Several of these commissions concerned courses for which no education credits are awarded.

Full-time equivalent students (FTEs) and annual performance equivalents (APEs) in contract education 2012–2015
  2012 2013 2014 2015
Full-time equivalent students (annual performance equivalents in brackets) 250 (222) 241 (188) 304 (274) 279 (249)

Executive and professional education


Internationalisation activities have been carried out in accordance with the action plan for 2014–2017. Objectives in the action plan are that global health issues must be integrated in compulsory education, that all study programmes have a compulsory course in English, and that student and teacher mobility increase. The objective is also to increase the number of non EU/EEA students on the global master’s programmes.

The theme of KI’s Teachers’ Day 2015 was internationalization and included discussion about global health objectives and courses in English. A plan has been produced for a number of activities on the theme of Global Health to be organised for KI’s teaching staff in 2016. During the year, KI has enhanced support for teachers with regard to teaching in English and teaching in the “international classroom”. Two half-day seminars for teaching staff were also arranged on these themes.

The number of outgoing exchange teachers decreased during the year from 60 to 38. A comparison of recent years shows that teacher mobility tends to vary. The decrease is above all seen within the Erasmus programme, while there has been an increase within the Linnaeus-Palme programme, as several of the planning trips previously undertaken have led to continued cooperation.The number of incoming exchange teachers is relatively constant. During the year, the number of employees that participated in staff exchange within the Erasmus programme has increased, from two to twelve.

KI has continued to arrange information events about teacher and student exchanges and social activities for participating teachers and students. The number of incoming students is higher than last year, and the imbalance between incoming and outgoing students remains. As in previous years there is very great interest, above all from European students, in coming to KI.

A number of students do parts of their degree project work abroad at universities or companies outside exchange programmes. Some also participate in international courses such as Global Health and Medical Development in Europe and the EU, in which part of the tuition is carried out abroad.

Tuition fees for non EU/EEA students

In 2015, KI offered one international bachelor’s programme and eight international master’s programmes. There were also a number of freestanding courses taught in English. KI had a total of 172 fee-paying students (91 women), which is an increase compared with the previous year. The number of FTEs was 107 and the number of APEs was 98.

Number of full-time equivalent students (FTEs) and annual performance equivalents (APEs) in tuition-fee financed activities 2012–2015
  2012 2013 2014 2015
Full-time equivalent students (annual performance equivalents in brackets) 34 (28) 51 (50) 74 (64) 107 (98)

In the autumn term 2015, 58 new fee-paying students were registered on KI’s global master’s programmes. Of these students, 22 had a full scholarship, which is a 57 per cent decline compared with 2014. The trend form 2014 of more self-financed tuition-fee students continues.

KI has participated in the master’s programme Public Health in Disasters, which is an Erasmus Mundus cooperation with Universidad de Oviedo, Spain and Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium. Also in 2015, a number of Brazilian students on the Ciência sem Fronteiras scholarship programme chose to study at KI.

Investments within KI’s tuition fee-funded operations benefit all of the university’s internationalisation and training activities.

In addition to the reception services and service on campus, the tuition-fee financed activities contribute towards the funding of pedagogical development that is aimed at improving and developing teaching in the international classroom. These efforts have also contributed to internationalisation at the KI campus.

For the third year running, tuition-fee financed activities showed a positive financial outcome. The surplus will be reinvested in these activities. Examples of reinvestments are improved career service and language workshops for international students.

Revenue and costs for operations funded by tuition fees 2012–2015 (SEK million)
  2012 2013 2014 2015
Revenue 5.7 9.3 14.7 19.3
Costs 5.9 7.6 10.7 15.4
Total -0.2 1.7 4.1 3.9

Cooperation with the Swedish Migration Agency has worked well. However, it should be pointed out that a number of students have been unable to accept their study places due to delayed residence permits. Some students state that they find the long processing time for extending their residence permit difficult.


Measures to improve the quality of KI’s study programmes

KI has continued to implement the proposals put forward in the 2013 report on the quality and research basis of KI’s courses and study programmes.

A new definition of research-based education has been established and will be used as a guiding principle in KI’s courses and study programmes.

In order to clarify the departments’ responsibility for education and for its quality and research basis, the organizational structure for education is being changed. This reorganization commenced in January 2015 when responsibility for a number of study programmes was delegated to one department. In 2015, a further four departments have been making preparations to assume programme responsibility from 1 January 2016.

