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 application form, a motivation lettera learning agreementa transcript of records and a language certificate. 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 (SMP), please see the instructions on How to apply as a visiting student

NB! Applying for Autumn semester 2021? Please read our guidelines related to COVID-19 situation here. The guidelines are updated regularly and contain information about application processing times, residence permit, etc.

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

  • Application form
  • Motivation letter
  • Learn­ing agree­ment
  • Transcript of Records
  • Language Certificate
  • Invitation letter (in case you will be doing practical work/thesis/internship)

Please find more information on the documents below. 

Application form

After filling in your application in the Mobility Online, print the Application form as pdf and upload it to Mobility Online.

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. Motivation letter should be uploaded as a separate pdf document. 

Learn­ing agree­ment

What is it?

  • Learning Agreement is an obligatory part of your application form in the Mobility Online application system. 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? 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 or 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 the 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 are only available for exchange students who are nominated based on exchange agreements of the discipline of English Philology 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? 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 (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.

Step-by-step guide for the Learning Agreement process

Before the application deadline

  1. Fill in the learning agreement in the Mobility Online application system. Erasmus students can optionally use the Learning agreement of your home institution, provided that it fulfils the criteria for an Erasmus Learning Agreement 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:
    1. For visiting students the Learning Agreement is a separate document (pdf) (the online version of the LA in Mobility Online is for exchange students only).
    2. Lab or thesis work does not require course codes
  3. Print out the learning agreement (download it to your computer). 
  4. Specific information for Learning agreements for students of the Erasmus exchange programme (namely students from EU countries or from Serbia, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Turkey):  fill in the name and contact information of the responsible person of your home university and of the University of Helsinki. See the responsible persons at the University of Helsinki.  

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. If your home university is using the Online Learning Agreement / Digital Learning Agreement you can upload a pdf version of OLA/DLA including the electronic signature from your home coordinator to the application.

Between the acceptance and the exchange period

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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

8. 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 course, be in contact with the teacher of the course.

9. Registration to courses will be done through Sisu ( You will need University of Helsinki student number and your IT user account for that and you will get them during the Orientation Course. Please note that we do not send them by e-mail or by mail, but one has to collect them in person during the orientation. 

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

11. In case you need to change your learning agreement after you have started your studies at UH and your home university has not provided you with a form for changes, you will find the form here. 

Con­tact per­sons for Learn­ing Agree­ment and Online Learning Agreement

  • Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, Specialist Sari Mikkola
  • Faculty of Arts, Specialists Raisa Asikainen and Mikko Moilanen
  • Faculty of Educational Sciences, Specialist Mikko Moilanen 
  • Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Specialist Outi Orenius
  • Faculty of Law, Specialists Maija Eeva and Anne-Sophie Hokkanen
  • Faculty of Medicine, Specialist Arja Mielonen-Walker
  • Faculty of Science, Specialists Janna Koivisto (Physical Sciences, Mathematics, Geography and Geology) and Yonca Ermutlu (Chemistry, Computer Science, Data Science)
  • Faculty of Social Sciences, Specialists Mari Lauri and Niina Haapasilta
  • Faculty of Theology, Specialists Iina Hakanpää and Raisa Asikainen
  • Faculty of Pharmacy, Specialist Outi Orenius
  • Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Specialist Sari Mikkola
  • The Swedish School of Social Science, Specialist Maija Eeva

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

For specific exchange programmes (ISEP and 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. 

Here you find more information on language requirements and examples of means to prove sufficient skills

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 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 proceeding 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.

  • September 22nd 2021 Wednesday at 15:00-17:00 on "How to apply as an Exchange Student"
  • October 7th 2021 Thursday at 13:00-15:00 on "How to apply as an Exchange Student"


During application periods we provide chat support. Here you find more information on the chat service.