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TAMK Student's Handbook

Studying languages


Language and communications studies at TAMK

Versatile professional language and communications skills and the ability to face different cultures are more and more important professional skills in the globalising working life. Due to this, all higher education studies include language and communications studies, foreign-language educational material, and international student exchanges. You may also complete your practical training in an international environment.

Table of contents

1. Bachelor's degrees

2. Master's degrees

3. Starting skill level tests

4. Preparatory language studies

5. Elective language studies

6. Cross-institutional studies

7. CampusOnline and KiVANET 

8. Credit transfer for prior language studies

9. Exemption from language proficiency requirements

10. Retake examinations

11. Final thesis

12. Maturity test

13. Support for learning

14. International affairs

15. Contact teachers for fields and languages

16. News, links and publications


1. Bachelor's degrees

The language and communications skill requirements for bachelor's degrees comply with the European language policy. According to it, every European should have a knowledge of at least two European languages in addition to their own mother tongue. The Finnish degree programmes include language studies in Finnish, English and Swedish. The language studies of English degree programmes diverge from the Finnish degree programmes to some extent.

In bachelor's degrees, the language studies in English are at the level B2.1 – B2.2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), and the studies in Swedish at the level B1.1 – B1.2.

The Government Decree on Universities of Applied Sciences defines the official national degree objectives. You are required to demonstrate that you have attained through studies included in your university of applied sciences degree or otherwise:
1) such proficiency in Finnish and Swedish as is by law (6.6.2003/424) required of state officials functioning in a position requiring a higher education in a bilingual office and that is necessary for practising the profession and for professional development and
2) such degree programme based oral and written proficiency in one or two foreign languages as is necessary for practising the profession and for professional development.

The first requirement means that in a position requiring a higher education degree, you have to have an excellent proficiency in the language of the population majority in the official district (usually Finnish) and a minimum of satisfactory proficiency in the other official language (usually Swedish). Excellent language proficiency is demonstrated with a maturity test in connection with the studies.

A separate statement on the oral and written proficiency in the second official language is included in the degree certificate.

In bachelor's degrees, the proficiency level of language studies is based on the Government Decree and level 6 of the national framework of reference for languages: possesses independent communicative competence in one national and a minimum of one foreign language.

TAMK supports the students' language studies by offering preparatory courses in English and Swedish if needed.

The extent of language and communications studies varies depending on the degree programme. Depending on the degree programme, the studies include one or two foreign languages. The most commonly studied first foreign language is English and second foreign language German. Finnish as a foreign language can be the first foreign language for degree students whose mother tongue is not Finnish.


2. Master's degrees

The language proficiency requirements for master's degrees are determined by level 7 of the national framework of reference for languages:

Is capable of demanding oral and written international communication in the field and with those not familiar with the field in the second national and a minimum of one foreign language. This is equivalent to the level C1 of the European Framework of Reference for Languages in English and the level B2 in Swedish. In bachelor's degrees, the language studies in English are at the level B2.1 – B2.2, and the studies in Swedish at the level B1.1 – B1.2.


3. Starting skill level tests

All students starting their degree studies at TAMK take starting level tests in English and Swedish regardless of their previous studies (excluding students who are applying for exemption from English or Swedish). The tests are taken right at the beginning of the studies, and they can be taken only once. The tests are in TUNI Moodle, and the student can take them independently anywhere and anytime. It is forbidden to use any help when taking the tests, and it is not sensible either, as then the result will be useless for the student.

The tests will give the student information about his/her skill level and a recommendation on how to proceed. If a preparatory course is recommended for the student, it should be taken before the mandatory professional language course. It is also possible to take a preliminary course even if the tests don’t recommend it. Hence, the test results are not binding, but instead designed to give the student valuable information regarding how to proceed in his/her studies. The tests will not be included in the transcript of records nor can they be accredited. The test instructions are in Finnish.

Links to the tests:


4. Preparatory language studies

Every year, TAMK arranges preparatory “bridging” courses in English and Swedish for students whose skill level in one or both of these languages is lower than the level required to start the compulsory language courses for their particular degree programme. The aim is thus to bridge the gap between the student’s current level and the target level. For Swedish, the target skill level is A2–B1 on the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR); for English, B1.2–B2.1 on the CEFR. Preparatory language courses can be included in elective studies.

