The Higher Education Act (Högskolelagen) (HEA) is enacted by the Parliament and contains regulations about the functioning of Higher Education Institutions (HEI). It provides a framework for the organisation and governance of HEI, as well as basic regulations about the courses and programmes offered by HEI. The HEA defines the three cycles of higher education: the first cycle is called bachelor education, the second cycle is called master’s education, and the third is called doctoral education.
The Higher Education Act also stipulates the general principles of HEI’s activity. For example, it states that HEI should promote and protect academic freedom, sustainable development, and equality. The HEA lays down what should characterise the course and programmes in the different cycles of higher education. The first chapter of HEA, which broadly regulates quality of education, applies to both state and independent (private) HEI.
The Higher Education Act also contains provisions about student influence over courses and programmes. This applies to doctoral students as well.
The regulations laid down in the Higher Education Act are often supplemented by the Higher Education Ordinance, which is enacted by the government.