Proving your language skills for doctoral education

Read this page carefully, as failing to follow these instructions may lead to your application being rejected.

Please note that University of Helsinki has a specified list of acceptable ways to prove your language skills. You cannot prove your language skills in any way that is not listed on this page. There are no exceptions to this rule.

University of Helsinki demands an indication of academic level language skills in either Finnish, Swedish or English of all applicants. You can prove your skills in any of these three languages – it does not have to be your doctoral dissertation’s language. The language that you choose to prove your skills in will be marked as the language of your doctoral degree.

When applying for Doctoral studies, please submit the language test directly to the Admission Services of the University of Helsinki.

When applying for more than one programme and you verify your language skills to them with the same language test, University of Helsinki needs to receive the test result only once.

Your language test score must be valid throughout the entire application period. This means that if your language test expires even one day before the final application deadline, your score will not meet the requirements set by the programme.

Check the validity of your test score and make arrangements for a new language test well in advance, if necessary.

Instructions for sending documents can be found on the page Eli­gib­il­ity and edu­ca­tional doc­u­ments.

Accepted methods of proving your language skills

Minimum requirement:

  • Overall score 6.5, with a minimum score of 6.0 in the writing section.

Please note that the University of Helsinki only accepts IELTS Academic test scores. Tests taken at the general level are not accepted.

IELTS Indicator and IELTS Online tests are also accepted.

How to submit the test report form:

You can submit your IELTS results in one of the following ways:

IELTS Academic and IELTS Online:

  • Share your IELTS Academicor IELTS Online test score to the University of Helsinki through the test organiser.

or

  • Upload a copy of test report form as a PDF file in the application system. Your results will be verified from the test organiser.

IELTS Indicator:

  • Upload a copy of your score slip with your IELTS Indicator Score ID as a PDF file in the application system. Your results will be verified from the test organiser.

It is advisable to book your test date well before the application period has started as it may take some time after the test date for your test score to be published.

IELTS scores are valid for two years and the score must be valid throughout the application processing period. This means that the test score must not expire before to the deadline for supplementing the application, i.e., two weeks after the application deadline.

Please note: If your test score expires right after the deadline for supplementing the application, please submit your test score so that it is valid for at least two weeks after submitting.

Minimum requirement:

  • TOEFL iBT (Internet-based) 92, a minimum score of 22 in the writing section
  • TOEFL rPDT (revised Paper-delivered Test) a minimum score of 20 in the reading section, a minimum score of 20 in the listening section, a minimum score of 22 in the writing section

The Special Home Edition of TOEFL iBT is also accepted.

How to submit the score report:

  • Share your score report directly to the University of Helsinki (institution code 9872) from the test organiser

or

  • Upload a copy of your score report as a PDF file to the application system. Your results will be verified from the test organiser.

It is advisable to book your test date well before the application period has started, as it may take some time after the test date for your test score to be published.

TOEFL scores are valid for two years and your test score must be valid throughout the application processing period. This means it must not expire prior to the deadline for supplementing the application, i.e., two weeks after the application deadline.

Please note: If your test score expires right after the deadline for supplementing the application, please submit your test score so that it is valid for at least two weeks after submitting.

Cambridge English: C1 Ad­vanced (formerly CAE) or C2 Pro­fi­ciency (formerly CPE)

Minimum requirement:

  • for C1 Advanced (formerly CAE): Pass levels A, B or C
  • for C2 Proficiency (formerly CPE): Pass levels A, B, C or level C1 certificate

How to submit the test results:

  • Share your test score directly from the Candidate Results website to the University of Helsinki

or

  • Upload a copy of your Statement of Results that includes your Statement of Results Number to the application system. Your results will be verified from the test organiser.

It is advisable to book your test date well before the application period has started, as it may take some time after the test date for your test score to be published.

Please note that only tests taken after 2005 are accepted. Please also note that the University of Helsinki only accepts C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency, no other Cambridge language tests are accepted.

Minimum requirement:

  • Overall score 62, with a minimum score of 54 in each communicative skills section (listening, reading, speaking and writing).

the PTE Academic Online version is also accepted.

How to submit the test score:

Upload a copy of your test score with your Score Report Code in the application system. Your results will be verified from the test organiser.

It is advisable to book your test date well before the application period has started, as it may take some time after the test date for your test score to be published.

PTE Academic scores are valid for two years and the score must be valid throughout the application processing period. This means that the test score must not expire before the deadline for supplementing the application, i.e., two weeks after the application deadline.

