It’s easy to see why many international students choose to study in Finland because of its stunning natural beauty and laid-back cities, a strong focus on research and innovation, a good selection of world-class universities and a commitment to offering higher education free of charge. When degrees are free of charge and institutions regularly top league tables, it’s no surprise that studying in Finland is an attractive prospect for students.
Finland’s geographical location makes it perfect for slalom and cross country skiing in the winter, whereas soccer, hiking, canoeing; swimming and golf are popular in summers. Thanks to Finland’s location and climate you will get to experience some pretty impressive spectacles, such as the midnight sun in the summer months and the polar night in winter, where the sun doesn’t rise above the horizon at all.
Situated in Northern Europe, Finland has one of the most advanced educational systems in the world. As a bilingual country, (both Finnish and Swedish are spoken), it’s also a great place to pick up a second language. However if your Finnish isn’t up to scratch before you go, don’t panic, there are a number of courses taught in English.
Over the years, Finland has also offered top quality education despite being one of the countries with tuition-free universities in Europe for both native and foreign students. University higher education in Finland is funded by the State through the Ministry of Education, and therefore international students enrolled in regular degree studies pay no tuition fees.
Bachelor’s and Doctoral level programs -as well as many Master’s level programs- do not charge any tuition fees, regardless of your nationality. Therefore, at the moment, tuition itself is free of charge in Finland. However, some Master’s programs may charge tuition fees from non-EU/EEA students.
The Finnish system of Higher Education is regulated by the Bologna declaration. The Bologna process was initiated in 1999 when the Ministers of Education from 29 European countries signed the Bologna declaration in the Italian city of Bologna. The purpose of the process is to create educational standards for academic degrees and quality assurance, in order to make it easier for students to move from one European country to another and to improve the overall quality of European higher education. The system also incorporates aspects of the American higher education system and thus simplifies comparison.
There are various different types of Bachelor’s degrees out there.
1. B.Sc.: The Bachelor of Science (B. Sc.) is one kind of Bachelor degrees and usually the first academic degree that is achieved at a university or other higher education institutions. The study duration of a Bachelor’s program is usually three to four years.
2. B.A.: The Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) is the most common among Bachelor degrees and usually the first academic degree that is achieved at a university or other higher education institutions. It is mainly awarded to, but not limited to students following a program in the liberal arts. Especially traditional universities such as Cambridge or Oxford award the Bachelor of Arts to all of their subjects, including the scientific ones. The study duration of a Bachelor’s program is usually three to four years.
3. LL.B.: The Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) is one kind of Bachelor degrees and usually the first academic degree that is achieved at a university in the area of law sciences.
4. B.Eng.: The Bachelor of Engineering (B. Eng. or BE) is one kind of Bachelor degrees and usually the first academic degree that is achieved for a studies in one of the engineering sciences. The Bachelor of Engineering is academically equal to the Bachelor of Science and allows consecutive Master studies.
5. AD: The Associate Degree (AD) is an academic degree that is especially common in North America. It can be typically achieved after a 2-year study. Many colleges offer a so-called 2+2 program where students receive the Associate Degree after the first two years and a Bachelor Degree after another two years of studies.
If you’re interested in taking a Master’s degree in Northern Europe, then Finland is absolutely a perfect country to consider. Finland is an EU member country and also has close ties to its neighbors, Sweden and Norway. Finland has one of the highest living standards and quality of life in the world. All this makes the perfect environment for a Master in Finland.
There are many opportunities to pursue Masters in Finland in universities and polytechnics, including subjects such as Business, Economics, Communication, Engineering, Finance, Environmental Science and more. For a Master in Finland, students can choose a major and minor subject of study, and will also take courses in general studies and communication, completing their Master in Finland program with a Master’s thesis. Students pursuing a Master in Finland have the flexibility of full-time, part-time, and distance learning options.
Usually the duration of Master’s will be of 1 or 2 years. After obtaining a Master’s degree, students can choose to pursue research projects leading to a Doctorate degree (PhD). PhD’s are only awarded by Universities. The Bologna System also uses the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) to measure higher education credits.
University higher education in Finland is funded by the State through the Ministry of Education. Hence, students enrolled in regular degree studies pay no tuition fees. Universities of Applied Sciences do not charge tuition fees either, but a few institutions currently charge fees for tuition materials, etc. Although tuition fees are free, students need to pay for books and other materials only. For student exchanges, there can be a fee, especially if there’s no agreement between the sending and receiving institutions.
The average cost of living in Finland is high and comparable to that of the rest of Europe. The minimum living expenses for a single student amounts to about 400-800 euros / month depending on cost of accommodation as well as for example health care expenses. As a student you need to make sure that you have got sufficient funding to cover all basic expenses such as food, rent, transportation, study materials, insurance, health care and any other unexpected expenses, which may occur during your time in Finland.
Application forms are available directly from the universities and Universities of Applied Sciences. Applying to programs conducted in English at Universities of Applied Sciences takes place through a system of joint application. Prospective students can apply to four different degree programs at Universities of Applied Sciences using the same application form. International students are informed to start the application process one year prior to the intake as the Finland University deadlines start from October onwards for winter intake. There is only one intake in Finland for higher studies i.e. September/October every year. The final University deadline is February of every year for winter intake.
Finland has two official languages, Finnish and Swedish but the principal language of instruction is English. In all the Universities there are complete degree programs taught in English which attracts more number of International students to Finland. Most of the higher educational institutions offer language courses in Finnish or Swedish for those students who wish to learn the national languages.
You need a residence permit for studies that take longer than 90 days. You must apply for a residence permit if you plan to study in Finland for longer than 90 days. Apply for a visa if your studies will take less than 90 days. You can study for 90 days without a visa or residence permit if you are a citizen of a visa-free country. You can submit your application electronically. Since the application forms and appendices do not need to be sent by post, e-services make the application process faster.
Citizens of countries outside the EEA will have to apply for a residence permit at the nearest Finnish embassy, consulate or legation before arrival in Finland. For more information about study visa to Finland please speak to our visa experts.
The currency used in Finland is the euro (€). The euro is the official currency of the European Union and it is used in 15 European countries. 1 Euro (€) = 75 INR (latest Euro value 2016)
Many higher education students in Finland work part-time at some stage of their studies. This can mean part-time work either in the evenings, or during weekends. Additionally, most students try and find a summer job for the months from June to late August, outside the term times. Keep in mind however that it is not necessarily easy to find a part-time job, especially if you do not have Finnish language skills (or Swedish language skills, in some areas of Finland).
Students who are citizens of Nordic or EEA countries need no special permits for working in Finland. Other International students can work within certain limits on a residence permit granted for studying if the work is practical training included in the degree or if the amount of part-time work does not exceed 25 hours a week.
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