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Why Study in Finland?

Finland is increasingly becoming among the most favored destinations for international students intending to study abroad. Finland has become famous for topping the program for International Student Assessment ever since its introduction, making it widely regarded as the country with the world’s finest youth education system.

Finland offers a wide range of courses taught in English supported by new learning environments and a high standard of education. The standard of education is high because of its national educational strategy of investing a  substantial amount on research based education to develop the country as the information society.

Higher education courses are available in all fields of study in universities that range from larger urban campuses to close-to-nature campuses, which provide most advanced state-of-art facilities to its students. 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.

The international student’s life in Finland is not just about studying, it has a lot to offer to young people from nightlife, shopping for adventure holidays and unspoiled islands & nature to explore. Finland is known for its liberal, egalitarian society, where both men and women share almost equal societal roles.

With a climate similar to that of New England or the Great Lakes region, this Nordic country has cold, snowy winters but warm, beautiful summers. Estonia, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Russia are each a short ferry or plane ride away. Finland’s extensive air, boat and bus network make it easy for students to enjoy traveling in the region.

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.

Study Programs in Finland

Finnish’s higher education institutions provide over 340 degree programs at Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctor’s level. All these programs lead to an official Finnish higher education degree.

Finnish institutions provide close to 400 English-speaking degree and non-degree programs. Some of the programs are short courses, which can usually be taken as part of an exchange program only whilst whole degree programs take several years to complete and lead to an official Finnish higher education degree.

Bachelor / Undergraduate Level Studies

The bachelor’s degree is worth 180 ECTS credits and consists of basic and intermediate studies. The normal duration of a Bachelor’s degree is three years of full-time study.

The basic requirements for admission in undergraduate level for international students in Finland are:

  • Students must have completed an internationally recognized higher secondary education that is equal to Finnish Upper Secondary Education or Matriculation Examination.
  • Students must show good command in English by means of an internationally recognized English test like IELTS and TOEFL if English is not their first language.
  • Students must be prepared to take the entrance examination in which they must score sufficient marks that can satisfy the admission officer.

Master’s Degree

A Master’s degree is worth 120 ECTS credits and takes two years to accomplish a Master’s degree. There are over 200 Master’s degree programs available in English. The majority of them are provided by universities but polytechnics also arrange Master-level degree education in English.

The degree consists of a major subject, minor subjects, general studies, language and communication studies and a Master’s thesis. The basic requirements for admission to a Master’s degree in Finland are:

  • You need to have a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent in the same or related field of education.
  • Student must show good command in English by means of an internationally recognized English test like IELTS and TOEFL if English is not their first language.

Polytechnic Studies

Polytechnic degrees are Bachelor’s and Master’s level higher education degrees with a professional emphasis. Courses are offered in education in the fields of humanities and education, culture, social science, business and administration, natural science, technology, communication and transport, natural resources and the environment, social services, health and sports, tourism, catering and domestic services.

The polytechnic bachelor’s degree programs can take from three and a half to four years of full-time study and are worth 210-240 ECTS credits. Polytechnics (universities of applied sciences) provide 100 Bachelor’s degree programs in 8 fields of study, whilst only 2 universities provide Bachelor-level degree education. Polytechnics give professional higher education with a strong emphasis on the requirements and include an on-the-job training period and a bachelor’s thesis.

Polytechnic Master’s degrees are professionally oriented, they take 1-1.5 years to accomplish and are worth 60 – 90 ECTS credits. To be eligible to apply for these programs, you need to hold a Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, followed by at least 3 years of work experience.

The polytechnics are focused on providing professional education to meet local labor-market needs and provide R&D to promote regional development. These institutions have only been in existence since the early 1990’s.

Doctoral Level Studies

Doctor’s level education is provided by universities. Licentiate and Doctor’s degrees (4 years, 240 ECTS credits) are postgraduate degrees in Finland. The basic requirements for admission in Doctorate level for international students in Finland are:

  • Students must have completed an internationally recognized master’s degree.
  • If English isn’t the first language of the students, they need to prove their proficiency in English Language by means of English Tests like TOEFL and IELTS.

Entry Dates & Admission Deadlines

The academic year in Finland is divided into two terms:

  • Autumn term (from August/September to December)
  • Spring term (from January to the end of May)

Polytechnics – For Bachelor’s program

January-February is the main application period for studies starting in the autumn term. The application period for studies starting in the spring term is August – September.

