Information for exchange students at Tampere University

Find out what you need to take care of before your stay and after you have arrived to Tampere. Please remember to read our application instructions and course information for exchange students. A brief summary of all other important things to remember can be found below.

Before you arrive

Arriving in Tampere

While making travel plans, you should allow enough time for both air travel and ground transportation in order to arrive in time to attend the Welcome Week or Tampere Summer School.

Flights to Helsinki arrive at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport (about 20 km from the city centre of Helsinki) and to Tampere at Tampere-Pirkkala Airport (about 20 km from the city centre of Tampere). For those landing in Helsinki, the most convenient option is to first take the train from the airport to the railway station in Tikkurila and then continue by train to Tampere. Trains run every hour in the daytime and the journey from Helsinki-Vantaa Airport to Tampere takes about two hours.

From Tampere-Pirkkala Airport there is a bus connection to the city centre during the daytime. Once in Tampere, city centre campus is located within a short walking distance from the railway station, Hervanta campus is located about 10 km south of the city centre and the Kauppi campus is located about 3 km east of the city centre.

For more travel instructions, please visit:

Residence permit and Finnish personal identity code

International students must register their right of residence in Finland but the ways to do this depends on their country of origin.

Citizens of EU/EEA/EFTA countries

EU and EEA nationals and non-EU nationals with a comparable status (EFTA countries) do not need a visa nor a residence permit before arrival. However, if you will be staying in Finland for over three months, you will have to register your right of residence. Please note that if you travel abroad within the first 90 days of your stay (before registering your right to reside in Finland), the three-month period will restart after you return to Finland. In this case, please remember to save all your travel documents. For more information, please go to: Registration of right of residence.

Citizens of non-EU/EEA/EFTA countries

Students arriving from all other countries usually need a residence permit in order to stay in Finland for a longer period of time, that is, for 90 days or longer. A residence permit allows one to live, stay and travel in Finland and to leave and re-enter the country during the validity of the permit. The applicant must hold a valid passport or other travel document in order to be issued a residence permit. The first residence permit must be applied personally at the Finnish embassy, consulate or visa application centre in the applicant’s home country. As biometric authentication has become more common, fingerprints are collected from all applicants.

When applying for a residence permit, a financial statement is also required. Students will be requested to show that they have sufficient funds to support themselves during their stay in Finland. In addition, students must attach a copy of their comprehensive health insurance coverage to the application. Further information on studying in Finland is available on the website of the Finnish Immigration Service.

Finnish personal identity code

All new exchange students will need a Finnish personal identity code. Students coming from outside the EU/EEA/EFTA should apply for the code along with their residence permit. EU and EEA nationals and non-EU nationals with a comparable status (EFTA countries) or students who have not received the code with the residence permit, will have to apply for the identity code after they arrive in Finland. More information about the Finnish personal identity code can be found on the website of the Local Register Office.

    Student health insurance

    Citizens of EU/EEA/EFTA countries

    Nationals of the EU, EEA, EFTA countries are eligible to apply for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) which gives them access to medically necessary, state-provided healthcare under the same conditions as people insured in that country. Cards are issued by one’s national health insurance provider. A person without any type of insurance card has to cover the costs of public health care services him/herself.

    Students coming from any of the Nordic countries are entitled to health care services according to the Nordic Social Security Agreement. Finland has social security agreements with some other countries as well. For more information, please see the website of the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela).

    If you do not have a European Health Insurance Card, a relevant valid document nor an insurance policy, you will be charged the full costs for the services (the actual expenses of medical care). Health insurance is also highly recommended to EU/EEA/EFTA nationals as Finnish national medical insurance does not cover, for example, the costs of possible repatriation. Tampere University is not responsible for any medical charges incurred by its students.

    Citizens of non-EU/EEA/EFTA countries

    If you are a non-EU/EEA/EFTA national, you are required to take out an insurance policy when you apply for a residence permit. Further information on insurances is available on the website of the Finnish Immigration Service.

    Student housing

    Tampere University does not have on-campus dormitories. Housing for students in Tampere is administrated by the Tampere Student Housing Foundation (TOAS). TOAS offers high-quality dorm rooms at a student-friendly price including free internet and other fairly priced services (car sharing, car park, TOAS gyms). TOAS tenancy agreements are always fixed-term (from August to December or/and January to May).

    Opiskelijan Tampere is a non-profit organisation providing INT Housing accommodation service for students studying in Tampere during the autumn semester. 

