Coronavirus: information for admitted students

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  • Update on 17 August: Quarantine instructions added.
  • Update on 6 July 2020: Information about the deadlines to accept your study place added.
  • Update on 2 July 2020: Additional information about deferrals added under 'Beginning your studies'
  • Update on 25 June 2020: Information on deferrals, teaching arrangements in autumn and activating user account remotely have been added under 'Beginning your studies'. In addition, information regarding in-class studying when applying for a residence permit has been added.
  • Update on 4 June 2020: Information about taking care of practical matters concerning starting your studies and the Welcome Fair have been added.
  • Update on 27 May 2020: The structure of the page has been changed to accommodate questions concerning all new students (thematic sections). 
  • Update on 29 April 2020: Information about extended deadlines for conditionally accepted applicants have been added. 
  • Update on 1 April 2020: Information about residence permit applications and the Helsinki Summer School added.

Have you been offered a study place at the University of Helsinki and will start your studies in autumn 2020?

Congratulations! We hope that you are excited about your future studies. However, we understand that the current circumstances might cause uncertainty and worries. On this page, you can find coronavirus (COVID-19) related questions and answers on topics such as beginning your studies, orientation and tutoring and other practical matters.

Please read through this page carefully. The page will be continuously updated with the University’s new guidelines, so in order to stay informed, please check this page regularly.

If you have any other questions regarding the coronavirus measures taken by the University, please send a message to coronavirus@helsinki.fi.

Despite the exceptional situation, we will do our utmost best to support you and hope to welcome you to the University of Helsinki soon!

General questions

How does the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation affect the University of Helsinki?

The University of Helsinki is closely monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and taking measures following the instructions by the authorities. Our top priority is always the health, welfare and safety of our students and staff.

You can follow the coronavirus situation at the University of Helsinki on the University website.

Accepting your study place

I have been conditionally accepted, but I cannot deliver the required documents before the set deadline due to the coronavirus situation. What should I do?

We are aware of the fact that the coronavirus situation can cause delays for our conditionally accepted applicants with their graduation dates and/or getting the required documents in order.

Because of this, the University of Helsinki has extended the deadlines for graduating and delivering the required documents for our Master’s Programmes and the English-language Bachelor’s Programme in Science. All conditionally accepted applicants concerned have been informed about the extended deadlines by email.

You can find the detailed information and deadlines for all programmes on the webpage for conditionally accepted applicants. If you have further questions, you can contact us by e-mail at admissions@helsinki.fi.

When do I have to accept the offered study place?

The study place must be accepted before the given deadline. The deadlines for accepting the study place have been extended in some cases. You can see the deadline for accepting your study place in the acceptance letter that was sent to you or by logging into the My Studyinfo.fi service.

Beginning your studies

How will teaching be arranged in the autumn term of 2020?

Teaching in the autumn is planned and implemented according to the plan drawn up in the summer.  

  • Remote teaching and supervision are recommended.
  • Contact teaching can be organised primarily for groups of no more than 50 individuals, taking safety regulations into consideration. When necessary, the relevant response centre will assess the necessity of contact teaching and prioritise facility use.
  • The effect of social distancing on the number of available seats in the teaching facilities will be taken into account when planning timetables and facility use (e.g., staggered classes, allowing for space between people in rooms).
  • It is recommended to organise a contact teaching period in some form for new students during the first teaching period to support the beginning of studies and to promote inclusivity.
  • At the response centre's discretion, traineeships can be completed in accordance with the instructions of the host organisation.
  • Whenever possible, students in at-risk groups can be offered options for independent study. No verification is required from students for at-risk notifications.
  • To enable compliance with social distancing rules, the use of independent learning facilities is restricted in terms of participant numbers.

If the coronavirus pandemic worsens, teaching will be organised according to stricter safety and security requirements.

Decisions about teaching arrangements will be made in the study programmes. In other words, the students themselves cannot decide the mode for completing a course. Course-specific instructions need to be followed when completing studies. If teaching is cancelled or there are changes to methods of completion, the course teacher will communicate of them. You can find up-to-date information on courses from the My Studies page.

The publication of the teaching programmes for the academic year 2020-2021 may be delayed due to the arrangements required by the exceptional circumstances. .

NB! If you are an international degree student (Bachelor's Programme in Science or International Master's Programmes) and will not be able to arrive in Finland in time when the semester starts due to the COVID-19 pandemic but would prefer starting your studies remotely, please contact your Faculty’s Student Services for more specific course information.

I am starting my studies at a distance. How can I activate my university user account?

If you have accepted your study place and registered as attending and would like to start your studies in the autumn but are unsure whether you are able to enter Finland, the University’s Helpdesk will offer dates for activating your University of Helsinki user account remotely. If you have a Finnish e-banking account, you can activate your user account yourself by following these instructions.

In order to activate your user account remotely, start by filling in the Username application form and sending it to helpdesk@helsinki.fi. Mention in your message the country you are currently located in and wait for further instructions from the University’s Helpdesk.

Will the coronavirus situation affect the summer studies I can take part in?

