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University degrees – Bachelor's degree, Master's degree, Licentiate or Doctor?

University education is divided into a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree.

After completing a Master’s degree, you can apply for a postgraduate degree, i.e. a doctorate or a licentiate degree, which provides you with the skills to do research.

The Bachelor’s degree typically covers 180 credits, which means that it takes approximately 3 years to complete. The Master’s degree typically covers 120 credits, which means that it takes approximately 2 years to complete. In some degree programmes, the completion periods are more extensive.

Study in Finland

website provides more information about applying and studying as well as living in Finland.

Who can apply for a Bachelor's degree?

After completing a matriculation examination, vocational upper secondary qualification or other upper secondary qualification, you can apply for a Bachelor’s degree.

In most cases, new students are granted the right to complete both a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree. You can identify these degree programmes on Studyinfo by their names “Bachelor’s and Master’s degree“. However, in some cases, the right to study is only granted for a Bachelor’s degree. These degrees just mention “Bachelor’s degree” in their names on Studyinfo.

Who can apply for a Master's degree?

You can apply directly for a Master’s degree only if you have already completed a Bachelor’s degree.

Study in Finnish, Swedish or English

University education is available in Finnish, Swedish and English.

Hanken School of Economics and Åbo Akademi University are fully Swedish-speaking universities. Aalto University, the University of Helsinki and the University of the Arts Helsinki are bilingual universities, meaning that they offer both Finnish-language and Swedish-language education. Other universities teach in Finnish.

Most universities also offer English-language programmes. Most of the English-language programmes are Master’s degree programmes, but some Bachelor’s degree programmes are also available in English.

The following universities offer Bachelor’s level education in English:

  • Aalto University
  • University of Helsinki
  • University of Eastern Finland
  • LUT University
  • University of Oulu
  • Tampere University
  • The University of the Arts Helsinki

All universities, except the National Defence University, offer master-level education in English.

Each applicant must verify that they have sufficient language proficiency for the studies, even if they applied to study in their mother tongue.

Typically, applicants demonstrate sufficient language proficiency by having taken the language in question in the matriculation examination as their mother tongue. Read more about other ways of demonstrating language proficiency in the admission criteria of the programme on Studyinfo. Please note that methods of demonstrating sufficient language proficiency may vary depending on the degree programme.

Application and admission methods

You can find instructions for applying on the admission criteria published on Studyinfo and on the websites of universities.

The most typical ways of being admitted to Bachelor’s studies in English are certificate-based admission on the basis of the matriculation examination or admission on the basis of the SAT test results. The entrance examination admission is used especially in art degrees, but also in a few other degree programmes.

The most typical ways of being admitted to Bachelor’s studies in Finnish and Swedish are entrance examination admission and certificate-based admission. In these admission methods, applicants demonstrate their competence with an entrance examination or a matriculation examination certificate. Students admitted through the open university have demonstrated their competence by completing certain university studies, for example, at an open university. In the transfer application process, the applicant already has a right to complete studies leading to a Bachelor’s degree. In this case, the applicant applies for the transfer of the right to study to another degree programme in the same or another higher education institution.

Other admission methods used in some degree programmes include direct admissions based on cooperation in general upper secondary education or competitive success, admission methods utilising remote learning, and admissions based on special achievements.

In some degree programmes, such as teacher training, applicants must also take an aptitude test regardless of the method of admission.

The admission of applicants directly admitted for Master’s studies is typically influenced by the applicant’s previous study performance in Bachelor’s degree studies. In addition, the admission criteria may specify other criteria that affect the admission.

Application periods

Application periods for higher education institutions in the joint application rounds as well as for  the application on the basis of open university studies are listed below. In addition to these, universities may organise their own separate application rounds or supplementary application rounds. For the application periods of the separate or supplementary application rounds of Finnish universities, see the website of the relevant university.

Joint application to higher education, spring 2023, begins on 4 January at 8 am and ends on 18 January 2023 at 3 pm.

  • Admission results are published by 2 June 2023.
  • You must accept the study place offered to you by 3 pm on 14 July 2023.
  • Admission from waiting lists ends on 1 August 2023 at 3 pm.

Joint application to higher education (Finnish/Swedish degree programmes), spring 2023, begins on 15 March 2023 at 8 am and ends on 30 March 2023 at 3 pm.

  • Admission results for certificate-based admissions are published by 29 May 2023.
  • Admission results for other admission methods are published by 7 July 2023.
  • You must accept the study place offered to you by 3 pm on 14 July 2023.
  • Admission from waiting lists ends on 1 August 2023 at 3 pm.

Application on the basis of open university studies, spring 2023, begins on 15 March 2023 at 8 am and ends on 30 March 2023 at 3 pm.

  • Admission results are published by 7 July 2023.
  • You must accept the study place offered to you by 3 pm on 14 July 2023.
  • Admission from waiting lists ends on 1 August 2023 at 3 pm.

Joint application to higher education, autumn 2023, begins on 30 August 2023 at 8 am and ends on 13 September 2023 at 3 pm.

  • Admission results are published by 24 November 2023.
  • You must accept the study place offered to you by 3 pm on 1 December 2023.
  • Admission from waiting lists ends on 12 December 2023 at 3 pm.

Statistics on student admissions

You can find statistics on student admissions on the Vipunen.fi service maintained by the Finnish National Agency for Education.

Some universities also publish statistics on student admissions separately.

Learn more about the programmes offered by universities!

Universities offer high-quality academic education in numerous fields. Learn more about the degree programmes offered by each university on Studyinfo and on the universities’ own websites.