Preparatory language courses are aimed at all students regardless of their field. Please note that the teaching language in all preparatory courses is mostly Finnish. Please note that all courses listed here are preparatory courses regardless of the name. The list below shows the preparatory language courses offered this year:

Name Code Teacher Timing Notes
Basic English Grammar N-KV572-3076 Kopperoinen, Anne Spring 2023  
Basic English Grammar N-KV572-3077 Metsäportti, Minna Summer 2023  
Basic English Grammar N-KV572-3078 Kärki, Katja Autumn 2023  
Basic English Grammar N-KV572-3079 Kärki, Katja Autumn 2023  
Nätsvenska – Swedish On-line Preparatory Course NV00CP35-3029 Kerttula, Anne; Kallinen, Katri Spring 2023  
Nätsvenska – Swedish On-line Preparatory Course NV00CP35-3030 Kallinen, Katri; Mäkelä, Reijo Spring 2023 CampusOnline
Nätsvenska – Swedish On-line Preparatory Course NV00CP35-3031 Kallinen, Katri Autumn 2023  
Nätsvenska – Swedish On-line Preparatory Course NV00CP35-3032 Kallinen, Katri; Mäkelä, Reijo Autumn 2023  
Startsvenska NV00FY67-3002 Kallinen, Katri Spring 2023 Prepares for a preparatory course
Startsvenska NV00FY67-3003 Kallinen, Katri Autumn 2023 Prepares for a preparatory course
Preparation Studies, English VENGVAL-8-3039 Kinnunen, Riku-Matti Spring 2023  
Preparation Studies, English VENGVAL-8-3040 Kinnunen, Riku-Matti Autumn 2023  


5. Elective language studies

You can include elective language studies of 5-15 credits into the degree depending on the degree programme.

If you participate in an international exchange programme in a language area for which language studies are not provided in the university of applied sciences, International Services support your language studies financially.

In addition to elective courses offered by TAMK, supplementary courses of open higher education and the Summer University of Tampere can be included in the elective language studies, as well as courses found through Tampere University Service for Cross-Institutional Studies and portals.

The list below shows all the elective language and communication courses taught in English this year (all elective courses can be found in the Finnish version of this page):

Name Code Teacher Timing Notes
Basics of Finnish N-KV598F-3070 Oksanen, Marja Spring 2023  
Basics of Finnish N-KV598F-3071 Oksanen, Marja Spring 2023  
Cross-cultural Communication and Global Employability N-00DH77-3010 Abruquah, Emmanuel Spring 2023  
Each One Teach One NV00CD10-3028 Annala, Henri; Kopperoinen, Anne Autumn 2023  
English Grammar and Writing N-KV574-3023 Leikomaa, Marianna Spring 2023  
English Speaking and Listening NV00CR09-3015 Annala, Henri; Leikomaa, Marianna Spring 2023 Also open UAS, international collaboration course
Finnish for Foreigners 3 NV00GB53-3001 Hakala, Ella Spring 2023  
Finnish for Foreigners 4 NV00GB54-3001 Hakala, Ella Spring 2023  
International Business Cultures N-00DH77-3011 Abruquah, Emmanuel; Kopperoinen, Anne Autumn 2023 International collaboration course
Paediatric Nursing English NV00FM74-3003 Metsäportti, Minna Spring 2023 CampusOnline
School Visits for Foreign Students NN00CM99-3020 Annala, Henri Spring 2023  
School Visits for Foreign Students NN00CM99-3021 Annala, Henri Autumn 2023  


6. Cross-institutional studies

Tampere University and Tampere University of Applied Sciences form together the Tampere Universities community, which offers TAMK degree and exchange students an opportunity to take courses from Tampere University. See the course offer at the Service for Cross-institutional Studies.

NB! Before attending certain language courses, a mandatory proficiency test must be completed. Please see the instructions the cross-institutional studies page in Intra.


