Education Structure in Finland

Finnish School Education

The school education starts with pre-school education that is voluntary, followed by a nine-year compulsory basic education, and then secondary education. The secondary education compris general upper secondary education (lukio/gymnasiet) and vocational upper secondary education (ammatillinen koulutus/yrkesutbildning). Both the educational types last for 3 years each. The general upper secondary school provides general education and leads to the National Matriculation Examination (ylioppilastutkinto/studentexamen) which qualifies the students for higher education. The vocational upper secondary education is conducted at vocational education institutions or in the form of apprenticeship training. 

Finnish Higher Education

The Finnish Higher Education has a dual structure. It comprises 20 Universities (yliopisto/universitet) and 29 Polytechnics or University of Applied Science-UAS (ammattikorkeakoulu, AMK/yrkeshogskola, YH).  The universities provide education and research, while the university of applied sciences is multi-field professional higher education institutions. 

Universities award first cycle university degrees called kandidaatti/kandidat, second cycle university degrees called Master’s (maisteri/magister) and third cycle scientific post-graduate degrees- lisensiaatti/licentiat and doctorate (tohtori/doktor). 

Polytechnics or University of Applied Sciences award first cycle polytechnic Bachelor’s degrees (ammattikorkeakoulututkinto (AMK)/yrkehogskoleexamen (YH)) and second cycle polytechnic Master’s degrees (ylempi ammattikorkeakoulututkinto)

Finnish Education Structure 

Period of Compulsory Education

  • Entry Age: 7
  • Exit Age: 16

Pre-School Education

  • Age: 6 years old

Basic/ Primary Education

  • School Type: Comprehensive School (Peruskoulu/grundskola)
  • Duration: 9
  • Age group: 7 to 16
  • Grade: 1-9
  • Credential Awarded:  School Leaving Certificate (Peruskoulun paastotodistus/Avgangsbetyg fran grundskola) 

Secondary Education

Secondary education encompasses general and vocational upper secondary education.

General Upper Secondary Education (Lukio/gymnasiet)

  • Duration: 3
  • Age group: 16 to 19
  • Grade: 10-12
  • Credential Awarded: General Upper Secondary School Certificate (Lukion paattotodistus/Avgangsbetyg fran gymnasiet) and/or Certificate of Matriculation (Ylioppilastutkintotodistus/Studentexamensbetyg) 

Vocational Upper Secondary Education (ammatilllinen koulutus/yrkesutbilding)

  • Duration: 3
  • Age group: 16- 19
  • Grades: 10-12
  • Credential Awarded: Vocational Qualification Certificate (Ammatillinen perustutkintotodistus/Betyg over yrkesinriktad grundexamen)

Higher or Tertiary Education

  • Age: 19 years and above
Two forms of Tertiary Education Institutions in Finland:
  • Universities
  • Polytechnics or University of Applied Sciences (UAS)
Finnish Universities offer following higher education qualifications:
  • Bachelor’s degrees
  • Master’s degrees
  • Postgraduate licentiate and doctoral degrees
  • Continuing Education and Open Education
Polytechnics offer following qualifications:
  • Bachelor’s degrees
  • Polytechnic/University of Applied Science (UAS) master’s degrees
  • Professional Specialisation and Adult Education
  • Open polytechnic Education
  • Vocational Teacher Training
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