Education System in Finland may look intimidating from afar, but there is nothing to be afraid of. If you are someone who is looking forward to studying in Finland, one of the best countries to study abroad, you must be familiar with how the system works. As many of you may already know, there are two types of higher education institutions in Finland that offer bachelors and masters degrees. Those are traditional universities, and universities of applied science. Here are some things you may need to know, before moving on to the detailed information on the Education system in Finland:
Degrees for bachelors and masters in Finland are offered in module plans and they are assessed by the same credit system as the ECTS system. A number of master level programs are available in English for international students coming to study in Finland. International students who are not from EU/EEA countries have to pay tuition fees to study in Finland for higher education. Apart from that, students also pay a small student union fee which helps them with discounts in meals, health-care and other benefits. These fees are, however, only mandatory for the university students and not for UAS (universities of applied sciences) students.
For higher education in Finland, students are eligible for the bachelor’s degree when they finish matriculation, or receive a vocational qualification. The National Board of Education looks over the application process, where students apply to the universities via the electronic application system, StudyInfo.
Universities in Finland
Universities offer theoretical and practical knowledge and often are very research-heavy institutes. Universities in Finland are autonomous legal entities which means they have the right to make independent decisions on their internal administration, without any interference from anyone.
Higher education in Finland aims to be independent. Even for the bachelor’s degree, students are responsible for picking up their own modules, creating their own study plans, unlike other countries where you do not choose the modules you will be studying. There is also a lot of flexibility when it comes to taking various courses and exams. Students are free to choose the direction of their study.
As mentioned, international students have to pay tuition fees for studying in English taught courses. Of course, there are many scholarships available when it comes to universities in Finland. Many English taught courses, MBA, and LLM courses do have tuition fees even for Finnish and EU students.
Bachelors and Masters at Universities in Finland
Students in Finland get admission to a university or a college with an aim to get a masters degree. Very few of them leave college after completing bachelors. A bachelor degree is usually 4 years at Finnish Universities, but some of them are also for 3 years. A master's degree in Finland would usually be for two years. A master graduate would complete 6 years in a university including the bachelor’s terms. Bachelor degrees are 180 Finnish credits, while Masters is 120 credits. After completing masters, one can apply for Licentiate or Doctorate degrees in Finland. One can find a master degree to study in Finland no matter what their background is, art, science, and commerce. The degrees are usually abbreviated to letters like FM (filosofian maisteri), which means Master of Arts.
Universities of Applied Science in Finland (UAS)
Universities of Applied Science offer education which is more employment-oriented, close to business and services. Universities are more about thorough knowledge of different fields of study, where the university of applied science offers courses that have more occupational emphasis. Courses at UAS are for the students who want to train professionally to get a particular job as per market needs.
Just like Universities in Finland, UAS are also autonomous entities that are independent to make their own decisions. Government approval is required to establish a University of Applied Sciences in Finland.
Bachelors and Masters at University of Applied Sciences in Finland
UAS also offers bachelor and masters degrees just like traditional universities. A bachelor’s degree would have a duration of 3.5 to 4.5 years with 210-270 credits. A master degree at UAS will have an average duration of 1 to 1.5 years, with 60-90 credits. Work experience of three years is often a requirement to admission in the master’s degree at Universities of Applied Sciences in Finland. One can apply for a masters degree at a traditional university after completing a bachelor’s degree in UAS. Usually, that route will require students to take on additional subjects for the Masters.
As you may already have noticed above, the Finnish Education system translates one year of full studies at 60 credits. Which means every semester holds a value of 30 credits.