General Contact Information

Subject Teacher
Education Programme

P.O. Box 9 (Siltavuorenpenger 5A)
FIN-00014 University of Helsinki
Finland

siltavuori-student@helsinki.fi

STEP Frequently Asked Questions (STEP FAQ)

FAQs:

1. Who should I contact?

2. When can I apply to STEP?

3. What documents do I have to send as attachments?

4.-6. Equivalency certificate (vastaavuustodistus)

7. Where can I get the decision on comparability of a higher university degree?

8. Can I apply to STEP if my teaching subject is not one of the STEP subjects? Other educational programmes in Finland?

9. Can I supplement my application after the application deadline with prior studies and proof of language skills?

10. I study in a Masterís programme at the UH but Iíve done my BA in a foreign country / in Finland at a university other than UH. What kind of proof or clarification do I need from my Faculty regarding my studies in the teaching subject?

11. How can I prove my language skills?

12.-16. STEP studies


1. Who should I contact?


If you have questions about the STEP application round, please contact the Admissions Services

admissions (at) helsinki.fi

If you want to learn about STEP studies, please send email to step-info (at) helsinki.fi.

2. When can I apply to STEP?

https://www.helsinki.fi/en/studying/non-degree-programmes-for-teacher-qualifications

3. What documents do I have to send as attachments?

The required documents are different based on the selection group you are applying in. NB! If the attachments are sent in paper form, add two photocopies of the Background Information Form along with the original form.

i) If you are a degree student completing your Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at the University of Helsinki:

  1. Original Background Information Form (photo is mandatory)
  2. Possible proof of language skills


ii) If you are a degree student completing your Master’s degree at the University of Helsinki and have completed your Bachelor’s degree elsewhere:

  1. Original Background Information Form (photo is mandatory)
  2. Possible proof of language skills
  3. Proof or clarification from your own faculty that the studies in your Bachelor’s  degree (with which you gained admission into the Master’s programme) and the current Master’s degree programme together include at least 60 credits in credits in the teaching subject and are such that are required of a subject teacher in basic or general upper secondary education in Finland. An email confirmation or a similar kind of clarification from the Faculty (or Department) will be sufficient.


iii) If you are an applicant in the Separate Selection Quota with a previous Master’s degree:

  1. Original Background Information Form (photo is mandatory)

AND

  1. Possible proof of language skills
  2. Proof of a Master’ degree if not completed at the University of Helsinki, or, in case of non-Finnish degrees,  a decision on comparability of a higher university degree, given by the Finnish National Board of Education. (NB! The degree diploma must be for a Master's degree, not for a bachelor, doctor or licenciate's degree)
  3. Equivalency certificate (vastaavuustodistus in Finnish) for the basic and intermediate studies of at least 60 credits (or 35 study weeks) in the teaching subject and are such that are required of a subject teacher in basic or general upper secondary education in Finland.
  4. Possible certificates of teaching experience, including position, hours and duration. NB! Teaching experience that will be considered must be full-time (at least 16 hours per week).


4. What is the equivalency certificate (vastaavuustodistus in Finnish) for the studies in the teaching subject?

The equivalency certificate is proof that the studies completed at the university for a certain subject correspond with the studies of that subject taught in basic/upper secondary education and are such that are required of a subject teacher in Finland (at least 60 credits of basic and intermediate studies).

There is a fee of 126 EUR for an equivalency certificate. The fee is based on the Ministry of Education Decree 1082/2009 on Criteria for Charges Payable to Universities.

The same fee is charged even if the request for an equivalency certificate is denied. It usually takes two weeks for a request to be processed (except for summer and Christmas times when requests are handled on a case by case basis outside of the normal office hours during semesters).

NB! The university may require the applicant to supplement his/her studies with supplementary courses before he or she is awarded the equivalency certificate. If this is the case, the applicant will not be eligible to apply to STEP before he or she has supplemented his/her studies with the missing courses and received the equivalency certificate. The applicant will have to apply separately for the supplementary/non-degree studies at the university in question.

5. Where can I get the equivalency certificate?

From the Faculty or Department of your teaching subject studies. You need the equivalency certificate if you have already completed your Master’s degree and are applying in Selection Group 2. (You will need to provide the equivalency certificate later when applying for a teaching position at a school, so it is not only for this application.)

