Beyond the Nobel Prize: Innovation in Sweden
Examine innovation across a variety of disciplines and consider how solutions to society’s problems require creativity and collaboration.
A century ago, Sweden was among the poorest nations in Europe. Today, the country is a world leader in innovation—ranked #2 on the 2019 Global Innovation Index—despite being home to just 0.13% of the global population.
Students will examine innovation across a variety of disciplines and consider how solutions to problems facing society require creativity, collaboration, and new ways of thinking. In particular, we will explore how organizational, political, cultural, and social environments can foster innovation, using the Swedish context. By immersing in Swedish culture, we will better understand its role in facilitating an innovative environment as we examine the reasons behind Sweden’s ranking (#2 in 2019) on the Global Innovation Index and the Nobel Prize, international awards bestowed by Swedish institutions that recognize significant academic, cultural and scientific advances. As a learning abroad seminar, students will learn about their level of intercultural competence and strategies to increase their competence, as well as engage in a practical experience of navigating another culture in an intentional and reflective way. Through examining innovation through the Swedish lens and across disciplines, students will emerge with an understanding about how business and government practices to foster innovation in a country beyond the United States.
Housing & Meals
Stay in shared housing with other program participants. A welcome and farewell meal as well as some additional meals are included in the program fee.
While in Sweden, your surroundings will become your classroom. Explore Swedish culture and its role facilitating innovation across disciplines—such as the arts, education, science, and technology—through readings, lectures, and visits to various sites. Learn about the Swedish context and how work environments can foster space for creative thinking and expression. Potential excursions, lectures, and points of interest may include:
- Guest lectures on:
- Swedish Politics
- Swedish language & culture
- Innovation & business in Sweden
- The Swedish workplace
- The Swedish approach to Covid-19
- Sustainability in Sweden
- Riksdagen (Parliament)
- Swedish History Museum
- Vasa Ship Museum
- Södermalm walking tour
- Archipelago tour
- Nobel Museum
- Ghost tour
- Uppsala day trip
- Innovation & Science with Magnus Backlund
- Sustainability related visits
All program participants will take the coordinated group flight to and from the program site. The cost of the group flight is included in the program fee that will be posted to your student account. Do not book your own flight; you will receive information from the Learning Abroad Center about your seat on the group flight once your participation has been confirmed.
It might be possible to deviate your return flight. Inquire with your program contact if interested.
- Develop independence by challenging yourself in a new environment
- Explore a specific topic through experiential and interdisciplinary approaches
- Function as an effective team member by utilizing your personal strengths in a group setting
This seminar also offers you opportunities to examine:
- The role of creativity and innovation in addressing societal challenges and how organizational environments and locations foster creative thinking and problem-solving
- The social, economic, cultural, historical, and political conditions that led to Sweden's recognition as a global leader in innovation
- The history of the Nobel Prize, as well as particular examples of academic, cultural, and scientific advances
- Similarities and differences between the United States' and Sweden's approaches to fostering innovative and creative practices within society
- Your own level of intercultural competence and strategies to increase your level of intercultural competence
Faculty & Staff
This Global Seminar is led by Nikki Letawsky Shultz, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and International Programs, College of Biological Sciences.
One 3-credit course
Throughout the course we will explore many essential questions, including:
Innovation & Creativity
- Where do good ideas come from?
- What is innovation? What is creativity?
- How do environments (organizational, social, political, and cultural) foster innovation?
- What organizational practices contribute to innovation?
- Why does Sweden have a reputation for innovation?
- What conditions in the Swedish context contribute to innovation and innovative practices?
The Nobel Prize
- What is the Nobel Prize? Who has been chosen to recieve a Nobel Prize & why?
- How might the Nobel Prize selection adapt for the future?
- What discoveries or achievements are worthy of a Nobel Prize?
Intercultural Competence/Swedish Cultural Context
- How do people effectively navigate different cultural contexts?
- What does it mean to be Swedish?
- How does one effectively navigate the Swedish context?
Receive credit for: BIOL 3905
Approved for: Global Perspectives liberal education theme
Approved for: Biology majors as a “science in context” major elective
Approved for: “other electives option” for Cellular and Organismal Physiology majors
Please note that this syllabus is from an embedded study abroad model that will be adapted to reflect a 3-week, in-country global seminar: Spring BIOL 3905 syllabus
Submit the online application and complete the assigned application checklist according to the appropriate deadline:
|Term||Program Dates||Priority Application Deadline*||Final Application Deadline|
|May Session 2023||May 14 – June 4, 2023 (not finalized)||February 1, 2023||March 1, 2023|
Program dates are subject to change.
If the deadline falls on a weekend, submit your materials on the following business day.
Important Note: Enrollment on this program is limited to 25 students. Admission is granted on a rolling basis and applications are reviewed in the order they are completed. Some programs may fill to capacity prior to the application deadline, therefore applying early is recommended. Additionally, applying early will allow for more time to plan ahead and prepare for the program.
