Birds-eye view of Helsinki

Study Abroad in Finland: Education in Finland

There are two types of higher education institutions in Finland: universities and universities of applied sciences (UAS). Doctoral programs are offered by the universities only.

There are 13 Finnish universities and they are owned by the state; their focus lies in scientific research and they offer students a more theoretical education. UAS’s on the other hand, are governed by local municipalities and private entities and are centered around developing practical skills and engaging in industry development projects.

As is the case with many European countries, the Finnish higher education system uses the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) to measure the amount of higher education credits.

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Higher education in Finland grants three types of degrees:

  • Bachelor's degree: 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.
  • Master’s degree: 1-2 years (60 or 120 ECTS credits). Provides specialized content whilst allowing for further development of the scientific research process.
  • Doctorate (PhD) degree: 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. PhD's are only awarded by universities.

Tuition fees in Finland are mandatory for students from non-EU/EEA countries and will vary between universities. Finnish higher education institutions offer scholarship opportunities to students who pay fees, so make sure to contact your chosen institution to find out more about their funding options.


Finland is known as one of Europe’s most modern, most innovative countries, and its educational system is world-renowned!

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Student Visas

Do you need a visa to study in Finland? Learn everything you need to know about the student residence permit process and the exact documents you need to enter and study the country.

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Housing & Living Costs

No matter where you study abroad, it’s important to create a budget in advance so that you’re prepared. Therefore, we’ve detailed average living and housing costs so that you can get a better idea of what you would be paying as a student in Finland.

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Tuition Fees & Scholarships

Tuition fees for degree programs in Finland may vary. While European students can study for free, international students are expected to pay tuition fees in Finland. But there are plenty of scholarship opportunities available to help fund your study abroad journey. Read more here!

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Language & Culture

One of the Nordic countries, Finland’s culture is rooted in it’s stark and beautiful natural environment. Find out more about what it means to live in Finland as an international student!

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Application Process

All countries have specific admissions requirements for students to gain acceptance into a higher education institution. Learn more about the ins and outs of admission to programs in Finland and what you need to apply to the institution of your choice.

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Ready to look for study programs in Finland? Use our search engine to find and compare programs from top universities in Finland today!

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The content of this country guide has been developed in partnership with Study in Finland.

About Study in Finland

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Study in Finland is the official starter's guide for international students interested in the opportunities Finland offers in higher education. Study in Finland is operated by the Finnish National Agency for Education.

Last update: 16 Aug 2021


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