Last Updated: March 06, 2022
Study in Finland
When students dream of a future-oriented education, they look for qualifications and degree programs other countries have to offer. They are willing to move abroad for their academic interests, opt for a customized course program that offers international accreditation and build a career that suits them. Finland is one of the countries offering such an internationally acknowledged education program.
The country shares its borders with Sweden, Norway, and Russia through land and with Estonia through waters. A unique combination of modern techniques and natural elements gives the country a sophisticated look. Its extremely renowned universities are in one-to-one competition with other universities of the world.
Finland has one of the world’s best higher education systems with over 500 bachelor’s and master’s level degree programs. It has several universities offering doctoral degree options and scholarship opportunities for foreign students. A higher education degree program focusing on scientific research with professional orientation is the specialty of Universities of Applied Sciences (UAS).
The world economic forum has rated Finland as one of the most research-oriented and innovative countries in terms of global competitiveness. One of the best places to live in and the incredible work-life balance it has makes it the most preferred study destination for foreign students.
Benefits of Studying in Finland
- Exposure to the work culture, career opportunities, and overall development of students with a top-class education system.
- With an affordable fee structure, these universities focus on providing a 360-degree learning experience to their students.
- The Finnish education authorities work on the principles of freedom for all and equality, so the students have a bucket full of opportunities purely based on their caliber and not on their gender, class, or nationality.
- Networking, making connections, collaborative working is the common areas these universities work upon.
- It’s easy for most of the students to maintain a reasonable standard of living. The basic amenities are usually not very costly.
- Many travel destinations to enjoy during the weekend and have leisure time.
- International value of the degree with lots of job opportunities.
- Universities also offer career consultancy services to students looking for a job.
- Paid part-time jobs to support the living.
- Scholarships for foreign students based on various parameters.
- Access to free education (pre-primary to higher class) to students coming from EU/EEA countries and students having Finnish citizenship.
- Only candidates having higher qualifications can apply for teaching in the universities and they go through rigorous training to deliver an effective and efficient learning map to the students.
Eligibility for Studying in Finland
Eligibility requirements to study in Finland may be different for each of the universities and each of the programs. General requirements can also differ according to the country to which the student belongs.
Students will have to clear an English language proficiency test. Based on their IELTS and TOEFL scores they will be eligible to enroll in one of the top universities of Finland. Universities may also grant exemptions to students belonging to a native English-speaking country who are not required to take the IELTS/TOEFL test. The Finnish universities’ admission process is very clear and to the point. Following are the general eligibility requirements:
- Students will have to submit a copy of their high school certificate.
- They will have to take the entrance exam which is university-specific or the SAT subject test.
- Students can fill out a joint application form for up to 6 study programs of their choice.
- Out of these programs, one will be assigned to them based on their scores.
- Admission is based solely on a student’s GPA and their scores in entrance examinations.
- Students should have scored a minimum IELTS score of 6.0 or TOEFL iBT score of 79.
Cost of Studying in Finland
Finnish Education Authorities, with the goal of promoting higher education in Finland exempted all students (regardless of their country of origin) from the tuition fees for most of the courses offered by Finland Universities. While that is still true for all EU/EAA students, starting in 2017, some courses moved out of the list, and non-European students are required to pay tuition fees. However, doctoral programs remain free of cost.
On average, a student must have 10,000 - 20,000 EUR/year for academic fees, depending upon the type of program. Other than that, the living expenses range from about 150 to 850 EUR/month for living expenses depending on the locality, type of housing, and the city they live in, and about 200-400 EUR/month for basic food expenses.
So, it is better to make a budget of about 750-1200 EUR/month for all the activities including transportation and social activities.
Degree Programs in Finland
Higher education in Finland is divided into two parts:
- Academic education and,
- Vocational education.
Universities are research-oriented and focus more on the theoretical (academic) part of subjects. Following a 3 tier Bologna system, these universities offer bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral level degrees for 3, 2, and 4 years respectively.
Universities of applied sciences work on the practical (vocational) side covering a 3.5 to 4 years bachelor’s program and 1-1.5 years master’s level program. Only after completing the bachelor’s degree and having a minimum of 3 years of work experience, can a student apply for the UAS master’s degree.
1-year of full-time study adds 60 credits to a student’s profile, according to the European Credit Transfer System. There are 2 semesters in an academic year in Finland, the autumn term is from August to December and the spring term is from January to May.
