Language of instruction and language of learning

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.

The language of learning is the language in which you complete a course or other study component (for example, the language in which you write your answers to exam questions). The language of learning may be different than the language of instruction or your own native language. The course catalogue for your study programme includes information on the language of instruction for each course and study module.

In what languages can I complete courses?

The nature of the study programme or course (such as a foreign language) may require that you complete a course in a certain language. Similarly, if you are enrolled in an English-language degree programme, you will complete the majority of your courses in English.

In other cases, however, you have the right to complete your courses in Finnish or Swedish and to receive the questions and instructions of written examinations and other course requirements in Finnish or Swedish in accordance with your indicated preference.

The register of completed courses will indicate one language for each of the courses you have completed. If a course you have completed consists of several components in different languages, the language the course was completed in will be the language that represents the largest proportion of the completed coursework. If the course components in different languages are equal in size, the instructor responsible for the course will decide what language will be indicated in the register.

In exceptional cases, instructors may use their discretion in giving permission to complete a course in a different language. Even in such cases, however, the language principles concerning the completion of courses must be taken into consideration. These principles are described below in the section Study programme languages.

For more information on the language and communication studies included in degree programmes and the languages of theses and maturity tests, please refer to the separate instructions on these topics (currently not yet available in English).

Degree programme languages

In the degree programmes that are in Finnish or Swedish, you will complete your courses mainly using the language of instruction. Degree programmes in Finnish and Swedish may, however, include components with instruction in English or the official language of Finland that is not your native language. Nevertheless, you have the right to complete courses in these components in Finnish, Swedish or possibly English. If your studies are in the field of languages, the language of instruction and the language of learning may be a language other than Finnish, Swedish or English.

If you are studying in an English-language degree programme, your instruction will be in English and you will complete the courses in English. In this case, you are required to complete at least 75% of the studies included in the degree in the English language. Your thesis must also be written in English.

In Swedish-language degree programmes, students must complete at least 75% of the studies included in the degree, including the thesis, in Swedish.

If you are studying in a multilingual degree programme, you can complete your courses in Finnish, Swedish or English, depending on what the language of your degree is. If you are taking an English-language degree, you are required to complete at least 75% of the studies included in the degree in the English language. Your thesis must also be written in English.

If you are working towards a bilingual degree (meaning that the languages of your degree are Finnish and Swedish), you have to take at least one third of your total degree components in each degree language (Finnish and Swedish). In addition, the language of instruction and the language in which you complete each course must generally be the same. For a bilingual degree, you are also required to pass a C1 level language test (CEFR proficiency scale) in the language that is not the primary language of your degree. If you have already taken a language test as part of a bilingual bachelor’s degree, you are not required to take the language test again.

For more information on the languages of degree diplomas, please refer to the page Copies and translations of degree diplomas.

Changing the language of the degree

If you are studying in a multilingual degree programme in either Finnish or Swedish, you can change the language of the degree into English. You can apply for the change during the first semester of your Master’s studies, once you have graduated with your Bachelor’s degree.

Proficiency in English must be demonstrated in the same way as when applying for the study place. Proficiency in English can be demonstrated, for example, by completing foreign language studies in English included in a degree completed in a Finnish university in Finland. You can find other ways to demonstrate your English language proficiency in this guide (pdf).

Please check your degree programme's instructions on how to change the language of the degree.