System of Study

Below you can find some basic information about the system of study in the University of Lapland.

Studying at a Finnish university is sometimes very differ­ent from studying elsewhere.
The possible combinations of major and minor subjects are numerous and a student needs to take the responsibility in planning one’s own studies. At the beginning, it might be confusing to build a schedule or coordinate all the courses. However, when students learn to use all the possibilities, it is possible to create an individual study plan within given frames. “Academic freedom” means various things: it refers to independence of the universities, but it also refers to an individual student’s studies. Students are responsible for their own study plan and follow-up of their own learning and progress. Student and teacher tutors will help to get started with your studies. 

Programme Structures

There are three levels of studies: basic studies, subject studies and advanced studies, and two kinds of programmes: major and minor. In major programmes students are required to complete basic and subject level courses in the Bachelor’s degree studies and advanced courses in the Master’s degree studies. In short minor programmes, only basic level studies are required; in long minor programmes, both basic and subject level work must be completed.

Major Programmes

Minor Programmes



Long Minor Programmes

Short Minor Programmes

Advanced Studies
60 ECTS cr.



Subject Studies
35 ECTS cr.

Subject Studies
35 ECTS cr.


Basic Studies
25 ECTS cr.

Basic Studies
25 ECTS cr.

Basic Studies
25 ECTS cr.

Courses and study modules

The basic unit of a study programme is a course. A typi­cal course consists of a series of lectures and a written assignment or an exam. Typically lecture series don’t last the whole study period. Often they are held within the time period of a week or two weeks. After the lectures students have at least two possibilities to take the written exam for the course. The first is usually held within two weeks after the lectures end and the second within a month. The grade of the course is received about four weeks after returning the assignment or taking the exam.

Please note that some coursesn are self-study courses meaning that there are no lectures given. Student takes a book exam or writes an essay based on individual study of a set of books from the curricula.
Please see for more information on courses. There you will also find explanations about aims and terms of each course.

Please see for different types of course methods and requirements.

A study module consists of two or more courses that share a common theme. To complete a module, all required ECTS credits must be obtained. It is important to note that you cannot register directly for a study module, but rather, must to register for each individual course. Upon completion of a study module, the module can be included in the study transcript.  

Teaching methods

Lecturing is the most commonly used teaching method. However, lectures do not usually cover the entire content of the course and students are required to do either a written exam or essay in order to complete the course. Other forms of teaching are for example seminars, work­shops and exercises. Seminars consist of lectures at the beginning of the course and seminar meetings at which students present their seminar paper. A workshop is ba­sically the same as a seminar but done as group work. Exercises are usually practical assignments and are wide­ly used in teacher training, for example. One very popular teaching method is excursion, where students follow a planned programme and attend lectures. Usually excursions include also additional written assignments. The teaching method of a course can also be combination of two methods, but it is always mentioned in the course description.

Instruction in the Faculty of Art and Design can be divided roughly into theory courses, seminars, studio practice, workshops and projects. Theory courses are based on lectures and/or literature, and include written examinations and essays. In seminars, workshops, and studio practice the number of students vary between 12 and 18 depending on the course subject, and accordingly the number of places available for exchange students is restricted. The fine art courses require 90% presence and workshops 80% presence for successful completion of the courses. All courses require independent work.

The university also hosts several visiting teachers each year, and the information on their teaching will be available prior to the visits. Usually these courses can compensate some parts of the courses in the regular curricula.


At the University of Lapland, credits are used to define the extent of a given course. Lectures, exercises, semi­nars and other forms of instruction (e.g. the writing of essays; lecture journals; preparation for examinations, etc.), as well as independent research, are all taken into consideration when the number of credits for each course is being calculated. Please note that a credit does not refer to the duration of a course, but to the estimat­ed amount of work required, that is, one credit refers to approximately 26 – 27 hours of work by the student. The estimated work load for full time student in one academic year is 60 ECTS credits, meaning 30 ECTS credits per semester.

Within the academic calendar some courses may be completed in less than one period (with credits awarded in due time), while other courses may extend over sev­eral study periods with credits being awarded at the end of the semester or the academic year. In accordance with the establishment of the European Higher Education Area, the University of Lapland has fully adopted the ECTS credit system.

Grading System

Finnish universities use numeric grading scales. In the University of Lapland, the scale used is from 5 (excellent) to 1 (sufficient). Please note that some courses are given only on a pass/fail basis without any further grading. In this case the mark ‘pass’ appears on the transcript. Every course and examination taken is recorded on the student’s personal transcript. Below is a comparisons table with other grade scales.

University of Lapland
grading scale

European grade definition *      

The US scale *   

 Excellent         5



 Very good       4


 A-, B+

 Good               3



 Satisfactory    2



 Sufficient        1






(*descriptive, not official equivalents)

Grade Results and Improvements

Results from written exams, essays or other requirements must be released within three weeks from exam date or deadline for written assignments. If this is not possible, a new date must be informed before the original deadline. Student may try to improve his/her grade once. In case of two grades, the better one will be the final grade for the course.

If dissatisfied with the final result, students have the right to make an official appeal on a grade within 14 days (from receiving the grade) by requesting a re-evaluation. More information on this option is available at the International Studies Centre ISC.

Transcript of Records

A transcript of records is an official document on which students’ studies are recorded. An unofficial transcript of records can be ordered through your own WebOodi. The transcript can be viewed on the front page of WebOodi about 1.5 hours after it has been ordered. A delivery confirmation will be sent to your e-mail address as well. You can order a maximum of ten credit transcripts during the same day.

A maximum of three credit transcripts can be ordered at the same time on WebOodi. The credit transcripts will be stored on the WebOodi front page for three days after delivery.

For an official transcript of records you should contact the study secretary of your faculty.

Study Certificate

This certificate officially states that you are enrolled at the University of Lapland. You can get it from Student Services after registering for attendance or non-attendance, either in Finnish or English. Make sure to bring photo identification papers with you.