Tucked away near Europe's Northern edge, Finland is a popular choice for students seeking English-taught Masters. Its renowned educational system, high quality of life, safe cities, and impressive nature make for a great study-abroad experience. Students from the EU/EEA or Switzerland can even study tuition-free.
Master's programmes at universities tend to last 2 years; universities of applied sciences (who offer a more practical, vocational approach to their education) also offer options for 1 year or 18 months, but to qualify for these you usually need work experience after your Bachelor's degree.
You can find more than 500 Master’s programmes in Finland, completely taught in English. Find yours today!
When you pick universities and masters in Finland you want to apply to, it’s important that you know if and how much you may have to pay in tuition fees.
Students from the EU, EEA or Switzerland generally do not have to pay tuition fees for their Master’s studies in Finland.
All other students have to pay tuition fees to study in Finland; fees range from €8,000 to €20,000 per year. Universities of Applied Sciences (UAS) tend to have fees at the lower end of that range, while comprehensive universities usually charge more.
To apply to Master’s level programmes in Finland, you will encounter two separate routes: the joint application and separate applications.
To most Master’s programmes you apply through the joint application, via the official Studyinfo.fi platform. While there are two intakes (autumn and spring), almost all English-taught programmes are only available for autumn intakes. For the autumn intake, the joint application usually closes in January. (To make it more confusing, this round is called the “spring joint application”...)
For the autumn intake, you can apply to up to 6 Master’s degrees with only one application form, at one or more universities. You don’t have to place them in any order and you can later choose from the offers you receive. (Note that this is different when applying for the spring intake: There, you have to set preferences and will get only one offer.)
Separate applications work differently: Universities can set their own rules and dates. Make sure you know early on which route is used and what you need to do when!
To apply for a Masters in Finland, you typically need to prepare the following documents and information:
If you’re applying to a Master’s at a university of applied sciences, you typically also need some form of proof of 2 years of relevant work experience.
Finland has a rather early application deadline: To start your Master’s in the autumn semester, you need to send your full application by mid-January.
For a start in autumn 2023, your application needs to be sent between 4 January 2023 8:00 (UTC+2 timezone) and 18 January 2023 15:00 (UTC+2 timezone). Note the times in the Finnish timezone!
Pending a potential entrance exam (see the next step), you will receive your admissions results by early June and - if you’ve received offers - must make your decision by mid-July.
It is possible that there is an additional round of applications for programmes that did not fill all places in a course. You should try to apply in January, but if you’re only looking at Finland after the deadline, reach out to the universities to inquire if a programme you’re interested in still accepts late applications.
In some cases - particularly if you apply to universities of applied sciences - you may be required to take an entrance exam as the next step. These are usually done remotely.
Typically, you will be asked questions related to your chosen degree subject; there may also be a part that focuses on your proficiency in English, or a group interview together with other applicants.
While students from an EU/EEA country or Switzerland can study in Finland for free, all others have to pay tuition fees. For a Master’s degree, these can range from €8,000 up to €20,000 per year. But available scholarships can help you finance your studies in Finland.
When you get your acceptance letter(s) is also typically the time when you have to pay the first instalment of your tuition fees, so that you can enrol at the start of the semester.
All institutions in Finland offer their own scholarship or fee waivers based on their own criteria. Tuition fee waivers are often partial (such as 25% or 50%) but can also be up to 100% (in other words, you could still study tuition-free even as a non-European student).
The country’s 13 universities (not the universities of applied sciences) also cooperate in a scholarship scheme called "Finland Scholarships" aimed at gifted non-EU/EEA students enrolling in Master’s programmes.
Students from the EU/EEA do not need a visa or residence permit to come to Finland for their studies. All others generally need a student residence permit.
You can apply for the permit as soon as you have accepted an offer from a Finnish university. The sooner the better, as this process might take some time!
Once you know you’re going to Finland, you should start looking for accommodation as soon as possible. The recommended (and cheaper) approach is to contact the student housing provider in charge of your city/region. The Finnish Student Housing organisation SOA lists them all; for example, in Helsinki, you look for student housing through Hoas.
Shared rooms can be as cheap as €200 per month in small cities, or from around €400 in Helsinki. Getting your own apartment is more expensive, at often €500 or more per month depending on size and location.
Instead of going through the local student housing association, you can also choose to find a flat in the open market. But that is usually harder and substantially more expensive.
From most parts of Europe and the world, the easiest way to travel to Finland is by plane. Helsinki is the main airport hub; and if you study somewhere else in the country, you will likely continue by plane (to remote places like Oulu) or train/bus (for example to Tampere or Turku).
Make sure to check the weather in advance! You may be surprised how cold it can already be in October - try to bring warm clothes already.
Masters last 2 years at the research universities, and only 1 year or 18 months at the universities of applied sciences (but those shorter programmes require professional work experience).
For citizens of the EU/EEA and Switzerland, university education is tuition-free. Students from all other countries have to pay tuition fees between €8,000 and €20,000 per year.
Ready to study in Finland?