Funding Overview

Higher Education in Finland

Finland’s educational framework encourages students to learn and think for themselves, so it is little surprise that Finland’s system of higher education has been rated the best in the world. Students and teachers work as a unit to develop curriculum and depend upon discussion to further their goals. Finland’s subject-diverse universities, independent students, and emphasis on research speaks to the country’s view on the important of education.
Find your Degree Programme in Finland
Find your Degree Programme in Finland

Educational system

Finland has two types of higher education institutions. There are 14 Universities (of which only two are private) and 24 polytechnics. Municipal authorities manage 3 of those schools while 21 institutions are independent. The self-governing province of Aland also has a school, the Aland University of Applied Sciences, and the Ministry of the Interior manages a Police College. In terms of what students in Finland are studying, the country is known for its experts in ICT, bio-technology, design, forestry and environmental sciences, architecture, and art.


Universities are what most would imagine for a secondary school experience, while the polytechnic universities (also called Universities of Applied Sciences) are focused on practical and vocational learning. At Finnish Polytechnics one can attain a Bachelor's level degree in a variety of different fields. Such a degree can be completed in 3 ½ to 4 years. A Master's degree is also attainable through Polytechnics. Master's degrees from a Polytechnic is typically designed for those who are already involved in a career.


Those attending a Finnish University are able to obtain a Bachelor's degree, Master's degree or a Doctorate. With a wide range of programmes being offered in English (especially in the case of a Master's degree), Finnish Universities are often frequented by foreign students who wish to take their studies to Finland. Scientific research is also a common part of Finnish Universities.

Bachelor's Degree

The obtaining of a Bachelor's degree in Finland differs based on the type of University one attends. At a Polytechnic universities a core programme as well as professional studies, optional studies and also training and the completion of a Bachelor's thesis are required to obtain a Bachelor's degree. This takes approximately 3 ½ to 4 years and has a credit requirement of 210-270. The training that is required for a Bachelor's degree when attending a Polytechnic accounts for 30 credits (minimum). At Finnish Universities, a Bachelor's degree includes a combination of language, intermediate and basic studies and also, the completion of a Bachelor's thesis. The duration of a Bachelor's degree at a Finnish university is 3 years and a combined 180 credits need to be obtained.

Master's Degree

Master's degrees are offered by both the Polytechnics in Finland as well as the Universities in Finland. A Master's degree takes one to two years to complete, depending on the type of higher education institution attended. There is however, a significant difference between obtaining a Master's degree from a Polytechnic compared to earning a Master's degree from a University. At a Polytechnic, the Master's degree focuses a lot on vocational training as well as applied research. At a Finnish University, the Master's degree can only be attained once a Bachelor's has been completed and the candidate has completed three years of work experience.