Higher education

Universities and polytechnics in Finland

Higher education

Higher Education in Finland is split between universities (yliopisto), which focus on scientific research, and polytechnics (ammattikorkeakoulu), where the focus is on teaching the expertise needed for working life. Competition for places is relatively fierce.

Universities in Finland

There are 14 universities and 23 universities of applied sciences in Finland . Most of them are multidisciplinary, offering education in the arts, economics, technical subjects and more.

Applications for universities take place in the spring via an online portal . Please note that the application period for master degrees taught in English usually opens around December and closes in January. To enter university, students need to have passed the Upper Secondary examination or a three-year vocational qualification.

Fields of study are diverse and plentiful, the biggest of which include natural sciences and humanities. A lower tier (Bachelor’s) degree is attained in three years and requires 180 credit points, whilst a higher Master’s degree is most commonly completed in two years (120ects). As within most European countries, fields such as Medicine often require more extensive study and therefore take longer to finish.

After their university degree, students can continue education for a doctoral degree or licentiate.

Polytechnics in Finland

Polytechnics offer more practical-orientated studies than universities, and their extensive working life connections ensure a good employment record among graduates.

Entry requires completion of either general Upper Secondary school or a vocational upper secondary qualification, and the selection process takes place through the joint application process in the spring and autumn. Applications are made online .

Polytechnic studies generally take between 3.5 and 4.5 years, are free of charge, and include a six-month period spent working in the chosen field. Polytechnics construct their curricula in the following fields:

• Humanities and Education

• Culture

• Natural Sciences

• Tourism, Catering and Domestic Services

• Social Services, Health and Sports

• Technology, Communication and Transport

• Social Sciences, Business and Administration

There are 23 polytechnics in Finland, the majority of which are multidisciplinary, with student numbers ranging from 1,000 to 8,000.

Postgraduate studies in polytechnics are possible once three years of working life experience have been attained since the completion of the first degree. They are based around the expert needs of businesses in the region and usually take between a year and eighteen months of full-time study to complete.

Further reading

Does this article help?

Do you have any comments, updates or questions on this topic? Ask them here: