Finland is a go-to place for international students. Not only is it home to world-class universities, but it also has tons of beautiful scenery, a vibrant cultural environment, friendly people, career opportunities, and a high standard of living. Finland was dubbed as the happiest country on Earth for a very good reason, after all!

Finnish universities make great efforts to invite students from all over the world. They offer hundreds of English-taught programs at very affordable rates. If you’d like to pursue your bachelor’s degree at any university in Finland, it is very easy to do so.

Here’s some important information you need if you’d like to study at an undergraduate level in Finland.

Admission Requirements When Applying for a Bachelor’s Degree

The required admission documents in Finland may be shorter or longer depending on which university you’re applying to. You should always check the university website or inquire at the admissions office to know the complete list of documents you need. However, below is a standard and general list of admission requirements in Finnish universities.

1. Matriculation Examination

Matriculation examinations are university entrance tests that are commonly required for an individual who wants to apply for a bachelor’s degree in Finland. It is typically held towards the end of secondary school. With the school-leaving certificate and/or high school diploma, matriculation exams serve as proof that students are qualified to study at a university level.

There are several equivalents to the Finnish matriculation examination. American SATs, British A-Levels, German Abitur, and International Baccalaureates are just some post-secondary tests that may be accepted by Finnish universities. You should ask your chosen university if your post-secondary documents are enough to be considered for admission.

2. Transcript of Records

A transcript of records is another main requirement in applying for an undergraduate degree in Finland. It is a detailed list of all the courses you took in high school and the grades you earned for them. You can request official copies of these (with a school seal and signature) from your high school. If this document is not written in English or Finnish or is from a country with a different grading system, you will be required to send in certified translations and grade equivalents.

3. Proof of Nationality and Other Related Identification Cards

This is needed by the university to determine whether or not you pay tuition fees. In Finland, higher education is free for domestic students for the most part except for certain circumstances. Most universities offer free tuition fees for EU/EEA/Swiss students, while some universities may offer free tuition fees to international students who can speak Finnish or Swedish. Always make sure to research the tuition fees of your preferred universities before applying to them!

Check Also: Programs in Europe for International Students

Language Proficiency Tests Needed for Bachelor’s Programs

Luckily for international students, most Finnish universities offer courses taught in English. Presently, there are over 500 undergraduate degrees in the arts and sciences offered by top universities across Finland.

Most Finnish universities will require proof of English language proficiency in the application process. The required level of fluency will depend on where and what course you’re applying to—generally, however, you should have a minimum IELTS band score of 6  or 79 score in TOEFL. If you come from a country whose native language is English or have obtained a previous degree from a country whose native language is English, you will be exempted from this requirement.

Additionally, unlike most other countries, international students in Finland do not need to learn the native language. Most people in Finland speak English and would love to practice their skills with you. You can go through your entire study period without studying Finnish. However, we highly recommend learning Finnish regardless! This will significantly enhance your experience as an international student in Finland, and most universities offer Finnish language classes you can sign up for.

Steps to Apply for Bachelor’s Degree in Finland

There are three application periods in Finland—two in the spring, and one in autumn. There are two in spring because applications for English-taught programs and arts-based programs take longer to process.

To increase your chances of getting into a university in Finland, we highly recommend you apply by the first round in spring. Not only will you have more time to compile post-admission documents, but you will also have a wider selection of courses to choose from. Most of the English-taught courses are available during the first round, and slots go by quickly. Furthermore, if you apply by the first round, you can be accepted into more than one university—apply later than that, and you will only be selected for one university in order of preference.

Step 1. Research preferred courses and universities

For aspiring bachelor’s degree applicants, you must be aware that there are two kinds of higher education institutions in Finland.

The first is the University. These institutions prioritize scientific and artistic research and can be found anywhere around the country. Two of Finland’s top public universities are: the University of Helsinki and Aalto University

Meanwhile, the second type of institution is the University of Applied Sciences or UAS, or institutions that are professionally oriented and train students for the workplace. These universities specialize in courses that are in high demand by the labor market, and they usually last a year longer than university ones because of work placements and practical training. Furthermore, universities of applied sciences emphasize regional development, which is why most of them are located away from Finland’s metropolitan cities.

These institutions tend to offer more English-taught courses available at universities of applied sciences, such as JAMK University of Applied Sciences and Metropolia University of Applied Sciences.

Before starting your application, you must be sure about your preferred university and course. Some of the best programs offered in Finland include engineering, computer science, business, and nursing. Each study program has a different set of eligibility criteria, required documents, application processes, and aptitude examinations. So make sure to inquire with the admissions committee for further details.

Step 2. Apply using the Studyinfo portal

Studyinfo is an official, all-in-one website that hosts a variety of information about university education in Finland. It is run by the Finnish National Agency for Education in cooperation with all universities across the country. This is where schools can advertise their services, upload details on their application processes and required documents, and receive applications from international student applicants who want to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Finland.

Once you register for an account, you will receive a confirmation email with a link. This will direct you to an application form where you can fill up to six of your preferred courses at your preferred universities. This is called a joint application and allows you to apply to multiple universities with one application. Upload all required documents and apply by the dates indicated on the website.

Additionally, you can also apply to universities without Studyinfo. These are called separate applications and are a bit more tedious. You will need to apply for each degree you apply for, but there are no limits to how many you can send. Again, take note of application deadlines by visiting university websites.

Step 3. Process any post-application documents or processes

After you submit your application/s, you may be asked to take an entrance exam. This will depend on the degree you applied for and the qualifications you submitted. Studyinfo will usually post more information about entrance exams when the application period opens, so make sure to read up on that.

You will hear back about your application by early June. If you’ve been accepted, we highly recommend you confirm your acceptance of studies as soon as possible. Some universities offer an early-bird discount for students who accept their place within a week of results. If you fail to accept any of your offers by the indicated deadline, your offer/s will be rescinded.


We hope that this article was helpful. If you are planning to study in Finland, check out our Study in Finland for more information. It has a lot of helpful tips for first-time international students! Feel free to also check out the Available Programs for International Students and learn more about studying abroad.

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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