Many Finnish universities offer free or low-cost courses for both Finnish residents and international students. When fees are required, these are usually around 12-15€ per ECTS (European Credit Transfer System). If you plan to take a large number of credits, many of the universities have a semester-based or annual fee cap (of around 200/400€, respectively). Students should expect to get approximately 0.5 US credits per ECTS, though an evaluation can yield more credits than expected. This depends on a variety of factors that are outside of the control of any student.
Some Finnish universities have courses that can be accessed directly by any international student. Other universities require that students have access to the Finnish HAKA intra-university system (particularly for storing credits obtained via MOOC courses). Access to HAKA is possible by first becoming a student at a different Finnish university. Registering for one of XAMK's courses (other than the Video Game Creation certificate) will grant you a HAKA log-in, though other universities (see Laurea) exist.
Students are advised to complete as many credits (ECTS) as possible from a university before starting the evaluation process. Each evaluation costs a separate fee (approximately $200 for first evaluation and $100 for each subsequent evaluation), regardless of how many credits are being evaluated. Every new university transcript, whether from the same university or from a different one, will count as a separate evaluation.
The basic process is as follows:
- Complete all desired courses from a given university.
- Wait for all grades to post to your student account.
- Obtain the official Transcript of Records (TOR). Each university will have its own methods for doing this.
- For each transcript, obtain a comprehensive course-by-course report from ACEI.
- Send that transcript to your chosen school.
Students are not required to have every Finnish transcript evaluated, unless they want to use those credits elsewhere. An example would be a student who took only one class at one Finnish university to gain access to the Hakka system to be able to take multiple classes at a different university. The single-class transcript does not need to be evaluated with the second, multiple class, transcript.
As of September 2022, it appears that ACEI is the only evaluator willing to evaluate transcripts from Finnish universities. Other evaluators set preconditions, such as official paper transcripts, that Finnish universities are unable/unwilling to provide due to data protection laws. If there is a university out there that is willing to provide what these evaluation companies demand, it has not been discovered yet. This notice will be updated if one is found. The big-name evaluators (WES, ECE, etc.) have been shown to be unwilling to work with Finnish transcripts.
The end result is that TESU students are able to use Finnish universities for credit, while students of other American universities cannot do so by default. It may be possible, after some back and forth between the desired American university and the student, but this is not guaranteed.
These are some of the universities that have been "discovered" to work, either directly or indirectly, with non-Finnish students.
This site allows potential students to search all Finnish universities for potential classes. Some of the results may not be allowed for foreign students located outside of Finland. More investigation may be required to determine if a foreign student is allowed to study.
Students who do not have a Finnish ID are permitted to register, but the process may seem convoluted. Some courses are hosted on FITech.
A conglomerate site with courses from multiple universities. Students must have a Finnish ID code to register directly. Students who do not have a Finnish ID may be able to register for a course, but must contact the organizing university directly to make arrangements.
LAB University of Applied Sciences
LAB University courses are explicitly open to all students, regardless of citizenship. However, most courses are not online and do require students to be in Finland. They also seem to require a Finnish ID number to sign up for courses. Students may attempt to email LAB to see if an exception can be made for alternative identity verification. They do use the HAKA login system and share a Moodle system with LUT University, allowing cross-registration.
Most of Lapin AMK's courses require require students to be in Finland for instruction. These in-person studies are not appropriate for international students. If any online courses are found, fees are 15€ per ECTS or 300€ for blocks of 20 or more ECTS. There are no free courses.
Laurea is a university that provides courses in mostly business or computer science. Their MOOC courses are free. Other courses cost either 15€/ECTS, or 400€/year for unlimited credits. Students without a Finnish ID are able to directly register at Laurea, after registering you can confirm your identity via email. Laurea student credentials also grant access to the HAKA system.
Some of Laurea's courses require active participation in the form of regular Zoom meetings. Students are advised to check the course information page thoroughly before signing up.
Many courses are in English, but some are in Finnish. As long as there are no live meetings, students may be able to complete the courses in Finnish with the help of Google Translate or DeepL for submitting assignments. Use Microsoft Edge to view course pages in your native language.
15€ per ECTS. Some courses have an in-person exam despite being otherwise fully online, read the catalog carefully.
3 free courses on climate change are also available; each course is worth 2 ECTS. The free MOOC courses are available without a Finnish ID number or a HAKA login.
Software Engineering Studies
LUT provides software engineering courses through the open university via fully remote learning. The courses are funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture, and participation is free of charge to everyone. Registration is conducted separately from the other Open University courses, previous Degree Forum members without a Finnish ID have been able to register. Fall registration ended 14 August 2022. Spring registration opens soon.
Metropolia University of Applied Sciences
Offers various non-stop/open enrollment courses, in addition to courses that start and stop on specific dates. After registering for a course, identity confirmation is conducted virtually via secure messaging for students without a Finnish ID. You will be asked to provide a photocopy of your passport. You will then be fully enrolled as an Open UAS student and able to independently register for future courses using your credentials.
Most courses are 15€ or less per ECTS. Some are free. Also offered are some groups of classes (known as paths). Some of the most notable include:
- Professional studies in Cloud Technologies - 30 ECTS for 450€
- Artificial intelligence, Machine Learning and Data Science - 75 ECTS for 975€
- Degree Programme of Information Technology path - 180 ECTS for 579€ (approximately 3/4th of their Bachelor's degree in Information Technology)
University of Eastern Finland
If you do not have a Finnish ID number, you will need to email this person firstname.lastname@example.org after finding the courses you would like to study. She will send you access to a special sign-up form. After registering for the classes and paying any fees (12 EUR/credit for some classes), they will send you more information on how you can verify your identity virtually. This is done with IT services in order to activate your student account.
Note: Bookmark the form she sends. In the future, you will be able to access that same form directly and input your student number to register for classes. Please be aware some of their courses may require in-person exams, read the course information carefully.
University of Helsinki
Offers courses in a wide variety of subjects, though not all subjects are available at any one time. Students can use an existing HAKA login (see Laurea or XAMK) to store ECTS obtained via MOOC courses. Some courses are free (mostly MOOCs), though others may require a small fee.
For courses offered via their open university, you will receive U Helsinki log-in credentials. Identity verification takes place virtually via Zoom for those without a Finnish ID, follow the instructions here after registering for your course, i.e.:
"Complete and sign the user account application and send it to the University of Helsinki IT-Helpdesk. Indicate in your application that you intend to complete studies at the Open University and cannot visit an ID Point in person."
Courses have been reported to be difficult. Many are in English, though some are only in Finnish.
A subset of the computer science/data science offerings from the University of Helsinki. Anyone may study, but only Finnish students or students with access to the HAKA system are able to obtain ECTS after completing the courses. You can gain access to HAKA by first taking a class at the University of Helsinki's own open university, or, by registering at an alternative open university like XAMK or Laurelia that is part of the HAKA network.
XAMK was the first Finnish university "discovered" to have credit directly available to international students. It is possible to gain access to the Haka system by taking a XAMK class. Details are available on the XAMK page.
Most XAMK courses are available in English, but some may be available only in Russian or Finnish. It is possible to use tools such as Google Translate or DeepL to translate assignments and complete these courses. To read Finnish-language webpages natively, use Microsoft Edge with auto-translate enabled.