University of Oulu, 2016

Academic System

Recognition of Studies

All education in the University of Oulu is based on The European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) which facilitates international transparency and recognition of degrees at an international level. The education in the University of Oulu is monitored through various quality assurance systems in order to enhance quality and improve international comparability.

All degrees awarded from the University of Oulu are recognised by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture.

Academic calendar and teaching periods

Academic year consists of three terms:

  • Autumn term: 1.9.-31.12.
  • Spring term: 7.1.-31.5.
  • Summer term: 1.6.-31.8. 

The University of Oulu uses the four teaching period model. You will find the beginning times and ending times of the teaching periods from here.

During the summer term, students can take summer studies, which may consist of courses, exams, personal projects or research.

In addition to summer holidays, there is a break at Christmas (~ Dec 22 – Jan 7) and Easter. Other possible holidays are winter holiday (week  10) and autumn break (week 43). May Day (May 1st) and Independence Day (December 6th) are public holidays.

Degree structure

The Bologna Process aiming at creating a European Higher Education Area has led to a university degree reform in Finland. The new, two-cycle degree system was introduced on August 1, 2005. The first cycle is the lower academic degree, the Bachelor’s degree (180 ECTS credits/3 years) and the second cycle the higher academic degree, the Master’s degree (120 ECTS credits/2 years). The third cycle encompasses postgraduate studies leading to a postgraduate degree: Licentiate or Doctoral Degree.

The degree system in medicine and dentistry continue to have only one cycle. In medicine, students study directly for the postgraduate degree of licentiate, which is 360 ECTS credits in total, with a normative study time of six years. The degree in dentistry is also the licentiate degree, which is 330 ECTS credits and takes five and a half years.

The optional pre-doctoral postgraduate degree of licentiate can be completed in two years of full-time study after the Master’s degree.

The degrees their degree structures offered at the University of Oulu can be found from WebOodi course catalogues.


A curriculum refers to the planned course of study. Its purpose is to guide students and teachers on how instruction and studies should progress. In the curriculum, the degree structure, study modules and courses are described in detail, along with the recommended course sequence and key learning outcomes.

Learning outcomes

The curricula at the University of Oulu are competency-based. Learning outcomes are set at a threshold level which all students must meet in order to pass the course or the study module and proceed to the next level of studies. Learning outcomes have been devised so that they can be achieved upon the completion of a course or a degree.

Student workload and ECTS credit allocation 

As of 2005, all Finnish universities began using the ECTS grading system (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System). The number of ECTS credits is based on the amount of work required to achieve desired learning outcomes for a course or a study module. Today one ECTS credit corresponds to 27 h of work making the student workload in full-time study (60 ECTS credits) 1600 hours per academic year.

At the University of Oulu, the curricula are planned so that the overall study load 60 ECTS credits are evenly distributed into two terms (30 credits / term).


The basic structural unit of studies is a course. The scope of a course is stated in terms of ECTS credits. A course may contain different modes of study, such as lectures, small-group tutorials, exercise groups or e-learning.

Studies in a degree programme are usually classified as basic, subject/intermediate and advanced. A Bachelor’s degree consists of basic and intermediate studies in the major subject, including a Bachelor’s thesis, studies in one or more minor subjects, and language studies. For the Master’s degree, students must complete an advanced study module and prepare a Master’s thesis. Some degrees require compulsory practical training, for others, it is optional. Studies can be of different nature: compulsory (must be completed), alternative (student chooses from a set selection of courses a certain amount of studies), optional (student freely chooses studies for a certain amount of credits) or additional/extra (courses that are not required for the degree). You can find all the courses taught at the University of Oulu in WebOodi or Noppa Study Portal. Get familiar also with assessment criteria and grading scale for courses.

Diploma Supplement

University of Oulu issues a Diploma Supplement automatically and free of charge to every student upon graduation. It is given in English and it is intended for international use.

A Diploma Supplement is a description of the nature, level, content and status of the awarded degree in the national system and it also gives information on the professional status of the qualification. The purpose is to improve international comparability of degrees and facilitate mobility either for postgraduate study or employment.

The Diploma Supplement includes an attachment of the student’s transcript of records and a description of the Finnish educational system.

Example of Bachelor's DS
Example of Master's DS

More information about the Diploma Supplement: European Commision Website

Language Proficiency

All degrees include compulsory language studies. Apart from native language skills, students have to demonstrate skills in the second official language (Finnish or Swedish), which correspond to the proficiency level required from the state personnel in bilingual authorities. In addition, students must demonstrate written and oral skills necessary in their field of study in at least one foreign language.

More information about Language Proficiency: Government Decree on University Degrees 794/2004, Language Proficiency Section 6: Language proficiency

ECTS and DS Labels

The University of Oulu has been awarded the ECTS Label and the DS Label. See further information about ECTS Label and DS Label.

Education Regulations

Under section 14 of the Universities Act (558/2009) and section 2 of the regulations of the University of Oulu, the University of Oulu Board of Directors has approved the Education Regulations of the University of Oulu on the 29th of March, 2016.

Education Regulations are in effect starting April 1, 2016.

Last updated: 22.2.2019