    Welcome Week and tutoring

    Tampere University organises a Welcome Week for all new international students at the beginning of each semester. The Welcome Week includes information on studies, practicalities related to the arrival in Finland, university services, and activities of the student union and other student organisations.

    As an international student, you will be assigned a student tutor – a local student to guide you in the process of moving to a new country and settling into university life. Student tutors will be in touch with you already before your arrival and will help you with practical matters and ease your way into the university community. However, you need to make your own travel arrangements to your flat, but your tutor may also be able to meet you upon arrival. If you arrive outside of office hours, your tutor may be able to pick up your key to your flat on your behalf.

    Student union membership and student card

    Exchange students are entitled to join the Student Union of Tampere University (TREY) and get a student card. Your student card entitles you to various services and benefits, such as considerable discounts at campus restaurants, free basic medical treatment at the Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS) and discounts on train and coach tickets. Membership is voluntary but highly recommended.

    Student Union membership fees in the academic year 2018/19:

    •     Academic year: 116 euros
    •     One semester: 58 euros

    If you choose to be a member, you have to pay the fee by 30 September in the autumn semester or 31 January in the spring semester. The membership is also optional for doctoral exchange students. A production cost of additional 10 euros is charged upon ordering the card online. Further information is available on TREY's Membership website.

    At the University

    Each semester begins with a Welcome Week. The orientation programme is designed to help you settle in and get to know other exchange students, the University and the city of Tampere. As an exchange student, you will need to deal with a number of organisational matters, but you will be assigned a student tutor who will help you through the first weeks. Our International Mobility Services team will be happy to accompany and support you every step of the way to ensure that everything runs smoothly.

    Once you are in Tampere

    Arrival and Welcome Week

    Your registration with the University will take place during the Welcome Week. The main registration day for new exchange students is 19 August 2019 (autumn semester 2019). During the Welcome Week (19 - 23 August 2019), you will receive information on studying at Tampere University, our student guidence and counselling services, the Student Union and registration with the relevant local authority.

    We know that starting university can be a daunting experience and a big adjustment, especially when it involves moving to another country. But be assured that there are plenty of other students in the same position as you are. You will be able to meet other exchange students and international tutors during our Welcome Week events and Tampere city bus tour.

    International student tutors

    As an international student, you will be assigned an international student tutor – a local student to guide you in the process of moving to a new country and settling into university life. Student tutors will be in touch with you already before your arrival and will help you with practical matters and ease your way into the university community. However, you need to make your own travel arrangements to your flat, but your tutor may also be able to meet you upon arrival. If you arrive outside of office hours, your tutor may be able to pick up your key to your flat on your behalf. Our international student tutors are not required to pick you up from the airport. Please note that your student tutor is helping several international students at the same time, which means they may not always be available to you.

    Our international student tutors may help you with:

    • answering your questions or finding someone who can help you
    • finding your way around campus
    • collecting the key to your flat from the housing office, if you arrive in Tampere outside of office hours
    • registering with the University
    • picking up a travel card from Tampere Regional Transport’s Office
    • your registration with the local authority
    • opening a bank account (if applicable)

    Student union membership and student card

    Exchange students are entitled to join the Student Union of Tampere University (TREY) and get a student card. Your student card entitles you to various services and benefits, such as considerable discounts at campus restaurants, free basic medical treatment at the Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS) and discounts on train and coach tickets. Membership is voluntary but highly recommended.

    Student Union membership fees in the academic year 2018/19:

    •     Academic year: 116 euros
    •     One semester: 58 euros

    If you choose to be a member, you have to pay the fee by 30 September in the autumn semester or 31 January in the spring semester. The membership is also optional for doctoral exchange students. A production cost of additional 10 euros is charged upon ordering the card online. Further information is available on TREY's Membership website.

    Before you receive your student card, you may use your Student Certificate to demostrate your student status. You will receive your Student Certificate from the Student Affairs Office after you complete your university registration.

    Benefits for doctoral exchange students

    For doctoral students, the membership of the Student Union is voluntary and also the benefits are fewer. Membership entitles doctoral students to use the services of the Student Union (for example free legal advice and leisure activities). You are also entitled to discounts offered by the cooperation partners of the Student Union and any local discounts for students. In addition, lunch prices may be lower in some restaurants at the University. However, doctoral exchange students are excluded from state benefits, such as discounts on public transport and are not entitled for free basic medical treatment at the Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS).