7. CampusOnline and KiVANET

CampusOnline offers you the selection of online courses by more than twenty Finnish universities of applied sciences. You can select courses from another university of applied sciences free of charge and include these studies in your degree. CampusOnline makes it possible for you to study courses 100% online: simply enrol on courses provided by different universities of applied sciences and complete courses conveniently regardless of time and place – wherever best suits you. See the course selection here: CampusOnline. Enrolment on TAMK courses in the selection is done the usual way through Pakki, and on courses provided by other universities of applied sciences through the form on the CampusOnline website. Always make sure that credit transfer is possible at TAMK beforehand if you are planning to replace a course in your degree with a CampusOnline course. 

KiVANET offers online language courses for A1-C1 levels. The KiVANET network consists of almost all Finnish higher education institutions. The course selection was developed in KiVAKO project (2018-2021), and the courses are open for all TAMK students. More information and enrolment each term: KiVANET.


8. Credit transfer for prior language studies

The university of applied sciences can allow credit transfer for language studies completed in Finnish or foreign higher education institutions. You may also apply for recognition of competence acquired elsewhere regardless of where and how the competence has been acquired. TAMK can allow direct credit transfer for language studies completed in Finnish or foreign higher education institutions within the previous ten years. If the earlier language studies related to a different professional field, the student will need to do some additional learning assignments related to the current professional field of study. The additional assignments are done in line with Finnish Legislation (e.g. Government Statute on Universities of Applied Sciences (2014/1129) and Act on Knowledge of Languages Required of Personnel in Public Bodies (424/2003). To get credit transfer for earlier studies, students must submit the application together with the language study certificate(s) to the teacher of the course concerned before the course begins using the HyväHOT system.

Under the so-called Recognition and Validation of Prior Learning (RVPL) system, students also have the right to apply for recognition of competence acquired elsewhere regardless of where and how the competence has been acquired. To get RVPL credit, the student demonstrates that he/she has acquired the knowledge and skills outlined in the descriptions of the courses covered in the application. The language competence may be demonstrated by, for example, creating a portfolio of work, writing a learning diary, completing an oral and/or written assignment, taking an oral and/or written exam. The language teacher concerned specifies the form which the language demonstration should take. Students should submit the application to the teacher of the course concerned before the course begins using the HyväHOT system.

Further information on credit transfer and recognition of prior learning can be found in TAMK Degree Regulations (20 §).

Credit transfer (prior studies or prior competence) – HyväHOT

Credit transfer for formal learning

1. The credit transfer system applies to all language and communication studies required for any degree programme at TAMK.

2. For students starting a master’s degree at TAMK, Finnish and Swedish language and communication studies included in a previous bachelor’s degree in an equivalent or related professional field can be accredited in full.

3. If a student has demonstrated the required level of language competence for the TAMK degree programme on which he/she is enrolled by completing language and communication studies of the same level (according to the European Framework of Reference for Languages) and with equivalent learning outcomes in an equivalent or related professional field in another higher education institution in Finland (or abroad – see point 5 below), language credit can be registered in full for the current degree programme, regardless of minor differences in extent.

4. If a student has completed language and communication studies in a Finnish higher education institution in a different professional field of study from the one which he/she is currently studying at TAMK, and in these earlier studies has demonstrated a level of competence required for the current degree, the student is recommended to cover possible gaps in his/her professional language and communication competence by completing additional field-specific language studies. The grade(s) originally awarded by the previous higher education institution will be accepted by TAMK without change. The same policies on field-specific communication competence and grading also apply to the domestic languages – Finnish and Swedish.

5. If a student has demonstrated the required level of language competence for the TAMK degree programme on which he/she is enrolled by completing language and communication studies of the same level (according to the European Framework of Reference for Languages) and with equivalent learning outcomes in an equivalent or related professional field in a foreign higher education institution, language credit can be registered in full for the current degree programme, regardless of minor differences in extent.

If a student has completed courses other than language studies abroad, the credit earned cannot automatically be accepted as fulfilling the language study requirements for the degree programme at TAMK. The credit cannot, therefore, be transferred as such. However, if the course(s) included a clearly recognisable language and communication component, and if the learning outcomes match those specified for the foreign language studies of the degree programme at TAMK, an appropriate amount of credit may be transferred as partial compensation for required language studies at TAMK.

