Assessment and grading

The instruction belongs to the following themes

By selecting a degree programme you are able to see the general content as well as the possible degree programme-specific content. You do not have to select a degree programme to see the Open University's instructions.

Here you can find information about grading scales and assessment principles at the University.

Grading scales and grades

The University of Helsinki grading scale is not a proportionate scale and does not therefore fully correspond to the ECTS grading scale. The difference is: the ECTS system is based on an expectancy of the distribution of different grades, the Finnish system is not. This means that in the Finnish system there is no rule or expectation as to how big a proportion of the participants in any given course can be given what grade; each student is graded on his/her individual performance, not in relation to the performance of others.

As a rule, completed courses and other studies are assessed on a scale of 0–5. Theses included in bachelor’s and master’s degrees are graded using the same scale.

The grades are defined as follows:

  • 5 (Excellent) 
  • 4 (Very good) 
  • 3 (Good) 
  • 2 (Satisfactory) 
  • 1 (Passable) 
  • 0 (Fail) 

Proficiency in one of the national languages of Finland (i.e., the one that is not the student’s native language) is assessed using the following scale:

  • Good 
  • Satisfactory 
  • Fail 

It may also be separately determined in the curricula of degree programmes that completed studies are graded on a pass–fail basis.

Bachelor’s and master’s theses are assessed on a scale of 0–5. You can check the grading scale to be used on a specific course from the course information available on the Courses webpage or from the course brochure in Sisu.

With the exception of licentiate and doctoral theses, the scope of completed studies is indicated in credits, according to the workload required. One credit corresponds to approximately 27 hours of work.

How quickly will my course or examination be graded?

Teachers assess and grade completed studies before the next opportunity to complete or register for them, but no later than within one month from the date of completion (within two months for studies completed between 1 June and 31 August). Teachers record your grades in the student information system.

Assessments of studies for which you do not register in Sisu (e.g., traineeships) are recorded by University Services staff. Completed credits must appear in your student records within one month from when the teacher assessed and graded your studies, unless a specific reason prevents this.

You can find your grades in Sisu and on the course pages. If at least five students completed the same studies at the same time, you will also receive information on the distribution of grades.

The results of the Finnish specialist examination in medicine and dentistry must be announced within six weeks of the examination.

Completed studies and grading criteria

You must be informed when and where you can view your marked examination answers or other written work, at the latest in connection with the announcement of examination results. You have the right to take a photocopy of your answers at your own expense.

As a student, you have the right to know what grading criteria have been used and how they have been applied to you.

Information on your written answers or other assessment notes related to your completed studies must not be disclosed to third parties or published without your permission. Your answers may not be used for teaching and research purposes without your permission if it is possible to identify you on the basis of the answers.

Further information on your rights can be found online: Legal protection of students.

Public access to examination tasks and grading criteria

As a rule, examination tasks and grading criteria are considered public. They can be deemed secret only under the circumstances set out in section 24 of the Act on the Openness of Government Activities, that is, when access would compromise the achievement of the objectives of the examination or test, or prevent its future use. Faculty councils decide on their secrecy.

Examination tasks and grading criteria that are to be kept secret can only be disclosed to the relevant parties, that is, the students or teachers involved in the assessment of the course or learning as well as the administrative staff who work with the course or teaching. When a student gains access to secret examination tasks and grading criteria for reasons of sitting the examination (parties’ right of access), they must be informed that they are bound by the obligation of secrecy and confidentiality with regard to the information they receive. In addition, students cannot use secret information to their own benefit or to the benefit or detriment of another.

Can grades be raised?

For information on raising passed grades and retaking failed courses and examinations, please see Raising grades and resitting examinations.

Assessment and grading of modules

Study modules (such as basic and intermediate studies) are composed of courses. The grade for a module is determined on the basis of the grades of courses to be incorporated into it so that each course is weighted in accordance with the number of credits awarded for it.

When determining the module grade, only those completed studies that have been assessed on a scale of 0–5 will be taken into account. If more than half of the completed credits for a module have been assessed on a scale other than 0–5, the module will be assigned the grade of pass. 

Usually, modules will be compiled and their grades recorded when you submit a graduation request in Sisu. 

For more information on modules and their grading, please see Study modules and their compilation.

What should I do if I am dissatisfied with the assessment of my studies?

If you feel that you have been unfairly treated in the assessment of completed studies, please read the relevant instructions at Legal protection of students.

If you are dissatisfied with the grading of your studies for another reason, please follow the instructions here: Raising grades and resitting examinations.