    Student health services

    Health care services for international students are provided by the Finnish Student Health Services, FSHS (in Finnish: Ylioppilaiden terveydenhoitosäätiö, YTHS). FSHS runs two health centres in Tampere (one close to the city centre campus and another next to the Hervanta campus) and you can find health centres in twelve different university cities. The services include free medical examinations and consultations, free vaccinations and general medical treatment. A small fee is charged for dental treatment and appointments with specialists. FSHS provides basic health care and does not perform extensive medical operations.

    • To use these services, you must be a member of the Student Union and have a Finnish personal identity code
    • Doctoral exchange students are not entitled to use the services provided by FSHS

    FSHS is closed in the evenings and on weekends, so if you need medical attention during such times, contact either a private clinic (remember the insurance) or municipal health services. If you need urgent medical attention, go to the Emergency Department Acuta, located at Tampere University Hospital. The emergency service is not free of charge, so make sure you have proper health insurance.

    Health insurance also covers medical consultation in private clinics. In case of minor injuries, most private clinics are able to provide you with the assistance you require. There are many private clinics in Tampere, such as Koskiklinikka, Pirte, Terveystalo and Pihlajalinna. For up-to-date information, please go to the website that introduces you to social and health services provided by the City of Tampere.

    Two registrations to remember

    At the beginning of your stay, you will have to take care of a few administrative things, but you will be guided through the process during our Welcome Week and after. 

    Besides registering with the University, exchange students are expected to complete two formal registration processes:

      1. Register with the Local Register Office (maistraatti)

      • Required for all exchange students
      • Registration for the Finnish personal identity code (if applicable)
      • Registration of personal data into the Finnish Population Information System
      • Registration is free of charge
      • More information on the registration process can be found on the website of the Local Register Office

      2. Register your right of residence with the Finnish Immigration Service, Migri (Maahanmuuttovirasto)

      • For citizens of EU/EEA/EFTA countries only
      • If you will be staying in Finland for over three months without a break
      • Please note that if you travel abroad within the first 90 days of your stay (before registering your right to reside in Finland), the three-month period will restart after you return to Finland. In this case, please remember to save all your travel documents.
      • For more information, please go to: Registration of right of residence

      Finnish personal identity code

      All new exchange students will need a Finnish personal identity code. Students coming from outside the EU/EEA/EFTA should apply for the code along with their residence permit. Citizens of EU/EEA/EFTA countries or students who have not received the code with the residence permit, will have to apply for the identity code after they arrive in Tampere (see: Local registration).

      Please note that it can take up to 4-5 weeks to get the code in Tampere. Once you have been granted a Finnish personal identity code, you should present the document along with your passport/identity card at the Student Affairs Office, preferably upon your registration at the University. Universities are obliged to collect the code for administratative purposes.

      You will need a Finnish personal identity code to prove your identity, for example, at banks (also when opening a bank account) and hospitals (including the Finnish Student Health Service, FSHS). The code was formerly known as a social security number. Nowadays it has nothing to do with Finnish social security and is only used for identification purposes.

      Course enrolment and study practises

      Course enrolment

      Only students who are registered as present at Tampere University and who have a University-issued user account can enrol on courses online. More information on course enrolment will be given during our Welcome Week.

      The criteria for course selection is specified in the course description. On some courses, students are selected in the order in which they enrol. Exchange students can choose course units from different faculties according to their own interests, provided that they meet the course prerequisites (for example previous or equivalent courses taken, knowledge of the language of instruction) and there are places available. For some course units the attendance of exchange students is restricted.

      Same rules apply to cross-campus studies.

      Academic culture

      In Finnish universities the hierarchy is usually low. Titles are not used in discussions and most teachers and other staff can be called by their first name. From the beginning of their studies, students are considered to be full members of our university community, with the rights and responsibilities related to their position. According to Tampere University guidelines, students pursue degree programmes not only to acquire the skills, knowledge and attitudes that they will need in their later life and future career but also to make progress towards and complete their degree.

      Students are also entitled to support from their teachers. Teachers are obligated to inspire and support students and to promote their studies, learning and growth into an expert by applying teaching methods that serve students with learning disabilities and by giving feedback that motivates students to learn new things. All teachers provide academic advice as a part of their duties. Students must be treated equally, supportively and respectfully.

      All members of the academic community are expected to comply with the principles of good scientific practice and academic integrity and are entitled to expect others to do the same.