As part of the work to develop an integrated quality management system for education at bachelor’s and master’s level, quality indicators are being identified. This work will continue over the course of 2016.

An important step in enhancing the quality of KI’s study programmes is to secure a teaching faculty of high academic and educational competence. As part of this work, KI’s recruitment strategy is introducing a teaching career track. In 2015 an inventory was made of the competence of course directors for the Study Programme in Medicine. Similar inventories will be made for the other programmes.

Use of performance-based resource allocation

In 2015, KI received SEK 11.7 million in quality-based funding. These funds have primarily been used for quality improvement measures in the study programmes rated by the Swedish Higher Education Authority (UKÄ) as “very high quality”. The programmes have mainly used the funding for educational development and the development of international activities. Remaining funds have been used for overall investments in quality development, for example implementation of KI’s action plan for quality evaluation and the development of an integrated quality management system for education at Bachelor’s and Master’s level.

Professional development for teachers

In 2015, KI arranged 14 courses on teaching and learning in higher education and a number of shorter continuing professional development courses for teachers. These courses had just over 400 participants in total. In addition a freestanding course with around 150 participants was organised for clinical teachers and supervisors in placement courses. KI also arranged a teachers’ day which focused on the internationalisation of education and involved around 200 participants.

Teacher's Day (Lärardagen) 2015

Pedagogical leadership training

The leadership training programme which KI started in 2014 was concluded in 2015. The overall goal of the programme was to ensure the future supply of scientifically and pedagogically qualified leaders for educational activities at KI. The evaluation of the training showed that participants were very satisfied with both the structure and content of the course. There are plans to repeat this training in 2016.

Online courses

Since 2013, KI has collaborated on Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) with the international education group edX. The purpose of MOOC activities is to develop and market KI study programmes globally in order to attract the best students. KI has developed six courses since the collaboration began. Three courses were developed in 2015, of which two were carried out. The third will be offered in 2016. During the year preparations have also been made to enable all MOOCs to be eligible as self-study courses.

MOOC courses

Equal opportunities

Gender distribution

A majority of first- and second-cycle students are women, and the proportion of men among beginner students has been at around 23 per cent over time. Some study programmes have no or only a few men, and it is only the Study Programme in Medicine that has a relatively even gender distribution. The recent trend of a greater proportion of men on master’s programmes appears to have been broken.

Our recruitment initiatives involve active work for KI’s study programmes to be represented by both women and men, on KI’s website, in social media, at fairs and when visiting schools. It is, however, difficult to influence gender-related vocational choices.

Equal opportunities in courses and study programmes

In order to strengthen the equal opportunity perspective in the university’s study programmes, KI arranges lectures, workshops and seminars for supervisors and teachers. Harassment, discrimination, equal conditions for patients and gender disparities in health are among the subjects raised. During the year two teacher seminars were held on the theme of accessible teaching. The aim is to equip teachers with pedagogical tools which they can use when teaching students with disabilities.

KI offers both students and employees the opportunity to take a web-based course on discrimination and harassment. This online course is available in both Swedish and English.

In 2015 KI participated in Stockholm Pride together with the Medical Students’ Association and its student association Queerolinska. During the year KI’s Council for Equal Opportunities provided financial support for Heteroveckan, a studentdriven festival week with a norm-critical perspective. The year also included the inauguration of the intersectional book collection at the University Library. The aim of this collection is to supplement the library’s regular literature, particularly highlighting normcritical and intersectional perspectives in areas such as medicine, pedagogy and psychology.

Special commitments

Supplementary training for persons with formal education in medicine, dental surgery and nursing from countries outside the EU/EEA.

Together with the universities of Gothenburg and Linköping, KI has in 2015 arranged supplementary training for doctors, dentists and nurses who had completed their training in countries outside the EU/EEA. KI has a national coordination role.

These courses cover one year’s full-time studies, half of which are theoretical and half clinical training.

All three courses are developed in collaboration with the other participating institutions.

The year has seen intensive discussions on the expansion of the number of places within existing programmes and the opportunity to provide supplementary education for other occupational groups. KI has also received requests from the Swedish Public Employment Service to give preparatory courses and from the National Board of Health and Welfare to test knowledge and skills and to provide a course on Swedish statutes to all licensed professions.

Supplementary training courses (in Swedish)

Annual report