Language and communication studies included in a bachelor’s degree

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.

All degrees include a certain amount of compulsory communication and language studies. These studies are completed as part of a first-cycle, or bachelor’s, degree and their minimum scope is 10 cr. Please take this into account when drawing up your personal study plan.

Completion of studies when the language of secondary education is “Finnish or Swedish”

The language of your secondary education affects the completion of your studies. More information on languages of secondary education is available in the instructions What is my language of secondary education?

If the language of your secondary education is Finnish or Swedish, you will have to complete 10 cr of studies as follows:

  • Native language (Finnish/Swedish) 3 cr
  • Second national language (Swedish/Finnish) 3 cr
  • Foreign language 4 cr* (starting skill level in English: CEFR B2, in other languages: CEFR B1)

You will be asked to prove your oral and written skills in all of the languages. More information on the studies is available in your degree programme's structure in Sisu.

Completion

  • You can complete language studies either by taking a Language Centre course and/or an exemption examination, or through the recognition of prior learning.
  • In some degree programmes, studies in the native languages (Finnish, Swedish) are arranged by the faculty. For more information, see the degree structure of your degree programme in Sisu.
  • If your bachelor’s programme has set limits on which language you can choose as the foreign language in your degree, this will be visible in your degree programme’s degree structure in Sisu.

Exceptions related to second national language

  • If you have been exempted from the second national language in the Finnish general upper secondary school or you have not completed the second national language in the International Baccalaureate, European Baccalaureate, Reifeprüfung or Deutsche Internationale Abitur degree, you do not have to complete Swedish/Finnish studies at the second national language skill level (CEFR B1). Instead, you can study 3 cr Swedish/Finnish as the second national language at a level appropriate for you. In such cases, you should send a copy of your diploma as an encrypted email to the Language Centre Student Services at kielikeskus-neuvonta@helsinki.fi.
  • Please note that in your degree programme’s curricula there might be a decision that all students are required to complete studies in the second national language. In this case, the studies must be completed on the skill level CEFR B1.
  • If you completed a vocational upper secondary qualification after comprehensive school, please see the relevant instructions on the page  What is my language of secondary education? 
  • If you have completed your primary or upper secondary or other secondary education at an educational institution operating in the Åland province, you can seek an exemption from the demonstration of Finnish language proficiency as a second national language. Exemption must be requested by completing the relevant electronic form (electronic form in English will be added later). Please attach a copy your school diploma to it.

Please take into account that if you do not complete second native language studies at skill level CEFR B1, they will not be included in your degree diploma. If you wish, you may include studies in the second national language in your degree. The University also organises beginner’s courses in Swedish and Finnish.

Completion of studies, when the language of secondary education is “other than Finnish or Swedish”

If the language of your secondary education is other than Finnish or Swedish, you will have to complete 10 cr of studies as follows:

NB! If the language of your secondary education was a language other than Finnish or Swedish, send copies of your comprehensive school and general upper secondary school school-leaving certificates as an encrypted email to the Language Centre Student Services at kielikeskus-neuvonta@helsinki.fi. You will then receive instructions for adding the correct language studies to your study plan in Sisu.

Completion

  • You can complete language studies (Swedish, foreign language) either by taking a Language Centre course and/or an exemption examination, or through the recognition of prior learning.
  • If your bachelor’s programme has set limits on which language you can choose as the foreign language in your degree, this will be visible in your degree programme’s degree structure in Sisu.

Recognition of prior learning

Information about substituting language and communication studies in your bachelor’s degree with prior learning or other skills can be found in Transfer of credits for communication and language studies instructions.

Exemption from language requirements

It is only possible to get a full or partial (exemption from starting skill level) exemption from the second national language or foreign language skills requirements for a special reason. The decision will be registered in the degree diploma. It is not possible to get exemption from the national language requirements.

If you would like to apply for the exemption, please be in contact with the Language Centre Student Services