home search login

About Finland
Country Handbook

University of Oulu

photo essays

The pleasant and modern city of Oulu is situated on the western coast of northern Finland, about 125 miles south of the Arctic Circle. Oulu is the leading educational, commercial, industrial and administrative center in northern Finland. Oulu has a rich cultural life and provides many opportunities for leisure activities including music festivals, concerts, art festivals, sports events, theatre performances, and an unique music video festival each summer. Oulu has excellent travel connections by bus, train, and plane with the rest of the country and the world.

ISEP Exchange: undergraduate programs available for an academic year, semester, or summer

ISEP-Exchange for International students.
ISEP-Exchange for US students.

Chance of Placement
Chance of placement for US students is generally Excellent.
Chance of placement for I-to-I students is generally Excellent.
For the most current chances of placement, see the Sites Open for Applications for US Students or Sites Open for I-to-I Applications.

Program Dates
Academic year: early September to May; Semester 1: early September to December; Semester 2: early January to May; Summer program: late May to August.

Fast Facts
Oulu, Finland (pop. 141,742)
Student Enrollment: 17,000
Language of instruction: English, Finnish
University Home Page
Course Catalog
ISEP Finland

Humanities (archaeology, cultural anthropology, English philology, film & television studies, Finnish language, French language, German philology, history, history of Finland & Scandinavia, history of ideas & learning, information studies, Sámi language & culture, literature, logopedics & phonetics, Scandinavian philology); Education (early childhood education, education, music teacher education, primary teacher education, psychology, social sciences, sociology); Sciences (biochemistry, biological sciences, chemistry, geography, geosciences, information processing science, mathematical sciences, physical sciences); Technology(architecture, environmental, mechanical process engineering, electrical, industrial engineering & management, information engineering, information networks, telecommunications); Economics and Business Administration - AACSB accredited (accounting & finance, economics, management & entrepreneurship, marketing).

Courses taught in English
Programs conducted entirely in English include multidisciplinary Scandinavian Studies and Northern Cultures and Societies with many excurcions to Lapland and other parts of Finland as well as Sweden; Northern Nature and Environment; Master of Education International Programme; Master’s Programme in "Education and Globalisation; FMA (International Master's Programme in Financial and Management Accounting); American Studies; Modern Nordic Architecture; and Nordic Design. Courses in Northern Women’s Studies, Early Childhood Education, Geography, Marketing, Business, and Software Studies and Telecommunications are also offered in English.

Oulu also offers courses taught in English during the Animal and Plant Ecology Summer Program at the university’s research stations in northern Finland. Through the program, students learn about the ecology and classification of plants and animals in the Nordic countryside and wilderness.

Academic Notes
Among the regular programs, of particular interest to ISEP participants is the degree program in Indigenous Studies that is available in Finland only at the University of Oulu. Programs in French, German and Swedish are available to students with some prior education in these languages. Tutoring, independent study and book examinations can be arranged in most fields when no classes are offered in English.

The typical course load is 4-5 courses, for a total of 30 ECTS, per semester. A semester is 14-16 weeks long.


Transcript issued for Semester 1: February
Transcript issued for Semester 2: July
Transcript issued forull Year: July
Transcript issued for Summer: Septemeber.

Transcripts are sent to ISEP and then immediately released to the student’s home institution if there are no outstanding financial obligations.

Language Notes
Survival Finnish course as part of the Scandinavian Studies Program is included in ISEP benefits.

ISEP Language Proficiency Report may be substituted for official score? Yes
Institutional TOEFL accepted? Yes
Other tests accepted: N/A

Note: The host institution ultimately determines your proficiency level and course eligibility.

Special Academic Conditions
International applicants please note that preference is given to students from institutions with which this institution does not have Socrates/ Erasmus agreements.

Special ISEP Application Instructions
Modern Nordic Architecture and Nordic Design Programmes are available only during the fall semester. Architecture placements are limited and require a portfolio.

Hints for Researching Courses
Follow the links: Information for exchange students

Housing and Meals
ISEP students are housed in furnished, single-occupancy rooms with shared kitchen and laundry facilities in residence halls. Student housing is on the main campus. ISEP students receive a monthly meal stipend that can be used to prepare or purchase meals. A sport hall, jogging and cross-country skiing trails, and great bicycle paths are within easy reach of the residences. For the summer school classes, students are housed in the proximity of the field stations.

You are responsible for all of your personal expenses including: fees not required of all participants (e.g. computer, language, science lab fees), books, local transportation, entertainment, etc. The amount below is provided as a guide; the actual amount will vary depending on courses and personal habits. Your personal expenses per month, including books, are estimated at: EUR 180-300

There will be a two day orientation period at the beginning of each semester (September and January) for all new exchange students. Orientation gives information, for example, on the Finnish higher education system and student life. The ISEP Coordinator as well as departmental coordinators are available for individual counseling to assist in planning the ISEP student’s curriculum.

Host will provide arrival directions with acceptance packet.

Student Activities
As part of the University of Oulu student union, ESN Oulu welcomes all students, Finns and international, to participate not only in the events but in their planning as well. All exchange students can also participate in the Kummi Family Programme, which gives a chance to experience Finnish family life as it is.

The University of Oulu was founded in 1958, and has since grown rapidly, establishing itself as one of the leading universities in Finland. The university prides itself on high quality teaching and learning, as well as pioneering and innovative research. Total enrollment is more than 16,600 students, of which close to 800 are international students.

The university occupies modern, spacious premises and is equipped with the latest computer and data processing facilities for the use of staff and students alike. The main campus was designed to accommodate a northern climate and features colorful and comfortable interior spaces with greenhouse plantings and sunrooms. The university’s Botanical Gardens (called Romeo and Juliet), zoo, Natural History Museum, and Museum of Geology are located on the main campus. There is well-equipped sports complex.

The university has two campuses: the main campus, Linnanmaa, is located about three miles north of the city center; and the faculty of medicine is just over a mile from the city center. Excellent public transportation in the city facilitates easy access to the campus.