For Master’s program

Application deadlines vary as per the college, as the applications are sent directly to the institutions.

Universities – In most cases, the annual application period for the university Bachelor’s and Master’s programs begins between November and January.

It is recommended to apply 6-8 months in advance and no later than 3 months if you have all your test scores in order.

Please keep 2-4 weeks for visa processing and approval.

Funds Required

Tuition costs

In Finland, everyone has the right to education, both basic and higher education are free of charge. There are no tuition fees in polytechnics or in universities, even for international students.

Living and Other Expenses

Students pay for their living, transportation and books. The average amount of living expenses incurred is approximately 700 Euros a month.

Visa Fee

Visa Fee: Finland Student Visa fee currently is EUR€60 payable in cash or by demand draft.

Proof of Funds for Visa

You will be required to show that you can take care of your living expenses while you are in Finland.

Air Ticket

It depends where you fly from & how early you book your ticket.

Finland Student Visa

A foreign student who intends to stay and study in Finland for a period of over 90 days, would need to apply and obtain residence permit from the Finnish diplomatic mission in their home country before entering Finland.

Along with a letter of Acceptance or Enrollment Letter issued by the respective university or college and insurance, students should be able to show proof of funds to support their stay in Finland.

About Y-Axis Student Visa Services :

  • Advise you on the best strategy to use to get your visa
  • Advise you on how to present your case to the consulate
  • Advise you on finances to be shown
  • Advise you on documents to be presented
  • Filling of forms
  • Review of all documentation

Talk to a Y-Axis consultant about our Student Visa Services.

Working on your student visa

Students can work within certain limits on a student residence permit 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. There are no limits in terms of hours of full-time work outside term times (summer and Christmas holidays specifically).


Students who are currently pursuing their Master’s and Ph.D degrees and who are on student visa can also apply for Dependent Visa.

Extended Residence Permit

Non-EU students, who have stayed in Finland on a student residence permit, can apply for an additional residence permit after their graduation to search for work. This can be granted as an extended residence permit for 1 year.

After you Graduate

If you complete a Finnish degree and then decide to look for further education opportunities or employment abroad, you will need to apply for recognition of your Finnish qualifications from the receiving foreign university or employer. In these cases, academic or professional recognition cannot be decided in Finland. Recognition decisions are ultimately made without Finnish authorities or institutions having direct influence on the result.

However, when applying for recognition of your Finnish qualification abroad, either for study or employment purposes, you can make use of the Diploma Supplement that you will receive upon graduation. If necessary, you may also apply to the Finnish National Board of Education for a specific statement on your Finnish qualification.

Recognition of your foreign qualifications in Finland

If you have completed your secondary education, diploma or degree abroad, and are planning to come to Finland for either further studies or to look for a job, you usually need to have your earlier studies recognized.

  • Academic recognition: If you are applying for studies at a Finnish university or polytechnic then the recognition of your earlier educational certificates is always carried out at the higher education institution you are applying to. That is, the universities and polytechnics independently decide on your eligibility for further studies in connection with the application process.
  • Professional recognition: If you are seeking employment in Finland with a foreign academic or professional qualification then you may need to have your foreign qualification recognized by the Finnish authorities, especially if you are applying for regulated professions or vacancies in the public sector. You may find more information on professional recognition on the Finnish National Board of Education.

About Finland

Finland is an EU member state and a Nordic country, of about 5.4 million people. It is the eighth largest country in Europe, in terms of area. The capital city is Helsinki which is also the largest city with a population of over 580,000. Finnish is the native language of most of the population with Swedish being spoken by over five percent and most of the population also speak some English.

The country tops continuously in the international comparisons of national performance. Finland ranked the best country in the world in a 2010 Newsweek survey based on health, economic dynamism, education, political environment and quality of life. Finland has also been ranked the second most stable country in the world and the first in a 2009 Legatum Prosperity rating.

In 2010, the World Economic Forum deemed Finland the 7th most competitive country in the world. Finland is currently ranked as having the highest graduation rates, percentage of graduates to the population at the typical age of graduation, in the world.

Finland is a scientifically, artistically and technologically creative nation. High-quality architecture, innovative design, original music and the diversity of high-tech industries are all significant attributes of the country.

Talk to a Y-Axis consultant about our Student Visa Services. Email campus@y-axis.com to find out more about studying overseas.