Higher Education in Finland
There are two types of higher education institutions in Finland: Universities and Universities of Applied Sciences. The focus for Universities is research as they give a more theoretical education. Polytechnic universities focus on practical skills and seldom pursue research, but they do engage in industry development projects. All Finnish universities are however owned by the state, whereas vocational schools and polytechnics are governed by local municipalities or by private entities.
The Finnish system of Higher Education is regulated by the Bologna declaration. The Bologna process was initiated in 1999 when the Ministers of Education from 29 European countries signed the Bologna declaration in the Italian city of Bologna. The purpose of the process is to create educational standards for academic degrees and quality assurance, in order to make it easier for students to move from one European country to another and to improve the overall quality of European higher education. The system also incorporates aspects of the American higher education system and thus simplifies comparison. The Bologna System uses the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) to measure the amount of higher education credits.
3 years (180 ECTS credits) towards a professional bachelor or an academic bachelor. Offers students core teaching in the chosen discipline, as well as a broad general education. The academic bachelor gives access to master's studies.
1 or 2 years (60 or 120 ECTS credits). Provides specialized content whilst allowing for further development of the scientific research process. After obtaining a Master's degree, students can choose to pursue research projects leading to a Doctorate degree (PhD). PhD's are only awarded by Universities.
A doctoral degree in Finland usually lasts about 4 years. Furthermore these may be ready made doctoral programs or a student can contact the department of interest for doctoral study options. A masters degree is a requirement for a doctoral degree and applications can be made directly to universities.