Applying for a Swedish Institute Scholarship (Masters): a walk-through

Tjena from rainy Lund!

Lately I’ve been receiving a lot of messages concerning the Swedish Institute Study Scholarships from you guys, so I decided to dedicate this blog post to that so I can perhaps give you a breakdown of the application process.

Let’s talk about the timeline first:

  1. Online application to – good job, you’ve done that!
  2. Deadline to submit supporting documents to is the 2 February – remember we talked about this a month ago?
  3. The application period for SI scholarships will open on 2 February until 13

Now, depending on where you come from, there are a lot of scholarships available to you, whether they come from your own government, institutes, agencies and universities you applied for so make sure you’ve checked out all possibilities available to you. For further information, you should visit scholarship page. It’s very helpful. (yes, I know, is pretty great!)

Let’s turn to those SI scholarships you guys are so eager to hear about.

Firstly, there are several categories of SI scholarships based on the level of studies you want to pursue and on your country of origin. Make sure to find the category you fit into. From there, you should check your eligibility.

For example, some of the categories, like The Western Balkans eligibility criteria are as follows:

“A scholarship cannot be granted for a student who:

  • Has already lived in Sweden for two years or more previous to the scholarship period.
  • Has a Swedish or EU/EES-citizenship, permanent residence permit or work permit in Sweden.
  • Has previously been awarded a Swedish Institute scholarship for master’s level studies or research at a Swedish university/university college.
  • Already holds a degree from a Swedish university/university college.
  • Is currently enrolled in a study programme at a Swedish university/university college.”

This is an example of the eligibility criteria for one of the categories, please check these for the category you belong to!

If you are eligible, you should check whether the programme(s) you applied for are eligible for the scholarship. To do this, you should go to the category you belong to and check the list under “Eligible programmes.”

If that’s OK too, we move on to your application. In general, for Master studies under each category you should submit a CV (Europass format, not longer than 3 pages). Naturally, most of you have done many things in your life so make sure to tweak your CV the right way for the purposes of showcasing your skills, education and experience thus far.

Then we move on to the tough part: the Motivation letter. SI provides you with a form with questions you need to answer in a very small amount of characters (not words, characters including spaces). I think this is the most challenging task in the application process. Each category has its own Motivation Letter and you can find them at the webpage of the respective category.

I’m going to be honest with you and tell you that I have had at least 5 drafts of each of my Motivation letters for the SI scholarship last year. To my knowledge, there is no recipe on how to make a good motivation letter. (i.e. I still don’t know why they chose me 😀 )

Questions are formulated so that you know exactly what is expected from your answer. The bottom line is that you should show the connection between the programme(s) you applied for and your country, skills etc. You have to be succinct and to the point, all the while showing your experience and ambition. Note: you can apply for up to 4 programmes eligible for the scholarship. You need to make a separate motivation letter for each programme!

Like I said, I have had many drafts of my motivation letters. I think this is a good method – you get to compare your own answers and see what fits the question better. You need to weigh it well, which is why you should try as hard as you can to be objective when judging your answers. Yes, at one point you will be swimming in the sea of your own Motivation letter drafts and you will likely live and breathe through them, but hey, the end goal is so great it’s worth it.

Oh and, proofread. Proofread a lot. What could also be very helpful is to have someone (someone reaaaally patient) to proofread your letters after you’ve done it. If you trust people for that. 🙂

Lastly, here’s the list of the SI scholarships available.

Well, that’s pretty much what I had to say about the application process for SI scholarships for Master studies. Hang in there you guys and lycka till!


Written by Dena

28 Jan 2015