What is our teaching like?

Our teaching is versatile and practical. To achieve the desired learning outcomes, a variety of teaching methods are utilised as appropriate. Besides lectures, the training involves a great deal of practical instruction, groupwork and independent study.

Most of the teaching is organised on Viikki Campus and the Veterinary Teaching Hospital located near the campus. Some teaching is provided in Mäntsälä, the home of the Saari Clinic operating under the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, which specialises in production animals. The degree also includes compulsory professional traineeships, of which some are completed outside academic years and at different locations. The studies also include on-call duties in the evening and at night, especially in the fifth year of studies. 

The primary language of instruction in the degree programmes is Finnish, but individual courses are also offered in Swedish. A considerable part of teaching material and part of the instruction is in English. Finnish or Swedish can be used in examinations, presentations, written assignments and for other methods of completing studies, regardless of the language of instruction. During studies, you can enhance your Swedish communication skills by attending optional Swedish-language instruction. 

Many ways to teach and learn

Veterinarians need an extensive knowledge base, which is often built up through lectures where students also discuss and collaboratively complete learning assignments. Obtaining the latest research-based knowledge and producing scholarly writing are learned especially when writing the bachelor’s and licentiate theses under supervision.  

Practical skills are practised from the first week of studies in laboratories and dissection rooms, as well as at clinics, farms and other training locations. Most of the practical assignments are compulsory and tailored to the needs of training in veterinary medicine. 

Both traditional methods and state-of-the-art techniques are used in assignments, depending on what promotes the acquisition of key skills most effectively. For example, life-size sow and horse models are utilised to practise clinical skills, enabling the review of animal anatomy and the practice of clinical procedures, such as taking blood samples or palpating abdominal organs via the rectum. 

To ensure that students have achieved the learning outcomes set for courses, several different assessment methods are used. 

During studies in veterinary medicine, students get to know many operators relevant to their future careers. In addition to expert lectures in a range of fields, the studies include visits to destinations that have a bearing on the veterinary profession. Other key elements of the studies are professional traineeships at, for example, production animal farms, slaughterhouses and environmental health control units. Furthermore, students have the opportunity to complete optional traineeships in Finland or abroad. The traineeships are unpaid positions. 

In their fifth year of studies, students are trained in practical veterinary skills through participation in patient care at the Small Animal Hospital, the Equine Hospital and the Production Animal Hospital operating under the auspices of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital. In supervised patient care, students learn, among other things, to serve customers, to document patient information as well as to ensure occupational safety and infection control. Students also participate in the on-call duties of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital. 

The qualifications of a veterinarian cannot be attained solely through online courses, since interaction and the learning of practical skills often require physical presence. Studies are facilitated by providing remote learning opportunities whenever appropriate. Many courses include self-study materials available online. The Faculty is actively developing web-based instruction and new digital learning materials. 

Embarking on a student exchange period from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine is more of a challenge than in many other faculties, since the Bachelor’s and Licentiate Degrees in Veterinary Medicine include only a limited amount of optional studies and the studies must be completed largely according to a predetermined schedule. Consequently, the timing and destination of the exchange should be considered as early as possible. Explore exchange destinations appropriate for students of veterinary medicine

Experts as teachers

The teachers of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine are solid professionals, seamlessly combining expertise in biosciences and veterinary medicine in the training. The teachers also conduct scientific research and supervise theses in research groups. 

Most of the teachers and hospital veterinarians who contribute to clinical instruction have completed studies in university pedagogy and/or developed their skills by completing national or international specialist training in their field. The Faculty’s teachers care about the students and their learning. In international assessments of education, the Faculty has been particularly praised for its motivated and committed teachers. 

At regular intervals, the Faculty organises training for its teachers in cooperation with the University’s Centre for University Teaching and Learning and other specialists. Teachers take part in education development projects carried out by the Faculty, the University of Helsinki and international operators. 

Senior lecturers in university pedagogy from the Centre for University Teaching and Learning support both degree programmes and individuals at the Faculty in the development of teaching. Together with the degree programmes, the senior lecturers have organised, for example, several staff training sessions tailored to the Faculty’s needs. The Faculty also collaborates with the senior lecturers in university pedagogy with the aim of improving the quality of learning and teaching. 

An example of the collaboration between the Faculty and the senior lecturers are the HowULearn surveys, which provide students with feedback on their studying and instructions for developing it, as well as information to the degree programmes that is relevant to the development of teaching.  


The Faculty actively keeps up with advancements in the field of veterinary medicine and develops its teaching to match the future needs of employers. The latest research-based knowledge pertaining to learning and teaching is taken into consideration in development, as is feedback obtained from students and stakeholders. Development projects relate to, for example, student wellbeing and the development of expert skills over the course of studies, the production of online teaching materials and the development of methods for the assessment of learning. The Faculty also contributes to international efforts to develop education in veterinary medicine, for example, under the Erasmus+ education cooperation projects.

Many teachers of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine are members of the Teachers’ Academy, a network of distinguished teachers at the University of Helsinki. Members of the Teachers’ Academy share good teaching practices, organise pedagogical training sessions, conduct pedagogical research and lead projects focused on the development of teaching.