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Study in Finland

Country flag: Finland

Topping international league tables for education and coming in the top three for technological innovation, it's easy to see why Finland is an attractive prospect for students

The Finnish education system

There are two types of higher education institutions in Finland:

  • Polytechnics, also known as universities of applied sciences, train professionals in response to labour market needs and conduct research and development to help regional development.
  • Universities conduct scientific research and offer undergraduate and postgraduate education.

Entry requirements

The eligibility of foreign qualifications is decided by the individual institution, therefore you should contact the specific admissions office of your chosen university.

You may have to take an entrance exam to do a Bachelors or a Masters, and at polytechnics you will need an undergraduate degree and three years of work experience to gain entry to the course.

When applying to do a Masters in Finland, your eligibility is based on the extent and quality of your earlier academic qualifications, your language skills and other possible faculty-specific requirements.

Course fees

European Union (EU) citizens are entitled to attend university in Finland or any EU country (this means the 27 member states plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway). The same conditions apply to all EU citizens whether a national of the country or not. Therefore, EU nationals don't have to pay tuition fees for higher education degrees in Finland.

For student exchanges, there can be a fee, especially if there's no agreement between the sending and receiving institutions.

Funding to study in Finland

Foreign students must have lived in Finland for at least two years for some other purpose than studies and be considered a permanent resident in Finland to apply for student financial aid.

There are scholarships available to study in Finland, which are issued based on individual circumstances. These include:

  • CIMO - Scholarship Programmes  for Doctoral-level studies and research at Finnish universities;
  • institutional scholarships offered by the higher education institutions themselves, especially for those enrolled in Masters programmes that carry a tuition fee for non-EU/EEA nationals.

You may be eligible to apply for some study abroad scholarships in your home country and from international organisations and foundations. You should contact the individual organisation to find out more.

You also need to pay a small fee to your chosen university's student union. With this membership fee, you'll get subsidised meals and travel.

Finnish exchanges and placements

Students attending UK universities can take part in the EU's education, training and youth support programme Erasmus+ . The scheme replaces its predecessor 'Erasmus' and offers study, training, work experience and voluntary placements to millions of young people, students and adults. Opportunities last from three months to one academic year in EU countries.

Financial support is available through the Erasmus+ initiative to any UK public, private or not-for-profit organisation actively involved in education and training.

Your university must have a formal agreement with a partner university in Finland. Check that your university is involved in the programme and offers the Erasmus+ scheme in your subject.

It isn't necessary to speak the Finnish language, but if you want to, you can arrange intensive language courses before you go. Speak to the Erasmus+ coordinator at your university about available opportunities.

Student visas

As an EU citizen, you are permitted to live in any EU country while studying as long as you:

  • are studying for more than three months;
  • are enrolled at an approved university/other educational institution; 
  • have sufficient income (from any source) to live without needing income support;
  • have comprehensive health insurance cover.

Some countries require you to register with the local authority after three months. Find out how to register at Europa - Rights, Conditions and Formalities .

Written by Editor, Graduate Prospects
May 2012

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