Basic Information about Finland
Finland is situated in northern Europe. It borders Russia in the east, the Gulf of Finland in the south, the Gulf of Bothnia and Sweden in the west and Norway in the north. The capital is Helsinki. The population of the country is 5.3 million. The official languages are Finnish and Swedish with 94% of the population speaking Finnish and 6% Swedish.
Finland is a welfare state with the aim of securing for its inhabitants equal opportunities for a good life and for the most efficient use of its resources as possible. The geopolitical location between West and East has always been reflected in the country’s events and goings on. With this combination of western and eastern influences, Finnish culture has developed into something strong and highly individual.
The Higher Education System
The Finnish higher education system consists of two complementary sectors: universities and polytechnics (also known as universities of applied sciences). The function of the universities is to conduct scientific research and provide undergraduate and postgraduate education based on it.
The Finnish Universities Act has been reformed. The universities were separated from the State and they chose of becoming either corporations subject to public law or foundations subject to private law. Therefore the autonomy of the universities will enlarge further, and they will have more latitude in the management of their finances. New universities were created through mergers so that at the beginning of 2010 there were 16 universities operating under the Finnish Ministry of Education.
The system of polytechnics is still fairly new. Polytechnics (universities of applied science) are multi-field regional institutions focusing on contacts with working life and on regional development. There are 25 polytechnics operating under the Ministry of Education. Polytechnic education is provided in the following fields: Humanities and education, Culture, Social sciences, Business and administration, Natural resources and the environment, Technology, Communication and transport, Natural sciences, Social services, Health and sport, Tourism, Catering and domestic services.
Bachelor’s (3 years) and Master’s (2 years) degrees are both undergraduate degrees in Finland. Universities also confer postgraduate degrees: Licentiate (a pre-doctoral degree) (2 years) and Doctor’s (4 years) degrees. Polytechnic degrees are Bachelor-level (3.5-4 years) and Master-level (1-1.5 years) degrees with a professional emphasis.
The Centre for International Mobility CIMO, an organisation which operates under the Finnish Ministry of Education, offers services to encourage cross-cultural communication. CIMO administers scholarship and exchange programmes, and offers information, advisory services and publications. In addition, CIMO promotes teaching of the Finnish language and culture, and arranges summer courses in the Finnish language and culture for international students. There are various opportunities for students to study in Finland.
CIMO scholarships are mainly targeted for postgraduate students who have completed their Master-level studies. There are two types of scholarships: individual scholarships, which young researchers apply for themselves and host fellowships, which are applied by the Finnish higher education departments willing to host researchers and postgraduates. It should be noted that, in Finland, Master’s programmes are not considered postgraduate studies. CIMO's undergraduate scholarships promote advanced studies of the Finnish language. Below is a list of scholarships offered by CIMO:
- Finnish Studies and Research/Scholarships for Advanced Studies of the Finnish Language at Finnish Universities
- Exchange Programmes (Erasmus Mundus, Asia-Link and Freemovers)
- CIMO Fellowships
- Finnish Studies and Research/Scholarships for Postgraduate Studies and Research at Finnish Universities
For more information, see www.studyinfinland.fi.