Language requirements

  • to apply, you must prove your English-language proficiency
  • IELTS or TOEFL are the most commonly accepted tests
  • check the required minimum test score with the university/programme you're applying to

Proficiency in English - some general guidelines

Before you can be accepted onto an English-language degree programme, the higher education institutions need to ensure that your English language skills are up to the level demanded by higher education studies.

You will need to follow lectures, write exam answers and essays, take part in discussion groups and seminars, etc. Therefore, you usually need to provide official proof of your English language proficiency.

  • a valid TOEFL or IELTS (Academic) test score is often required (some other official tests may also be accepted, like PTE - Pearson Test of English or Cambridge ESOL CPE/CAE) - see links in the right-hand margin.
  • the minimum test score required can vary from one degree programme to another:
  • some institutions may also offer alternative ways of checking their applicants’ language skills, e.g. in connection with the entrance examination.
  • if you have completed your previous education/qualification in English, you may –depending on your nationality/the country where your previous qualifications were completed- be exempt from the language test requirement. Citizens of EU/EEA countries may also fall under this category.

You must check the details with the institution/programme you're considering applying to

The Finnish higher education institutions define their language requirements independently, so the minimum test scores required depend on the programme you're applying to. You should always check the exact requirements and any possible exemption options and rules on the admissions pages of the institutions.

If in any doubt about the required IELTS/TOEFL score, or about whether or not you can be made exempt from the language test requirement, please contact the Admissions Office of the university/UAS you are applying to.

If you do not know English well enough...

Note that you need to have the required language proficiency level already at the time of applying. It is not possible to become admitted to Finnish higher education "first to brush up your language skills and then moving on to the actual degree studies". In other words, Finnish higher education institutions do not offer any language preparation year options.

In case your English language skills are not quite up to the level as required, we recommend that you search for English prep course providers in your home country and brush up on your language skills that way, before applying to English-language programmes in Finland. For example, you could contact your nearest British Council office or TOEFL / IELTS examination centre and inquire if they offer any English prep course options suitable for your needs.

Where can you take a TOEFL or IELTS test?

If you are currently living abroad, then it is recommended that you turn to the respective test centres in your home country. You can find the nearest test centres by visiting the TOEFL / IELTS home pages (see links on the right-hand margin)

If you already live in Finland...

Those applicants who already are already residing in Finland can find information on the language test opportunities in Finland through the following organisations:

Are Finnish skills required?

You do not need to know any Finnish if you apply to degree programmes taught completely in English.

However, studying Finnish before and during your studies not only helps you to feel more at home in Finland, it is also an important asset if you wish to find employment either during or after your studies. Please see the section ‘studying Finnish’ for information on Finnish language study opportunities.

Can I apply to degree programmes taught in Finnish or Swedish?

Yes you can, if you are reasonably fluent in either Finnish or Swedish. Again, please note that you need to be fluent in the language of instruction already at the time of applying. The Finnish higher education institutions do not offer any language preparation year options. See also: 'FAQ on languages'

If you are considering applying to degree programmes in Finnish or Swedish, you should check the application route, application times and other such details on the institutions' web sites. The advice on admission routes as given on this Study in Finland website mainly refers to English-language degree options only.

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