Upper-secondary education

For young people between the ages of 16 and 20.

Young people who have finished compulsory school may choose to continue studying in upper-secondary school, which is voluntary and free of charge. The upper-secondary school primarily consists of national programmes and introductory programmes. For young people with a development disorder, there is the special-needs upper-secondary school, which is a four-year education.

Illustrerar gymnasieskola

The upper-secondary school is for those who are between the ages of 16 and 20. You can begin upper-secondary school no later than the year that you turn 20. After you have turned 20, there is a possibility of studying in adult education. Upper-secondary school is voluntary and free of charge.

The main task of upper-secondary school is conveying knowledge and creating conditions for the pupils to acquire and develop knowledge. The education shall promote the pupils’ development into responsible people, who actively participate in and develop professional life and civic life.

Upper-secondary schools can be organised in different ways

There are municipal, independent and county-council-operated upper-secondary schools. All schools are obliged to follow the Education Act, among other things when it concerns education content and grading.

Every upper-secondary school has the possibility of having a special profile, such as English classes or culture and sports classes.

Independent schools are open to all and the teaching must be equivalent to that provided in municipal schools. Independent schools have a different operator (owner) than the municipality.

National programmes

There are a total of 18 national upper-secondary school programmes, of which six are university-preparatory programmes and 12 are vocational programmes. Every programme lasts three years.

All pupils in the university preparatory programmes shall do an upper-secondary project that shows that the pupil is prepared for higher studies at university.

All vocational programmes contain at least 15 weeks of on-the-job learning where the education takes place at a workplace. A vocational programme can also be carried out as an upper-secondary apprentice programme, where at least half of the programme takes place at a workplace. All pupils in vocational programmes shall do an upper-secondary project that shows that the pupil is prepared to work in the area that the programme prepares them for.

If you do not qualify for a national programme, there are four introductory programmes. They provide an opportunity to later enter the national upper-secondary programmes or go out into working life.

About the national programmes in other languages

You find descriptions (in pdf-files) of the national programmes in other languages under the title "Om programmet på andra språk" on the pages for every national programme. Follow the link below:

Gymnasieskolans program

Introductory programme

Introductory programmes are for those who do not qualify for the national programmes in upper-secondary school. What programme you can attend depends, among other things, on what your goal is with your education in the programme. An alternative to attending an introductory programme is to continue in compulsory school for up to an additional two years to qualify. The introductory programme shall give those who do not qualify for a national programme an opportunity to enter such a programme or lead to you being able to get a job.

The education in an introductory programme must follow a plan for education that contains objective, length and the primary content. An individual study plan shall also be prepared for every pupil. It shall be structured according to your goal with your education, your needs and interests.

Since autumn 2019, there are four different introductory programmes: Programme-oriented option, Vocational introduction, Individual alternative and Language introduction. None of the programmes result in degrees, but rather the idea is that they shall lead further to another national programme or to employment.

The education is full time and the content of the programme is set in an individual study plan. As of 1 July 2019, the individual study plan shall describe the education's objective, main content and length. The pupil’s goal with the programme then affects what the individual study plan will look like. A pupil who completes an introductory programme receives an upper-secondary school certificate.

In order for you to get help to find out what programme suits you best, you can talk with a study and career adviser at your school.

The four different introductory programmes

Illustrerar väljaskola

Programme-oriented option

The Programme-oriented option is for those who want an education that is focused on a certain national programme so that you will be able to be admitted to the national programme as soon as possible. The national programme that the education is focused on can be either a vocational programme or a university-preparatory programme.

It is your home municipality that is responsible for all pupils that qualify for the Programme-oriented option being offered the programme.

You qualify if you have:

  • a passing grade in Swedish or Swedish as second language,
  • mathematics and English, as well as three other subjects or
  • Swedish or Swedish as a second language,
  • mathematics or English and four other subjects.

Vocational introduction

Vocational introduction is for those who have a vocationally oriented education, but lack the passing grades required to attend a vocational programme.

The vocational introduction can contain training in order for you to be able to get a job or be able to apply to a vocational programme. The education may, for example, include compulsory school subjects that you do not have a passing grade in, courses from vocational programmes, on-the-job learning or placement and other efforts that you need for your knowledge development. After the programme, you can apply for work or continue studying at a vocational programme.

Individual alternative

The Individual alternative is for those who want an education to be able to get a job or to be able to study further in upper-secondary school or another education. You are missing some of the passing grades required to enter a national programme.

