Language proficiency demonstrated in the master’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.

If you are pursuing a second-cycle (master’s) degree only, if the language of your secondary education is Finnish or Swedish and if you have completed your first-cycle (bachelor’s) degree abroad, you have to demonstrate the language proficiency required for second-cycle degrees by the Government Decree on University Degrees.

If you have completed a first-cycle degree in Finland, you are exempt from demonstrating language proficiency as defined in the Government Decree on University Degrees in your second-cycle degree.

You are also exempt from demonstrating your language proficiency if you have completed your secondary education in a language other than Finnish or Swedish or you have completed your secondary education abroad.

More information on the languages of secondary education is available in the instructions What is my language of secondary education?

Demonstration of language proficiency

The instruction applies to the students who have been selected directly to a master's degree programme, and who have completed their secondary education in Finnish/Swedish and a bachelors degree abroad.

Language proficiency is demonstrated in the following ways:

  • Native language: Maturity test completed in the language of secondary education, 0 cr
  • Studies in the second national language (Swedish/Finnish CEFR B1), 3 cr
  • Foreign language, 4 cr (starting skill level in English CEFR B2, in other languages CEFR B1).

NB! It is not required to demonstrate foreign language proficiency separately in English-language degree programmes and in a multilingual degree programmes - English will be marked as your foreign language in your degree diploma. For the foreign language course credits (4 cr), please be in contact with Language Centre Student Services (


  • You can complete language studies 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.

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
  • In the degree programmes of the Faculty of Law, demonstration of language proficiency in the second national language at the level of CEFR B1 is required from all the students who have completed secondary education in Finnish or Swedish.
  • 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. 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.

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