      Freedom and responsibility in studies

      The Finnish system of academic education gives students a great deal of freedom in planning and scheduling their studies. This freedom also requires independence and responsibility from the student as choosing subjects and course units, avoiding overlapping courses and keeping the schedule balanced throughout the academic year may sometimes be difficult and time-consuming. Exchange students have to make a preliminary study plan already when applying to the university according to the guidelines of their home universities.

      Please confirm with your home university whether they require you to complete a certain number of credits during your exchange study period. We have not set limitations to the number of courses exchange students should take, but we recommend students to complete at least 20 ECTS credits / semester.

      Forms of instruction

      Teachers at Tampere University employ a wide variety of teaching techniques. Typical modes of delivery include lectures, seminars and small group exercises. It is also possible to complete courses through independent study that may, for example, involve independent reading of literature included in the course requirements followed by an exam. Such exams are taken as electronic exams either on a day chosen by the student or on examination days that are usually arranged once a month. Writing an essay on the topics defined by the lecturer may also suffice to complete some courses.

      Language courses and studying in Finnish

      Tampere University Language Centre offers Finnish language courses, which are taught in English. These courses range from the elementary to advanced level and are open to all exchange students of the University on a first-come, first-served basis. These courses are meant to be taken alongside the course units in your major subject, they do not serve as preparatory courses for a degree programme taught in Finnish.

      If you plan to apply for a Finnish-taught degree programme, you must acquire sufficient knowledge of Finnish before applying for the programme. Excellent proficiency in Finnish is required to gain admission to degree programmes taught in Finnish.

      Your preliminary study plan

      Your preliminary study plan (Learning Agreement for Erasmus+ exchange students) will have been approved at the application stage. However, having your Learning Agreement approved by Tampere University does not automatically guarantee admission to all courses due to the limited number of places available on some courses. You can modify your study plan / learning agreement after you arrive. You will be able to enrol on courses only after you complete your university registration.

      Erasmus+ students, please check the Learning Agreement guidelines. Our Erasmus+ code is SF TAMPERE17.

      Please confirm with your home university whether they require you to complete a certain number of credits during your exchange study period. We have not set limitations to the number of courses exchange students should take, but we recommend students to complete at least 20 ECTS credits / semester.

      Credits and grades

      One Finnish credit is equivalent to one ECTS credit. ECTS is a credit system designed to make it easier for students to transfer credits within the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). For more information, please see the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS).

      • 1 ECTS credit = about 27 hours of work
      • 1 ECTS credit = 1 opintopiste, abbreviation: op (in Finnish)

      ECTS credits reflect the course workload in relation to the workload of a full academic year, consisting of lectures, practical work, seminars, independent study (in a laboratory, library and at home), examinations and other assessment activities. In ECTS, 60 credits (1,600 hours) represent a full workload for one academic year (30 ECTS credits per semester).

      Tampere University uses a grading scale from 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest grade. Completed study units counted towards your bachelor’s or master’s degree may be assessed on a scale of pass/fail basis (in Finnish: HYV/HYL). If the completion of a study unit is approved, a grade is provided unless there is specific reason not to do so. Our scale corresponds to the ECTS scale as follows:

      Tampere University grading scale ECTS grading scale Definition
      5 A Excellent, in Finnish erinomainen
      4 B Very good, in Finnish kiitettävä
      3 C Good, in Finnish hyvä
      2 D Satisfactory, in Finnish tyydyttävä
      1

      E

      Sufficient, in Finnish välttävä

       

      Academic calendar 2019-20

      The academic year at Tampere University is divided into two semesters consisting of two periods each.

      Autumn semester 2019 (19 Aug - 20 Dec)

      • Welcome Week: 19 Aug - 23 Aug
      • Teaching period I:  26 Aug - 13 Oct
      • Teaching period II: 21 Oct - 20 Dec

      Spring semester 2020 (2 Jan - 31 May)

      • Welcome Week: 2 Jan - 3 Jan
      • Teaching period III: 7 Jan - 23 Feb
      • Teaching period IV: 2 Mar - 31 May

      Extending your stay

      If you wish to extend your stay from autumn semester to spring semester, please contact first your home university or your exchange programme coordinator. If your home university approves the extension of your exchange study period, the deadline for extension application is 30 November 2019.

      Contact us

      If you did not find answers to your questions on these pages, please contact us:

      International Mobility Services
      mobility.tau@tuni.fi
      +358 294 5211 (switchboard)