Studying guidance for immigrants
University of Helsinki offers guidance for immigrants who are interested in studying in a Finnish University or University of Applied Sciences. In the university's guidance service, you will get information about how to apply to a Finnish institution of higher education. If you have already studied in higher education we can give you advice on continuing or complementing your studies.
Contact us

We are here to help you! Check the answers to frequently asked questions or contact us by e-mail:

When you contact us, please tell us about

  • your possible plans and questions
  • your previous studies: what have you studied, have you graduated
  • your language skills (especially English and Finnish/Swedish)
  • what do you want to study, and how much (a single course – a whole degree)
  • if you have a recognition decision, please attach it to the e-mail 

With this information we'll be able to help you better.

Fre­quently asked ques­tions

1. What are SIMHE guidance services?

The University of Helsinki offers guidance for immigrants who are interested in studying in a Finnish University or University of Applied Science. The University’s guidance services you will give information on how to apply for studies. If you have already studied in higher education, we can advise you in continuing or supplementing your studies in Finland.

2. I have a degree from abroad and I want to work in Finland, what to do?

If you want to work in Finland in an occupation that is regulated (for example teacher, psychologist, nurse or medical doctor), you need to get your degree recognized.

Finnish National Agency for Education (OPH) grants decisions for people working in the field of education, such as teachers.

If you want to work as a teacher in Finland, you need to apply for a decision of your foreign degree. For more information, please see Finnish National Agency for Education for more information

National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health (Valvira) grants the right to practice as a licensed healthcare professional and the use of the occupational title of a healthcare professional. For more information, please see National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health for more information.

You can contact the SIMHE Service after you have gotten the recognition decision. We will help you regarding supplement studies!

Full List of regulated professionsFinnish National Agency for Education - regulated professions

Employers assess foreign qualification themselves when recruiting employees if national legislation does not specify qualification requirements for the position. If you have a profession that does not appear in the list of regulated professions, you do not need to ask for recognition of your degree.

3. Language requirements and where to study Finnish?

Studies in Finnish as a foreign language are available at the Helsinki University’s Language Centre. You can find Finnish language courses here: Language Centre - Finnish for foreigners

Helsinki University's Language Centre also offers studies in Swedish starting from level B2.

If you apply for a degree programme in Finnish or Swedish, you need to prove your Finnish or Swedish language skills first. Your language skills must be at least on the level B2. On how to prove your language skills, please see the degree programme’s requirements listed here: Proving your language skills 

4. I am an asylum seeker and I do not have access to official documents from my previous education. How can I apply?

If you are unable to submit all the enclosures usually required for application, or if your enclosures do not meet the country-specific requirements, contact In your message, state your application number and that you are a refugee. Also, explain why you cannot submit all the required documents (for example certified copies, certificate of language proficiency etc.) For more information: Applicant with a refugee status.

5. I want to study individual studies without applying to a degree programme, what options do I have?

You can study courses of most faculties without being a full time student. In the Open University, you can study for your own pleasure, in order to learn new things or study courses in the field of your interest to improve your language skills and vocabulary. Studies in Open University are subject to a fee. See more details about the Open University here: Studies in Open University 

The Open University offers some courses in English, but most of the courses are only in Finnish. More options are available for degree students. Most faculties can grant a right to pursue their studies as a non-degree student. Non-degree studies are subject to a fee and they will not lead to a degree.

You can see all the available courses for all faculties in Weboodi, a web page where you can see all the courses of University of Helsinki. Go to Weboodi here

More info on non-degree studies, and how to apply to them, please read the following web page: Instructions for students - Non-degree studies 

As a rule, the right to complete non-degree studies cannot be granted if the studies in question can be completed at the University of Helsinki Open University.

SIMHE – Sup­port­ing Im­mig­rants in Higher Education

University of Helsinki is a member of the Supporting Immigrants in Higher Education in Finland (SIMHE) network. The network aims to support immigrants in their studies in higher education and in integration. The other higher education institutions in the network are Universities of Turku and Jyväskylä, and Metropolia, Karelia and Oulu Universities of Applied Sciences.

The activities aim at guiding immigrants in questions regarding the Finnish higher education system. In addition to guidance in applying to education, the subjects can be, for example, the processes of recognition of prior learning, and complementary studies. The goal is to speed up the immigrants integration and to facilitate entering a position in the Finnish labour market matching the immigrants professional profile.