Studying in Finland offers students a number of advantages. One of the best is the fact that most of the higher education study programmes offered are tuition-free. Over 500 university studies are offered in English at the Bachelor’s and Doctoral (PhD) level. English-taught Master’s programmes are also available tuition-free for certain students, based on nationality. More specific details are described below.
Basic eligibility requirements
For entry into a Bachelor’s programme at a Finnish institution, the following requirements must be met:
- hold educational certificates or diplomas that are required for you to be admitted for a higher education programme in your own country*;
- fulfill the English language skills requirements and any other programme-specific requirements as set by the institution and programme you are applying for;
- successfully pass an entrance examination.
*Students who have completed short higher education programmes after their secondary school education may be eligible for some credit compensation at a Finnish institution. It is advised to discuss this with the institution after you’ve been accepted into a programme.
Students wishing to study at the Master’s or PhD level should have the following qualifications:
- a completed higher education degree of appropriate quality (usually a three-year Bachelor's degree is the minimum);
- proven language skills and other possible faculty-specific requirements.
Please note that if you are applying to a Polytechnic/University of Applied Sciences programme, three years of work experience after your three-year Bachelor’s degree is also required.
These basic requirements may vary for each institution and programme. It is strongly advised to confirm requirements with the institution of your choosing before applying to your chosen programme to make sure that you are eligible.
Tuition fees for Master’s programmes
Finnish higher education institutions that offer English Master’s programmes have been participating in a trial period from 2010 to December 31st, 2014 that has enabled them to charge tuition. Most universities have required non-EU/EEA students to pay tuition ranging from €2500 to €12000 per year. The average cost of a Master’s programme is €8000.
The following students are exempt from paying these tuition fees:
- EU/EEA citizens,
- non-EU/EEA citizens permanently residing in Finland,
- non-EU/EEA citizens who had started their studies in the Master’s programme in question before the introduction of tuition fees into that particular programme.
However, as of December 31st, 2014, Master’s programmes in Finland may become tuition-free again as the 5 year trial period comes to an end. It is not clear yet whether the Finnish government will allow universities to continue charging tuition fees as a final decision on that has not been made. Yet many universities have already declared that as of the autumn 2014 intake period, they will no longer be charging tuition for their Master’s programmes. It is advised to consult the particular institution to find out what their policy will be for English-taught Master’s programmes if you are a non-EU/EEA student that does not meet one of the exemptions above.
Costs of living in Finland
Even though that may be no tuition fees to consider when studying in Finland, students are still required to be financially responsible for their living expenses and other costs. The cost of living in cities is quite high and students, especially non-EU/EEA citizens, must prove that they have at least €500 per month in order to be eligible to study in Finland.
Scholarships are available to help some students pay for part of their costs. Criteria and requirements vary and some scholarships require students to apply after they have been accepted into a programme.
In the Netherlands PhD programmes are also free of charge, and PhD students receive same salary as research staff. Students of other degree programmes have to pay tuition fees, however, many Dutch universities offer scholarships and grants for studying in Holland.