The education may, for example, include compulsory school subjects that you do not have a passing grade in, courses from national programmes and other efforts, such as motivation efforts or placement. After the programme, you can apply for work or continue studying in upper-secondary school.

Language introduction

Illustrerar introduktionprogrammen

Language introduction is for those who are recent arrivals to Sweden and lack the passing grades required to attend a national programme and need to have an education in the Swedish language. The education is focused on the Swedish language in order for the pupil to be able to continue on to another introductory programme, national programme, adult education or a profession. The education is set up and adapted to the pupil’s experiences, knowledge and goal with the education.

The education will include instruction in Swedish and other subjects from compulsory school, courses from national programmes and other efforts you need for your knowledge development. After the education, you can continue studying in upper-secondary school or in another programme.

Assessment and learning in upper-secondary school

In school, you continuously receive information on what you have learned in relation to the programme and the teaching objectives.

The teacher, you yourself and other pupils can provide feedback that contributes to guiding you forward in your learning. You and the teacher also discuss what you should do to move further in your studies based on an assessment of what you need and already know. It is important that you yourself obtain an understanding of your own learning and need for development.

Development talks in upper-secondary school

At least once every semester, you, your teacher and your guardian (if you are under 18) meet to go through how it is going in school and how you are doing. This is called a development talk. The talk shall provide a picture of both your knowledge development and your social development.

During the talk, you will discuss how the school can support and stimulate your development and learning. The talk provides you and your guardian an opportunity to influence and take responsibility for your schooling. Here, one takes up your potential need for extra adaptations and special support, among other things.

Grades and grading in upper-secondary school

Pupils in national programmes receive grades after every completed course. In each course, there are knowledge requirements that state what you must achieve. Grades are set on every completed course and on the upper-secondary project.

At introductory programmes, the teacher sets grades after each completed course or compulsory subject.

The grading scale has six levels: A – F. A-E represent passing results and F is for a failing result. Once you have received grades on all courses and on the upper-secondary project, you will receive a final grade. A dash instead of a grade is set if you had such extensive absences that the teacher cannot set a grade in the subject.

Special-needs upper-secondary school

Special-needs upper-secondary school is a four-year education for those between the ages of 16 and 20 who have a developmental impairment/intellectual disability or a non-congenital brain injury. The special-needs upper-secondary school consists of national programmes and individual programmes.

National and individual programmes

There are nine national programmes in special-needs upper-secondary school. They are all vocational with the aim of preparing the pupils for a professional life. The programme for aesthetic activities and the programme for social studies, science and languages also prepare for continued studies at folk high school, for example. The national programmes are primarily vocational. A national programme can also be carried out as an upper-secondary apprentice programme, where at least half of the programme takes place at one or more workplaces.

All pupils must also do a special-needs upper-secondary school project, where the pupil shows that he or she can carry out common tasks in the programme’s vocational area.

The individual programmes are for the pupils who cannot follow the instruction at a national programme. Every programme lasts four years and consists of subject areas.

Placement may also be included in the individual programmes.

Application to programmes in special-needs upper-secondary school

An application to a national or individual programme in special-needs upper-secondary school shall be submitted to the home municipality that reviews the application and decides on admission.

Assessment and learning in special-needs upper-secondary school

In school, you continuously receive information on what you have learned in relation to the programme objectives and the teaching objectives.

The teacher, you yourself and other pupils can provide feedback that contributes to you developing forward in your learning. You also have talks with your teacher about what you should do to move further in your studies based on an assessment of what you need and already know. It is important that you yourself obtain an understanding of your own learning and need for development.

Development talks in special-needs upper-secondary school

At least once every semester, you, your teacher and your guardian meet to go through how it is going in school and how you are doing. This is called a development talk. The talk shall provide a picture of your knowledge development and social development.

During the talk, you will discuss how the school can support and stimulate your development and learning. The talk provides you and your guardian an opportunity to influence and take responsibility for your schooling. Here, one takes up your potential need for extra adaptations and special support, among other things.

Assessment and grading in special-needs upper-secondary school

Pupils in national programmes receive grades after every completed course. In each course, there are knowledge requirements that state what you must achieve. Pupils who have attended a national programme or individual programme shall receive a special-needs upper-secondary school certificate after programme completion.

The designations A-E are used as grades. The highest grade is A and the lowest grade is E. Grades are not set in the individual programmes. Instead, your knowledge is assessed according to requirement levels.

Would you like to know more?

Contact the study and career advisers at your school for advice and more information on what programme may be suitable.

Senast uppdaterad 26 juni 2020