Of the Nordic countries, Scandinavia -Denmark, Norway, and Sweden- has always been a favorite of international students for high quality study. Over the years, Finland has also offered top quality education and has been one of the countries with tuition-free schools in Europe for both native and international students. Want to know current situation of tuition free schools in Finland? Read on.
For the international student, Finland offers many opportunities. You can go to Finland as an exchange student, a trainee or to study for a whole academic degree. One important aspect of study or research in Finland is considering how to finance your study or research period. You will need to be able to cover your everyday living expences, travel, insurance, etc. Bachelor's and Doctoral level programmes -as well as many Master's level programmes- do not charge any tuition fees, regardless of your nationality. However, some Master’s programmes may charge tuition fees from non-EU/EEA students.
Remember that even when tuition is provided free of charge, you will need to independently cover the costs of your everyday life in Finland, including travel costs. In Finland, the general cost of living is relatively high, but still approximately the same as in other EU countries.
According to the official Finnish website, www.studyinfinland.fi: "The average monthly living expenses for a student in Finland are approximately 700-900€." This may vary a bit, depending on your personal habits and study location in Finland – for example, accommodation and other living costs may be higher in the Helsinki metropolitan area and other larger cities.
Study & Scholarships has compiled a comprehensive list of institutions in Finland to which international students can apply to. Bear in mind that all Bachelor's and Doctoral level programmes -as well as many Master's level programmes- do not charge any tuition fees. Finnish higher education consists of two complementary sectors: universities and polytechnics (also known as universities of applied sciences, UAS). Universities promote research and provide academic higher education based on research, whereas polytechnics/UAS's provide professional or ‘vocational’ higher education. Additionally, post-Master’s level degrees can only be awarded by the universities.
List of Tuition Free Institutions in FinlandA. Universities
- Aalto University
- Aalto University School of Business Helsinki campus
- Aalto University School of Business Mikkeli campus
- Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture
- Aalto University (Degree Programmes in Science and Technology)
- Hanken School of Ecomomics
- Lappeenranta University of Technology
- National Defence University
- Tampere University of Technology
- University of the Arts Helsinki
- University of Eastern Finland
- Joensuu campus
- Kuopio campus
- University of Helsinki
- University of Jyväskylä
- University of Lapland
- University of Oulu
- University of Tampere
- University of Turku
- University of Vaasa
- Åbo Akademi University
- Arcada University of Applied Sciences
- Centria University of Applied Sciences
- Diaconia University of Applied Sciences
- HAAGA-HELIA University of Applied Sciences
- HAMK University of Applied Sciences
- Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences
- JAMK University of Applied Sciences
- Kajaani University of Applied Sciences
- Karelia University of Applied Sciences
- Kemi-Tornio University of Applied Sciences
- Kymenlaakso University of Applied Sciences
- Lahti University of Applied Sciences
- Laurea University of Applied Sciences
- Mikkeli University of Applied Sciences
- Novia University of Applied Sciences
- Oulu University of Applied Sciences
- Rovaniemi University of Applied Sciences
- Saimaa University of Applied Sciences
- Satakunta University of Applied Sciences
- Savonia University of Applied Sciences
- Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences
- Tampere University of Applied Sciences
- Turku University of Applied Sciences
- Vaasa University of Applied Sciences
Most Finnish higher education institutions use an on-line electronic admissions system for their Bachelor’s and Master’s level student intake. You will also need to send in copies of your earlier educational certificates and other required documents. Additionally, depending on the programme, applicants may need to successfully pass an entrance examination.
How you should apply depends on whether you're applying to a university or a polytechnic (UAS), and also on your entry level. Note also that it's very important that you check all the detailed application information (entry requirements, etc.) on the web pages of the Finnish university or polytechnic (UAS) you're applying to (see links to schools above). For detailed information on how to apply, click here.
If you already have a Master’s degree (i.e. applying for a doctoral), and wish to apply to a Finnish university, then you should contact the university of your choice (see links above). You can either contact the International Office, or the faculty/department of your interest directly. For detailed information, see Doctoral admissions.
There are two annual application periods for the polytechnics’ Bachelor’s level programmes, one in January/February and the other in September. Please check the exact dates, requirements and other details on the www.admissions.fi website.
The application times for the universities’ programmes may vary depending on the institution/programme you are applying to. Please refer to the individual universities' admissions pages (see links to schools above) for info on how and when to apply.
Some universities may accept doctoral study applications at all times, while others may have specific application periods. Note also that student selection for post-Master's level studies and research is usually decided on at faculty level, so Doctoral level application times and policies may vary even within a single university. There is no national joint admissions system in Finland for Doctoral level studies and research, so please check the application times with the Finnish university of your choice.
No tuition fees are charged in Bachelor’s level degree programmes in Finland. The same is true of several Master’s programmes. The cost of this education is covered by the Finnish government, therefore, there are usually no scholarships available.
However, in those Master's level programmes that charge a tuition fee from non-EU/EEA students, institutional scholarships for non-EU/EEA students are available. These institutional scholarships are always applied for directly from the university in question. However, remember that first of all, you need to apply for a study placement.
Scholarships in Finland are mainly available for Doctoral level studies and research only.
Scholarships that you can apply from Finland include:
- CIMO scholarship programmes for Doctoral level studies and research at Finnish universities.
- Institutional scholarships offered by the higher education institutions themselves, especially for those enrolled in Master’s programmes that carry a tuition fee for non-EU/EEA nationals.
Related: Tuition Free Universities and Education: Do they still exist?
Article first written and published on Study & Scholarships 23rd February, 2009.
Content updated and republished 19th March, 2013.
DISCLAIMER: This article has been written as a general guide/information only. Please visit the school(s) of your interest via the links provided above for current details and more specific enquiries.