Swedish school for new arrivals


Upper secondary school

For young people aged 16-20


What is upper secondary school?

Upper secondary school is a tuition-free, voluntary form of schooling that young people can choose to attend after completing comprehensive school. Upper secondary school offers national programmes, introductory programmes and programmes that deviate from the national programme structure.

There are 18 national upper secondary programmes. Each programme is three years long.

The various upper secondary programmes can either be vocational or prepare pupils for higher education.

Vocational programmes can also be done as upper secondary apprenticeship training.

Pupils who have not qualified for a national programme can attend one of five introductory programmes. None of these leads to an upper secondary diploma; instead the idea is that they lead on to a national programme.

The language introduction programme is intended for young people who have arrived in Sweden recently. The programme focuses on the Swedish language in order to allow the pupil to move on to some other programme or education. It is planned and adapted in accordance with the pupil’s knowledge.

The 18 upper secondary programmes

Vocational programmes

  • Child and Recreation Programme
  • Building and Construction Programme
  • Electricity and Energy Programme
  • Vehicle and Transport Programme
  • Business and Administration Programme
  • Handicraft Programme
  • Hotel and Tourism Programme
  • Industrial Technology Programme
  • Natural Resource Use Programme
  • Restaurant Management and Food Programme
  • HVAC and Property Maintenance Programme
  • Health and Social Care Programme

Higher education preparatory programmes

  • Business Management and Economics
  • Arts
  • Humanities
  • Natural Science
  • Social Science
  • Technology



Who attends upper secondary school?

Upper secondary school is directed at young people aged between 16 and 20. After the age of 20 there is the possibility of attending upper secondary adult education.

Pupils with a pass grade in Swedish or Swedish as a second language, English, Mathematics and five further subjects are qualified for a vocational programme. Pupils with a pass grade in Swedish or Swedish as a second language, English, Mathematics and nine further subjects are qualified for a higher education preparatory programme.

How are grades awarded?

A six-point grading scale (A,B, C, D, E and F) is used. A-E are pass grades and F is a fail. Each completed course and the project work is graded. When pupils have been awarded a grade for all courses and for the project work included in their study plan, they are awarded a final grade.

If a pupil has been absent from school to the extent that their knowledge cannot be assessed, a dash (-) is used instead of a grade. The F grade and the dash are not used in special needs comprehensive or upper secondary schools.

Choosing your upper secondary school programme

This video explains upper secondary school in more detail and answers several frequently asked questions.