Finland is, along with Sweden and Norway one of the Nordic countries in Europe. The parliamentary republic with its government located in the capital Helsinki has around 5.4 million residents. Most of them live in the southern region of the country such as around the metropolean area of greater Helsinki and in the bigger cities such as Tampere, Turku and Lahti.Finland is well-known for its high living standards, its extensive welfare state as well as having one of the best educational systems in Europe and world-wide.
Finland is one of the most nothernmost countries of the world and well-known for its thousandsof lakes and islands. The landscape is largely covered by forests and these are also an important factor for the economy, making Finland one of the largest wood producers in the world. Due to its posistion in the far north, winters are rather cold and last about 4 months in the South until nearly 7 months in the North, with average temperatures below 0°C. However, the temperature in summer can reach up to 30°C in the Southern parts.
In Finland, each higher education institution has a student union to look after students interests. When you get your Finnish student card, you become a member of your local student union. The university student unions have a national umbrella organisation, the National Union of University Students in Finland (SYL). Similarly, polytechnic students unions belong to the Union of Students in Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences (SAMOK).Student union membership entitles you to a variety of student discounts and also, the student unions organise a lot of different activities you can take part in.
On top of the student unions, which operate on a national and institutional level, your faculty or department probably has its own student club. In addition to that, there usually are several separate clubs and student associations that centre around some hobby, sport, or other interest. You will find information about these on your institutions noticeboards, from the student services, or your fellow students.
Once you have received a study placement in Finland, whether for exchange studies, a complete degree programme or a research period, there are several practical things you need to start arranging beforehand, well in advance of your arrival. First and foremost, please make sure you have a realistic plan concerning the financing of your study period in Finland. This is very important, not only because of the financial requirements in connection with your student residence permit, but for your own financial security. Some Master's programmes may include an annual tuition fee for non-EU/EEA students. But even if your studies in Finland themselves are free of charge, you will still need to cover your everyday living expences independently.Additionally, you should take into consideration at least the following:
Remember to reserve enough time to complete all the necessary formalities such as obtaining a passport, arranging your visa/residence permit and insurance.
Also bear in mind that once you have arrived in Finland, you still have some practical issues to consider, for example:
Usually, after your arrival you can ask for assistance in these and other practical issues from your hosting Finnish institution or student union. If you have any questions or are in doubt about some practical matter concerning your life in Finland as a student please do not hesitate to ask for help from the International Office of your hosting Finnish university, your student union, or you fellow students.
Even though Finland is a safe country to live in, accidents can happen to any of us. You may suddenly fall ill or injure yourself playing sport for example, and dealing financially with the aftermath of such unlucky occurrences may be very costly without proper insurance. That is why it is very important to bring a valid health and accident insurance policy with you. It is recommended that you take an insurance policy that covers you during your stay in Finland and also during your travel to and from Finland. If youre planning to partake in any leisure time excursions to Finland's neighbouring countries, it is advisable to make sure that the insurance is valid also in those countries.As a rule, only permanent residents of Finland are covered under the Finnish National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme of KELA. Thus, international students residing in Finland on a temporary student residence permit are not covered by the NHI scheme. If you are not insured by a corresponding insurance system from your home country, you are strongly advised obtain medical and accident insurance from a private insurance company before your arrival in Finland.
If your studies in Finland last more than three months you will need a student residence permit or, if you are a Nordic/EU/EEA citizen staying in Finland for more than three months (six months for Nordic citizens), you need to register your residence in Finland. It is also worth noting that, as a rule, you need to apply for your first student residence permit from your home country. If you have come to Finland with a short-term visa, you will usually need to return to your home country to apply for a residence permit.
Doctoral Admissions If you are interested in post-Master's level studies / research (for example, a PhD degree or a PhD-level visiting researcher period) in Finland, you must first contact the Finnish university of your choice and apply for a post-Master's study/research placement. Applications must be made directly to the universities. The International Office of each university can advise you further, or, alternatively, you may directly contact the Faculty/Department of your interest.
Eligibility If you currently hold a Masters degree (or equivalent) then usually you are eligible to apply for PhD-level studies in Finland. However, since the Finnish universities define their own entry criteria, we at CIMO are not in a position to officially assess your eligibility for Doctoral studies in Finland. For details of Doctoral level admission you need to be in contact with the Finnish university you are interested in.
