Information about language studies

Language requirements in your Degree

Why are languages and communication courses in your degree program?

You need good language, communication and cultural knowledge skills in your studies and in the working world.  You are on a journey towards academic professionalism and this requires mastery of concepts, vocabulary and communication in Finnish and other languages.  People, the workforce is very mobile nowadays; where will you be in 10 years?

Each faculty determines how many language and communication credits and courses are required in each degree program while at the same time adhering to the law (see below).  Through this website you can read about and register for our courses and they are organized by languages.  Find your Faculty’s language requirements under these links.

Course descriptions and Course completion

Course descriptions can be found in WebOodi.  One credit point is equal to 26.67 hours of working time.  This includes classroom learning, self-study, homework etc. In the course descriptions you can see the timing of the course, learning methods, objectives, evaluation criteria and assessment scale.  When you register for a course you will see the course timetable and venue. 

Regular participation in classroom sessions is important.  You are expected to commit to the course for which you register and be present at the sessions (100% attendance).  In exceptional cases (illness for example) a student may be absent 20% of the time and pass a course if all course requirements have been completed and passed successfully.  Note!  It is extremely important to participate in the first session.  If you must be absent from the first lesson you must contact the teacher and inform the reason for your absence in order to retain your place in the course.  If you do not do this the teacher can assume that you are not going to participate and your place may be given to a student on the waiting list.

The level of each course is based on the European Language framework from which CEFR levels and descriptions can be found. 

Course materials

Multimodal Learning in our courses is arranged through multi-mode methods.  At the beginning of the course your teacher will give you information about your course-specific online learning environment and the course materials.  One important tool for language courses is MOT/MOT-sanakirjasto. You can find this resource from the university network.  If you need to reach this resource from outside the campus use your university username and password and access the library link which is above.  You can also use the official Finnish language dictionary and this does not require you to login. 

Course completion

When you study through our courses, there is an absolute completion deadline of two years.  If for some reason you do not complete the course as scheduled, be aware of this deadline.  This deadline includes retake exams, course work, homework, etc.  If you miss this deadline, you will have to retake the whole course.  If you want to improve your course grade it must happen within this two-year time period.

Retake exams

If you fail the course exam, you can retake it two times.  Contact your teacher to make arrangements for a retake exam.  You might for example complete the exam in the Examinarium; this will depend on your teacher.  If you miss your retake exam remember to cancel the exam because if you do not, the missed exam will count as your retake exam and the grade will be a Fail. 


Your teacher has up to three weeks to assess your exam.  You can see your results from Weboodi.  Exam results and course grades cannot be shared via email or learning environments.      

Special arrangements

If you need special support or arrangements for your studies, you should acquire a statement from the study psychologist.  This statement will guide the teacher so that the special arrangements can be organized.  You can find instructions here:  Esteetön opiskelu

Course feedback

You can give feedback concerning your courses through the university feedback system at  Your teacher will inform you of this in class.


The University of Oulu has a strict anti-plagarism and cheating policy.  The university law says: any student of or within this university who is guilty of educational or research-related violations may be punished with a warning or expelled for a period, at most one year.  The disciplinary procedure will be stipulated according to regulations. (Yliopistolaki § 19)

A student who is guilty of cheating, for example plagiarizing on course work will fail the course and he or she may need to repeat the entire course again.

Degree program language courses are ordained by law

The Government Decree on University Degrees (794/2004) stipulate that:

The student must demonstrate that in his or her studies for a lower or higher university degree  he or she has attained:

(1) proficiency in Finnish and Swedish which is required of civil servants in bilingual public agencies and organisations under Section 6(1) of the Act on the Knowledge of Languages Required of Personnel in Public Bodies (424/2003) and which is necessary for their field; and

(2) skills in at least one foreign language needed to follow developments in the field and to operate in an international environment.

The provisions of subsection 1 do not concern a student who has been educated in a language other than Finnish or Swedish or a student who has been educated abroad. The language proficiency of such students shall be determined by the university.

For special reasons, the university may either totally or partially exempt a student from the requisite language skills referred to in subsection 1.

If you apply for exemption for proficiency in a second official language (1) above, for the reason that you have been exempted in previous institutions in which you have studied, be aware that you must study some other language to replace the second official language.  Also be aware that this exemption may have consequences if you later apply for public posts in Finland because public officials/personnel must have second official language competence in order to be appointed to a public post.  Read more here:  Lue lisää täältä. 

Choose languages for a minor

You can choose languages for a minor subject in two ways.  You can complete the KieKuVi study package, which is for students in Humanities, Education and Natural Sciences.  In addition, students in the Oulu Business School have their own minor package.  If you do not study in these faculties you can still invest in learning foreign languages for example by completing a foreign exchange program or a training period.

Last updated: 29.6.2020