University vocabulary for new students

When you start your university studies, you may come across a wide variety of terms and concepts that you are not yet familiar with. In this vocabulary you will find the most common terms related to university studies and student life, which you can get acquainted with before and during your studies!
Opiskelijat pelaavat ulkona nurmella korttia.

University vocabulary


The abstract is a concise and informative text that briefly presents the main points of a research study. It is written for readers who are unfamiliar with the research. The aim of the abstract is to give a concise overview of the aim, methods and results of the research and to get readers interested in the content of the research.

Academic freedom

Academic freedom is the freedom of a university student to learn, to make independent choices related to their own studies, to plan their own studies and the freedom to think.

Academic quarter

The academic quarter is an old tradition whereby lectures or events begin 15 minutes over an hour. Nowadays, the start times of lectures are usually indicated in such a way that the academic quarter is already included in the start time, ie lectures start at 10:15am or 12:15pm.

Academic responsibility

Alongside academic freedom, there is academic responsibility, which means the student's obligation to take care of the progress of their own studies, the obligation to study actively and to take responsibility for one's own learning.

Academic year

The academic year starts on 1.8. and ends at the end of July next year. The duration of the Autumn semester is from August 1 to December 31. and the Spring semester 1.1.-31.7. The academic year consists of teaching periods. In most cases, new courses also begin at the beginning of a new period.

Advanced studies

Advanced studies are completed after basic and intermediate studies. As the name implies, they delve deeper into the subject of your choice.


An alumni is a university graduate. Alumni of the University of Oulu are all persons who have graduated from the University of Oulu.

Bachelor’s degree

The bachelor's degree is an undergraduate degree, 180 credits, with a target period of 3 years.

Basic studies

Basic studies consists of studies worth of 25 credits, which introduces the basics of the subject to be studied.


Campus means the university area. The University of Oulu consists of two campuses, one in Linnanmaa and the other in Kontinkangas.


The scope of the courses is defined in terms of credits, for example 5 credits, and the methods of completing courses can vary from an exam to an essay, group work or even a lecture diary. Sometimes there can be several options or ways how to complete a course.


The dean directs the activities of the faculty and is responsible for, for example, the development of the faculty and the teaching, as well as research carried out within it.

Degree programme

The degree program is the set of studies for which you have been selected to study at the University of Oulu. The degree programs have their own degree structures and goals.

Degree structure

The degree structure determines the content of each degree program, ie the types of courses that make up the degree.

Diploma thesis

The diploma thesis is a thesis belonging to the degree of a master's degree in engineering and architecture.


An essay is one way to complete a course. An essay is a short writing that reflects on a given topic, reflecting from different perspectives and utilizing source literature.


An exam is an oral or written exam where you answer multiple-choice and / or open-ended questions. The exam can be paper or electronic and can be one way to complete the course.

Exchange studies

All students at the University of Oulu can go on an exchange during their studies, in which case you will complete part of your studies at a foreign university. You can go on an exchange when you have one year of study behind you.


Faculties are units led by the deans, that include departments and subjects.


Freshman is a first year student.

Guild room

Guild room, is a place for students to hang out and rest,where you can come across other students from the same field. Most degree programs have their own guild rooms, or rooms shared with another program.

Intermediate studies

Intermediate studies, usually a total of 25 credits, are completed after the basic studies. Intermediate studies expand the knowledge you have gained from basic studies.

Learning diary

Like an essay, a lecture diary is one possible way to complete a course. In the lecture diary, the student reflects on the main themes of the lecture series, makes observations, insights and comments on their own reasoned opinions in relation to the contents of the lectures. When the lecture diary is part of the course, you will always receive course-specific instructions for preparing the diary.


A lecture is an oral presentation to teach a subject, presented by a lecturer. The lecture may include various assignments or discussion exercises, but it may also consist only of the lecturer's presentations.

Major subject

You will come to the university to study in the degree program of your choice, within which you can choose a major for yourself. Major studies consist of basic, intermediate and advanced studies, during which you become acquainted with the content of your own subject, key concepts, theories, research background and methods.

