- Location and Housing
- Pricing and Dates
- Program Staff
- Application Instructions
- Additional Information
The University of Helsinki is an institution based in Helsinki, Finland. Helsinki was originally established in the city of Turku as a royal academy under the Swedish empire in 1640. Later on, UH was re-established in Helsinki in 1829. Given this history, both Swedish and Finnish are the official languages of Helsinki. Although a majority of the courses is taught in Finnish, there are a sizable number taught in English. This program is university-wide, meaning any undergraduate Pitt student regardless of major may participate.
As an active and engaged participant on this program, you will have the opportunity to develop:
- the ability to succeed independently in a foreign education environment.
- non-US based perspectives on your field of study and/or future career path.
- a global network of peer in similar fields of study and connections with faculty in Finland.
Helsinki, the capital of Finland, is located on the southern coast of Finland along the Baltic Sea. Due to its history, Helsinki has two official languages: Finnish and Swedish. Not only is Helsinki known as a livable city, it is an important center for Finland's politics, education, finance, culture, research as well as design.
Helsinki offers options for university-affiliated housing or private accommodations. Although Pitt students are not guaranteed spots within university-affiliated housing, Helsinki will provide instructions on when and how to apply for housing through its partners, such as Mobility Online, Unkhome and HOAS. See Helsinki’s general housing website.
Unlike living in the U.S., Pitt students will be required to purchase both home and liability insurance. These cover the costs of damages to furniture and other articles.
At UH, undergraduate courses are taught in Finnish, Swedish, and English. Generally-speaking, UH offers three levels of courses: Basic, Intermediate/Subject, or Advanced.
- Basic: Bachelor’s Level courses that a generally open to all students, regardless of background in the subject.
- Intermediate/Subject: Bachelor’s Level courses in which participating students are required to have experience in the subject.
- Advanced: Master’s level courses or for students with a Bachelor’s degree in the area or the same level of knowledge.
UH will allow upper-level students from Pitt to take Advanced courses, as long as the student may provide evidence of his or her expertise within that subject. As it is unlikely that Pitt students will have reached a B2-level of proficiency in either Finnish or Swedish, students will choose classes that are taught in English. Like most European universities, the greatest number of English-taught courses are at the Master’s level. Based on the 2016-17 academic year, UH offered over 2000 courses in English: Basic (100+); Intermediate (650); Advanced (800+). More information about their courses maybe found here.
Credits taken at UH are evaluated on an ECTS scale and will transfer to Pitt according to a 2:1 ratio. For example, 10 ECTS credits will transfer as 5 Pitt credits. All credits taken at UH require approval by both your academic advisor(s) and study abroad program manager. Additionally, for the purpose of full-time status here at Pitt, students should be prepared to take what is equivalent to at least 12 Pitt credit hours. Each semester is broken into two teaching periods. In a typical semester, students are taking approximately 30 ECTS credits, which is approximately 15 credit hours. Since most courses at UH are 2 ECTS credits each, students should anticipate taking 3-4 courses per teaching period, in order to fulfill full-time status back at Pitt. More about UH's teaching periods may be found here.
Courses taken at UH will be treated as transfer credits and will be marked as pass/fail (S/NC) on a Pitt student's transcript. In other words, transfer credits will not affect your Pitt GPA. Actual grades earned will appear on the transcript from the exchange university.
As a part of the cultural experience, UH offers Finnish Language Courses specifically designed for visiting students. These may be considered for credit or not for credit. Verify with the study abroad program manager regarding their transferability.
Registration for at classes UH will occur after arrival in Helsinki during the Welcome Fair and Orientation.
Unlike Pitt, UH’s grading scale assigns numerical values between 0 – 5, with 5 representing the highest grade achievable.For more information about the grading scale at UH, see their explanation. For Pitt transfer credit, in order to earn a grade of “S,” (satisfactory) at Pitt, you must make an equivalent to a grade of “C” or higher. An equivalent to a “C-” or lower will result in a grade of “NC” (no credit) at Pitt. Pitt students may utilize the following online resource to understand the grading scale within this host country.
UH will provide hardcopy (or electronic transcripts) to the University of Pittsburgh’s Study Abroad Office. Make sure to follow their instructions on how to ensure that an official copy of the grades is received. Hardcopies should be sent the following address: 3959 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA. Electronic copies should be sent to the designated exchange program manager under “SAO Staff.”
