How Swedish HEIs are organised

In Sweden, public Higher Education Institution (HEIs) are public authorities in their own right, under the jurisdiction of the Government.

Within the Government, the Ministry of Education and Research is responsible for matters relating to schools, HEIs, research, adult education, folk high schools and student finance. However, the Swedish Ministry of Enterprise, Energy and Communications is responsible for the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

Board of directors

The Swedish Higher Education Act states that each HEI is to have a board of directors and a vice-chancellor in charge of operations. The board of directors makes decisions on important issues such as organisation and finances. The board should also ensure that there are internal management and controls that function in a reliable manner. It also decides on guidelines and a plan for internal audits, important regulations, other issues of fundamental importance, admission regulations and measures pertaining to an individual employee.


The vice-chancellor directs the day-to-day operations. He/she is appointed by the Government, acting on a proposal by the board of directors, and serves for a maximum of six years. The appointment may be renewed no more than twice, each time for up to three years. The vice-chancellor also has a deputy. The deputy (often called pro-vice-chancellor) is appointed by the board.

The students

The students at Swedish HEIs are entitled to representation when decisions are made or preparations occur that have a bearing on their education and the situation of students.

Read more about Student rights

Decisions within higher education

Decisions are to be made by persons with scholarly or artistic expertise in cases involving education, research or artistic research and development. If the decision is made by a group, people with scholarly or artistic expertise are to be in the majority.