The Student's Digital Skills course can be done already in the summer. You can start to explore the material connected to the Student’s Digital Skills course 1.7. onwards and can complete the course after you have been registered as an attending student for the 2020 autumn term and when you have activated your user account. 

Where can I get more information on the coronavirus measures of my faculty/study programme?

The University’s website has a list of faculty- and unit-specific instructions.

How can I get the necessary equipment for remote studying?

The student is responsible for arranging the necessary equipment, such as a computer and Internet connection, for their studies.

Learning centres Aleksandria and Minerva and their computer labs were opened on August 17 with appropriate safety arrangements. When using any equipment in joint use, please remember to clean it after using it.  

Where can I find general information for new students?

Please take a moment to read through the following general instructions that will help you to embark on your studies:

Remember to choose your own degree programme from the drop-down menu.

May I defer the beginning of my studies?

If you want to defer the beginning of your studies, please contact the Admission Services by e-mail at admissions@helsinki.fi. Your request will be forwarded to your degree programme for an evaluation.  In your request, you should specify the reason for the deferral and how the COVID-19 has prevented you from beginning your studies in the autumn of 2020. Please title your message “Request for deferral” and include the name of your degree programme. Deferral requires that you accept your study place by the given deadline. Please also remember that in case you were conditionally accepted, you have to prove your eligibility by 31 August.

If your situation is affected by COVID-19 in such a way that you are not able to begin your studies in the autumn semester 2020 and feel that you would prefer enrolling as a non-attending student, please check how to register as a non-attending student during the first year of study. In order to be able to enrol as a non-attending student, you need to attach supporting document stating how COVID-19 has prevented you from beginning your studies in the autumn of 2020. To support this, you may, e.g., attach a link to the website of your local Finnish mission (embassy or consulate) stating that it is not possible to book an appointment to prove your identity, which is a requirement in applying for a residence permit.

You can change your status from non-attendance to attendance at any time during the academic year by paying the Student Union membership fee (and tuition fee in case you are liable to tuition fees) and submitting the receipt to Student Services. However, you cannot change your status from attendance to non-attendance after the registration deadline. In case you want to change your status from non-attendance to attendance, please always consult your degree programme beforehand.

In case you are not eligible for registering as a non-attending student, you can later apply for recommencing studies after a break. This may be the case if you feel uncertain about beginning your studies due to COVID-19 but are unable to register as a non-attending student. Please also remember that most degree programmes offer distance studies. You can check your own programme’s distance study options from your faculty’s student services. The publication of the teaching programmes for the academic year 2020-2021 may be delayed due to the arrangements required by the exceptional circumstances.

In case you have paid the tuition fee or received a scholarship, please see Questions related to residence permits, tuition fees and scholarships.

Orientation and tutoring

How will the orientation week for new students be organised in autumn 2020?

Due to the coronavirus situation, the University is preparing to organise the orientation week partly or entirely remotely. You will get more precise information about the programme of your faculty’s orientation week in August.

Orientation will be organised on week 35 (starting from 24.8.2020). If you are starting your studies in the degree programme in medicine or dentistry, your orientation will begin already on week 34 (starting from 17.8.).

However, singular exceptions to the above-mentioned schedule are possible. Final schedules for the orientation week will be updated during August in the Orientation and Tutoring page

Can tutoring groups meet in the autumn?

All new students will be divided into tutoring groups as usual. If group meetings in person are not possible, the University is prepared to organise distance tutoring for new students. Final decisions on the implementation of distance tutoring will be made by the degree programmes and they will be communicated to new students in August.

How are the traditional student events of Fresher Adventure and Opening carnival organised in the upcoming fall?

The traditional student events of the autumn have to be cancelled due to the coronavirus. However, the Student Union of the University of Helsinki (HYY) is organising a virtual event, the Fresher Week (21-25 September 2020) to replace the cancelled mass events. For more information, see HYY's bulletin.

Where can I get all the practical matters (e.g. activating my user account) done?

You can take care of many of the administrative matters at the Welcome Fair (25–26 August). It will be arranged on all four campuses presenting only the necessary services for getting your studies started in order to minimize the contacts and unnecessary travel. At this year’s Welcome Fair, you can get your student certificate, activate your university user account and get your travel card. All the other services offered to students will be presented to you in a newsletter instead. More detailed information will be added closer to the event to the Orientation and Tutoring page.

If you are starting your studies at distance, you can find more information on activating your user account remotely in the Beginning your studies section above.

Can I attend orientation events and Welcome Fair if I am in quarantine?

If you are in quarantine, you must participate in orientation remotely. In terms of travel restrictions, the guidelines set by the Finnish government are to be observed. Visiting the University is not allowed for 14 days after arriving in Finland from a restricted region. Taking a coronavirus test does not constitute an exemption from quarantine.

If you cannot participate in the Welcome Fair because of quarantine, please contact Kaisa House Student Information for further instructions.

Restrictions and safety precautions

What kind of instructions has the University given for using the University spaces?

