KI in brief

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Karolinska Institutet is one of the world’s foremost medical universities. Our vision is to make a significant contribution to the improvement of human health; our mission is to conduct research and education and to interact with the community.

As a university, KI is Sweden’s single largest centre of medical academic research and offers the country’s widest range of medical courses and programmes.

Since 1901 the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet has selected the Nobel laureates in Physiology or Medicine.

Karolinska Institutet was founded by King Karl XIII in 1810 as an "academy for the training of skilled army surgeons". Today, Karolinska Institutet is a modern medical university and one of the foremost in the world.

With our close relationship to the clinical milieu, a well established infrastructure and a stable financial situation, Karolinska Institutet has excellent prerequisites for sustaining high quality research and education.


Karolinska Institutet offers the widest range of medical education under one roof in Sweden. Several of the programmes include clinical training or other training within the healthcare system.

The close proximity of the Karolinska University Hospital and other teaching hospitals in the Stockholm area thus plays an important role during the education.

Approximately 6,000 full-time students are taking educational and single subject courses at Bachelor and Master levels at Karolinska Institutet.

Teachers at Karolinska Institutet often carry out research in parallel with teaching. This ensures that students are involved in the latest advances within the medical field. Ambitious students, teachers and researchers together create an interesting and stimulating environment.

We also offer good opportunities for international exchange, which gives students the chance to work abroad for a period of time.

Bachelor's and Master's education

In 2015 there were 6,062 full-time students at KI.

KI also offers several Master's one-year and Master's two-year programmes and single-subject courses. Most of the programmes lead to a professional degree, and several offer degrees at a Bachelor's or Master's level.

Most of the programmes leads to a professional exam. Several of the programmes also leads to a general degree. In 2015, 2,824 degrees were issued to 2,105 individuals.

Undergraduate education 2015

Programme First year places Full time equivalent students Degrees awarded
Audiology  16 58 17
Biomedicine  45 172 -
Biomedical lab science 60 204 65
Dental hygiene 40 89 46
Dentist 90 443 94
Medicine  156 1 651 292
Nursing  120 792 226
Occupational therapy 36 231 71
Optometry  45 130 38
Physiotherapy  60 365 101
Psychology  70 320 47
Speech and language pathology 28 116 21
Radiography  40 110 33

Supplementary training 2015

Programme First year places  Full-time equivalent students Degrees awarded
Midwifery  80 111 64
Odontological prophylacts 26 16  
Psychotherapy  19 17 13
Specialist training for nurses 574 447 439

Master programmes taught in English

Global Health
Health Informatics
Public Health Sciences

Exchange programmes

Most of Karolinska Institutet´s programmes have established student exchange networks. KI uses the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) when converting qualifications for overseas studies.

Study abroad


Research at Karolinska Institutet spans the entire medical field, from basic experimental research to patient-oriented and nursing research.

Karolinska Institutet today stands for more than 40% of all academic medical research in Sweden. 

Research areas

Cancer and Haematology
Cell, Molecular and Structural Biology
Circulation and Respiration
Developmental Biology, Stem Cells, Reproductive, Regenerative and Reparative Medicine
Endocrinology and Metabolism
Epidemiology and Public Health Sciences
Health Care Sciences
Immunology, Infection, Inflammation and Microbiology

Translational research

Research at Karolinska Institutet is conducted in 22 departments, most of which are situated or adjacent to Stockholm's teaching hospitals. This creates ample opportunities for translational research in which new experimental results are rapidly implemented for patient benefit, and where clinical observations provide a basis for new research ideas.

Doctoral/third-cycle education

Karolinska Institutet carries out 12% of Swedish doctoral/third cycle education at universities or university colleges. Over 359 students take their PhD degree each year at Karolinska Institutet, after studies corresponding to four years of full-time study. Many of Karolinska Institutet´s doctoral students have taken their first-cycle education abroad.

In 2015, 2,069 individuals were active doctoral students whereof 58 percent were women. 

359 doctoral degrees were issued. KI's doctoral students have backgrounds in all academic areas, and a large proportion comes from other countries.

Doctoral studies at KI takes place in an international environment and usually within international collaborations, either informal between research groups or formal collaborations between the two universities.

Read more about Doctoral/third cycle education at Karolinska Institutet. 

External collaboration

Karolinska Institutet has collaboration agreements in research and education with a large number of universities the world over, with companies in the biomed and biotech sectors and also with individual countries.

Read more about international collaboration

The Stockholm Academic Healthcare System

As a medical university, it is essential for Karolinska Institutet to work in concert with the healthcare services, in particular with the Stockholm County Council (SLL). In recent years, the partnership between Karolinska Institutet and SLL has intensified considerably and continues to expand.

The common goal of Karolinska Institutet and SLL is to conduct research and education that is of the highest international quality, and of benefit to today's and tomorrow's patients.

This is being achieved through developing the skills and knowledge of healthcare personell, implementing research results, and - together with the industry - developing and testing pharmaceutical and medical products.

Read more about collaboration with the health services.

The innovation system

Karolinska Institutet has developed a unique innovation system to identify ideas and support commercialization and exploitation of innovations so as to maximize utilization of research findings in medicine and health. The Karolinska innovation system comprises a number of actors that provide complementary competences and services so as to optimally utilize ideas arising from research.

The innovation system also provides the means to identify ideas with development potential and see that they come all the way to commercialisation. The system provides education and coaching in entrepreneurship, the development of innovations, forming start-ups and making licensing deals.

A science park provides the infrastructure and support for both small start-ups as well as mature Life Science companies with a portfolio of drug development projects including a number in clinical phase development. The innovation system also provides support for corporate collaboration and outreach to industry.

The major components of the Karolinska Institutet innovation system comprise:

Unit for Bioentrepreneurship The academic Unit for Bioentrepreneurship (UBE) that conducts research and provides educational courses in innovation and entrepreneurship.
The innovation office The Innovation Office that provides free consultation to persons coming with new ideas, as well as support for collaborative projects between academia and industry and access to useful contacts and networks.
Karolinska Institutet Innovations AB Karolinska Institutet Innovations AB that offers coaching, financing and business development of projects into medical products that can be commercialised.
Karolinska Institutet Science Park AB Karolinska Institutet Science Park AB that provides office and laboratory facilities as well as arranging mentor programmes, symposiums and networking meetings.
Karolinska Development AB The stock-market listed investment company, Karolinska Development AB that selects, develops and commercialises life science innovations.


Karolinska Institutet strives to operate at all times in a spirit of professionalism, equality and diversity.

In 2015, Karolinska Institutet had 4,694 full time employees. In addition to this a large number of people without formal employment, especially visiting scientists, fellows and unpaid docents were active at KI.



Karolinska Institutet´s turnover in 2015 was SEK 6,475 million. Karolinska Institutet's total assets in foundations and funds amounted at year-end (2015) to SEK 2 323,9 million: SEK 640,9 million in funds and SEK 1,683 million in foundations.

Karolinska Institutet annual reports