Why and How to Study in Finland?
For all the inquisitive, the intellectuals and the artists out there, whether you’re about to take the first steps in the wilderness of your academic journey or are seasoned veterans looking to achieve further excellence in your educational ventures, regardless of your discipline or your educational level of interest, the universities of Finland and the country itself has so much that it can offer you.
First of all, we understand that if you reside outside of the EU/EEA finding the right fit for your academic interests can be a daunting task. From choosing the right discipline, to choosing the right school along with the application procedures can be very confounding, particularly if you’re trying to do everything independently. Hence, we will try to make this journey a little bit easier for you especially if you’re considering to study in Finland and if not, perhaps you might want to, after learning a little bit more about all the perks of being in the Nordic country.
What you need to know about Finland
As a non-EU/EEA student there is one thing that you should definitely be informed about regarding education in Finland. Back in 2013 the Finnish government published the ‘government resolution on the future of migration 2020 strategy’ in which the country recognized the importance of international students as an important resource for the Finnish industry. To achieve a large number of disciplines had started to be taught in English and the job market was made more accessible to international students. As a consequence, today the number of non-EU/EEA students applying to Finland for their bachelor’s or graduate level education has skyrocketed. It was reported that in the intake of January 2021, more than 60 percent of the students that applied to the English taught programs at the universities in Finland came from non-EU/EAA areas. In summary, this means that not only is Finland prepared to give you a very warm welcome, it has also laid down the foundations for you to stay and start a career after your education is completed.
The Standard of Universities in Finland
While the educational institutes of Finland may have shied away from the limelight for the larger parts of their lives, this is certainly not due to their standard of education. Finland offers a pristine standard of higher education and is home to some of the world’s best universities. About 10 universities in Finland rank in the top 500 QS rankings, with most of them being multidisciplinary schools.
While the Finnish Higher Education system is relatively young, it is evaluated to be one the most advanced systems in place. Finnish education system tends to place a high importance on problem-based learning, in a manner to prepare students to tackle real world problems.s on vocational training. A few universities deserve a special mention, since if you’re looking to study in Finland as an international student, it is highly recommended to check them out to see if they are a good match for you:
1. TAMK Proakatemia
TAMK Proakatemia is an innovative University of Applied Sciences located in Tampere, Finland. Tampere by the way is the happiest city in Finland.
In TAMK Proakatemia you will learn how to work as a team entrepreneur with real clients and understand the true meaning of teamwork. You will acquire skills that are needed in future business life and learn how to guide your own learning process.
You will learn in customer projects, seminars and by writing essays based on the professional literature best suited for your goals and your learning plan. When you graduate, you will be rewarded with a vast network and a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree that will open the doors for your future!
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2. University of Helsinki
At the forefront of educational institutions in Finland, is the University of Helsinki. The University of Helsinki was established in 1640 and is located in the capital of Finland. This makes the university not only the oldest in the country but also the highest rated. With a QS global ranking of 74, the university of Helsinki boasts a proud 40,000 students and researchers distributed among its 11 faculties and 11 research institutes. The University proudly stands with its research output maintained by its 32 doctoral programs and four doctoral schools.
The university currently offers its degree in Finnish, Swedish and English.
3. Aalto University
Also located in the capital of Finland, Aalto University is ranked second to the University of Helsinki. The university was founded recently in 2010 through a merger of a few smaller institutions. However, since then Aalto university has proven itself to be a symbol of quality education. A lot of research groups from University of Helsinki and Aalto University tend to work together.
If you’re interested in the fields of science, business, arts or design you should definitely check what Aalto has to offer.
4. University of Turku
The University of Turku is located in the southwest of Finland and is currently the third largest university in the country based on student enrollment. The university currently boasts more than 25000 students and researchers and has secured its place in the top 300 of the QS world rankings.
An interesting fact about the University of Turku is that it was established with the help of donations from the citizens of Finland. Today, Turku university maintains a strong emphasis on international collaboration and its research groups for graduate studies often work in partnerships from universities around the world.
5. University of Oulu
Located in the city of Oulu, the University of Oulu makes it mark among the largest universities in Finland. The university was founded in 158 and houses two campuses. One of which is dedicated to the Faculty of Medicine including Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine. The university boasts 8 faculties along with a number of research units within its campuses and in Northern Finland.
If you’re interested in medical sciences or the field of medicine take a look at the relevant faculties at the University of Oulu.
There are plenty of other universities in Finland that also maintain a high standard of education. So rest assured, whatever discipline you wish to pursue there is a Finnish university that can provide you with the quality education you need to excel.
