The fields of specialization for a licensed veterinarian are: small animal medicine, equine medicine, production animal medicine, environmental health and food control, food production hygiene, and infectious animal diseases. The four-year Specialist degree has a scope of 240 credits.
The Specialist degree consists of a general part and supervised specialisation education. To be eligible for the supervised part, veterinary surgeons must complete the one-year general part, which consists of work related to the field of specialisation in training places approved by the specialisation committee.
The specialisation period lasts approximately three years. Once students are accepted into the supervised training programme, they draw up a personal study plan for their specialisation in cooperation with their main supervisor, appointed by the Faculty. In addition to duties typical of the field, the supervised period includes, for example, courses, written assignments or examinations (depending on the field of specialisation) and the preparation of a publication. The studies also include a field-specific specialisation examination. Supervised specialisation consists of a basic and advanced part. Their duration varies depending on the field.
The basic part accounts for approximately two years of specialisation. During this period the student works in a job related to the field of specialisation in accordance with the personal study plan. Depending on their field of specialisation, students can work, for example, at an equine or small animal clinic approved by the Faculty. The advanced part of supervised specialization lasts for approximately one year, during which time students further deepen their expertise in the field. The period mainly consists of work in a specialisation post at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine for 3–12 months depending on the field. Work at the Faculty can be replaced with work at an international university or in a university-level clinic approved for this purpose.
Finnish specialisation education is considered to be broad-based general specialisation compared to European specialisation programmes (Diplomates), which focus on specific fields in more depth. Some European programmes can be either recognised in full or included in a Finnish specialisation degree. The Faculty can also award a degree certificate for specialist in veterinary medicine based on certain completed European Diplomates, as long as the student registers at the Faculty and prepares a portfolio. On application, the Finnish Food Authority can also authorise a person with an international specialisation degree to practice as a specialist in veterinary medicine in Finland. Those with a Nordic specialisation degree in particular have sought such authorisation. The right to practise as a specialist in veterinary medicine is granted on a case-by-case basis after an evaluation of the equivalence of degrees and the completed courses. In some cases, the Finnish Food Authority determines a period of adaptation or additional training to ensure that the international degree corresponds to a Finnish specialization degree in terms of content and duration.