Studying Finnish in Finland

There are various opportunities to study Finnish in Finland, depending on your current skills in the Finnish language. However, you should bear in mind that visa/student residence permit rules may affect what options are available to you, please see below.

If you're only looking for Finnish language courses

Unless you are relatively fluent in Finnish already, it's not possible to become admitted into a Finnish university "just to study Finnish". The universities' Finnish language departments are not language schools in that sense: they do not offer any such Finnish language learning degree programmes that would start from beginner's level.

Non-EU/EEA citizens should note that long-term student residence permits to Finland are not granted based on beginner's level language studies only. See the Migri website for detailed information on student residence permit issues!

However it may be possible for you to visit Finland on a short-term "tourist visa" to attend short-term language courses. Please refer to the links on the right-hand margin! For example the Summer Universities arrange Finnish language and culture courses on many different levels annually. You should contact the course organisers directly for detailed info on what is on offer, how to apply, etc.

Depending on your nationality, you may need to apply for a temporary visa in order to participate in a language course in Finland. Information on visa procedures is available from Finnish Immigration Service Migri or the Finnish embassy in your home country.

CIMO (Study in Finland) does not organise any beginner's level courses in Finnish, nor do we have any scholarships for beginner's level Finnish language courses. But if you are an advanced-level degree student of Finnish, there may be some options on offer for you (see further below on this page).

If you have been admitted as an exchange or a degree student

Most of the universities and UAS's in Finland offer beginners' level courses in the Finnish language for their international exchange or degree students. If you already happen to know some Finnish, it is a good idea to check if your hosting Finnish institution's Language Centre also offers Finnish courses for more advanced students.

So, if you have been accepted as an exchange student or a degree student to a Finnish university or UAS, please contact the institution in question for more information.

If you are interested in full degree studies in the Finnish language

Finnish can also be studied at degree student level at various Finnish universities. Please note that the Finnish departments do not usually provide language courses as such, instead, the focus of teaching is on linguistics. In other words, to be eligible to apply for these degree studies you usually need to have advanced skills in Finnish, as the degree programmes are offered in Finnish only.

The following universities offer degree studies in Finnish language (the following web sites are in Finnish, Åbo Akademi site in Swedish):

If you are interested in applying as a degree student to the above Finnish language departments, please contact the institution in question directly for detailed advice.

CIMO's support for studying Finnish

CIMO gives advanced-level students of the Finnish language and culture at universities outside Finland an opportunity to come to practise their Finnish in Finland by

  • organising summer courses in Finnish language and culture
  • offering students an opportunity to come to Finland as trainees on the Suomea Suomessa programme
  • awarding grants to students (for one term) and researchers (for 1–2 terms) of the Finnish language and culture.

For further information on these options for advanced-level students of Finnish, please visit CIMO’s web service www.cimo.fi

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