6. The head of the degree programme at TAMK makes the decision on credit transfer for formal learning, after taking into consideration the opinions of the language and communication teachers concerned.

Recognition and validation of language and communication competence acquired non-formally and informally

1. Under certain conditions, language and communication proficiency requirements specified for degrees at TAMK can be fulfilled by a so-called demonstration of acquired competence.

2. Students who have non-formally or informally acquired language and communication competence equivalent to the requirements stipulated in the curriculum for the degree concerned, have the possibility to get credit by demonstrating their competence. To do this, the student must analyse his/her existing competence, comparing it in scope, content, and level with the objectives laid out in the curriculum for the target course(s). The demonstration of acquired competence given by the student has to be sufficient, reliable and up-to-date.

3. Language and communication competence can be demonstrated in many different ways; examples are written examinations, language portfolios, learning diaries, learning assignments, essays, interviews, lectures, or a combination of these or other samples of written or oral performance.


9. Exemption from language proficiency requirements

You can be exempted from all or some language proficiency requirements for a justified reason. You can be exempted, if

1. you have completed your school education in some other language than Finnish or Swedish

2. you have completed your school education abroad

3. you have a condition that severely complicates your language learning despite individual study arrangements or

4. completing the course would excessively complicate your study process.

Student’s process

1. Initiate the exemption process by discussing with a student counsellor.

2. Ask a language teacher responsible of exemptions to support your application. The list of language teachers who deal with exemptions can be found at the bottom of this page. The application is done in Pakki, CreTa. The type of application should be "exemption" and you need to attach the certificates based on which you apply for exemption (earlier degree certificate, medical certificate, etc.). In addition, it is good to list the courses that you think could replace the exempted courses.

3. The director of education responsible of your degree decides on the required language proficiency based on the language teacher’s support statement. The director of education can grant exemption from all or some language proficiency requirements.

4. You have to complete an equivalent number of other studies agreed with the student counsellor. If you apply for exemption from Finnish/Swedish because you have completed your school education abroad, you have to select other language studies. If you apply for exemption based on items 3 or 4, the equivalent studies can also be other than language studies.

TAMK Degree Regulations §23


10. Retake examinations

Students who fail a language or communication course or who wish to improve their grade for a particular course can take part in a retake examination. The retake examinations are done in accordance with the implementation plan for the particular course. One option for retaking an examination is to participate in a retake examination session organised by TAMK Languages and Communication. Students must enroll on retake examinations through Exams in Pakki at least ten days before the examination (please see the guide on retake examinations).

The Language and Communication retake examinations are temporarily on hold because of the pandemic. The Exam system is recommended for retake exams. Your teacher will provide you with more information.


11. Final thesis

Every degree programme at TAMK includes the requirement to write a final thesis. The thesis is an independent, self-contained learning project. For the bachelor’s degree programmes, the thesis is worth 15 credits (ECTS cr.), except for the midwifery and nursing degree programmes, where the thesis is 20 credits in scope. The master’s thesis is worth 30 cr. The grade for the thesis is shown separately on the diploma which the student receives on graduation.

The whole process of carrying out a thesis project varies somewhat from one degree programme to another. Students may be required to take part in some contact teaching and seminars, in addition to receiving some personal guidance from a thesis supervisor. The major part of the work, however, is always done independently by the student. Most theses are produced by individual students, but pair work and even group work is possible in some cases, if the scope of the task is large enough. Working methods and requirements are specified in more detail in the regulations for each degree programme.

The thesis topic must be related to the student’s degree programme or field of specialisation. It should help the student to develop into a professional in his/her chosen area of expertise. Thus, the thesis should be closely linked to the needs of working life and should aim to develop in some way the practices, knowledge or skill-base of the professional field which the student intends to enter. Ideally, the thesis is commissioned by a body outside TAMK. Topics are often found during the student’s practical training placement, or in connection with a research, development and innovation (RD&I) project run by TAMK.