  • Do not come to the campuses when ill or when experiencing symptoms of the coronavirus disease Assess your need for testing here: Omaolo service.
  • Be sure to practise extremely careful hand and coughing hygiene.
  • Leave room for others, and always keep a distance of one to two metres from others, whenever possible.
  • Do not shake hands or hug people.
  • Avoid unnecessary contact. In other words, meet in person only when necessary. 
  • Please remember to clean any equipment in joint use after using it. Overall, cleaning activities at the University have been intensified.
  • The University of Helsinki recommends the use of protective masks in working and learning situations where safe social distancing cannot be observed (see below).

Should I stay in quarantine after arriving/returning to Finland? 

If travelling to/from a restricted region is absolutely necessary, the quarantine guidelines set by the Finnish government also apply to students. Visiting the University is not allowed for 14 days after arriving in Finland. Taking a coronavirus test does not constitute an exemption from quarantine. See also Q: "Can I attend orientation events and Welcome Fair if I am in quarantine?" from above.

What is the University's stance on face masks?

The University of Helsinki recommends the use of protective masks in working and learning situations where safe social distancing cannot be observed. The University will provide protective masks for staff and students for working and learning situations in which their use is recommended. Working groups are preparing the centralised procurement and distribution of masks. Separate and detailed guidelines for mask use will be drawn up. 

The effect of coronavirus on studies and teaching

Where can I find more information on the effect of coronavirus on studies and teaching?

You can find frequently asked questions from the Instructions for Students’ article The effect of coronavirus on your studies – Q&A.  The page has a comprehensive list of information on e.g. the teaching arrangements, opening hours of University venues, examinations and other study related topics during the exceptional situation.

Please check the above-mentioned page regularly as the fall term approaches, as the new student page will not be updated with information that concerns all students.

University services

Are the Student Services open during the exceptional situation? How can I get, for example, a certificate of student status?

The majority of guidance and support services will be conducted remotely during the fall term. To ensure a smooth beginning to the academic year, some Student Service points are open at least during the period of 17.8.-13.9. In these cases, the safety regulations will be followed. More information about the opening hours from the Student Services page.

If you need a certificate of student status, you can request one from studentinfo@helsinki.fi. Documents are delivered to students primarily in an electronic format via e-mail. Paper copies are sent approximately once a week.

Questions related to residence permits, tuition fees and scholarships

I need to apply for a residence permit. Will the coronavirus situation affect my application?

As in many of the Schengen countries, the coronavirus situation is heavily affecting the operations and services of the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) but non-EU/EEA students still need a student residence permit.

You can find more information about residence permit applications during the COVID-19 outbreak including a step-by-step guide for starting your immigration process on the Instructions for Students -website.

I am applying for a residence permit. How can I prove that my degree offers in-class teaching on campus in the autumn semester 2020?

The situation varies between programmes. Therefore the most exact information and evaluation of each student’s situation will be done in the programmes. In case the programme offers contact teaching, you should request for a confirmation e-mail or other verification required by the Finnish mission from your programme by contacting your Faculty’s Student Services.

I have to pay a tuition fee. When do I need to make the payment? Can I wait until it is confirmed that I can start my studies in autumn 2020?

The deadline for tuition fee payment is 31 August 2020. If you are applying for a residence permit, but have not yet paid the tuition fee, please make sure you have sufficient funds to cover the tuition fee and living expenses in Finland as required by the Finnish Migration Services (Migri). See the instructions on the Migri website.

Please make sure to start the process of obtaining a residence permit as soon as possible. The process can take several months.

If you have paid the tuition fee and cannot start your studies at the beginning of the academic year 2020-2021 due to issues caused by the coronavirus situation, the paid tuition fee can be transferred to the next academic term/year, or alternatively be reimbursed. No administrative costs will be charged by the University of Helsinki in this exceptional situation. If you wish for a reimbursement of the paid tuition fee, you must send a request by 31 December 2020 at the latest.

Please note that the transfer of the tuition fee and/or reimbursement under these conditions applies only to the cases caused by the coronavirus situation. The requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

If you have questions about the tuition fee payment, please contact the Admission Services by e-mail at admissions@helsinki.fi

I have received a scholarship. Will I lose it if I am not able to start my studies in autumn 2020 due to the coronavirus situation?

If you have been offered a study place at the University of Helsinki and received a tuition fee-covering scholarship from the University of Helsinki Scholarship programme (for Master's programmes only), and are not able to begin your studies at the beginning of the academic year 2020-2021 due to issues caused by the coronavirus situation, you may transfer the scholarship until the next academic term/year.

Please note that if your acceptance has been conditional, you must have fulfilled the given conditions by the set deadline in order to receive the scholarship.

If you are not able to begin your studies at the beginning of the academic year 2020-2021 due to issues caused by the coronavirus situation and wish to transfer your scholarship, please contact the Admission Services by e-mail at admissions@helsinki.fi 

If I apply for housing, can I cancel it without any costs if I cannot start my studies in autumn 2020 due to the coronavirus situation?

You can apply for student housing from Hoas or Unihome with no financial risk involved. You will only become responsible for any costs once you have accepted the housing offer, paid the deposit and signed the tenancy agreement.

More information about housing on the Instructions for students website.

Read more about the coronavirus situation