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Degree System

Degrees Offered and Study Rights
Postgraduate degrees: licentiate and doctoral degrees
Completion Time of a Degree
Study Place and Attendance
Degree Certificate and Diploma Supplement

Degrees Offered and Study Rights

Basic degrees: bachelor’s and master’s degrees

The basic degrees in the Finnish system of higher education are:

a) The bachelor’s degree (first cycle degree, in Finnish "kandidaatti”). The completion of this lower academic degree takes about three years.

b)  The master’s degree (second cycle degree, in Finnish "maisteri"). When studying full-time, the average time needed for studies leading to this higher academic degree is two years after the completion of a bachelor’s degree.

Please note that bachelor’s degree studies are offered only in Finnish; and that for international applicants only some master’s degree studies are offered in English. Go to the following link Faculty-specific Master’s Admission Requirements for further details on what master’s degree studies are available in English.


Postgraduate degrees: licentiate and doctoral degrees

Postgraduate studies are composed of two degrees:

a) the licentiate degree (in Finnish "lisensiaatti")

b) the doctoral degree (in Finnish "tohtori")

In Finland, the licentiate degree is an intermediate degree between the master’s and the doctor’s degrees. Normally it takes 2 years, after completion of a master’s degree, to obtain a licentiate degree; and an additional 2 years after that to obtain a doctor’s degree. It is also possible for students to pursue a doctor’s degree without completing a licentiate degree. For international applicants, all faculties at the University of Lapland offer postgraduate studies that can be conducted entirely in English.


Completion Time of a Degree

Legislation concerning restrictions of study times (laki yliopistolain muuttamisesta 556/2005) came into force on August 1, 2005. This law concerns only students who have been granted degree study rights on August 1, 2008 or later.

The target time for completion of a bachelor’s degree is three (3) academic years. A student, who has been granted a study right only for a bachelor’s degree, has the right to complete the degree within one year after the target time has passed.

The target time for completion of a master’s degree is two (2) academic years. A student, who has been granted a study right only for a master’s degree, has the right to complete the degree within two years after the target time has passed.

The joint target time for a bachelor’s and master’s degree is five (5) academic years. A student, who has been granted a study right for both bachelor’s and master’s degrees, has the right to complete the degrees within two years after their target time has passed.

If it is not possible to complete the degree in the completion time allowed by the law, it is possible to apply for an extension of the study right.

The university faculties may grant an extension of up to a maximum of two (2) years for a student to complete her/his studies. As a prerequisite, an eligible student must present a target-oriented and feasible proposal that outlines how and when the degree studies will be completed. Under such circumstances, the student’s personal life-situation will be taken into account when granting the extension. The extension is always granted for a limited period of time, from a minimum of one semester to a maximum of four semesters. 

From the WebOodi system, students can track the time remaining towards their degree completion.


Study Place and Attendance

Once a student has confirmed acceptance of a study place, the student must enrol (register) either for attendance (present) or non-attendance (absent). Student enrolment is done just prior to the beginning of each academic year.

According to the legislation, absence which is caused by voluntary or compulsory military service time; or maternity, paternity or parental leave is not calculated towards the completion time of the degree. A degree student has also the right to enrol as non-attending (absent) for other reasons for a maximum of four (4) academic semesters, without the non-attending time being calculated towards the completion time of the degree.

A student informs the Student Services office of the statutory cause for her / his absence when enrolling as non-attending or when the allowed time-limit to complete the studies is getting close. Appropriate documentation on the cause for the absence must be presented when enrolling for non-attendance.


Degree Certificate and Diploma Supplement

Only faculties have the authority of awarding degree certificates. Degree certificates are accompanied with a Diploma Supplement, which is an explanatory document describing the contents and scope of the degree. The purpose of the document is to improve the international comparability of degrees and to facilitate mobility either for postgraduate study or employment.