When to apply? Some universities may accept doctoral study applications at all times, while others may have specific application periods. Note also that student selection for post-Master's level studies and research is usually decided on at faculty level, so Doctoral level application times and policies may vary even within a single university. There is no joint admissions system for Doctoral level studies and research, so please check the application times with the Finnish university faculty/depratment of your choice.
Research.fi contains key statistics and other data on Finnish science and technology. There are also links for more in-depth information: statistical and other publications, documents and databases.
When you have graduated, you may decide that you would like to find full-time employment in Finland. It is normally a good idea to prepare yourself in advance for the actual job hunting, already before graduation. Bear in mind that if you manage to find a part-time job in your field while you are still studying, this may act as a springboard to full-time employment.
The Career Services of your home university or polytechnic can help you get started by providing advice on how to look for jobs after your graduation. Note that they may, for example, arrange job fairs in cooperation with prospective employers, or organise job searching skills seminars and other information sessions.
Finland is situated in northern Europe and neighbours Sweden, Norway and Russia. It is a member of the European Union where it represents both Nordic democracy and way of living. Equality in wealth is a key-driver in our society.
For an international student Finland is both an exotic and a safe target country. Finnish society is credible: a networked and transparent open civic society, where education is always a top first priority.
The country is filled with contrasts. We have four distinct seasons including the midnight sun in the summer and a period of near darkness in the Winter. We have large rural areas and the highest technology within reach; East and West you name it.
Finland is a global leader in information technology and also enjoys gender equality and low levels of corruption. We have one of the most advanced education systems in the world, and as a result of our innovative mindset and investing in education we are blessed with high standard of living and quality of life.
Our emphasis on nature makes Finland stand out from other European countries. We breathe clean air, and drink clean ground water directly from the tap. Nature is an integral part of the Finnish way of life for a very simple reason: it is everywhere.
Finland is a human-scaled, cosy country, with cities and towns designed for people, not just cars. Rush-hours are a rarity.
Our higher education institutions are small enough to operate functionally and effectively. They are all internationally oriented with special regional features, and you can choose between very different study environments ranging from larger urban campuses to close-to-nature campuses.
Higher education institutions are highly autonomous, but largely funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture. Therefore the Ministry also closely oversees the quality of teaching. These efficiently managed institutions:
- react to the needs of the society, and business and industry in their curricula and teaching
- provide a wide range of high-quality programmes in English for exchange and degree students at all levels of education
- give their students transferrable skills on which they can build their future in academic fields and in the job market.
Trust and openness are important concepts in Finland, and getting networked at an early stage is the Finnish way. Here you can start getting connected with fellow international and Finnish students, organisations, and the working world already whilst studying your first courses. Often these networks and friendships last for the rest of your life.
Admission to Finnish higher education is organised by the educational institutions themselves. That is, each university and polytechnic in Finland independently selects its own students.
In brief, the admission procedure from start to finish consists of:
Most Finnish higher education institutions use an on-line electronic admissions system for their Bachelors and Masters level student intake. You will also need to send in copies of your earlier educational certificates and other required documents. Additionally, depending on the programme, applicants may need to successfully pass an entrance examination. You can learn more about the individual admission procedure on the programme pages of the universities.
The academic year in Finland is divided into two terms:
Most degree programmes only take in new degree students at the beginning of the academic year. So, usually your application will concern studies that start in the autumn term. In some cases, however, it may be possible to apply for studies that start in the spring term.
The exact application times and deadlines depend on the institution and the programme however, in most cases the annual application period to the university degree programmes begins between November and January.
For Master's level admission, many Finnish universities use the University Admissions Finland www.universityadmissions.fi service (UAF). On the UAF site, you can also find a list of the Master's level application times of those universities that have their admissions via UAF. however, not all universities/programmes have their admissions via UAF - some universities/programmes may have a separate admission route. If in doubt about how and when to apply, please check the correct application route with the Admissions Office of the university you're interested in.Those interested in post-Master's level studies (doctoral studies, research) should contact the universities of their choice directly for information on how and when to apply. Some universities may accept doctoral study applications at all times, while others may have specific application periods.