Försvarshögskolan (Swedish Defence University), Sweden

The Swedish Defence University, or Försvarshögskolan in Swedish, traces its history back over two hundred years to the Higher Artillery School and Sweden’s military staff colleges. Today, Swedish Defence University brings together different approaches from students, researchers, civil servants, reservists and full-time military personnel to explore the management of crisis situations, defence policy and security issues. 

Swedish Defence University website

Who can go?

Postgraduate research students (at PhD level) in the School of International Relations.

There is currently a limit of two students per year, each for a three-month placement. You should discuss precise periods with your St Andrews supervisor and host as periods may be flexible but must be at least 3 months in duration to meet Erasmus+ programme requirements.

The exchange is run by the School of International Relations. Interested students should discuss the opportunity with their supervisor and contact the School’s study abroad coordinator

How to apply

You should discuss the opportunity with your supervisor and request an application form from your School’s study abroad coordinator

If you are selected to participate in the exchange, St Andrews will nominate you to the Swedish Defence University. You will be required to complete the Swedish Defence University’s admission process.

Please apply in a suitable time for your application to be considered and processed before the nomination deadline for Swedish Defence University. The deadlines are:

  • 15 April for Semester 1
  • 15 September for Semester 2.

Current students can contact the study abroad coordinators to find out more. 

Your studies

Before arriving at Swedish Defence University, you will discuss and get approval for your research plan from your supervisor and your School’s study abroad coordinator. 

Each academic year at Swedish Defence University is divided into two semesters:

  • Semester 1: early August to January
  • Semester 2: January to June

There are slight differences in the academic calendar in the different faculties. Students are issued with a university ID card and have full access to the university network, library facilities, computer rooms and study areas. 

Passports and visas

You should ensure that your passport is valid for the duration of your trip, and for at least six months after you return to the UK. You should scan your passport and keep a copy for your records.

If you are a European Union national, you will not require a visa and may enter the European Union countries with your passport or national identity card. Please note that you may have to comply with legal obligations, such as registering your address with the local authorities.

If you are an international student who has a visa to study in the UK, and you have any questions about the implications of studying or working abroad whilst matriculated at St Andrews, you should consult Student Services by emailing advint@st-andrews.ac.uk. You can also check the passports and visas page for further information.

About the University

The Swedish Defence University, or Försvarshögskolan in Swedish, is located in the Östermalm area of central Stockholm. While it was founded in 1997, the Swedish Defence University traces its history back over two hundred years to the Higher Artillery School and Sweden’s military staff colleges. It continues to train all officers in the Swedish Armed Forces and drive their professional development. Today, Swedish Defence University brings together different approaches from students, researchers, civil servants, reservists and full-time military personnel to explore the management of crisis situations, defence policy and security issues. The Swedish Defence University offers doctoral programmes in War Studies and Political Science with a specialisation in crisis management and security studies.

The Swedish Defence University has two academic departments. The Department of Military Studies is responsible for the subjects War Studies, Military Technology, Command and Control Science and Military History. The majority of staff are officers seconded from the Swedish Armed Forces.

The Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership is responsible for the subjects Political Science with focus on Security Policy, Crisis Management, Strategy, Leadership and International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law. The Department also includes the Centre for Societal Security uniting leading experts and researchers with longstanding experience from public agencies and organizations working with societal security issues, creating a powerhouse of knowledge, expertise and innovation.


As an exchange student, you will not pay tuition fees to your host university, and will only be liable for your normal St Andrews tuition fees.

Research Council students should make sure that they have their funding body’s permission to study abroad, notifying them particularly for any mobility grants that they may be receiving.


It is important to start looking for accommodation as early as possible since there is a shortage of student housing in Stockholm. Links for finding student accommodation can be found on the Swedish Defence University website.

Please note that St Andrews is unable to guarantee housing at any of our partner institutions.

Travel and transport

The Swedish Defence University is situated in Stockholm and the nearest airport is Bromma Stockholm Airport. There are regular bus and tram services.

Arlanda Airport is the main Stockholm airport and is situated 40 kilometres north of the city centre. There is a regular coach service between the Airport and Stockholm’s central station. The journey takes about 35 minutes. There is also an express train service called Arlanda Express, which runs between Arlanda and the central station. The T14 Tram Service runs from the Central Station to the Tekniska högskolan stop every ten minutes or more frequently. The journey takes six minutes.

Public transport is easy to use in Stockholm and in Sweden in general. Students can travel by commuter trains, underground, buses, and boats, throughout the greater Stockholm area. Students who hold a student identity card can buy a Student Travelcard that gives a reduction on the cost of travel.

Student support

Student health and counselling services are available for exchange students. Some support for disabled students is also available.

The Officers’ Mess is open to all students, and is a useful place to meet friends and relax. The sports facilities include a gym, gymnasium, cardio room and sauna. There are regular training classes, which are open to everyone, and are a good way to meet people.

Please be aware that student support services will be different across all of our partner universities.


Global Office
University of St Andrews
Bute Building
Westburn Lane
St Andrews
KY16 9TS

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2245
Email: studyabroad@st-andrews.ac.uk