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Finland has several universities in different parts of the country. High-level education is available in fields such as medicine, business, social sciences, law, humanities and technology. In addition to university, you can complete higher education studies at universities of applied sciences.

Apply for a student position

You can apply to a university if you hold a certificate for completing a Finnish matriculation examination (ylioppilastutkinto), a foreign certificate that corresponds to the Finnish matriculation examination certificate, or a vocational qualification. Read more on the InfoFinland page Applying for education and training.

What are the professions in which you can graduate?

Universities feature many fields of study. Students who graduate from an institute of higher education or university can work in a variety of positions.

Some university studies lead directly to specific profession. Such professions include the following:

  • Teacher
  • Lawyer
  • Physician
  • Actor
  • Engineer
  • Artist

However, some university studies do not lead to any particular profession. For example, students of social sciences or humanities may not graduate in a specific profession. These people can work in the following positions, for example:

  • Researcher
  • Journalist
  • State official

Studying at universities

You can complete a lower university degree (bachelor’s degree) (alempi korkeakoulututkinto (kandidaatin tutkinto)) and a higher university degree (master’s degree) (ylempi korkeakoulututkinto (maisterin tutkinto)). Some institutes of higher education have different names for the degrees. For example, in universities of technology, the equivalent of a master’s degree is the Master of Science in Engineering (diplomi-insinööri) degree.

When you are accepted into an institute of higher education, you receive the right to complete both degrees. You can also end your studies after the lower university degree.

The bachelor’s degree studies take about three years whereas the master’s degree studies take about two years. The progression rate of the studies depends on you.

You can also apply for separate master’s degree programme. A master’s degree programme is an education programme that leads to a higher academic degree. In order to be eligible to study in a master's programme, you must have earned a lower academic degree. These programmes last about two years. They often include students from many disciplines.

Graduation from a university

When your studies are complete, you will graduate and receive a bachelor’s or master’s degree. If you wish, you can apply for postgraduate studies after receiving your master’s degree.

Open university

An open university offers university courses. Anyone can study at an open university. You can study at an open university, even if you do not have a degree or qualification of any kind. Read more on the InfoFinland page Studying as a hobby.

Scientific postgraduate education in universities

Scientific postgraduate education provided by universities is postgraduate education that leads to a degree. This kind of education prepares you for research work, for example. At universities, you can complete a licentiate’s (lisensiaatti) or doctoral (tohtori) degree. The majority of postgraduate students complete a doctorate.

Application for university postgraduate studies is available a few times a year. The application periods vary between universities and departments. Check the application periods with the department where you would like complete your postgraduate studies.

In Finland, postgraduate students often need to arrange their own funding. You can apply for grants from various foundations (säätiö).

Link redirects to another websiteCouncil of Finnish Foundations

Information on foundations and grants

Link redirects to another websiteFinnish National Agency for Education

Grants for foreign researchers

Guidance for higher education

You can use the SIMHE services of higher education institutes to seek help and information about Finnish higher education and how to apply for higher education. They can also provide information about other educational opportunities for people who have already completed higher education courses.

You are entitled to guidance in SIMHE services if

  • you have moved to Finland,
  • you are interested in higher education, and
  • you have completed higher education courses or a higher education degree abroad.

The guidance can be individual or group guidance.

Universities of applied sciences

Studies at universities of applied sciences (ammattikorkeakoulu) are practical. Upon graduating from a university of applied sciences you will usually have a profession. 

Read more about universities of applied sciences on the InfoFinland page Universities of applied sciences.