Contact information of different subjects at the University of Helsinki:

Faculty of Arts (English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Swedish as a Second National Language, Philosophy)
Johanna Harju, Planner of Study Affairs
johanna.harju (at) helsinki.fi

Faculty of Science (Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics)
kumpula-student(a)helsinki.fi

Please note that it might be possible that the subject faculty requires you to supplement your studies with some courses in order to get the equivalency certificate.

NB! If this is the case, you will not be eligible to apply to STEP before you supplement your studies with the missing courses.

You will have to apply separately for the supplementary/non-degree studies.

For more information about completing the missing courses at the University of Helsinki, please contact the subject faculties as soon as possible.

See also:

Faculty of Arts - non-degree studies

6. Why do I need an equivalency certificate?

The teaching profession in Finland is regulated. The qualifications required for different types of teaching posts have been determined in the Teaching Qualifications Decree (986/1998).

The faculties/departments of different subjects decide on the requirements of the studies in a certain subject, of what is required of a subject teacher in basic or general upper secondary education.

Please note that in order to be qualified to teach in the upper secondary school in Finland, a person must have completed at least 120 credits in one teaching subject (see Teacher qualifications).

Because of the nature of STEP, and the small group of admitted students, it is important that all students will be able to complete the programme, including teaching practices, in one academic year. Certain subject studies are required before a student teacher can partake in teaching practice. (See also Question 3.)

STEP must request for the recognition of degrees and studies at the time of application so that we don't unfairly admit and educate students who might only later find out that their previous degrees and studies are not enough.

Please note that the equivalency certificate and the decision on comparability of a higher university degree are two different things.

The requested documents (equivalency certificate, decision on comparability of a higher university degree) are not only for the application to this programme but also for the time when the applicant would apply for a teaching position at a school.

7. Where can I get the decision on comparability of a higher university degree?

From the Finnish National Board of Education (FNBE). You need to provide the decision on comparability of a higher university degree as an attachment to your application if your Master’s degree is from a non-Finnish university. Please allow sufficient time for applying for this document as the FNBE may have tight schedules.

If you already have a teacher qualification from abroad, also check the Teaching qualifications page at the FNBE website for information about the decision on comparability of a higher university degree for a subject teacher's degree.

8. Can I apply to STEP if my teaching subject is not one of the STEP subjects?

Regretfully, you cannot. The available teaching subjects in the Subject Teacher Education Programme are restricted because a practice place in a field school where teaching is conducted in English cannot be guaranteed for all subjects, or because in some subjects it is not possible for foreign students to complement their foreign studies in English-medium courses at the University of Helsinki to match what is required of teachers’ subject studies in Finland.

Also, students are divided into Arts and Science groups, there cannot be too much variance between the subject didactics in each group.

If your teaching subject is not one of our subjects, STEP recommends you to take a look at the possibility to complete the vocational teacher education:

HAAGA-HELIA School of Vocational Teacher Education

HAMK University of Applied Sciences, Professional Teacher Education Unit

Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences (JAMK), Teacher Education College (JAMK)

Oulu University of Applied Sciences (OAMK), School of Vocational Teacher Education

Read more about other educational programmes in Finland from
the Study in Finland study programmes database.


9. Can I supplement my application after the application deadline with prior studies and proof of language skills?

Yes. Applicants can supplement their application with prior studies and proof of language skills until the date stated in the admission requirements. See more from:

https://www.helsinki.fi/en/studying/how-to-apply/non-degree-programmes-for-teacher-qualifications

 

10. I study in a Master’s programme at the UH but I’ve done my BA in a foreign country / in Finland at a university other than UH. What kind of proof or clarification do I need from my Faculty regarding my studies in the teaching subject?

An email confirmation or a similar kind of clarification from the Faculty (or Department) will be sufficient. The clarification should clearly state that the studies you have completed in your  BA and the current Master’s degree programme together include at least 60 credits in the teaching subject and are such that are required of a subject teacher in basic or general upper secondary education. The requirements of what is expected in the subject studies of a subject teacher are the responsibility of each particular Subject Department and/or Faculty (not the Faculty of Behavioural Sciences or Department of Teacher Education).

