Finland has been lauded as the happiest country in the world for many years according to the World Happiness Report by United Nation’s non-profit organization Sustainable Develop Solutions Network. The country has robust and efficient learning institutions, and it ranked fifteenth in the world in having the best educational system according to U.S. News & World Report.

These two factors are some of the sources where Finland lends its share of success in inviting international students and immigrants to visit or move to the country. The country is rich in culture, situated in the middle of Norway, Sweden, Estonia, and the outskirts of Russia. The geographical placement has influenced its culture and history. As a melting pot of culture and history, the languages used in its neighboring countries are also spoken in Finland; with Finnish, Swedish, and English being the primary languages.

Therefore, international students aspiring to move out of their country to live elsewhere may find Finland a perfect choice. Yet how can people continue their postgraduate studies in Finland? Here we discuss how you can apply for a master’s program in Finland.

Master’s Degree Admission Requirements

Documents and items are to be prepared beforehand if you intend to study for a master’s program in Finland. As standard practice in every university, there are basic requirements and program-specific requirements.

Basic requirements for most universities include proof of a bachelor’s degree, original and translated transcript of records, curriculum vitae or resume, motivation letter, and proof of language proficiency in English. Language proficiency in Swedish and Finnish is required in specific situations, these will be thoroughly discussed in the next section.

For CV requirements, some universities recommend applicants to use the Europass CV found here. Europass is merely an online helping tool for people aiming to live and work in Europe – which includes Finland.

Some universities may require additional documents such as a copy of your Passport ID, a letter of recommendation, and a visa such as Tampere University and HELBUS Helsinki School of Business.

Visa requirements vary from one university to another. Some universities ask for them during the application period while some after you have been accepted. If it is the latter, you have plenty of time to acquire a student or resident visa while waiting for your application to be processed. Otherwise, nobody is stopping you from getting one before admission to make things easier.

In regards to program-specific requirements, bachelor’s degrees or work experience related to the applied master’s degree may be required. Portfolios or work certification may be used instead but the company has to be recognized by the admission office. An example of a university that does this is Metropolia University of Applied Science.

On some occasions, country-specific requirements are present. The reasons and documents may vary from one university to another. Therefore, it is advised to check if the university has this kind of requirement. If it has, then also check if your country is included before applying.

Finally, most universities in Finland have a special set of requirements for refugees. Most of these refugees come from Afghanistan, China, Turkey, Iraq, and more recently, Ukraine and Russia. On the off chance that you are a refugee, there are universities like Tampere University that allow you to apply through an entrance examination along with presenting any documentation proving refugee status.

Language Proficiency Tests Needed for Master’s Studies

The primary languages in Finland are Finnish and Swedish. However, since master’s programs are open to international students, English is also widely used in academic institutions. All universities will have English proficiency requirements but Finnish and Swedish requirements are most often program-specific requirements. So, enrolling in a master’s program in Finland may require different language proficiencies.

On one hand, this means not all universities have a Finnish language requirement for their master’s programs. On the other hand, most universities that offer master’s degrees in Language Studies and programs that heavily involve Finnish or Swedish history will require the Finnish language requirement. Some examples are the University of Helsinki and Aalto University.

Therefore, it is still recommended to get certification for Finnish language proficiency if these apply to you, or if you intend to immerse yourself in Finnish life and culture for a long time.

The most common English proficiency requirements universities ask for are certificates or proof from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), International English Language Testing System (IELTS), Cambridge English: Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE), or Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE), International Baccalaureate (IB), and European Baccalaureate (EB). Minor differences in the level of achievement may be present from one university or another, but these should not pose a problem since the school will still evaluate your application, and at times have examinations of their own.

Some of the schools that require these are Abo Akademi University and the University of Turku.

For Finnish and Swedish language proficiency, it is surprising to find that these share the same proof or certification source. This means that you may get certification for both languages on separate tests from the same testing organization. Examples of these are the National Certificate of Language Proficiency (YKI), Civil Service Language Proficiency Certificate (VKT), and diploma of a degree where the instruction of teaching was English.

For example, Häme University of Applied Sciences, and Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences are universities that offer programs requiring proof of Finnish and Swedish language proficiency.

Check Also: Programs in Europe for International Students

Master’s Degree Application Process

The basic requirements and steps in getting a master’s program in Finland are discussed below. Universities may separate themselves in the finer details but you will most likely find yourself doing each step along the way. Examinations for experience in the field of study or language proficiency may be provided by the university, but all these should be easy if you follow the language and application requirements section beforehand

Step 1. Acquire Document Requirements for the Application

First, get the basic requirements stated in the first section of the article. Then, look for specific program requirements or country requirements that might apply to you. This way, you do not miss out on any documents that might delay or reject your application.

Step 2. Register Application Form Online

All universities offering a master’s program will require you to apply in some form of online application. This may be through simple emailing, filling out an online form, or accessing their application portal.

Here are some schools that will link you to their application instructions: Laurea University of Applied Sciences, University of Oulu, Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology LUT, and the University of Vaasa.

Step 3. Pay For Application Fees if Needed; Otherwise, Wait for Admission Results

Some universities will require a payment fee for the application process. If not, then simply wait for the admission office of the university to reply through your email address on the result of your application.

Step 4. Once Admitted, Enroll and Prepare for A Visa

If you have been accepted, then make sure you have the necessary documents to travel and live internationally; this means a passport and visa.

Your visa should cater to your needs so make sure to get a student visa. The complete steps and requirements for acquiring a visa have a whole different complicated system that may take some time to finish. So make sure to prepare these before or during your application process to save time and effort.


As you can see, the application process for taking a master’s program in Finland is very straightforward. As you go along the process, make sure to complete the documents needed.


We hope that this article on how to study Master’s in Finland was helpful! If you want to learn more about studying requirements in Finland then make sure to also check out Study in Finland page! You can also check Available Programs for International Students to 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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