Join in-person or over Zoom. Register and learn more about this and other events on this website.
|Wed. Dec. 7||12:30pm||Amundsen 116|
|Thurs. Dec. 15||1:30pm||Bruininks 123|
Orientation Dates & Locations
Orientation will be conducted in 2 parts: an online orientation, which is mandatory for all students, and an in-person, program-specific session. You will receive more information about the online orientation via email. Failure to complete the online orientation will impact your ability to go abroad.
See below for tentative dates and times for your in-person session. You will be notified of the official date and time via email. Participants will receive applicable orientation materials via email approximately 1 week prior to the in-person session.
|May Session 2023||TBD||TBD|
If you apply by the priority deadline and confirm within the allotted time you will receive the published program fee. Applying after the priority deadline and/or not confirming within the allotted time means you may be subject to an airfare increase.
May Session 2023 Cost of Participation Forthcoming
Program fees can vary widely due to location, cost of living, airfare, and program inclusions. The program fee generally includes tuition, group flight airfare, airport transfers, in-country program related transportation, housing, some meals, entrances to course-related excursions and site visits, program administration, and international health insurance. Generally, the program fee ranges from $5,500-$7,500. You must also budget for passport and passport photos, some meals, textbooks, independent travel, and miscellaneous living expenses.
If a student is required to isolate during the program dates, due to Covid-19, there may be an additional cost for the isolation period. Additional housing costs might also be covered by the onsite partner's insurance plan. In some cases, with agreement by students and prior approval from the university, roommates, apartment-mates or students who are in close contact with each other and who both test positive, may share a room in quarantine housing, in accordance with local regulations. This information is subject to change and will be updated accordingly.
If you do not see a budget estimate for the term you intend to go abroad, the fee has not yet been finalized. We strive to post fees for this program at least 30 days prior to the application deadline. The Learning Abroad Center will delay the posting of some fees until enrollments, inflation and exchange rates are determined. Note the average increase in fees will be 3–10%. Program fees are based on estimates and may change depending on international economic factors.
Billing & Payments
Visit Billing for information about the billing process for application fees, deposits, and program fees.
Financial Aid & Scholarships
Visit Financial Information for information on using financial aid and scholarships for study abroad.
Before you apply to or confirm your participation on this program, review the Learning Abroad Center's Cancellation Policy to inform yourself of the timeline and financial obligations for canceling.
May Session 2022
Global Seminar: Beyond the Nobel Prize: Innovation in Sweden
May Session 2022
|Tuition and educational costs||$4,521|
|International health insurance||$50|
|Housing and/or meals||$874|
|Transportation (if required and included in program fee)||$1,265|
|Total Program Fee||$7,110|
|Program discount for University of Minnesota and Big Ten students, if applicable||$-500|
|Total Program Fee with discount, if applicable||$6,610|
Estimated Additional Expenses
|Costs Typically Incurred Prior to Departure These costs may need to be paid before your financial aid is disbursed for your term abroad.|
|Transportation to and from program siteIncluded within program fee||$0|
|Travel clinic/immunizations*For required: COVID test prior to departure to Sweden and COVID test for entry back to the U.S.||$225|
|Total Estimated Cost Incurred Prior to Departure||$375|
|Costs Typically Incurred After Arrival in Host Country|
|Housing and/or meals not included in program fee||$750|
|Essential daily living expenses||$200|
|Total Estimated Cost Incurred After Arrival in Host Country||$1,000|
Total Estimated Cost of Participation
|Total Estimated Cost of Participation||$7,985|
|Spending money and personal travel Not included in financial aid calculation||$300|
|Additional Notes & Information|
|* Immunizations Note: This estimate is based on approximate cost of travel-related vaccinations and medications required for entry or recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Your costs may be higher or lower depending on your travel clinic, the specific immunizations and medication prescribed, and your insurance coverage.|
Be aware: Learning Abroad Center programs require a $50 application fee. This fee will be charged to your student account upon submission of an online application.
You will be charged a $50 application fee for each application you submit.
After you submit your application, you will receive an email notification confirming that your application was received. Submitted applications are assigned an application checklist, which will include the following items:
- Application Essay
Detailed descriptions and instructions for submitting each checklist item are included on the application checklist assigned to you.
If you do not meet the GPA requirement for this program you will be required to submit an additional essay. It will be added to your checklist after you start your application, and you will be notified when it has been added.
After your application checklist is complete, your application is reviewed by our program team. You will be notified of an acceptance decision by email. If accepted, you will be assigned a confirmation checklist, which you will complete to confirm your participation in the program. If you decide not to continue with the application process, log into the online application system and submit a Cancel Request.
After You Apply
Before your program begins, review these resources.
Health & Safety
Learn more about staying healthy and safe abroad, including mental health and wellness, international travel insurance, and safety precautions.
Power of Attorney
Consider designating someone as your power of attorney to act as your legal representative while you’re abroad.
Consult our resources on student identities as you prepare for your abroad experience.
Ready to go abroad? Our travel resources will help you pack and learn what to expect.
For further information or questions about this program, email