11. How can I prove my language skills?


The University of Helsinki demands an indication of academic level language skills of all applicants. Statements by individual language teachers on an applicant’s language skills are unacceptable, as they cannot be compared with standardized language tests.

Applicants applying to the Subject Teacher Education Programme in English (STEP) must have a high level of English skills in order to study efficiently and be involved in group discussions and exercises.

Applicants can prove their level of English skills by, for example, one of the following ways:

  • completed English as a compulsory foreign language in a
    Finnish higher education degree (English Academic and
    Professional Skills, EAPS)
  • The Faculty of Behavioural Sciences approves as adequate proof of proficiency in English an applicant’s degree completed in a Finnish university or university of applied sciences which includes foreign language studies in English as defined by the Government Decree on University Degrees
  • study rights of English Philology or Translation of English
    at the Department of Modern Languages at the University
    of Helsinki (If you are a degree student at the University of Helsinki, your study right will be checked at the end of the application period, so you do not have to send a document regarding your study right)
  • University of Helsinki Language Services test, Average: skills level 5, see
    Language Services
  • secondary school education in English in one of the Nordic
    Countries, Great Britain, Ireland, the U.S.A., Canada, Australia, or New Zealand.
  • equivalency certificate for the studies in English as a teaching subject given by the Finnish National Board of Education or a Faculty of Arts at a Finnish university
  • for the full list of acceptable ways of indicating English skill
    level, see
    https://university.helsinki.fi/en/english-language-requirements

Admission into this programme does not guarantee necessary language skills to teach in an international or Finnish school as the matter is governed by the same decrees as for the general qualifications (Decree No. 986/1998, Decree No. 865/2005).

 

STEP STUDIES

12. How long does it take to complete the STEP studies?

The programme (60 ECTS) is designed in such a way that it can be completed in one academic year. You are strongly encouraged to do so as place in teaching groups are prioritized so that admitted students in a particular year have priority, and thus place in groups for other students cannot be guaranteed. NB! STEP is a full-time study programme: the studies require full-time studying and they include a great deal of contact teaching where attendance is mandatory. Especially the teaching practices require a lot of time and schedules for them are done on the terms of the schools, so one cannot plan day-time work or other studies at the same time as teaching practice periods.

13. Where do I complete the teaching practices?

STEP will organize practice places at field schools in the Greater Helsinki Area.

14. What is the criminal records extract?

The University must check the crminal records extract from students completing teaching practice and on-the-job-learning with under 18-year-olds.

NB! Students cannot begin  their practice, if they have not presented the extract. Students who have, after turning 18, lived in other ETA-countries, must deliver extract from the countries in question. The extract can be ordered from the Oikeusrekisterikeskus:

http://www.oikeus.fi/oikeusrekisterikeskus/

15. I would like to have a second teaching subject. Can I study the required studies at another Faculty at the University of Helsinki, if I am accepted as a STEP student?

You will have to apply separately for those studies.

Please note that STEP students complete their practices in only one subject, but they can have other minor subjects later as teaching subjects by getting an equivalency certificate for the subjects in question. The student needs to complete the pedagogical studies only once.

See Question 4 for more information about the equivalency certificate.

16. Can I substitute STEP studies with my previous studies?

Previous studies can substitute some of the STEP courses. Substitutions are always granted on the basis of the scope and content of earlier work.

NB! Substitutions can be applied for only after an applicant has been accepted to the programme.

Read more from the Flamma intranet.

The pedagogical studies for teachers can be completed in the scope of 15 or 18 credits if the student has a decision on comparability of a higher university degree from the Ministry
of Education or the Finnish National Board of Education for a subject teacher's degree. The 15 credit degree requirements apply to those who are granted the decision on comparability after 1.1.2008 (according to the decree 1206/2007). If the decision on comparability has been granted before 1.1.2008, the student completes the studies in the scope of 18 credits. See Question 7 for details about the decision on comparability.

You can find the 15 or 18 credit degree requirements from STEP Degree Requirements.

 

STEP Degree Requirements

STEP Degree Requirements 2016/18

STEP New Students

See STEP Information

STEP APPLICATION 2017

See Admission pages.