Ah, Finland! What is not to love? The education is free (for EU/EEA students), the country is beautiful and the people are warm and welcoming, so, of course, it is one of the top destinations for foreign students around the globe for their international studying experience.
Like any country, Finland requires you to follow a couple of steps in order to be accepted to one of its universities. Luckily, we’re here to help!
Choose the right degree subject in Finland
If you decided on the destination, but not on the discipline you wish to study, we can offer you a list of the most popular fields in Finland. These are:
- Masters in Management
- Masters in Physics
- Masters in Materials Engineering
- Masters in Industrial Engineering
- Masters in Economics
Choose the right Finnish university
It might also help you know that some of the universities in Finland we recommend are:
- University of Jyväskylä, in Jyväskylä
- Arcada University of Applied Sciences, in Helsinki
- HAMK University of Applied Sciences, in Hämeenlinna
- Hanken School of Economics, in Helsinki
- University of Helsinki, in Helsinki
- University of Oulu, in Oulu
Prepare to apply
You should first know that Finland divided its institutions in:
- UAS (Universities of Applied Sciences), that train professionals in response to labour market needs and conduct research and development, which support instruction and promotes regional development in particular.
- Universities, that conduct scientific research and provide instruction and postgraduate education based on it.
Finland is one of the European countries that offer free education, so you should check if you can opt out of paying. If your chosen university isn’t free or as cheap as you hoped, you can always search for a scholarship in Finland.
You should also check out the international admission website of Finland and get all the details and information you need from there.
Where to apply for a Finnish Master’s degree?
Applying can be done through the university’s or university of applied sciences’ (UAS) own website or through Studyinfo, the official website for Finnish applications.
Each of Finland 's higher education institutions has an admission office ready to answer any and all your questions if you stumble upon a problem. Usually, each university or UAS has its own criteria and list of documents, but there is common ground, especially for the prime application. For instance, you can choose one of these two types of forms:
- Joint application
- Separate application
Joint application means that you can apply to six study programmes with one application. You have to place the programmes in order of preference on the application form, but be careful, because this order is binding and you cannot change it after the application period has ended.
If you apply through the separate application, you apply directly to an institution’s study programme. Separate application forms are filled separately for each study programme or institution and there’s no limit to how many study programmes you can apply.
Language requirements for a Finnish university application
English is indispensable for your serene life as an international student in Finland. Of course, you could study in Swedish or Finnish, but let’s be real here: nobody can actually speak only in consonants.
If your mother tongue isn’t English, Swedish, or Finnish, you will need to take a language test. Usually, UAS’s can organise for their students' language tests, either written or under the guise of an interview. Universities, on the other hand, will expect a certificate directly.
The best part is that, if you have proof of education in a foreign language, you can submit that as proof of language proficiency. If you don’t, we recommend these tests, as they are universally recognised in Finland:
Also, Finland has its own National Certificate of Language Proficiency, if other English tests take too long or are too expensive.
Required application documents
The documents required in a university in Finland differ from those required by a UAS.
UAS’s will need:
- Copies of completed or soon-to-be completed qualifications documents
- Official translations for all documents
- Original diplomas and original official translations
- Employment certificates
- Applications for special arrangements for entrance examinations
Universities, on the other hand, will provide a comprehensive list of needed documents once you start your online application.
University application deadlines for Finland
Finland’s universities and UASs don’t have an exact calendar, admissions for Master’s programmes being between early December and mid to late January. Also, UAS can extend their admission schedules all the way to March.
Seeing how there’s no pattern, you should check the programme’s website for a clearer calendar for when to apply.
Don’t forget to take into account that some Master’s degrees offer additional applications outside the main period.
Commonly, spring applications have the following deadlines:
- end of January: Application period 1 (for Master’s degrees in English)
- start of February: Required certificates must be submitted
- mid-March: Application period 2 (for Master’s degrees in Finnish or Swedish)
- mid-April: Required certificates must be submitted
- end of June: Student selection results will be published
- mid-July: Deadline for the acceptance of a study place
- start of July - end of August: Supplementary application round
- September: Studies start
Meanwhile, the autumn applications have these deadlines:
- September: Application period ends
- end of September: Required certificates must be submitted
- November: Student selection results will be published
- start of December: Deadline for the acceptance of a study place
- mid-December: Acceptance from the waitlist ends
- end of November - mid-December: Additional applications
- January: Studies start
Final steps after receiving your acceptance letter
Let’s assume you got your acceptance letter, in which case, Congrats!
Now go back online and research the Finnish residence permit, because you will need one for studies longer than 90 days. If they will be shorter than 3 months, you have to apply for a visa.
Don’t forget you can ask your UAS / University for help with accommodation or other student services: they are there to help you, so you can take advantage of that.