Quick guide: Studying in Helsinki

A view looking down on 4 people using the stairwell of Helsinki University Think Corner. The whole interior is made of light natural wood and the staircase zig-zags across the space of the stairwell as it descends.
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Quick answers to questions from education institutions to study programmes and student housing. And of course to this: How is the weather in Helsinki? Will I freeze?

What can I study in Helsinki?

In Finland, we have two kinds of higher education institutions: universities and universities of applied sciences (UAS).

University of Helsinki, one of the world’s leading multidisciplinary research universities, operates on four campuses in Helsinki and offers Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral degrees in a wide variety of fields, including: law, education, life science, humanities, social sciences, health, agriculture and forestry, natural sciences, food, environment and sustainability.

Aalto University offers Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral study options across six different schools: School of Arts, Design and Architecture, School of Chemical Engineering, School of Business, School of Electrical Engineering, School of Engineering and School of Science.

University of the Arts Helsinki (Uniarts Helsinki) is ranked among the best performing arts schools in the world and offers the highest education in fine arts, music, dance and theatre in an inspiring multidisciplinary environment. Uniarts Helsinki comprises of the Academy of Fine Arts, Sibelius Academy, and Theatre Academy.

Hanken School of Economics provides higher business education in Swedish.

Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences is jointly owned by the cities of the Helsinki Metropolitan Area. Metropolia educates professionals for culture and creative industries; business; health care and nursing; and technological fields.

Other universities of applied sciences in Helsinki are ArcadaDiak Diaconia University of Applied SciencesHaaga-Helia University of Applied SciencesHumak University of Applied Sciences and Laurea University of Applied Sciences.

What kind of study programmes in English are available in Helsinki?

There are dozens of study programmes in English available in Helsinki. All together Finnish higher education institutions offer over 400 English-taught programmes to choose from. Full degree programmes offer an official Finnish higher education Bachelor’s, Master’s or Doctoral degree.

You can browse through the available English-taught degree programme options by using the search function on the Studyinfo.fi application site.

How can I apply to study programmes in Helsinki?

Applying to higher education study programmes takes place either in joint application or separate application. More often applying for Bachelor’s degree is done through joint application and applying for Master’s is done through separate application. Make sure to check where and when you need to apply to your chosen study programme to ensure you are applying in the correct way. More information can be found from the study programme overviews. Read more from on the Studyinfo.fi application site.

How can I find student housing in Helsinki?

The Foundation for Student Housing in the Helsinki Region (Hoas) is a non-profit foundation and it was founded to relieve the shortage of student housing in the capital area. 

You can apply for a Hoas apartment, if you are a full time student, a degree student, entitled to student financial aid and your school is in the capital area or surrounding municipalities. Hoas tenant selection criteria are not satisfied by all schools and types of study. 

You can also arrange your housing independently by searching for rented flats on the open market. 

Do students need visa or residence permit to Finland?

Depending on your nationality, you may need a permit to reside in Finland as a student. If you are an EU/EEA citizen, you do not need a visa or a residence permit in order to reside in Finland. If you are a non-EU/EEA citizen, you will usually need a visa or a student residence permit. Which one you should apply for, depends on the length of your stay in Finland. 

For more information, contact your nearest Finnish embassy.

Is English language widely spoken in Helsinki?

Finland has two official languages, Finnish and Swedish. English is widely spoken and most Finns also master one or two other foreign languages.

The most common foreign mother tongue of Helsinki residents is Russian, next in size are those with either Estonian, Somali or English as their mother tongue. The rest of the mother tongues are very varied: at the beginning of 2017, the number of mother tongues registered in Helsinki was 140. 

How is the weather in Helsinki? Will I freeze?

The summer in Helsinki is bright. The days are at their longest in the second half of June, when the sun stays above the horizon for 19 hours. The evenings grow cool towards the end of September, and the days grow noticeably shorter as winter approaches. 

The winter begins in either November or December depending on the year. The temperature fluctuates either side of 0°C. The average temperature between December and February is around -4°C.The coldest time of the year is usually at the end of January, when the mercury can fall to below -15°C and the ground is covered by snow. The sea usually freezes over in the heart of winter.  

Spring arrives in Helsinki usually sometime in April. The days grow rapidly longer and warmer.

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Quick answers to questions relating to education institutions, study programmes and student housing. And of course we will address the elephant: How is the weather in Helsinki? Will I freeze?