Last Updated on March 19, 2021 by Rubayet Al Sami

In this article, I will explain how the academic year or academic calendar is structured at Finnish universities and universities of applied sciences. After reading this article, you will know about the academic year in Finland. So how is the academic year in Finnish institutions of higher education structured?

The structure of an academic year in Finland

  1. Autumn semester
  2. Spring semester
  3. Teaching periods
  4. Evaluation weeks
  5. University holidays
  6. Summer school
Academic Year in Finland

Academic Year in Finland

1. Autumn semester

In Finland, the academic year is divided into two different terms the autumn term and the spring term. The autumn term kicks off a new academic year and it starts either around mid-August or at the beginning of September.

So what determines whether you start school in August or in September? So as a rule of thumb, universities of Applied Sciences start their academic year in August and the universities a couple of weeks later in early September.

So the exact week might vary just a bit between each school and degree program, but this is still roughly how it works. Also, as a new student, you usually start your first academic year with an orientation week, which is held one week before the official start of the autumn semester.

As an exception, if you start your studies in Finland in January, the orientation week is naturally held a week before the start of the spring semester. Anyhow, the autumn term lasts until around Christmas at both universities and universities of applied sciences.

2. Spring semester

The spring semester follows, beginning the second week of the year and lasting until the first week of June when universities in Finland begin their summer vacations. I’ll talk a bit more about holidays in just a second. So again, first, we have the autumn term and then we have the spring term.

3. Teaching periods

Both of these terms are divided into periods, each of which is six weeks long. The autumn term lasts for two periods and the spring term for three periods.

4. Evaluation weeks

After each period we have an evaluation or examination week after which we continue to the next period. So during evaluation week, we usually have no lectures or deliverables. Rather, those weeks are fully devoted to exams.

5. University holidays

All right. So next up, let’s talk about holidays. So in Finland, university students have two main holidays per year. So first, after the autumn period, we have the Christmas holidays. This starts roughly one week before Christmas and it lasts until the end of the first week of the next year.

So the second holiday is pretty obvious and it is the summer holidays which start after the fifth and the last teaching period. So the summer holidays usually start around the first week of June and they end when the next academic year starts either around mid-August or early September.

6. Summer school

As a great segue to the next topic. Let’s talk quickly about summer school in Finland. So while it is possible for university students to either apply to work or simply to take a break during the summer holidays, it is also possible to take summer school.

So during summer, it is possible to take courses either at your own university or any of the other public universities in Finland that you can then count towards your degree.

However, the tricky thing is that summer courses already start in mid-April, while the fifth and the last period of the year is still ongoing. Actually, some courses might start just a week or two before the last evaluation week of the spring.

As a result, some people find summer courses inconvenient because they must choose between taking a summer course and concentrating on completing the year’s final exams.

Anyhow, courses taught during the summer can run anywhere from one month to the entire length of the summer. However, the last examinations for these courses are held at the latest in August before the next academic year begins.

If this article, helps you to know about the academic year in Finland, then share this article on any social media.

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Rubayet Al Sami

Hi, I'm Rubayet Al Sami, founder of StudyConnexion. A website that provides authentic information about the Study Abroad and Careers.