Study Medicine in Finland: 7 Things to Know

More than just being a beautiful country, Finland proves to be an ideal location for international students as well. With its cheap (oftentimes free) tuition, it continues to attract applicants from all over the world.

One of Finland’s most popular course offerings is Medicine, a degree available in only 5 universities. While competition is tough, foreigners may gain access to this prestigious program. If you’re thinking of studying medicine in Finland, then it’s best if you knew these 7 important things:

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1. What are the requirements to study medicine in Finland?

The basic requirement for studying medicine in Finland is a high school diploma, which should be translated to either Finnish or Swedish.

Apart from this, students also need to undergo an entrance exam. Since this is held simultaneously by Finnish medical schools, this means that the student can only apply to one school – and one school – at any given time.

At the University of Helsinki, a copy of the applicant’s passport, ID, or residence permit card is also needed. It may require SAT results as well.

Admission is based on the combined scores of the student’s matriculation certificate and entrance test results.

2. In what language do you study medicine in Finland?

Medical schools primarily have their curriculum in Finnish. However, the University of Helsinki also offers a course that utilizes both Finnish and Swedish. As such, applicants must demonstrate proficiency in either Finnish or Swedish to study medicine in Finland, as this is especially needed during hospital training.

3. Can you study medicine in Finland as an international student?

Yes. EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens are even entitled to free education. Other foreign students, however, may need to pay tuition for medical schooling.

4. What are the components of the medical curriculum in Finland?

To study medicine in Finland, you need to apply for a 5- to 6-year undergraduate program that leads to a Licentiate Degree in Medicine. Those who have completed schooling for at least 2 years are entitled to use the ‘Bachelor in Medicine’ namesake.

The first three years of the curriculum cover the scientific bases of medicine and research. Other courses cover the aspects of disease prevention and health promotion.

At the University of Oulu, the first three years include subjects in Anatomy, Biology, Biochemistry, Physiology, Psychology, Pathology, Microbiology, and Pharmacology, to name a few.

Clinical education, on the other hand, runs from the fourth to sixth year. Here, students train in health centers and hospitals where they take part in patient care. Here, they get to improve their interaction skills as well. At the University of Tampere, there is a 4-month period for practical training.

Medical education, which is delivered through traditional or interactive media, is often followed by assessment exams. At the University of Tampere, the problem-based learning method that involves 8-10 students in a small group is observed.

Another requirement that medical students must submit is a dissertation. This may include research work, seminar work, and/or section completions.

The University of Helsinki also offers an MD-Ph.D. program to eligible students. Only 10 candidates are chosen from the pool of first-year students from the Medical and Dental programs. This allows the student to start with doctoral research after completing his/her first year at the university.

As for the requirements, MD-Ph.D. students need to work in research groups under the supervision of teachers and peer tutors. This rotation, which lasts for three months throughout the entire span of five summers, is one of the major aspects of the MD-Ph.D. degree.

5. How many medical schools are in Finland?

There are 5 medical schools in Finland. They are the Universities of Helsinki, Eastern Finland, Oulu, Tampere, and Turku.

6. How difficult is it to study medicine in Finland?

Entering Finnish medical schools is a challenge in itself. For one, there are only 750 slots available in the five universities. And since they hold entrance exams simultaneously, you can only apply to one school for every school year.

While Finnish medical education is as difficult as that of other countries, the dropout rate is relatively low. According to a report, an average of 93% to 95% of students graduate every year, leading to an attrition rate of just 7% to 5%. For reference, the global average is 11%.

7. What do you need to become a doctor after you study medicine in Finland?

Medical students are allowed to work as temporary doctors under the supervision of a licensed physician after studying medicine in Finland. This is granted that they have finished at least 5 years of study.

Those who have completed 4 years of study can also work as a temporary doctor in a health center ward or a specialized medical care unit. Like the aforementioned students, they need to be supervised by a licensed doctor as well.

Students, however, need to complete an internship and pass a three-part exam to receive a complete license or authorization to practice from Valvira. With this, he/she can specialize in any of 50 medical disciplines.

Valvira allows physicians to take the licensing exam a maximum of 10 times. After failing 3 consecutive times, the doctor must sit for a year before he/she can try again.

A doctor may be entitled to a conditional license after he/she passes the first exam. Given this, the doctor can practice in a hospital operated by a public body.

After passing the second test, the physician will also be allowed to practice in a health center.

These conditional licenses are only valid for a maximum of 2 years.