THE REPUBLIC OF FINLAND
Finland is the eight largest country in Europe by land size, interestingly though, it has a population of barely 5.5 million people, which makes it one of the most sparsely populated countries in Europe. The country is bordered by Norway to the north, Estonia is south across the Gulf of Finland and Russia to the east. Finland’s capital, Helsinki opens up to the Baltic sea. Its a perfect study abroad destination for international students.
Finland is part of a group of 5 highly developed northern European countries (including Sweden, Norway Denmark, Iceland) and their associated territories, broadly referred to as Nordic countries. Finnish which is spoken by 88.7% of the population is the official language, but Swedish is also widely spoken.
THE BENEFITS OF STUDYING FOR A DEGREE IN FINLAND
Finland is renowned and respected for its excellent and successful educational system. The country’s school system has consistently come top of most international rankings for education, like the PISA, a worldwide exam administered every three years that measures 15-year-olds in at least 72 countries.
International students can benefit from an academic curriculum that de-emphasizes examinations, grades or competition among students. Finland’s universities are publicly funded and many of them are among the top ranked institutions for higher learning in the world.
For instance, the University of Helsinki ranks among the global top 100 while 8 other Finnish universities rank among the top 500 in the world.
THE TOP 10 RANKED UNIVERSITIES IN FINLAND
|University||Finish Ranking||World Ranking||City|
|University of Helsinki||1||91||Helsinki|
|University of Turku||3||328||Turku|
|University of eastern Finland||4||394||Joensuu|
|University of Jyvaskyla||5||472||Jyvaskyla|
|University of Oulu||6||418||Oulu|
|Tampere University of Technology||7||695||Tampere|
|University of Tampere||8||530||Tampere|
|Lappeenranta University Technology||9||576||Lappeenranta|
|Abo Akademi University||10||Helsinki|
1. University of Helsinki
The University of Helsinki is the oldest and largest university in Finland with a student population of about 36,500. It is easily the most prestigious university in all of Finland and it counts no less than 4 Nobel Laureates amongst its alumni — the latest being Bengt Holmström who was awarded the Nobel Prize for economics in 2016.
The University of Helsinki was founded in 1640 as the Royal Academy of Aboensis. It now ranks amongst the top 100 universities in the world and it offers a wide range of undergraduate and post graduate degree programs. Theprograms are in turn divided into eleven different faculties.
2. Aalto University
Aalto University was established in 2010 by the finish government after it merged three older universities; the Helsinki School of Economics, the University of Art and Design Helsinki and the Helsinki University of Technology which was established 1849.
Aalto University is the second largest university in Finland, it has six schools and a student population of nearly 20 000 and a teaching staff of about 4500, many of whom are professors.
It offers a wide range of undergraduate and post graduate degree programs including arts and humanities, natural and applied sciences.
3. University of Turku
The University of Turku was established in 1920 following Finland’s independence from Russia. The university was set up primarily to contribute to the advancement of science and technology in Finland.
The University of Turku has a population of about 18,000 students, 30 percent of whom are post graduate students. There are 7 faculties, the most important of which are the Faculty of Humanities, the Faculty of Mathematics and the Faculty of Natural Sciences.
4. University of Eastern Finland
The University of Eastern Finland (UEF) was established in 2010 following the merger of the University of Joensuu and the University of Kuopio by the Finnish government.
The university of offers Bachelor’s, Master’s and doctoral programs and it currently has four faculties: the Faculty of Science and Forestry, the Philosophical Faculty, the Faculty of Health Sciences, and the Faculty of Social Sciences and Business Studies.
5. University of Jyvaskyla
The University of Jyvaskyla was founded in 1863 as the teacher training college. It upgraded to a university in the 1960’s and in 1967 was renamed the University of Jyvaskyla.
The university is currently divided into six faculties, offering more 120 different programs. It has student population of around 15000 and it is the fourth largest Finnish university by number of degrees conferred.
HOW TO APPLY
In general, international students seeking to study in Finland are required to fulfil the following requirements.
They must fill out the online application form on the website of the university of their choice and supply proof of relevant and recognized qualification/certificates, official academic record and transcripts. In addition, they must also provide details about their personal data.
Prospective students applying to study for a Master’s Degree must provide proof of a Bachelor’s Degree or its equivalent from a recognized institution of higher learning. They also need to have acquired real life work experience as Finnish Master Degrees are designed for persons with some industrialexperience.
Finnish universities generally require all doctoral or research students to possess at least a Master’s degree (or equivalent) from a recognized institution.
Other sundry detailsand entry requirements may vary between universities or from one Doctoral option to another. In addition, the universities would also ascertain if the applicant is eligible for a doctoral or research program by carrying out background checks on the veracity or otherwise of the degree qualification.
Official Language of Communication
Finish and Swedish are the official language of communication but English is also widely spoken and some universities offer programs taught exclusively in English for the benefit of international students. Prospective international students may however need to supply proof of proficiency in English by submitting a (TOEFL) Test of English as a Foreign Language or an equivalent.
Entry and Visa Requirements
Entry and visa requirements largely depend on the nationality of the applicant. Students from the EU and Scandinavia do not require a visa or entry permit. they may however need to register with the Finnish population authorities if their stay exceeds 12 months.
On the other hand, non-EU students are required to apply for a visa or residence permit from the Finnish embassy in their home country.
DEADLINE FOR THE SUBMITION OF APPLICATIONS
Applications for bachelor programs in Finnish universities open in autumn and close by the following January. Some universities conduct entrance exams for prospective applicants. In the end, the results of successful applicants are released by the end of June at the latest.
IMPORTANT NOTES FOR PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS
Eligible applicants may be required to write entrance examinations. These are usually held in Finland, but there are a number of options for taking the tests abroad.
Non-EU studentsare required to make adequate sponsorship arrangements to cover the cost of tuition, accommodation and other living expenses. They may however apply for scholarships where available.
Tuition is completely free for all doctoral degree programs for EU and non-EU citizens. However, students would still need to provide their own living expenses.
Students of all nationalities are allowed to take up part-time jobs, however language is sometimes a barrier and students who speak neither Finnish nor Swedish may find such work difficult to find.
Finland is a modern country and a model for an egalitarian society with equal opportunities for everyone. It consistently ranks highly on all human developmental indices. The Finns on their part are typically honest, hardworking and unassuming.
Residents of Finland enjoy fantastic social services including public transportation, education and healthcare. The country is conducive for learning or research and international students can expect to earn degrees that would be recognized and respected all over the world.