One BIG difference between one-year programs and two-year programs

Here comes another universities applying period(15th Oct. to 15th Jan.) of the year. Before you made your mind, I, as a student enrolled in a one-year program, have to remind you one significant thing which may affect your choice.

The difference is: you will not be able to apply for a personal identity number(persumnummer in Swedish) if you are just enrolled in a one-year program. More info about this number click here. After reading this:

“If your programme is longer than one year, you will receive a personal identity number, while students staying for a shorter period will usually receive a co-ordination number instead. This number will be an important part of life in Sweden and you’ll often need to use it when in contact with authorities. A personal identity number is also needed to access the Swedish healthcare system outside of emergency care.”

I was still super confused about my situation: does one-year program count as longer than one year or shorter? Now I know since I moved to here already and I want you to know for sure before you make your decision as well: a one-year master programme in Sweden counts as shorter than a year since the study period only lasts for 10 months.

So in this case, most of students can’t apply for a personnumer which basically means you are not able to do anything.

  • No Bank Account and Mobile Paying App


COPYRIGHT/FOTO: Melker Dahlstrand +46-70-630 20 88

COPYRIGHT/FOTO: Melker Dahlstrand  +46-70-630 20 88

But still, if you can not apply for a personnummer, you can apply for a coordination number(samordningsnummer) to open a bank account instead. It’s varied with cities tho, in Örebro, I needed to show the bank my samordningsnummer together with my contract from Swedish Institute to open one but some of my colleagues just needed to submit the contract or the samordningsnummer.

Also like we students from China who are super used to pay everything with online paying apps will have some trouble here. No personnummer, no Swish or iZettle(Swedish online transaction apps)!

  • No Membership Cards


One more sad thing about this issue is that you can not join any membership for the stores that you like at all! For us shopaholics, this is a dream cracker!! When the staffs asked me if I joined the memberships so that I would have some discount each time I was paying the bill(trust me, quite often haha), I cried really hard inside T T.

  • No Gift Card From the University

This is a special case for students studying in Örebro University. The city of Örebro together with the university offer gift cards valued 1000 kr for new immigrant students. Again, it works only for those who are taking 2-year programs so… No ‘candy’ for me!

  • No Free Swedish Class

So in Sweden, if you are an immigrant with a personnummer, you can study Swedish for free. But only with the number… nope!

Apart from these inconvenient parts and some other parts mentioned by thousands of people already(like not covered by the Swedish insurance systems and no registrations for anything etc), it is still super worthy to study in Sweden.

Just a recommendation: when you are applying, two-year programs are better choices. Why? In two years, you will have more time to get to know the society and the culture, maybe even obtain the speaking fluency of Swedish(how cool is that!). So hope to see you guys here with an enrollment of a two-year program next year 😉

Hong avatar


  • Tadios Sisay • 8 May 2016 at 4.07 pm Reply

    I was accepted at Linnaeus university for a one year masters program in Structural Engineering with an SI scholarship for the coming Autumn semester and i have plans to continue my PhD in the same field after completing my Masters. So is it possible with a one year masters? and do u know someone who completed his one year masters program at Linnaeus and has managed to continue his/her PhD or continue to work in Sweden?
    Thank you in advance.

  • Jawad • 18 Nov 2015 at 9.33 am Reply

    I already did MSc in electrical engineering after BSc computer engineering from Pakistan. Now I want to do post graduate from it possible.

  • J D • 17 Nov 2015 at 1.11 pm Reply

    I want to ask that I did BSc computer system engineering and MS in electrical communication engineering. I want to take admission in 2 year program in sweden. Plz guide

    • Hong
      Hong • 20 Nov 2015 at 10.54 am Reply

      Hey JD,

      You want to study in a two year master program? Please check and search for 2-year master programs. Type the field that you want to study in and you can get all the information such admissions, tuition fee and so on.

  • Lan • 4 Nov 2015 at 11.04 am Reply

    The Swedish system is really bureaucratic! I’m employed by one of Swedish universities as a PhD employee. But it took me two months to just open a bank account! Plus, I had to apply for a personal number two times because the Tax Office dropped my first application and I was asked to redo. Even when I had a Swedish personal number, I was not able to open a bank account either! It’s because the key to get into the Swedish system is a Swedish ID card. So I paid extra 400 kr to apply for a Swedish ID card at the local Tax Office AFTER (ONLY AFTER) I had been waiting enough to receive my personal number.

    • tadios sisay • 9 May 2016 at 11.27 am Reply

      hey there….
      u said u r doing ur PhD, i will start my study this august for a one year masters and i wanted to continue my PhD also so can u tell me ur experience about the competition… and so on…. thanks

      • Hong
        Hong • 9 May 2016 at 11.40 am Reply

        Hey there,

        So I am not doing my PHD, and this is the platform for us master students to share our student life as master students so probably I can’t really speak about the PHD experience, sorry about that.


  • Luisito • 29 Oct 2015 at 7.50 pm Reply

    they even ask for that number when you want to get a membership card in the shop? That sucks!!!

    • Hong
      Hong • 29 Oct 2015 at 8.04 pm Reply

      yep, I was applying for the H&M membership so that I will have 10% of discount. After filling up the form for ten minutes, they were like, do you have a personnummer? I was like…”#€%&/()=

  • Dijing Zhang • 29 Oct 2015 at 6.52 pm Reply

    do stay for another 2 years plz

  • Christian • 29 Oct 2015 at 6.31 pm Reply

    what if you are an EU citizen are do you still need a personnumer

    • Hong
      Hong • 29 Oct 2015 at 6.53 pm Reply

      yes if you want to apply for bank accounts, jobs and memberships etc. It’s super convenient if you have a personnummer but unfortunately for those one-year students, they can not apply for it(Swedish Law I guess?)

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