The learning goals of the thesis process include developing the student’s ability to search for and access information from different sources, critically analyse and select the information most relevant for the particular purpose, solve problems, draw conclusions, build a logical argument, analyse and develop work practices, and communicate clearly both orally and in writing. The thesis process gives the student opportunities to deepen his/her special expertise and to create contacts with professionals working in the field of interest.

A more detailed description of the thesis process, including instructions about the form and structure of the written report, is provided in Intra, on a page titled Thesis at TAMK. The forms which have to be filled in at different stages of the process can be found from the same chapter. It would also be useful to study the Thesis Report Guide and the Thesis Template. In addition, the Style Guide for Tampere Universities includes plenty of useful information.

Some degree programmes at TAMK run courses and workshops dealing with the thesis process for their own students.

The English language abstract

Abstract is a simply and fluently written summary of the thesis. Its length is one page at maximum. The reader of the abstract gains a general view on the thesis and after reading it they can decide if they  want to read it further. No text references are used. If the thesis is written in English, only English abstract is written (no Finnish summary). The abstract should be written in a declaratory style, passive voice, unless the topic of the thesis demands otherwise. Past tense is used when describing the contents of the thesis. The present tense is, however, used with universally valid results or conclusions. The abstract is a consistently structured and concise description of the thesis. The abstract consists of 3-4 paragraphs.

Tampereen ammattikorkeakoulu

Tampere University of Applied Sciences

Degree Programme in …

Option of …

Where there is a difference in spelling or vocabulary between British and American English, British English should be used (e.g. BrE organisation vs. AmE organization). In the title, the main words (nouns, main verbs, adjectives) should begin with a capital letter.

Waste Management Plan for the Hospitality Trade Fair in 2009

Promoting Young People’s Emotional Wellbeing in Secondary Education

Where structure is concerned, the abstract should follow the following pattern:

1) Introduction: Objective, Purpose

2) Approach/ Methodology: data collection and data analysis

3) Results/ Findings

4) Discussion/ Conclusions

The language of abstracts

Abstracts are written in so-called “plain English”. The language must be neutral and impersonal in style, concise, and clear. Over-long sentences should also be avoided; they are not reader-friendly and often need to be read more than once in order to be fully understood.

Use of tenses

The imperfect (past) tense is used for the main body of the abstract, but for presenting conclusions and making generalisations, the present tense is preferred.

1) Objective of the thesis (imperfect)

The objective of this study was to gather information about…

The purpose of this thesis was to collect information on…

2) Approach/ Methodology (imperfect or present)

This study was carried out as a project.

The data were collected from 17 paediatric patients and 29 parents.

The data were analyzed using qualitative content analysis.

The theoretical section explores…

The empirical part consists of…

3) Results/ Findings (imperfect or present)

The respondents stated that…

The majority of participants believed that…

These results suggest that …

4) Discussion/ Conclusions (present)

The findings indicate that…

Further research is required to…

Furthermore, preventive measures should be adopted to reduce all types of abuse…

To help prevent obesity, strategies are needed to decrease adolescents’ sedentary leisure time…


Abstracts are written in an impersonal style. The use of the passive voice is thus very common, because it allows personal references (I, me, mine, etc.) to be avoided.

More attention has been paid to…

The data were gathered by conducting a survey among customers…

The data were analysed by applying…

Different methods were compared…

In order to keep the style formal, abbreviations are avoided: doesn’t = does not; didn’t = did not, etc.

There is no comma before the word that in sentences such as:

The results show that the respondents were satisfied with the service of company X.

To show possession, an apostrophe and s (so-called s-genitive) are used with people; so-called of-genitive is used with things or ideas:

The customers’ opinions gave interesting information for the new menu of the restaurant.

More information about writing an abstract in English:

TAMK Report Guide: Abstract

Quick Help for Writing an Abstract


12. Maturity test

Students have to write a maturity test on the field of the thesis to demonstrate their familiarity with the field and Finnish or Swedish language skills depending on the language of their school education. The maturity test can be taken in Finnish or in English if students have received their school education in some language other than Finnish or Swedish or completed their school education abroad. In Finland, the language of school education is the language in which the person has completed the comprehensive school or the general upper secondary school, if the person has completed the general upper secondary school. If the person has completed a vocational qualification, the language of school education is however determined based on the comprehensive school leaving certificate.