Exchange university transcripts typically do not arrive from the exchange university until 3 to 4 months after the end of exchange period. Therefore, Pitt students should be mindful of how this may affect their ability to graduate, especially when exchanging during one's senior year. Another consideration is how this may affect your financial aid package, as the S/NC grades are not posted until transcripts are received.
Items Billed by Pitt
|Study Abroad Fee||$400||$400|
|Total Billed by Pitt*||$10,591||$18,107|
Estimated Additional Out-of-Pocket Costs
|Travel Expenses: Airfare, Passport, Visa, Resident Permit||$2,000|
|Room & Board||$4,702|
Students studying abroad through Pitt Study Abroad are automatically provided health insurance coverage during the official program dates. However, you may need to purchase additional insurance if the exchange university you will attend requires purchase of a specific health insurance coverage per their regulations. It is your responsibility to ensure you know the cost of that insurance prior to committing to the program.
Pitt students enroll at Helsinki for either a full semester (fall or spring) or a full academic year (two full semesters). Helsinki's academic calendars may differ from Pitt's normal fall (August through December) and spring (January through April) semesters, so Pitt students should check the academic calendar at the exchange university. Like Pitt, Helsinki’s academic calendar follows a Fall-Spring progression, meaning Fall is the first semester followed by the Spring semester as the second. The dates listed above are estimated and therefore subject to change according to the host university’s schedule.
Dr. Shawn Alfonso Wells
Hujambo, Hola, Bon jour! I am the Exchange and Panther Programs Manger. I have a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Pittsburgh and am an Adjunct professor of Anthropology who has taught in the Anthropology, History, Sociology, and Africana Studies departments at Pitt and CMU. I recently helped students to achieve their goals as their Academic Advisor. I did my fieldwork on Color Classification in Cuba and have led many ground breaking experiential student trips to Cuba. I love learning about different cultures and want to help facilitate students being able to travel abroad learn the world. I look forward to assisting you to achieve your goals.
Schedule a Zoom appointment with me below or get in touch with me through email to discuss exchange options and your future global experience.
Schedule an appointment
Schedule an appointment with me using Pathways!
- Click here to schedule an appointment with me through Pathways.
- Log into Pathways with your Pitt username and password
- Select Find Available Time
- Select the time that works for you
- Click the schedule button
- You will see a confirms message on the screen. You will also receive a confirmation in your Pitt email.
Don't see a time that works for you? Just send me an email!
Pitt sends a limited number of students per semester to Helsinki. In addition to applying to the Pitt Study Abroad application above, be sure to review Helsinki's website regarding their application requirements for incoming exchange students. A formal nomination from Pitt Study Abroad is required for Pitt students to be recognized as an exchange student at Helsinki. Therefore, Pitt students must complete all necessary Pitt Study Abroad steps in addition to Helsinki's requirements. In other words, acceptance by Pitt Study Abroad does not guarantee acceptance by the exchange university.
The exchange university may require the following to be submitted through an online application. Requirements may include but are not limited to the following:
- Application Form
- Copy of Valid Passport
- Official Pitt Transcript
- Official Pitt Verification of Enrollment
- Statement of Intent or Purpose
- Resume or CV
- Official Language Evaluation
- Up to 2 instructor letters of recommendations
- Up to 2 passport photos
Language Requirements: Non-native English speakers will be required to show evidence of English proficiency either through the IELTS or the TOELF. In order to take courses in either Finnish or Swedish at Helsinki, Pitt students will be required to submit evidence of B2 level of proficiency. Please check with Helsinki regarding these requirements.
Students studying abroad through Pitt Study Abroad are automatically provided health insurance coverage during the official program dates. However, Finland requires Pitt students to purchase additional coverage through their national health plans. See the details here.
In order to study as a student in specific countries, a visa is required. A visa is formal endorsement by the host country to grant permission for an individual to enter, live or stay in that country for a specific purpose and period. In addition to a visa, some host countries may require a residency permit upon arrival.
For those without EU/EEA nationalities, students must obtain a student permit to study in Finland. For an overview regarding the visa/permit process, please review Helsinki's website. Also, check the Finnish Embassy or consulate closest to you for additional information. Helsinki will provide general direction after formal admission on for how to apply for either the visa and/or residency permit. Pitt students should also research the visa and/or permit process through the specified country consulate website. In general visa and/or permit application requirements include but are not limited to the following requirements:
- Visa application
- Valid Passport
- Verification of acceptance from sponsoring university (exchange university)
- Financial Documents, such as bank statements, tax documents or pay statements.
- Passport photos
- Application fee
- Medical/physical examination (likely to require a doctor's appointment so plan accordingly)