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

MA (education) in Early Childhood Education

Profile of the Degree: 

The graduates from the Master’s stage in the degree programme in early childhood education become experts in the fields of management, development, education and research in particular. The Faculty’s general ethical principles guide and provide the basis for the professional identity of early childhood education experts. The education is based on research and connected with research carried out in the Faculty, focusing on research of childhood and teachership. The education directs the students towards an inquiring and developing method of work and to see the connections of education with broad social phenomena. The student constructs his/her professional profile through his/her choice of minor subjects and practical training sites and by taking part in research and development projects. The studies are free and public (Universities Act 2009/558 8 §).

Courses Required for the Degree: 

The Master’s degree in early childhood education comprises early childhood education advanced studies (70 ECTS credits), minor subject studies (25 ECTS credits) and optional studies  (25 ECTS credits). The advanced studies in early childhood education (70 ECTS credits) include the Master’s thesis with a scope of 35 ECTS credits.

The timing of studies can be found in the structure diagram.

Learning Outcomes: 

Having completed the studies included in the Master’s degree, the student is capable of functioning in expert tasks related to management, development, training and research in early childhood education. The student knows how to take into account in his/her work the large-scale phenomena with an impact on education, such as the globalisation of education, multiculturalisation, sustainable development and lifelong learning. The student has a profound and diversified theoretical competence, based on which he is capable of an inquiring and developing approach in various working duties in early childhood education. The student knows how to set ethically justified goals for his/her work and how to work in a self-piloted way. S/he is cooperative and knows how to functions in various expert duties in work communities and organisations.

Arrangements for Recognition of Prior Learning: 

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: 

The student studies full-time, corresponding to 60 ECTS credits per year. This equals to 1600 hours of student workload per year. The full degree (120 ECTS credits) can be completed in two years, studying full-time. The studies are carried out as contact teaching, but a part of the courses can be completed as e-learning. Studies also include practice periods.

Language of Instruction: 

The degree can be completed in Finnish.

Examination Regulations, Assessment and Grading: 

The student studies communication and orientation studies, basic studies, advanced studies as well as multidisciplinary studies and other optional studies according to the curriculum. The courses are assessed by the persons responsible for each course. Assessment is often based on the grades of the lecture and book exams related to the course. Other assessment methods are also used, such as active participation in teaching and written and other assignments. The course descriptions contain details of ways to complete each course. The degree is completed by writing the Master’s thesis. Each student composes a personal study plan, taking into account previous studies and work experience.

Grading: (Koulutuksen johtosääntö pykälä 17: University of Oulu Rules of Procedure, article 17): a numerical scale 0-5 in whole numbers or verbal grading Pass or Fail is used in assessing a completed course. In numerical scale zero stands for fail.

In determining the final grade for a study module, a credit-weighted average is utilized. The grade for the Master’s thesis is not taken into account when the average for the advanced studies is calculated. Separate provisions have been laid down for assessing the proficiency in Finnish and Swedish language required in accordance with the Government Decree on University Degrees (794/2004).

Occupational Profiles of Graduates: 

Masters can find employment in various educational tasks: as kindergarten teachers, in pre-primary education, administrative and development tasks, educational and planning tasks, in research as well as in guidance and management tasks in various early childhood organisations. A graduate can also be employed by organisations and companies.

Access to Further Studies: 

Graduate is eligible for doctoral studies.

Graduation Requirements: 

To graduate as Master, the student must complete studies with a scope of 120 ECTS credits as determined in the curriculum. The thesis studies of the Master’s degree include a maturity test on the topic of the thesis. The graduate shall also show that s/he has achieved skills in Finnish and Swedish as defined in section 6 (1) of the Act (424/2003) and skills in one foreign language such as stipulated in section 6 (2) of the Government Decree on University Degrees, unless such skills were already shown in the Bachelor’s degree. The student shall also apply the faculty for confirmation of the degree by submitting a degree confirmation application.

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.

The degree makes the student qualified to apply for working duties requiring a higher university degree. It includes the teachers’ pedagogical studies (60 ECTS credits) related to the qualifications of teaching staff as stipulated in the Decree on University Degrees (986/1998), which provide eligibility for adult education tasks.

The language skills required in government posts are acquired at the Bachelor stage of studies:

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

1. The student must demonstrate in studies included in education for a lower or higher University degree or otherwise that he/she has attained:

(1) proficiency in Finnish and Swedish which is required of civil servants in bilingual public agencies and organizations 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.

2. 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.

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

Basic information

Level of the Degree: 
Master's Degree
Duration of Studies: 
2 years
ECTS Credits: 
Language of Instruction: 
Graduate Profiles: 
Kindergarten Teacher
Preschool Teacher
Head of the Kindergarten
Line Manager
Trainer / Educator
Location of Instruction: 
+358 (0)294 484211
eila.estola (at)


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