Stockholm University

Last updated
Stockholm University
Stockholms universitet
Stockholms Universitet logo.svg
Type Public university
(University status since 1960)
Rector Prof. Astrid Söderbergh Widding
Academic staff
5,500 (2018) [1]
Students33,000 individuals, 26,273 (FTE) (2018) [1]
1,600 (2018) [1]
Affiliations EUA

Stockholm University (Swedish : Stockholms universitet) is a public research university in Stockholm, Sweden, founded as a college in 1878, with university status since 1960. With over 33,000 students at four different faculties: law, humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, it is one of the largest universities in Scandinavia. The institution is regarded as one of the top 100 universities in the world by the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU). [2]


Stockholm University was granted university status in 1960, making it the fourth oldest Swedish university. As with other public universities in Sweden, Stockholm University's mission includes teaching and research anchored in society at large. [3]


The initiative for the formation of Stockholm University was taken by the Stockholm City Council. The process was completed after a decision in December 1865 regarding the establishment of a fund and a committee to "establish a higher education institution in the capital". [4] The nine members of the Committee were respected and prominent citizens whose work had helped the evolution of science and society. [5]

The next important step was taken in October 1869, when the Stockholm University College Association was established. [6] Several members of the committee became members of the association – including Professor Pehr Henrik Malmsten. [7] The association's mission was to establish a college in Stockholm and would "not be dissolved until the college came into being and its future could be considered secure." The memorandum of the Stockholm University College was adopted in May 1877, and in the autumn semester of the following year, actual operations began.

In 1878, the university college Stockholms högskola started its operations with a series of lectures on natural sciences, open to curious citizens (a tradition still upheld by yearly publicly open lectures). Notable in the university's early history is the appointment of Sofia Kovalevskaya to hold a chair in the mathematics department in 1889, making her the third female professor in Europe. In 1904 the college became an official degree granting institution.

Fredrik Blom's house at Experimentalfaltet, now used for the central administration of Stockholm University Experimentalfaltet (Fredrik Bloms hus).jpg
Fredrik Blom's house at Experimentalfältet, now used for the central administration of Stockholm University

In 1960, the college was granted university status, becoming Sweden's fourth state university. The university premises were situated in central Stockholm at Observatorielunden but increased enrollment resulted in a lack of space, which required the university campus to be shifted to a bigger facility. Since 1970 most of the university operations are located at the main campus at Frescati north of the city center, the former Experimentalfältet, previously used by the Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry.


Stockholm University is a state agency and is governed by decisions taken by the government and parliament. The university has the right, within the limits the government provides, to decide on many issues such as their internal organization, educational provision and the admission of students.

Intra-university bodies

Departments, institutes and centers

Education and research at Stockholm University is carried out within the natural sciences and the humanities/social sciences. Within these fields, there are four faculties with 56 departments, institutes and centers within the humanities, law, natural sciences and social sciences. Research and training also takes place at a number of centers and institutes with a separate governing board, but that organisationally belong to a department. [8]

Courses and programmes

Stockholm University offers courses at both undergraduate [9] and advanced level. [10] There are 190 study programmes in total, including 75 master's programmes taught in English, and 1,700 courses to choose from within human science and science. Students can choose between studying one or more free-standing courses, that each may last between five weeks and one semester, or apply for a full study programme.


The university's researchers engage in governmental investigations, are active in the media, provide responses to proposed legislation and are included in several Nobel committees and international expert bodies. [11]

Field stations

Askö Laboratory

Stockholm University Marine Research center (SMF) provides "Askö Laboratory", where Research on ecosystems, ecology and the impact of human interference is carried out. The field station was built in 1961 by Professor Lars Silén, Head of the Department of Zoology, and is now established as a renowned marine research center. [12]


Tarfala research station belongs to the Department of Physical Geography. The station is located 1135 meters above sea level in Tarfaladalen, on the east side of Kebnekaise in arctic / alpine surroundings and conducts glaciological, hydrological, meteorological and climatological research. The station has the capacity to accommodate groups of up to 25 people and the staff consists of 2–5 people. [13]


Tovetorp Zoological Research Station belongs to the Department of Zoology, and is located about 95 km southwest of Stockholm. It conducts research and training activities in ecology and ethology. Every year Tovetorp is visited by up to 600 students who live and study between 2–10 days on the station. On the research side, over 20 people work today with different research projects. The number of employees are currently 6 people. [14]

Student unions

Prior to 2008, Stockholm University had only one student union called Stockholm University Student Union (Stockholm universitets studentkår, SUS). However, since 2008 the computer and system science students [15] and the teacher students have their own, independent, student unions called DISK and "The Teacher's College's Student Union" (Lärarhögskolans studentkår). The law students also have their own student union, as do journalism students (Studentkåren vid JMK).

The future of the Teacher's College's Student Union is however not entirely safe, as Stockholm University's Student Union has declared it will begin talks with the Teacher's College's Student Union on transferring its members to it, as it already has a teacher's division. In contrast to common belief, DISK is not an abbreviation. [16]


University rankings
Global – Overall
ARWU World [17] 69
QS World [18] 181
THE World [19] 134
USNWR Global [20] 114

In the Academic Ranking of World Universities 2020, an annual publication of university rankings by Shanghai Ranking Consultancy/Academic Ranking of World Universities, Stockholm University was placed as the 69th overall best university worldwide. [21]

The Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2018 listed Stockholm University at position 134 [22] on the list of the world's top universities. Times Higher Education World University Rankings are annual university rankings published by British Times Higher Education (THE) magazine.

In the QS World University Rankings, [23] Stockholm University was ranked 181 overall in the world in 2020. Its subject rankings were: 107th in Arts & Humanities, 235th in Life Sciences & Medicine, 261st in Engineering and Technology, 150th in Natural Sciences, and 65th in Social Sciences and Management.

In the CWTS Leiden Ranking 2014, [24] Stockholm University was placed at 140 on the list of universities in the world.


The main part of Stockholm University is in the Frescati area, which extends from the Bergius Botanical Garden in the north to Sveaplan in the south. It is located in the world's first national urban park and the area is characterized by nature, architecture and modern art, featuring such notable buildings as the Aula Magna (auditorium). Within Frescati, the areas Albano, the Bergius Botanical Garden, Frescati Backe, Frescati Hage, Kräftriket, Lilla Frescati and Sveaplan are located. The names of many of these areas have a history dating back to the late 1700s. After Gustav III's trip to Italy in 1783–84, several places at Brunnsviken were given Italian names. Stockholm University has another campus in Kista, which houses the Department of computer and systems sciences. [25]

Public transportation to Stockholm University

There are many ways to get to Stockholm University. The main campus Frescati is located near the underground railway station Universitetet metro station, on the red line of the Stockholm Metro. The commuter train line Roslagsbanan also stop close to the main campus, at Universitetet railway station. SL buses 50, 52, 540, 608, 624C, 628C, 639, 670, 676 och 680 can also be used to get to the campus.

The Computer Science campus, Kista, also is close to an underground station called Kista. It is also located close to the pendeltåg station Helenelund, only one or two stops (depending on bus line) from the bus station Torsnäsgatan located next to the campus area.

Notable people



Politics and society
Entertainment and art

See also

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Coordinates: 59°21′55″N18°03′30″E / 59.36528°N 18.05833°E / 59.36528; 18.05833