How to Apply to Finland
As a non-EU/EAA student you may need to familiarize yourself with the procedure to apply and live in Finland. Depending on the university you are applying to, you will need to follow some or all of the following steps:
1. Find the programs that best fit you:
Before you can actually dwell into the application part of the procedure, you should first look through all the possible schools you can join and finalize the programs you wish to study in.
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2. Complete Admission Requirements
After choosing your desired program you should take a look at the eligibility criteria and make sure you possess all necessary documentation. Generally, as a non-EU/EAA student you will need the following documents:
Transcript and or degree (if applicable) from previous level of education.
Results of an Aptitude test (SAT or GRE depending on the level of education you are applying for).
Proof of Proficiency in English (IELTS test with at least 6.5 band)
3. Apply to Programs
In Finland there are two ways to apply to university programs. They are the Joint application system and the separate application system.
Joint Application System: As the name suggests in joint application system, you can apply to up to 6 study programs using only one application form. This type of application opens twice a year, first in January and then in September, for English programs and has to be applied for from Finland’s national application portal Studyinfo.fi. When the application period is open, simply go to portal download the application form from the front page and submit it during the application period. Make sure to submit all necessary documents required in the form on time and note that only one application form can be submitted in one intake.
Separate Application System: In separate application system, you simply apply directly to the university using their web page. For different programs different applications have to be submitted and their procedure and requirements can vary from university to university. For this type of application, you are bound by the university deadlines so make sure to carefully read the requirements. Also note that there is no limit to how many programs you can apply to for this system.
4. Confirm your Study Place
After completing your application, you will have to wait for the results to be provided by the universities you applied to. If you have been successful in your endeavor, you will receive an official letter of acceptance from the respective university which will state how to accept your study place.
It is very important that you understand that confirming your study place will bind you to that program and you can not apply to or change your program in the current term even if another university sends you an acceptance letter. So, it is always best to wait for responses from all your target universities before confirming your choice.
5. Residence Permit
As a non-EU/EEA resident you are required to apply for a resident permit. This permit will last for one to four years and it is recommended that you apply for it as soon as your acceptance letter arrives. You can go to enterfinland.fi to complete the online application for the permit. Generally, for this you will need:
A valid passport
Acceptance letter from University
Proof of funds
Now that you have completed all your requirements and are prepared to go to Finland either contact your university to ensure that you will get dormitories or arrange a place to stay for yourself. If this is your first time going abroad we would recommend taking the dormitories for at least the first year as it will help you familiarize yourself with the country before making more liberal decisions.
Fees and Costs for Non-EU/EAA Students in Finland
If you’re thinking about studying in Finland as a non-EU/EAA student, you’re in luck. Compared to mainstream international student destinations like UK, Tokyo or France the tuition and living expenses in Finland tend to be lower. However, Finland is still not a cheap country to live in by far. So make sure that you are financially prepared for the expenses you will need to bear. A break down of the costs is given below:
If you’re a Non-EU/EAA student, generally you will be expected to pay the tuition for your bachelors or masters program annually. While the annual tuition fee can vary between the university and program you are applying to it tends to be between 4,000 to 18,000 €.
Of course, even as a non-EU/EAA student you are still entitled to scholarships and fee waivers. Depending on your academic performance and the available scholarship programs at the university of your choice, you may be waived between 50% to a 100% of your tuition fee. Outstanding students may even be entitled to receive a stipend to help with their living costs. Hence, it is strongly suggested that you look up the requirements for the available scholarships at your target school.
For doctoral level student Finland has a policy of charging no tuition fee regardless of you belonging from inside or outside the EU/EAA region.
Unless you have received financial support from the university or through a scholarship program, you will be expected to cover your own living costs. As a student your main living expenses will be accommodation, food, travel and insurance. While costs tend to vary heavily depending on if you’re living in a large city or a small one a concise estimate of your monthly expenses will be between 700 to 900 €.
Another expense which university students are expected to bear are the student union fees. This is approximately around 80 € and may be optional if you’re studying in applied sciences. The student union membership on the long run allows you to avail discounts on public transport and student restaurants, so it can be quite worthwhile if you travel and eat out a lot.
Finland For the Adventurous Soul
There are more reasons to apply to Finland than just the academic standard. Finland is a country loved by nature where marvels like the Northern Aurora Lights are the norm. It is a country full of adventure, nature and traditions. One tradition that any of you prospective doctoral students would love is that unlike the normal graduation ceremony, Finland has a conferment ceremony for PhD holders in which they are given a doctoral hat and a ceremonial sword to celebrate their accomplishment!
All in all, if you do decide to pursue your education in Finland rest assure that you will graduate a capable individual. We wish you all the best in your academic journey.