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Students who pursue their study in Finland can choose from two types of higher education institutions: universities and polytechnics. Universities focus on research, scientific, and artistic learning, and generally provide a more theoretical education. Polytechnics (universities of applied sciences) concentrate study on practical skills and seldom pursue research. They are, however, active in industry development projects. All Finnish universities are owned by the state, whereas vocational schools and polytechnics are governed by local municipalities or private entities.

As with most countries in Europe today, the Finnish system of higher education follows the guidelines of the Bologna declaration. The purpose of this declaration is to facilitate the movement of students between countries in Europe, but also to make comparisons between schools and study programs easier as well as improve the quality of higher education in Europe. Students who partake study in Finland make use of the uniform uniform educational system within Europe.

The Bologna System uses the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) to measure credits of higher education in Finland. The Bologna system also dictates the structure of higher education, which is usually split into bachelors and masters degrees:

Bachelor Degrees in Finland

Bachelor degrees in Finland take three years (180 ECTS credits) of full-time study and offer students core teaching in the chosen discipline, as well as a broad general education. The academic bachelor gives access to study toward a masters degree.

A polytechnic degree takes 3.5 to 4 years of study. Outside of Finland, polytechnic degrees are generally accepted as lower university degrees. Polytechnic-graduated bachelors are able to continue their studies by applying to Masters degree programs in universities.

Master Degrees in Finland

A master degree generally takes 1 to 1.5 years of study (60 or 120 ECTS credits). The content of these degrees is much more specialized while allowing for further development of the scientific research process.

After obtaining a Masters degree, students can choose to pursue research projects leading to a Doctorate degree (PhD). PhDs are only awarded by Universities. A student who chooses to study in Finland for his Phd degree can take advantage of no fees after being accepted onto a doctoral program.

Language in Finland

Finland has two official languages: Finnish and Swedish. The principal language of instruction in higher education is Finnish, however many institutions also have instruction completely or partly in Swedish. Today, there are also many universities and other education alternatives that offer complete education programs in English.

For students who are interested to study in Finland with Swedish or Finnish, most schools offer language courses, adding an extra dimension to their study abroad experience and education in Finland.

Admission into Finland's Education System

Students are generally able pursue their higher studies in Finland if they have a diploma from a secondary education. When recruiting new students, Finland uses national matriculation examination and entrance examinations as criteria for student selection.

Application forms for education in Finland are available directly from the universities and polytechnics. Applying to education programs conducted in English at polytechnics takes place through a system of joint application. Prospective students can apply to four different degree programs at polytechnics using the same application form.

Costs of Education in Finland

University higher education in Finland is funded by the State through the Ministry of Education. Hence, students from an EU country enrolled in regular degree studies pay no tuition fees (non-EU students will be required to pay tuition fees). Polytechnics do not charge tuition fees either (for EU students), but a few institutions currently charge fees for tuition materials, etc. Students who study in Finland are required to pay for their accommodation and living expenses. The total monthly living expense of a student in Finland averages around €700 .

Study in Finland is a unique experience with high-quality universities or polytechnic degree in one of Europe’s most northern countries.

To learn more about studying abroad in Finland, check out our informative Finland Country Guide.

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