How to apply as an exchange student

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.

After your Home University has nominated you for student exchange at UH, you can follow the instructions below.  

Your application for student exchange consists of:

  • the electronic application form
  • a motivation letter
  • a learning agreement
  • a transcript of records

In case you are applying for a traineeship as an Erasmus+ exchange student (SMS), you need also an invitation letter from your supervisor at the University of Helsinki. For further instructions on how to look for a supervisor, please see How to apply for internship/thesis work/research

If you are applying as an Erasmus+ trainee (SMT), please see the instructions on How to apply as a visiting student


Starting your application

Before you start the application, please read the instructions below and collect all necessary documents for your application. Some details can no longer be edited by you once you have filled in the registration form. Reading the instructions saves a lot of time and effort. Following the detailed instructions on how to apply via Mobility Online while filling in the the application form can be very helpful. 

You start the application process by registering online via the Mobility Online portal. Mobility Online will guide you forward step-by-step.

Required documents for your application

  • Motivation letter
  • Learn­ing agree­ment
  • Transcript of Records
  • Invitation letter (in case you will be doing practical training/thesis/internship. Not required for clinical rotations at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine.)

Please find more information on the documents below. 

Application form

This is fully electronic and filled out in Mobility Online. It is the registration to be an applicant, not a separate attachment.

Motivation letter

Write a motivation letter (Statement of purpose) using the language you mainly plan to study with (English, Finnish or Swedish). The recommended length of the motivation letter is 200-500 words. You should state why you wish to study at UH and how your studies at UH will support your degree studies at home and your career objectives. The motivation letter should be uploaded as a separate pdf document. 

Learn­ing agree­ment

What is the Learning Agreement?

  • The Learning Agreement is an obligatory part of your application. It is a list of courses that you wish to take at UH and it helps you to organize your studies during the exchange.
  • Please fill in also the details of the contact person at the receiving unit (contact persons can also be used for when filling in your Digital/Online Learning Agreement). 
  • The Learning Agreement is a preliminary plan. It does not guarantee a place on the course. 

Where to find courses for my exchange studies? Are there any restrictions?

  • Information concerning courses in English can be found at Course selection.
  • If you are applying for the autumn semester or full year, we ask that you do not complete your Learning Agreement before April, because the most up-to-date course information will usually not be published before then.
  • Most courses require previous studies in the subject/discipline in question and some are restricted altogether. See more about course requirements and restrictions under Re­stric­tions in at­tend­ing courses.
  • When you plan your studies please note that you should mainly select courses in the field of study you have been nominated for or according to what is stated in the exchange agreement between your home institution and UH.
  • Usually exchange students have unrestricted access to lecture courses in English at their host faculty, but restrictions may apply for field courses, laboratory courses, methodology courses and seminars.
  • It might also be possible to take courses at other departments/faculties to some extent. However, they may have different rules for registration, prerequisite studies and they will give preference to their own students. It cannot be guaranteed that courses organized by other faculties are available. 
  • Restrictions on which courses you are allowed to take may apply – for instance courses in English Philology (Bachelor's Programme in Languages (study track: English) and Master's Programme in English Studies) are only available for exchange students who are nominated based on exchange agreements of that discipline at the Univ. of Helsinki and to university level exchange students who are majoring in English at their home university. You can find faculty and study programme specific course restrictions by choosing the correct faculty under Information for exchange students.
  • If you have more precise questions on the contents of a specific course, please contact the responsible person of the course. You can find his/her name under course description in course search under course overview.

How many courses should I take during my exchange studies? How about lab or thesis work?

  • The average workload for one semester at the University of Helsinki is 30 ECTS credit points (60 ECTS for the whole academic year). In the end it depends on your home university how many ECTS credits you have to obtain per semester, since the sending institution is in charge of the approval of the courses. However, at the application stage your learning agreement should include at least 20 ECTS credit points for a semester (at least 40 ECTS for the whole academic year).
  • If you plan to write your thesis or do research during your exchange period, please include in the learning agreement the title of your thesis or research, and include an invitation letter from your supervisor at UH to your application. Check the University of Helsinki Research Portal for possible supervisors.
  • Please note that laboratory or thesis work does not require course codes in your Learning Agreement.

Step-by-step guide for the Learning Agreement process

The Learning Agreement process varies depending on your exchange programme. Please follow the instructions of the correct exchange programme.


