Studies at University of Oulu 2013-2014

The University of Oulu offers study opportunities with a solid academic foundation ranging from 5-6 year degree programmes and master’s programmes to doctoral training. There are also several possibilities such as open university studies, executive training and continuing education for developing and maintaining skills and competencies.

In addition to a variety of student exchange programmes, international master’s degree programmes in English are offered in six fields of study, making the university an international study environment.

5-6 Year Degree Programmes

BSc in Biology

Profile of the Degree: 

Biology is a wide discipline and it studies living systems, organisms, including their structure, functioning, evolution, distribution and interrelationships. Biological sciences do not have clear boundaries but they interact closely. Main application areas are forestry, game and fisheries, nature and environmental protection, agriculture and medicine.

Students learn the basic phenomena and mechanisms of life from molecules to ecosystems. The studies also give the basic information of the evolution and the diversity of living organisms; the characteristics, structure, functions and regulation of genes, cells and organisms and the behaviour of organisms and their interactions between the biotic and abiotic environment. The student will get basic scientific skills and is able to follow the development of the discipline with the help of diverse methodological proficiency and good basic information.

Studies at Bachelor's level are free of charge and public (University Law 2009/558 8§). After the BSc studies student will continue to the MSc studies.

Courses Required for the Degree: 


Specialisation and Major Biology, Minor Bioscience
BSc degree (180 ECTS) consists of biology major (minimum 78 ECTS). Compulsory minor is bioscience (minimum 32 ECTS). Student can choose the other compulsory minor (minimum 25 ECTS) freely from the university’s study modules. Degree studies also include general studies, language and communication studies and studies given by other degree programmes.

Specialisation and Major Biology, Minor Ecology
BSc degree (180 ECTS) consists of biology major (minimum 79 ECTS). Compulsory minor is ecology (minimum 35 ECTS). Other compulsory minor (minimum 25 ECTS) is optional. Degree studies also include general studies, language and communication studies and studies given by other degree programmes.

Specialisation and Major Biology, Minor Bioscience or Ecology (Teacher)
BSc degree (180 ECTS) consists of biology major (minimum 79 ECTS). Compulsory minor (minimum 25 ECTS) is bioscience or ecology. Student can choose the other compulsory minor (minimum 25 ECTS) freely from the university’s study modules. Other compulsory minor studies include pedagogical studies (30 ECTS) and subsidiary entity for subject teacher (minimum 25 ECTS). Degree studies also include general studies, language and communication studies and studies given by other degree programmes.

Further information: see Course Structure Diagram.

Learning Outcomes: 

The Bachelor of Science in Biology

  • can identify and describe basic phenomena and mechanisms of life from the molecules to the ecosystems
  • defines characteristics of cells and life forms, structures,  functions and their regulation
  • identifies most essential native plant and animal species
  • can tell the salient points that affect the evolution and diversity of living organisms
  • can describe the most essential concepts, methods, results and theories in biology
  • can apply basic knowledge of the biology closely related sciences (geography, biochemistry, chemistry, statistics) in identifying the biological phenomena
  • an basic skills of science: is able to use varied information retrieval skills; is able to interpret scientific knowledge and distinguish it from other information; is able to estimate the ambivalence and quality of knowledge; is able to make a feasible strategy when working out scientific problems
  • shows appropriate oral and written reporting skills
  • is able to assume advanced knowledge in Master’s programme on the basis of Bachelor studies.
Arrangements for Recognition of Prior Learning: 

The recognition of prior learning and credit transfer will take place in the beginning of the studies. If the student already has university or other degree, and if he/she would like to apply his/her prior learning, he/she has to contact the amanuensis.

The recognition of prior learning follows the main principles as defined by the University of Oulu.

More information: Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

Modes of Study: 

Biology studies are full-time studies and they equal to 60 ECTS per year. This is 1 600 study work hours in one academic year. BSc degree is done in three years as full-time studies. Studies are carried out as contact teaching. Studies consist of lectures, exercises, laboratory work and field excursions. Problem solving, group works and seminars are also typical studying methods as well as self-directed learning. Studies are full-time and teaching takes place normally between 8 and 18 o’clock.

Language of Instruction: 


Examination Regulations, Assessment and Grading: 

The student completes the degree-related studies as defined in the curriculum. BSc studies can be general studies, basic studies or intermediate studies. Student has a personal study plan which includes the study modules and schedule. The study plan describes the compulsory and optional courses and credits. It supports the progress of studies and helps the student to make a meaningful, personal degree.

1 ECTS is estimated as 27 hours studies. During one academic year (Autumn and Spring semester) the student will perform 60 ECTS (i.e. 1 600 hours studies). Lectures are free of attendance however active participation is strongly recommended. In practical courses there is compulsory attendance.

The study units are primarily completed by attending examinations and they are assessed by the person responsible for the study unit. Typically in an academic year there are three exam opportunities per course. Student has to register in Weboodi for courses and exams. The assessment is often based on the grades of final or mid-term exams. Also other assessment criteria is used, including species identification exam, oral exam, work report, practical work, seminar presentation and study journal. Study unit descriptions give more exact information on the assessment of the study units.

Grades used in assessment of studies are pass/failed or numeric values 0-5 where 5 (excellent; ECTS A), 4 (very good; ECTS B), 3 (good; ECTS C), 2 (satisfactory; ECTS D), 1 (sufficient; ECTS E), 0 failed. Grades used in assessment of the Bachelor of Science thesis is pass/failed. See also The University of Oulu Education Regulations paragraph 17. The Bachelor’s Thesis is the written final work in the degree and it is graded pass/fail. In determining the final grade for a study module, a credit-weighted average is used.

Occupational Profiles of Graduates: 

After the BSc, the students will continue their university studies in advanced studies to gain the degree of Master of Science (MSc). The BSc in Biology is not a professional degree.

Access to Further Studies: 

The BSc student will graduate during the 3rd spring semester or latest 4th autumn semester when the student is starting his/her MSc studies. The student is eligible to continue to the MSc studies without having all the degree studies of BSc done. In some MSc level courses the BSc may be required as prerequisite.

Graduation Requirements: 

Student has to apply the Bachelor of Science Degree from the Faculty of Science after finishing all the required studies. Accepted personal study plan is attached to the degree application. Bachelor of Science degree’s compulsory and optional studies are described in the structure of the BSc studies section.

Faculty of Science instructions and forms (in Finnish).

Qualification Requirements and Regulations: 

All education in the University of Oulu is based on the principles of the joint European credit transfer system (ECTS) which facilitates the transparency of education and the recognition of degrees at an international level. All degrees awarded from the University of Oulu are recognised by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture.

Bachelor of Science degree (BSc) is the lower academic degree. After gaining the BSc, the student is qualified to do studies for the Master of Science (MSc) degree. Student can influence the degree curriculum by choosing optional major and/or minor courses according to own interest. BSc is not professional degree, for example a BSc specialized in subject teacher education is not officially qualified.

The degree provides language proficiency required of personnel in public bodies in accordance with the Language Proficiency Section 6:

Government Decree on University Degrees 794/2004, Language Proficiency Section 6

Basic information

Level of the Degree: 
Bachelor's Degree
Duration of Studies: 
3 years
ECTS Credits: 
Language of Instruction: 
Location of Instruction: 
+358 (0)294 481530
annamari.markkola (at)


Applying Information: 
The degree is part of a five-year degree programme which is applied for through the joint application system at Read more detailed information about admission requirements and applying from The Applicant’s Guide 2013.