Top Universities for Masters In Finland
A Masters in Finland can be a great choice for adventurous international postgraduates looking for a unique study abroad experience in Europe. And, with historic universities and a good chance of paying no fees for your Masters, the country has plenty to offer.
This post will enlighten you on the top universities for masters in Finland as well as information on universities, course content, costs and visa requirements.
Finland has two types of higher education institutions where you can undertake Masters degrees: 13 universities and 22 universities of applied science (UAS).
All degrees, including Masters degrees, are awarded ECTS credits. Universities follow the Bologna three-tier system: Bachelor (three years), Master (two years), Doctorate (four years).
Universities of applied science are more focused on vocational training and applied research. As such, Masters at UAS are a little different than in universities and last one to one and a half years. In addition, they can only be accessed upon completion of a bachelor and three years of professional experience.
Finnish university rankings
The success of Finnish universities in global rankings is one way to measure the quality of its research and training opportunities. Several Finnish institutions feature in academic league tables for 2023.
|University||THE 2023||QS 2023||ARWU 2022|
|University of Helsinki||110||=106||92|
|Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology LUT||301-350||=338||–|
|University of Oulu||301-350||=392||401-500|
|University of Turku||351-400||291||401-500|
|University of Vaasa||351-400||–||–|
|University of Jyväskylä||401-500||=347||701-800|
|Åbo Akademi University||601-800||601-650||–|
Postgraduate opportunities in Finland – what’s on offer for 2023?
Finland’s clean and safe cities, pristine wilderness and high quality of life make it a great destination for Masters study.
Though less well known than its Nordic neighbors, Finland boasts several institutions with an excellent track record – the University of Helsinki is in the world’s top 100 according to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. The higher education sector in Finland has considerably expanded the number of postgraduate programmes in English to attract international students.
Here are just a few reasons why you could consider studying a Masters in Finland:
- No tuition fees – If you’re an EU / EEA national, higher education is completely free!
- Relatively low cost of living – Compared to other Nordic countries, Finland is less expensive to live in. This means you can experience the famous Nordic model of living without worrying too much about your bank balance.
- Academic freedom – Finland is rightfully proud of its egalitarian society, and this is reflected in a higher education sector that emphasises the importance of co-operation and academic independence.
- Research and development – Universities of applied sciences in Finland maintain close links with local industry, allowing you to put your skills into practice.
Masters degrees offered by Finnish universities are always two years in duration, although at universities of applied science the duration can be shorter, due to the fact that students must have significant professional experience before starting the course.
As in other European countries, credits are gained through a mix of compulsory / core courses and optional courses or activities. Teaching for Masters degrees is delivered face-to-face or virtually through lectures, seminars, tutorials and practical’s, as well as language courses or a period of internship. Assessment are based on coursework, exams and the final dissertation.
Masters fees and funding in Finland
Historically, there were no tuition fees in Finland. However, this changed in the 2017-18 academic year when fees were introduced for non-EU/EEA students on English-language Masters degrees (not Finnish / Swedish language Masters). These fees vary between €4,000 and €18,000.
Students from the EU and EEA continue to study for free.
All students will have to pay a small fee, either to become a member of the university or of the student union. This is usually between €80 and €100. Other costs may include access to student facilities such as sports centres, as well as buying textbooks or other materials.
The Finland Scholarship is available to non-EU/EEA Masters and PhD students. It covers your first-year tuition fee and provides a relocation grant of at least €5,000. Some universities also offer support for second year of Masters study. You can apply for the Finland Scholarship at the same time as you apply for your programme. More information and a full list of participating universities can be found on the Study in Finland website.
You might be eligible to receive support through the Erasmus+ scheme, which provides funding for selected programmes like Erasmus Mundus Joint Masters, as well as Erasmus loans for students who want to study abroad.
If you’re a US citizen, there are a few options open to you:
- The Council on International Educational Exchange have grants available for American students to study abroad – need-based and merit-based
- Fund for Education Abroad
- Fulbright scholarships
Applying for a Masters in Finland
The Finnish academic year begins in September, but the application period for Masters programmes in Finland is generally from November through to February / March (though in some cases it may close as early as the end of January). The exact dates may vary from one university to another, or even within one single university, depending on the Masters programme in question. You may also find that different universities and courses have different entry requirements for prospective postgraduates.
Masters applicants should hold an undergraduate degree (three years minimum). For UAS Masters, you will also need three years of professional experience. If you already hold a higher education qualification from a country other than Finland, your eligibility is decided based on:
- Your academic performance.
- Language skills: English or Finnish / Swedish if you are opting to pursue a Masters in one of the country’s official languages.
- Other faculty-specific requirements, if applicable.
Both kinds of universities in Finland use Studyinfo.fi for Masters applications (the Finnish equivalent of UCAS). Handily, you won’t be charged a fee to apply for a course at a Finnish university through Studyinfo.fi.
Why Study In Finland
1. A World-Class Education System
With one of best performing education systems in the world, it’s no wonder over 14,000 international students have already chosen Finland for study abroad.
Finland continues to eclipse the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand in math, science and reading scores, and as of 2019, Finnish universities were ranked among the top 3 percent globally.
Starting from early childhood, Finnish schools aim to prepare students for the real world, and give them the tools to live a meaningful life. Students are taught through a multi-disciplinary approach that combines self-study, problem-solving and self-development, which ensures a well-rounded learning experience from preschool through to university.
2. Affordable Tuition Fees
While tuition at Finnish universities is free for students from the Finland and other EU countries, tuition fees for international students range anywhere from €6,000-€16,000 per year.
However, there’s no shortage of funding opportunities for education in Finland. Many universities award generous scholarships to international students, which are primarily based on academic merits. Some universities may offer a full ride, but scholarships for a percentage deduction on tuition fees are more common.
3. Equality and Freedom
Equality and freedom are cornerstones of the Finnish education system. In Finland, all students have equal opportunities to receive a high-quality education, and thanks to the flat hierarchy of Finnish universities, students are usually on a first-name basis with their professors.
Academic freedom is also a core value in Finnish universities. Unlike the United States or the United Kingdom, students in Finland have the freedom to decide which modules they’d like to study, ensuring that each student graduates with a diverse body of skills and knowledge.
4. A High Standard of Living
Finland provides a high standard of living for students and families throughout the country. Not only are the Finnish education and healthcare systems top-notch, but the cost of living is manageable for most students, especially since there are plenty of student discounts for food and transportation nationwide.
Work-life balance is also an important part of Finnish society. Work, study and vacation are prioritized equally, so employees and students are welcome to enjoy the fruits of their labor, kick back, and relax with family and friends on their off-hours. Sauna, anyone?
6. Job Opportunities for Students
Good news for career-minded students — most Finnish universities provide career services for international students. They’re available to lend a hand during your job search, whether you’re looking for a student job, or a full-time position for after you graduate.
In Finland, it’s not uncommon to have a part-time job alongside your studies — according to Statistics Finland, 55 percent of university students reported having an employment contract while studying.
If you’re interested in working part time during your term abroad, your student visa will allow you to work for up to 25 hours per week. Which leads us to our seventh and final reason why you should study abroad in Finland.
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