Before the application deadline

1. Fill in the learning agreement in the system your home university uses for exchanging online/digital learning agreements. Please follow the instructions of your home university. Please note that the learning agreement is an obligatory step of the online application. 

2. If required by the online learning agreement system used in your home university, fill in the name and contact information of the responsible person of your home university and/or of the University of Helsinki. See the responsible persons at the University of Helsinki

3. Exception: please note that laboratory or thesis work does not require course codes.

4. Ask your home university coordinator to confirm and sign your learning agreement in the online learning agreement system in use.

5. Click to confirm in Mobility Online that you have completed the learning agreement in your home university's online learning agreement system.

6. If your home university does not use a system for exchanging online learning agreements (via EWP), you can use the Learning Agreement form used by your home university. Ask your home university coordinator to confirm and sign your learning agreement. After this, upload the learning agreement to your Mobility Online account.


Before the application deadline

  1. Fill in the learning agreement in the Mobility Online application system. You can optionally use the Learning agreement of your home institution as an upload. If you use the Mobility Online Learning Agreement, see the detailed Mobility Online application instructions. Please note that the learning agreement is an obligatory step of the online application. You should add the course names and course codes in Mobility Online one by one and then print the form.  
  2. Exceptions:
    Laboratory or thesis work does not require course codes
  3. Print out the learning agreement (download it to your computer). 

4. Ask your home university coordinator to confirm and sign your learning agreement. If your home institution requires that you must use the Learning Agreement form of your own university, you may ask signatures from your home institution to that form. After this, upload the learning agreement(s) on your Mobility Online account.


Between the acceptance and the exchange period

1. Learning Agreement will be checked as a part of the acceptance process. If major changes are required to the courses you listed on the Learning Agreement, you will receive an e-mail from with instructions and feedback regarding your Learning Agreement.

2. Please note that your learning agreement is a preliminary plan for your studies in Helsinki, but it is not a registration for any courses nor a guarantee that you are accepted to those courses. Changes to your Learning agreement can be made throughout the academic year, if your home institution approves of this.

3. The Learning Agreements are signed after the acceptance by the International Exchange Specialists responsible for your study field after your arrival in Helsinki. If you need a signature before arrival please contact International Exchange Services.

At the start of your exchange period in Helsinki

4. The actual registration for the courses takes place after your arrival in Helsinki during the orientation period. At this point, as far as we are concerned, it is still possible to change your course selection or add new courses into your study plan. 

If the registration period to the course in question ends before the orientation week, be in contact with the teacher of the course.

5. Registration to courses will be done through Sisu. You will need a University of Helsinki student number and your IT user account for that and you will receive instructions on how to get the user account before your arrival to Helsinki so that you will have it ready for the Orientation week. Please note that while you will be able to enter the course registrations once you have the user account, do not try to register for any course before the first day of your study right, because the Sisu system will reject the registration. Registrations will only be successful from the first day of your study right.

6. The final Learning Agreement is signed by the International Exchange Specialists.

Con­tact per­sons for Learn­ing Agree­ment and Online Learning Agreement

  • Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, Specialist Sari Mikkola
  • Faculty of Arts, Specialists Anna-Maria Sillantaka, Heidi Säävuori and Maria Takalainen
  • Faculty of Educational Sciences, Specialist Mikko Moilanen 
  • Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Specialist Outi Orenius
  • Faculty of Law, Specialist Sanni Ruuskanen and Jenni Mäkelä
  • Faculty of Medicine, Specialist Jenni Mäkelä
  • Faculty of Science, Specialists Kaisa Paavola (Physical Sciences, Geography and Geology) and Yonca Ermutlu (Chemistry, Computer Science, Mathematics, Data Science)
  • Faculty of Social Sciences, Specialists Niina Haapasilta and Eeva Korteniemi
  • Faculty of Theology, Specialists Anna-Maria Sillantaka and Heidi Säävuori
  • Faculty of Pharmacy, Specialist Outi Orenius
  • Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Specialist Sari Mikkola
  • The Swedish School of Social Science, Specialists Niina Haapasilta and Eeva Korteniemi

Email address and phone number to all learning agreements:, +358 2941 22401, Erasmus code: SF HELSINK01

For specific exchange programmes (e.g. university bilateral agreements), there can be exceptions to the contact person, e.g. a university-wide contact person’s signature may be needed. Please check the instructions for your own exchange programme if you are coming from outside EU. 