Some of the universities of applied sciences have over 100 English-led programs, however, the traditional universities have fewer programs taught in English. There are many opportunities for programs in English at the master's level and beyond.
The most famous bachelor’s disciplines are:
- Medical Sciences
Top Universities in Finland
There are around 22 universities of applied sciences (UAS) and 14 other universities in Finland.
Here is the list of the top 10 universities in Finland:
- University of Helsinki
- Aalto university
- LUT university
- Tampere university
- University of Oulu
- University of Jyvaskyla
- University of Turku
- University of Vaasa
- University of Eastern Finland
- Abo Akademi university
Scholarships to Study in Finland
While students plan their journey in a foreign country, the first and the most important thing they should do is look for the scholarship opportunities a country offers. A pocket-friendly degree program is all a student needs.
There are many scholarships for students in Finland. These scholarships will help them in covering their first-year tuition fee, and in some cases second year as well. There are several university-specific scholarships and grants that students can apply to at the time of application. These universities can waive either 50% or 100% of the tuition fee depending upon the student’s profile and grades. The students should be aware of the deadlines, application procedure, and document requirements of the university they wish to go to. Students can always look for more information on the official site of each of the universities and can get an idea of the eligibility requirements to avail the amount of the scholarship.
Some of the participating universities are:
- Aalto University,
- University of Oulu,
- University of Turku,
- LUT University,
- Tampere university,
- The University of Lapland,
- Hanken School of Economics,
- University of Helsinki
The doctoral scholarships are available for international students who wish to start their program at one of the Finnish universities of applied arts and research. Apart from a grant of 2,000 EUR at the time of their arrival, these grants contribute to the salary being paid by the university. There are no tuition fees charged at the doctoral level.
Some popular doctoral grants are mentioned below:
UNU-WIDER Visiting Ph.D. Fellowship for International Researchers
Only a few out of many can be selected for this program and are allowed to use the UNU-WIDER resources for their thesis work. For 3 months, they can work along with other researchers and prepare research papers based on their findings. Benefits include:
- a traveling grant
- medical insurance
- a monthly stipend of around 1,600 EUR
Students can also work as interns under the program UNU-WIDER Ph.D. Internships for International Students.
CIMO Doctoral Fellowship for International Students
There is no annual application deadline. Students who will be doing their doctorate-level studies can apply for this fellowship. An amount of 1,500 EUR is granted monthly to cover the living expenses.
EDUFI Fellowships Program for Young Doctoral Students
The students who wish to apply for a doctoral program can look for the national EDUFI fellowship scholarship program. The duration of the program is 3 to 12 months and a monthly allowance of 1,500 EUR is provided.
Working While Studying in Finland
Cutting down the cost of studies is possible when one takes a part-time job to supplement their living abroad. However, there are some restrictions on the non-native degree students based on their citizenship and work nature.
An EEA/EU student can work in Finland without the need for a work permit or any limitation on the working hours. Students not from the EU/EEA countries and having a residence permit can work on a part-time basis for an average of not more than 25 hours a week.
So, during an academic year as long as the average comes to around 25 hours a week, the students can adjust the time according to their preferences.
But students can opt for full-time employment during their school breaks.
Also, job seekers should know the Finnish or Swedish language to increase their chances of getting a job because getting temporary employment becomes all the more difficult if one has no working knowledge of the Finnish language.
1-year post-study visa can be granted to students while they are searching for a job and after getting full-time employment, they can then send an application for a work permit visa. Once they complete a period of 4 consecutive working years, they can apply for a lifelong residence permit.
Career Options in Finland
Finland is among the top-performing countries in industries like gaming, health, ICT, and the bioeconomy.
- The gaming industry is all about combining creativity with technology.
- As a global leader in digitalization and ICT, the Finnish ICT industries excel in cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, 5G/6G networks, and intelligent mobility.
- Being the hotspot nation in terms of healthcare research and development, it continues to work on digitalizing the concept.
- The bioeconomy industry is a blend of competence, innovation, and technology.
Apart from the above-mentioned industries, students have a lot of opportunities in various other fields. Students can choose a career from among many top-performing sectors based on their interest areas and concerns. Here’s a list of some of the career-building fields:
- Tourism and Hospitality
- Media Communications and Entertainment
- Management, Business, and Finance
- Social Service
- Humanities and Liberal Arts
- Manufacturing, Production, Transportation, and Distribution
- Visual and Performing Arts