Please note: If your test score expires right after the deadline for supplementing the application, please submit your test score so that it is valid for at least two weeks after submitting.

The National Certificate of Language Proficiency (YKI) is a language test organized by the Finnish National Agency for Education.

Minimum requirement:

  • Skills level 5 in the reading comprehension, writing, and speaking subtests.

How to submit the test score:

Upload the copy of your National Certificate of Language Proficiency test score as a PDF file in the application system.

Your results will be verified from the test organiser.

You can prove your language skills with upper-secondary education conducted in English in the following countries:

  • Nordic Countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden)
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Ireland
  • New Zealand
  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America

Submit your diploma according to the instructions.

If your upper-secondary education was completed in the Nordic countries, the language of instruction must be stated on the diploma.

You can prove your language skills with the International Baccalaureate® (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) or the International Baccalaureate® (IB) Career-related Programme (CP), if your programme has been completed in English.

If your IB examination has been completed in a language other than English, you can prove your language skills with the the following grades:

  • English as the A1 language with a minimum grade of 2.
  • English as the A2 language with a minimum grade of 5.
  • English as A language (literature/language and literature/literature and performance) a minimum grade of 2.

Submit your diploma and grades according to the instructions.

Alternatively you can order a Transcript of Grades from IBO and ask them to send it to the Admission Services of the University of Helsinki. University of Helsinki will get the final grades electronically from IBO.

You can prove your language skills with the European Baccalaureate. The following grades are accepted as proof of language skills:

  • European Baccalaureate with English as the L1 language with an approved grade
    • minimum grade of 4 if the examination was taken before 2021
    • minimum grade of 5 if the examination was taken in 2021.
  • European Baccalaureate with English as the L2 language with a minimum grade of 7.

Submit your diploma and grades according to the instructions.

You can prove your language skills with a university degree (Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctoral degree, or polytechnic/university of applied science degree) completed in English in one of the following countries:

  • EU/EEA countries or Switzerland
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • New Zealand
  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America

When applying to doctoral studies beginning in September 2023 and onwards, you can also prove your language proficiency with a university degree (Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctoral degree, or polytechnic/university of applied science degree) completed in English in one of the following countries:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Botswana
  • Cameroon
  • Dominica
  • Eritrea
  • Eswatini
  • Ethiopia
  • Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Hong Kong
  • India
  • Jamaica
  • Kenya
  • Lesotho
  • Liberia
  • Malawi
  • Namibia
  • Nigeria
  • Philippines
  • Rwanda
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • Saint Lucia
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Sierra Leone
  • Singapore
  • South Africa
  • Switzerland
  • Tanzania
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Uganda
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

 

Please note that your degree/programme must be taught and assessed entirely in English.

Submit your degree certificate and transcript of records following the instructions on how to submit educational documents.

Your educational documents must clearly state that the language of instruction for your degree was English.

If your university degree includes courses or diploma-level qualifications that have been completed outside of the specified countries/area, or courses conducted in a language other than English, the degree might not meet the requirement.

Online studies or studies completed on offshore campuses outside the accepted countries/area can also be used to indicate language skills, if the degree-awarding main institution is based in one of the accepted countries.

The language of instruction must always be indicated clearly on the educational documents. 

You can prove your language skills with a degree completed in a Finnish university or university of applied sciences if you have demonstrated foreign language proficiency in the English language in accordance with the Government Decree on University Degrees (794/2004) or University of Applied Sciences Degrees (1129/2014).

Submit your educational documents following the instructions for degrees completed in Finland. Upload also a copy of your degree certificate and transcript of records that show that you have met the foreign language proficiency requirement in the English language to the application system.

If your degree is incomplete, the course  that meets the foreign language proficiency requirement must be registered in your transcript of records by the deadline for submitting application enclosures.

You can prove your language skills with a degree completed at a Finnish university with English as the major subject.

Submit your educational documents following the instructions for degrees completed in Finland.

Please note that degrees completed in other countries with English as the major subject are only accepted as proof of language skills if the degree also fulfills the requirements mentioned above (University degree completed in English in EU/EEA, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Switzerland, UK, USA).

This test is no longer organised.

If you have taken the test earlier, you may still use it to prove your language skills when applying to doctoral programmes.

You can prove your language skills with the language skills level test for University of Helsinki applicants organised by the Helsinki University Language Services. The test includes the following sections:  reading comprehension, grammar and vocabulary, writing and oral skills.

Minimum requirement:

  • Average skills level 5 (C1), when using a scale from 1 to 6

Upload a copy of your test results to the application system. The Admission Services will check your test result from the Language Services.