History of UCS
In 1866 the Bethel Seminary in Stockholm was founded as the Swedish Baptist Union’s seminary for the education of ministers. The same year the Swedish Mission Covenant Church (so named in 1878) began to train its ministers and missionaries at the Mission School in Vinslöv in Skåne, and five years later also in Kristinehamn, in eastern Värmland. In 1908, the ministerial training of the Mission Covenant Church was transferred to Lidingö. In 1874, the Methodist Church in Sweden started ministerial education in Örebro, which in 1924 was relocated to Överås in Gothenburg.
In 1993, the Baptist Union´s Bethel Seminary in Bromma merged with the Mission Covenant Church’s Theological Seminary in Lidingö and formed the Stockholm School of Theology (SST). The Methodist Church became a partner in the Stockholm School of Theology (SST) in 2008 and the ministerial program in Överås moved to SST.
In 2011 the three denominations who were principal owners of SST merged to form The Uniting Church of Sweden (Equmeniakyrkan). SST was reconstituted in 2013 into a non-profit corporation wholly owned by The Uniting Church of Sweden.
In 1997, SST was the first University in the country to start a one-year interdisciplinary program in Human Rights. Since then the program has been gradually expanded to a three-year bachelor’s program and supplemented with magister’s and master’s programs. Starting a human rights program was natural in the context of the Swedish peoples’ movement in which the free Churches played a crucial role in the education of the people and the democratization of the country, and also in the struggle for freedom of religion.
In addition to those training to be pastors within the Uniting Church, many students at SST also study with a view to pastoral or priestly ministry in other denominations. Since 2016, Orthodox priests and parish educators have been trained at SST in cooperation with Sankt Ignatios College.
In 2018, the University was given a new name: Enskilda Högskolan Stockholm (in English: University College Stockholm). University College Stockholm (UCS), includes both the Stockholm School of Theology and the Stockholm School of Human Rights and Democracy (HRD). In turn THS is itself made up of two departments: The Department of Religious Studies and Theology, and the Department for Eastern Christian Studies (Sankt Ignatios College). UCS is then, the umbrella body for three departments, each with its own vice-president.
Currently, between 600-700 students are enrolled at UCS annually. In addition, UCS provides specially commissioned training for churches and special interest groups as well as continuing education for various professional groups, based on the university’s competence in both human rights and theology.
At postgraduate level, there are research seminars in Biblical Studies, Systematic Theology, Eastern Church Studies, and Practical Theology with Church History and Church in the Contemporary Society.
The University College Stockholm also has an international English-language semester for both Swedish and international students. The semester is part of the College´s expanding international contacts in both research and education.