Health Care and Social Policies in Sweden

Image of Sweden
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Language of Instruction: English
Term: Summer
Program Type: Faculty-led
Open to non-KU Students: No
Fulfills KU Core 4.2: No
Fulfills KU Core 5: No

The Healthcare and Social Policies in Sweden program will not be offered for the Summer 2023 term. 

  • Learn about health care policy in Sweden, home to one of the best health care systems in the world
  • Lectures by Swedish health care professionals
  • Visit health care facilities in Sweden, including a maternity unit, a nursing home, and a psychiatric hospital

Sweden’s system of comprehensive and publicly-funded health care and social services, available to all residents, ranks among the most successful in the world. Sweden leads the world in major health outcomes, such as infant mortality and adult life expectancy, far outranking the United States. At the same time, Sweden spends approximately half of what we in the United States spend on health care. The purpose of this course is to provide students with an opportunity to learn how the Swedish welfare state is organized and to see first-hand how it works on all levels and in various locations around the Stockholm-Uppsala area. Students will learn about Swedish history and culture, and will be challenged to re-examine many commonly held assumptions about both Scandinavia and the United States.

KU professors will guide and accompany the group,  provide background lectures, lead discussions, and answer questions throughout the course.

Founded in 1252 where Lake Mälaren meets the Baltic Sea, Stockholm now spans 14 islands and is home to nearly two million people, approximately one in five inhabitants of the entire country of Sweden. As Sweden's capital, it is home to not only the Swedish government and many of its agencies as well as the Swedish royal family, but it is also a major commericial center, hosting the Nordic corporate headquarters for many international firms, as well as some of Europe's top research universities and medical centers.

Students will be able to take advantage of the many tourist attractions in the city during their free time, including the historic open-air museum, Skansen, as well as the world-famous Vasa museum, the Abba Museum, the Royal Palace, as well as walking the narrow medieval cobblestone alleys of Gamla Stan (Old Town), or the streets of Södermalm, following the steps of Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Students receive credit for one of the following:

ECON 450 Study Abroad Topics in: Health Care in Sweden (3 credit hours)

This course is offered for undergraduate students through the University of Kansas College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Department of Economics.

HPM 880 Health Care and Social Policies in Sweden (3 credit hours)

This course is offered for graduate students through the University of Kansas School of Medicine Department of Population Health.

There will be assigned readings for undergraduates and graduates before departure and a required paper upon return.

The course will be directed by Dr. Jessica Williams, Assistant Professor, Department of Population Health and Dr. David Slusky, Associate Professor, Department of Economics and Department of Population Health (by courtesy).

Students will stay in twin rooms in a hostel in central Stockholm. Breakfast is included each morning.

The program will include the following activities:

  • Visits and lectures by Swedish officials and professionals at sites such as: the national health and social welfare planning boards, acute care hospital, geriatric hospital, nursing home, primary care clinic, hospital maternity unit, child day care center, adult assisted-living facility, psychiatric hospital, neighborhood social services office, immigrant assistance program, and national social insurance office.
  • Lectures and discussions with Swedish officials, physicians, nurses, midwives, social workers, psychologists, physical therapists, government planners, childcare workers and politicians.
  • Presentation on Swedish history and the rise of the Swedish welfare state.
  • Participation in Swedish cultural events.
  • A day trip to Uppsala for additional facility visits.
  • A cruise to Sandhamn.
  • A visit to the Stockholm City Hall and Nobel Banquet Hall.

SAGE is dedicated to creating international engagement opportunities that meet the needs of all our students and providing resources to support you through the process of studying abroad. Study abroad is achievable for students of all identities including our BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ students, students with disabilities, and students with religious/non-religious viewpoints. Before selecting a program, consider how your identities may impact your experience abroad in unique ways and talk with your Program Coordinator about any program-specific concerns. Students with documented disabilities should discuss any accommodation needs with their Program Coordinator early in the planning process.

Check our Identity Abroad page and resources listed below for information specific to you and other students who may be on your program.


Open to undergraduate and graduate students from any accredited U.S. college or university with an interest in health care, or social policies. Also open to KUMC medical students and other interested professionals in the field. Preference will be given to applicants with a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

For More Information Contact: 

Jessica Williams, PhD

Department of Population Health

University of Kansas Medical Center


3901 Rainbow Blvd

Kansas City, KS 66160


David Slusky, PhD

Department of Economics

University of Kansas 


1460 Jayhawk Blvd

Lawrence, KS 66045