Master’s degree

A master’s degree, 120 credits, is completed after a bachelor’s degree.

Master’s thesis

A master’s thesis is completed at the end of a master's degree, during which you delve into your chosen topic. The purpose of the thesis is to engage the student in scientific research, and often a small, real research is done as part of the thesis!

Minor subject

In addition to the major, you may have the opportunity to read minor subjects, the number of which vary widely from degree to degree. With minors, you can expand your own palette of skills and put together just the right degree for you.


Moodle is the browser-based learning environment used in most courses to share learning materials and return assignments.


O365 is a Microsoft cloud service used at the University. As a student at the University of Oulu, you get access to, for example, Outlook e-mail, the OneDrive cloud service and other Microsoft Word systems.

Optional studies

Depending on your degree structure, you can also include optional studies in your degree, which can be basically any university level studies.


New students start their studies with orientation week, when you will hear important information about starting your studies. During the orientation you will also get familiar with your degree programme as well as with your new study mates.


OYY, ie the Student Union of the University of Oulu, takes care of the interests of students and offers a wide range of membership services as well as counseling for study and everyday situations. OYY mainly consists of student representatives. All undergraduate students at the University are also members of the student union.


Peppi is a system used by the university, which you use as a student for example to plan your studies, register for studies, review space reservations and monitor your progress.

Personal Study Plan (PSP)

PSP, a personal study plan, is an important tool for every student. The student cna find the PSP template based on the curriculum of their study rights in the Peppi system and modifies it by adding and / or removing optional or alternative parts. Your tutor teacher will help you edit your PSP and make your choices. With up-to-date PSP, the student stays on the map of what courses they intend to take and at what stage.


Plagiarism is the presentation of another person’s text, image, or other work as their own without permission or appropriate citations. Plagiarism is against good scientific practice and is therefore prohibited! Plagiarism can be intentional or unintentional, but to avoid unintentional plagiarism, always take care of the correct citations you learn more about during your studies. :)

Recognition of learning

Recognition of learning refers to set practices that can be used to assess the learning of the student and to approve that learning as part of the student’s studies. Read more of recognition of learning.


Reflection is one of the most important skills of a university student! Reflection is the critical consideration of what is learned from different perspectives. You can and should also reflect on your own professional knowledge and skills through your studies.


Sitsit is an academic table party, most often an evening event organized in collaboration with one or more subject societies. Sitsit include a lot of singing, eating and drinking with fellow students. Sits have their own special rules, so listen carefully to the instructions when you take part in your first sitsit!

Student health care, FSHS

If you are studying for a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree or for a Licentiate of Medicine or Dentistry at the University of Oulu, you are entitled to use the Finnish Student Health Service's (FSHS) general, oral and mental health services. The local unit in Oulu is in the Linnanmaa campus area.

Student overalls

Student overalls are a garment that is often used at student events. Overall badges are collected on the overalls, which are traditionally sewn on different sides of the overalls. The coloring of the overalls varies based on the degree programme.

Study credit, ECTS

A study credit indicates you how much progress you have made in your studies. You get credits after completing the courses and 1 credit corresponds to a workload of approximately 27 hours. It is recommended that you complete about 30 credits per semester, i.e. 30 credits in the Fall and 30 credits in the Spring. At this rate, you would complete your studies in the target time.

Subject societies

Subject societies, or guilds, provide a link between a student and their study program and faculty. Guilds organize various activities and events to support community spirit and study well-being. Subject society activities are led by the student board, which members have their own responsibilities, such as chairperson, event responsible or communication responsible.

Tutor teacher

The tutor teacher is a member of faculty staff who assists new students in planning their studies and choosing courses. Each new student is assigned with their own tutor teacher, who is usually a member of the staff in their degree program.


Tuudo is a mobile application to make everyday life easier for students, where you can find menus, current events and bus timetables, among other things.