Recognition refers to a procedure where previously acquired learning can be accepted as part of your studies. You may have accumulated knowledge and skills by completing studies in another higher education institution, or through work experience and hobbies.
- You can request the recognition of studies that you have completed at other higher education institutions in Finland (universities, the National Defence University, universities of applied sciences) or abroad for your prospective degree. You must have received a passing grade on the studies to be recognised.
- You can also request the recognition of learning acquired in, for example, professional life, elected positions or hobbies. Such cases constitute learning acquired in non-formal and informal education.
You can request the recognition of prior learning by submitting an application for either substitution or inclusion.
When you wish to substitute a course or study module included in your degree with prior learning, submit a substitution application. For your substitution application to be accepted, you must have achieved the learning outcomes of the studies to be substituted.
Example: You have completed a course corresponding to a basic course included in your degree programme at another higher education institution. You can request the recognition of prior learning by submitting an application for substitution. If your application is accepted, a substitution entry will be added to your record of completed studies, and you do not have to complete that course again.
In the case of inclusion, previously acquired learning is incorporated into your degree. In other words, in the case of inclusion you are not applying for a specific course or study module to be recognised as prior learning. Instead, you are incorporating into your degree other learning which fulfils the degree requirements. The learning to be included in the degree must match the level of studies included in your degree programme and the degree learning outcomes.
Example: You have completed studies during an exchange period which you wish to incorporate into your degree. The studies do not correspond to any of the courses or study modules included in your degree programme, but they can be included in your degree as elective studies. You can request the recognition of the studies by submitting an application for inclusion. If your application is accepted, the studies will be incorporated into your degree as such, and you can add them to your study plan.
Recognition of learning acquired in non-formal and informal education
Prior learning acquired in contexts other than formal education refers to non-formal or informal learning. Non-formal learning may be acquired in, for example, continuing education, in-house training and adult education. Informal learning can be acquired in everyday situations such as work, hobbies and elected positions.
When applying for the recognition of non-formal or informal learning for your degree, you must evidence and document the learning in the manner agreed with the teacher and demonstrate that you satisfy the learning outcomes set for the studies to be recognised. It is possible that you must also take an examination, create a portfolio, write an essay or report, attend an interview or complete other work. Furthermore, you may be expected to complete separate learning assignments or other equivalent tasks.
Usually, the recognition of prior learning acquired in non-formal and informal education must be applied for by submitting an application for substitution or inclusion. You must attach to your application a description of how the learning corresponds to the learning outcomes of the studies whose recognition you are requesting. If you are applying for substitution, your learning will be assessed according to the assessment scale provided for the course to be substituted for in the curriculum.
How long can studies be recognised?
- You cannot have studies completed more than 10 years ago recognised and incorporated into your degree. The expiry date is calculated from the date the studies were completed. For study modules, this is counted from the date on which the last course in the module was completed. Courses and modules are valid until the end of the term on which the expiry date falls. Degree programmes may also implement their own rules limiting the validity of old credits to a period shorter than 10 years.
- The provision on the expiry of studies does not apply to learning acquired in non-formal and informal education.
- Further information is available in the instructions on the expiry of studies.
Students’ digital skills, language and communication skills, pedagogical studies required of teachers
- The three-credit Student’s Digital Skills course (or formerly, the ICT Driving Licence) completed at the University of Helsinki or its Open University fully substitutes for the equivalent requirement. If the Student’s Digital Skills course has already been incorporated into a study module or another degree awarded by the University of Helsinki, you can add the completed course to your study plan by submitting an inclusion application.
- Language studies included in your prior higher education degree substitute as such for the language studies required by the Government Decree on University Degrees and Professional Specialisation Programmes, with the exception of the maturity test. If you have completed language studies as part of a degree previously completed at the University of Helsinki, please read the section Recognition of communication and language studies in these instructions (link to the section).
- Please note that you can request the recognition of the pedagogical studies required of teachers for second-cycle (master’s) degrees only. Pedagogical studies cannot be recognised for first-cycle (bachelor’s) degrees.