In double degree programmes, students have to take the maturity test in accordance with TAMK’s guidelines even if they had completed the thesis in the cooperation institution. When TAMK students complete a double degree in the cooperation institution, they must write a maturity test on the field of the thesis in the language specified in the instructions mentioned above. When students from the cooperation institution complete a double degree at TAMK, they must write the abstract in English and a maturity test on the field of the thesis in English.


13. Support for learning

TAMK is fully committed to developing the physical, psychological and social accessibility of teaching and learning so that every individual, regardless of their special characteristics, can pursue a programme of study on an equal footing with everybody else.

Individual study arrangements

If you have been diagnosed with (expert certificate required) a learning difficulty, illness, disability or dyslexia that severely affects your studies, you may need individual study arrangements. You can be granted max 20 h of individual study arrangements per academic year, and they can include additional teaching, tailored exam arrangements, etc.


If Finnish is your native language and you suspect you might have dyslexia but have not taken a test before, contact TAMK dyslexia test organisers for a diagnostic test (lukitestaus.tamk [at] If your native language is not Finnish, you should get a diagnosis e.g. from a tester who has expertise in learning difficulties of students with an immigrant background.

Who to contact

In all matters regarding individual study arrangements and support for learning, you can send email to erityinentuki.tamk [at]

More information:

Accessibility and individual study arrangements
Campus accessibility


14. International affairs

Study and trainee exchange are excellent opportunities to get international and develop one's own cross-cultural competence during one's university studies. Studying and training abroad is mostly funded by Erasmus, and every student is entitled to having support for 12 months of studying or training in Europe by Erasmus. Trainee period outside Europe can be funded also by Tampere University of Applied Sciences Foundation.

Exchange studies and language certificates

There is more than one way to get credit for your language skills. For example, if you are unable to take part in a compulsory language course at TAMK because you are participating in a study exchange abroad at the time, it is possible to compensate for the missed course by writing a report about your exchange experiences or by producing some other kind of material in the target language. The practice varies on different study programmes and the details are always decided on a case by case basis. So if you are applying for a study exchange, tell your language teachers in advance and discuss possible alternative ways of earning course credit.

At the same time, it would be a good idea to go through your Learning Agreement with the language teacher. Every student who participates in a study exchange makes a Learning Agreement prior to their departure with the international co-ordinator responsible for the study programme concerned. The Agreement shows all the courses which the student will take in the host institution. It is also worth discussing with a language teacher before you go abroad how you expect to develop your language skills during the exchange period, and how you might demonstrate and earn credit for such skills when you return to TAMK. In this way, you can organise your exchange studies so as to meet the TAMK accreditation criteria for language skills. More information in TAMK Degree Regulations (§ 21).

The host institutions normally require a certificate showing that the exchange students that they accept have sufficient skills in the language of the host country or the language of instruction. Please make sure that you request these statements in plenty of time before you leave from Minna Metsäportti (minna.metsaportti [at] Use the TAMK language evaluation sheet.

You can also apply for a 150€ worth of support for studying the language of your exchange target country before heading abroad (not English or Swedish).

More information:

International TAMK
Instructions for student exchange
Instructions for trainee exchange


15. Contact teachers for fields and languages

Reijo Mäkelä

Contact teacher for School of Industrial Engineering and School of Built Environment and Bioeconomy

Responsible of Swedish language

Joni Sallila

Exemptions for School of Industrial Engineering and School of Built Environment and Bioeconomy


Petri Tuohimäki

Contact teacher for School of Business and Media and Music

Responsible of English language

Sari Hanska

Exemptions for School of Business and Media and Music


Ella Hakala

Contact teacher for School of Social Services and Health Care

Responsible of Finnish language and Communication

Sari Myllymäki

Exemptions for School of Social Services and Health Care


16. News, links and publications

TAMK Languages and Communication blog

Published: 25.2.2019
Updated: 23.3.2023