What You Should Know About Higher Education in Finland

Are you interested in studying in Finland and want to know what the Finnish higher education system is like? This post is made just for you! From here you can find useful information about the higher education system in Finland. Psst! It is said to be one of the best in the world.

The Finnish higher education system consists of universities and universities of applied sciences. Both very good options but they do have some differences in their ways of teaching and doing. Find out which one suits you better.

Differences between universities and applied sciences?

Many might not know the differences that Finnish universities and applied sciences have. To make it more clear:

Universities are focusing on scientific research and their goal is to provide the highest level of education based on this knowledge. Whereas applied sciences are focused on connecting the working life more closely to studies. You will have many possibilities to work for companies to gain real work experience and make those important contacts.

The grading system also varies a bit. In universities, grades are often based on examinations when in applied sciences the final grade is usually based on projects. Also in university, you can continue straight from bachelor’s to masters. In applied sciences, you have to have at least two years of work experience in between.

Campus buildings in Finland
Modern campus in Finland

What is ECTS?

Many people interested in studying in Finland often ask this. We use European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) as the credit system in Finland. During one year of your studies, you should do 60 ECTS to be on the right track with your studies. One ECTS equals approximately 28 hours of work so in one year you should spend around 1600 hours studying. Having said that, this might be a good time to share some tips about being productive.

Who has to pay tuition fees in Finland?

If you are not from Switzerland, EU or EEA countries, you count as an international student. International students have to pay tuition fees in full-time degree programs that are taught in English (Bachelor and Master). There are some exceptions. For example, if you have a permanent or a fixed-term residence permit, or an EU Blue Card you may not have to pay tuition fees.

The tuition fees depend on the university and the degree program that you choose. The cost often varies between 5000 and 18 000 euros per year. There are also scholarships available in many degree programs.

What documents do you need for applying?

To apply for a Finnish higher education degree program you need the following documents.

Scanned copy of your:

  • ID or passport
  • Original secondary school certificate (for a bachelor) or bachelor’s diploma (for a master) and a translation in English, Finnish or Swedish
  • Original transcript of records’ and a translated one in English, Finnish or Swedish

For a master program, you need to have at least two years (24 months) of work experience in the field that you are applying for.

The other documents that you might need to submit depend on the study program that you apply for. In some programs, they might ask you to write for example a motivation letter. You also might have to attend an entrance exam and interview. You can read more about this from here.

Finnish students in campus
Students joining some Finnish festivals.

When studying in Finland, you won’t only get one of the best educations in the world but also an amazing experience that you won’t forget!

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