Theoretical training

According to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health Decree on specialist training in medicine and dentistry, and the requirements jointly drawn up by the participating universities and specialty-specific curricula, theoretical training approved by the relevant university must be completed as part of specialist training in medicine or dentistry.

Finnish universities employ an electronic management system (KOPI) for theoretical training. KOPI is a database jointly managed by the University of Helsinki, the University of Eastern Finland, the University of Oulu, Tampere University, and the University of Turku.

Training providers use the KOPI database to apply for the approval of field-specific training sessions. Training sessions are approved at the university under whose remit the training is organised. A link to the training approval application form is available at the bottom of this page. 

For training providers

Training approval application form for providers of theoretical training in the KOPI system (in Finnish)

For specialising doctors

Search for approved courses in the KOPI system (in Finnish)


Applying for the approval of training sessions

Training providers must carefully read the following instructions before completing the application form.

  • The approval of courses as theoretical training must be applied for in advance. The processing of applications lasts approximately four (4) weeks. Training providers must take into consideration that training offerings will be published in the KOPI system search engine only after the approval process.
  • The medical faculties of the participating universities have mutually agreed that training providers must apply in advance to the education unit responsible for planning and provision of the course for its approval as theoretical training.
  • Fully external organisers must request approval from the closest university organising specialist training in the relevant specialty.
  • Training providers must collect feedback on the training. If requested, training providers must submit a summary of the feedback (including the number of participants) to the Faculty for assessment purposes.
  • The responsibility for planning the training must be borne by at least a specialist or a medical association in a relevant field. The training can also be accepted as specialist training in other specialties.
  • Courses accepted at any of the universities will be accepted as theoretical training in all of the participating universities.
  • Courses and training sessions must be announced in good time (e.g., in the training calendars of Duodecim and the Finnish Medical Association as well as the Finnish Medical Journal).
  • If the training is suitable for theoretical training in a specific training programme, approval is sought from the specialty that holds the primary responsibility for the programme. This information is to be entered in the field for additional information.

Requirements pertaining to training providers, content and duration 

  • An industry representative or other corporate enterprise cannot be the sole provider of training. Private companies must plan and organise the training in collaboration with a medical partner such as a university, a clinic or a professional organisation in the specialty. External providers must report on the nature of the collaboration with medical partners (medical specialist committee, 1 Dec 2009, section 6). 
  • In-service training is not accepted as theoretical training. The target group must not be limited to, for example, the staff of a specific clinic.
  • Training should not include talks by sponsors (companies). Such talks will not be approved as theoretical training. 
  • No brand names or logos should appear in the topic titles or template form of the programme. 
  • All sections of the application form must be completed. Information on the collection of feedback must be included in the application. A detailed programme must be enclosed with the application, indicating the academic or job titles of the lecturers as well as their employers or other affiliations. Any requirements concerning preliminary reading or assignments must be specified. If the offering is a more extensive module that includes assignments or an examination, the required reading must also be indicated. 
  • Approval for training session hours must be requested for those specialties to which the training is connected. Training providers should not apply for the approval of hours for all possible specialties if the training actually relates to only some of them. 
  • The minimum duration of specialty training sessions is three (3) teaching hours. A 45-minute lecture or other contact instruction equals one hour of teaching. Training providers must calculate the length of the training (i.e., the number of hours for which approval is sought) by deducting any opening addresses, breaks, hospital tours, exhibition tours, meetings and sponsor activities from the duration of the training.
  • Less than three (3) training hours can be approved for a specialty if the duration of the training session is at least three (3) hours of teaching.
  • Only in exceptional cases will more than 15 hours be granted to individual long or multi-day on-site or online training sessions.
  • For online courses, the organiser’s website must be specified, and the password with which the coordinators assessing the course can log in to the system must be provided. The password can be indicated in the field for additional information. 
  • Once the course has been approved as theoretical training, it will be published in the KOPI system. Training providers will receive notification of the approval and publication of the training by electronic means. The announcement includes a link to the published training and a print layout of the decision. Decisions will be sent in writing only if specifically requested. 
Virtual studies

Virtual lectures and their recordings as theoretical training in specialist training in medicine and dentistry

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many local, national and international training sessions have either been cancelled or transferred online. This has caused problems for specialists close to graduation.

Verification of attendance has emerged as a central question. As an example of traditional conferences, the Finnish Medical Convention delivers certificates to attendees who have verified their entrance to the teaching facility using a barcode reader, and who submit a feedback form. From among international conferences, AMEE sends a certificate to all who have paid the registration fee. The maximum number of acceptable training hours for one conference day is six (6) hours (definition by Duodecim).

On 24 November 2020, the University of Helsinki’s steering group for specialist training in medicine and dentistry approved a proposal by a working group appointed by it on the approval of virtual training sessions and their recordings as theoretical training in specialist training in medicine and dentistry on the basis of international practices:

  1. EACCME criteria

    The European Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (EACCME) has clearly defined various training sessions organised by electronic means. Factors relevant to accreditation include clear learning outcomes, the target group, evidence-based and non-commercial content, as well as a clearly defined duration of the training. The training must utilise activating methods that support adult education. EACCME emphasises the learner’s opportunity to provide feedback and the development measures taken by the training provider on the basis of corrective feedback received. Links to any recommended additional material are desirable. Credits can be awarded if the training provider is able to demonstrate that the participant has achieved the learning outcomes of the module.
  2. Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada

    A certificate of attending the virtual conference was sent to all participants. The conference included a number of 45-minute sessions held in real time that all had time for discussion via a message wall. The maximum number of training hours accepted for the event was three (3). The sessions were recorded, and 0.5 credits can be awarded for a recording viewed afterwards. The number of awarded credits increases to two if the student has completed a personal study project based on the recording.

Recommendation: The same number of hours can be recognised for virtual training sessions and conferences as traditional ones. When making the decision, the party or person responsible for the training will assess whether the criteria for adult education set by the EACMME are met. When approving completed hours retroactively, the party or person responsible for the training can, at their discretion, request a summary from the specialising doctor on whether they achieved their personal learning outcomes and how the training session affected their practices.

Processing of personal data
  • The information provided on the application form (including contact details) will be displayed as such in the public KOPI search engine for training sessions.
  • By filling in and submitting an electronic application, the filler of the form accepts that their personal data will be processed.
  • Contact details refer to those of the relevant organisation. Training providers should not provide their personal contact details. 
  • The required contact details are limited to an email address where the decision on approving the training is to be sent and to which interested parties should write.
  • Contact details provided in connection with course registration will be deleted after five years.

For further information about the processing of personal data, please read the data protection statement.

Further information