Tran­script of re­cords

An official transcript of records (same as transcript of credits) (in English, Finnish or Swedish), i.e. a certified list of all the courses and exams you have completed at your home university, must be attached to your application.

Please note that you should include a complete transcript for both current and past degrees, i.e. if you are applying as a Master's Degree student, you should also include a complete transcript for your Bachelor's Degree. If you are applying as a PhD student, please also provide transcripts of your Bachelor's and Master's degrees. It is important that the courses are listed in English, Finnish, or Swedish. In case your home university does not provide transcripts in any of the aforementioned languages, you are responsible for translating the document yourself. Such a document needs to be either a certified translation of the original document or the sending institution needs to verify the translation with a stamp and a signature.

Language certificate

The University of Helsinki requires language skills in English, Finnish or Swedish (the language you mainly plan to study with) that correspond to Level B2 on the CEFR scale. 

As an exchange student, you do not need to submit proof of language proficiency. Your home university is expected to check that you have the required B2 level. 

In­vit­a­tion let­ter

If you plan to conduct practical training/research/thesis work during your exchange period, your application must include an invitation letter in English, Finnish or Swedish (including dates for the visiting period and the estimated amount of credits received at the UH) from the academic contact person who has agreed to supervise your work at the UH. You are responsible for searching the supervisor before applying as an exchange student. For instructions on how to look for a supervisor, please see How to apply for internship/thesis work/research.

Hous­ing ap­plic­a­tion

Exchange students should apply for housing in the Mobility Online application portal. Here you find the Mobility Online application instructions, including how to apply for housing. You can find more information on housing for exchange students in the Instructions for students - How to apply for housing as an exchange student.

Com­plet­ing your ap­plic­a­tion

Upload your application complete with all the application enclosures in the Mobility Online application system by the deadline, April 15 / May 15 (in the spring) OR September 30 / October 15 (in the autumn). Upload the application documents preferably as pdf files and name the files clearly, e.g. Language_Certificate.pdf, Learning_Agreement.pdf,  Application_form.pdf.

Completing your application: After you have uploaded your application form with the required application enclosures to your Mobility Online account you will still need to confirm that you have uploaded all of the required documents. Click on the link "Confirm that you have uploaded all required documents" in the application work-flow and tick the box. Save your confirmation with the “Create” button. This completes your application (there is no separate submit/send button).

Once you have uploaded your documents and completed the step "Confirm that you have uploaded all required documents" we’ve received your application. Only once we have processed all your documents will the application move forward to the step "Application documents received" in Mobility Online.

Please note that during the time when applications are processed, queries concerning the status of an individual application will not be answered. You can follow up the progress of your application through your Mobility Online application account. Please note also that applications will only be processed after the closing of the application period.

Online support for exchange applicants


Do you want to see how to get started with your application in Mobility Online, how to apply for housing, or how to choose courses? Join us live on one of our zoom events to ask questions. Links to zoom events will appear on this page on the day of the online meeting. Mark the times in your calendar! The online meetings are not going to be recorded.

Instructions for joining the zoom event will appear here closer to the date. After clicking the link below you will be prompted with a browser window (see screenshot here). In order to join us via the browser window, you first need to click PERUUTA (it means to cancel) then at the bottom of the window click the link join from your browser. This will open the webinar in your browser window. Should you have the zoom software you of course can join us using the software.

All events take place according to local Helsinki time, please check the local time from a world clock before your participation: 

Online webinars: How to apply as an exchange student

  • March 30th 2023 Thursday 15:00 to 16:30 local time in Helsinki.
    Please note that late-comers will NOT be admitted to the webinar 30 min after the start. 
  • May 3rd 2023 Wednesday 13:00 to 14:30 local time in Helsinki. The link to the Zoom event
    Please note that late-comers will NOT be admitted to the webinar 30 min after the start. 

In addition to these webinars, there will be two online Q&A sessions for incoming exchange applicants for last-minute panic questions related to applications via zoom:

  • April 5th 2023 Wednesday 13:00 to 14:00 local time in Helsinki.
  • May 12th 2023 Friday 13:00 to 14:00 local time in Helsinki. The link to the Zoom event