Frequently asked questions (for outgoing students from the University of Helsinki)

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.

This FAQ guide supports the planning of international exchange periods and the completion of exchange applications. If you can’t find an answer to your question on this page or on the other sections of the Study abroad website, please contact International Exchange Services.



Application procedure

How many exchange destinations can I apply for?

Can I be accepted to several exchange destinations?
You can be accepted to only one destination. If you are applying to several destinations, you must rank them. If you are not accepted to your first choice, the second choice in your list will be taken into consideration, then the third, etc.

Do exchange destinations have quotas?
Yes. The quotas vary between universities.

Can I apply for an exchange for only one term?
Most destinations offer the opportunity to apply for either one or two terms, but this is subject to agreement and varies by destination.  The destinations in Oceania, for example, only offer one-term exchanges. We advise you to check the duration of the exchange available at your chosen destination before applying.

If the host university rejects my application, can I still be selected for exchange at another destination? 
If your chosen host university rejects your application, please contact International Exchange Services. We will help you find out why your application was rejected and, to the extent possible, help you find another exchange destination. When necessary, you can reapply for exchange during the next supplementary application period.  

When are the application periods open?

When will I be notified of the selections?

Credits and grade point averages

Should I state the grade point average valid at the time of application? When will the host university verify my GPA?
Please state the grade point average valid at the time of application. The host university will only verify your GPA after you have been selected by the University of Helsinki for an exchange and after you have submitted your application to the host university. The average must be stated in the University of Helsinki application even if you are not applying to a university that requires a GPA. Further information on GPAs and related calculations:

Is it worth applying to an exchange destination that requires a GPA higher than mine?
You cannot apply to host universities that require a GPA higher than yours. Studies at exchange universities are often more demanding than at your home university, which makes it likely that studying at a university with a GPA requirement above your GPA might be too taxing. The host university may also reject your application based on your GPA, in which case you will not be able to complete studies there. Exchange destinations without GPA requirements most often include Erasmus and Nordplus destinations, but this is agreement specific.

How likely is it that I will be selected for an exchange destination in Oceania?
The destinations in Oceania are very popular, which makes it necessary to screen applicants on the basis of study success and applications. Most destinations in Oceania require a grade point average of at least 3 (exceptions are specified on the Oceania exchange destinations page). Due to applicant numbers, chosen students for Oceania destinations usually have a GPA of at least 3.5. Your chances will be improved by applying for less competitive Erasmus and Nordplus destinations in addition to those in Oceania.

Do Open University or JOO courses affect my GPA?
The grade point average is calculated based on all the courses displayed on Sisu. Courses completed at the Open University and as JOO -studies (flexible study right) are also counted in the GPA.

How many credits must have I accrued to be chosen for student exchange?

How many credits do I have to accrue during the exchange?

Studies and courses completed during a student exchange

Can I complete optional/minor subject studies during the exchange? 
You can complete optional/minor subject studies during the exchange. In such a case, you must submit your application through the exchange agreement concluded by the relevant optional study module/minor subject, provided the programme in question is an Erasmus programme or a faculty and unit bilateral agreement. However, the major subject students of the relevant subject have priority when exchange students are chosen. Further information:… 

In University-wide exchange programmes outside the EU and in the Nordic countries (Nordlys), students can complete studies in either their own degree programme or in an optional study module, or elective studies in the form of courses selected from the university-wide selection of the host university. Please note the potential restrictions set by the host university on the availability of subjects. Further information on the Nordlys network: 

Can I complete an optional/minor subject module during the exchange even if I don’t have a study right for the subject at the University of Helsinki? Can I complete minor subject studies or an entire minor subject module during the exchange in a subject not taught at the University of Helsinki?
You can complete an optional/minor subject module during the exchange to be recognised by your faculty as an optional study module completed abroad. This is possible in most faculties. However, you should bear in mind that optional minor subject modules completed abroad are not equivalent to courses organised by the University of Helsinki. Please note any restrictions set by the host university.

Should I apply for a place in the bachelor’s or master’s degree stage? 

I am completing my bachelor’s degree. Can I also complete master’s degree studies during the exchange? 
In certain universities this is possible, but others strictly prohibit this. Details are available on the website of your host university. This may also apply to master’s level students who wish to complete bachelor’s level studies during their exchange. 

Can bachelor’s level courses be completed during the exchange recognised as master’s level courses?
Bachelor’s level courses completed during an exchange can often be recognised as elective master’s level studies. If you wish to substitute a compulsory master’s level course included in your degree requirements with a bachelor’s level course, you can ask the course coordinator about the possibility.

Where can I find the courses offered by the host university? What if I can’t find the list of courses available next year?
Course lists can be found on the website of the host university. Most universities only display the courses available during the current academic year, so you can base your course selections for the learning agreement on them. Further information:

Do the requirements vary a lot between universities?
Host universities require the same performance from exchange students as from their degree students. The degree of difficulty may be impacted by, among others, your language skills.

Application and enclosures

Do I have to complete my application in one sitting or can I continue later?
You do not have to complete the application in one go. You can continue completing your unfinished application later, as long as you have completed the first section (application form). Further information: 

Who will process my University of Helsinki exchange application? In which language should I write it? 
Your application will be processed by the coordinators at International Exchange Services. You can complete it in Finnish, Swedish or English.

How do I complete the learning agreement? 

Can I be selected for exchange even if I have already completed all the studies required for my degree?
No, since the studies completed at the host university must be recognised and fully transferred to the degree you are pursuing at the University of Helsinki. Further information:

Recognition of studies

How will my exchange studies be recognised? Who will recognise my exchange studies? 

What is the difference between the recognition, substitution, and inclusion of studies?
Substitution and inclusion are forms of recognition. Substitution means that you are replacing studies included in your degree programme requirements with prior learning that is equivalent in terms of the learning outcomes of the course or module to be substituted. Inclusion means that prior learning is incorporated into your degree, necessitating no equivalence in content with any course or module at the University of Helsinki. Further information: