University of Oulu Summer Program

Northern Nature and Environment


Arranged by the University of Oulu Faculty of Science, this unique program provides a solid introduction to the ecosystems and the fauna, flora, and vegetation of Finland and northern Scandinavia. Through lectures, courses, and seminars held in Oulu and field courses arranged at the university’s research station in northern Finland, students explore the country’s natural and cultural beauty while learning about biodiversity and genetic adaptation in the North.

Oulu, Finland

Language of Instruction: English



ISEP-Exchange Summer for all US and I-to-I exchange member students    


Course offerings for Summer 2016 will be announced in Spring 2016. Please refer to the following courses offered in 2016 for an overview of the following year’s potential program:

2016 Courses

• 4 ECTS (usually equivalent to 2 US credits)
• Content: This course is carried out in Oulu and the Oulanka Research Station (Kuusamo). It involves an introduction to basic ecology and identification of fish and invertebrates that live in different kinds of inland waters, basic methodology of sampling and analysis. At the end of the course, an identification exam is given on animal species encountered in the field.
• Arranged: June 3 – June 10, 2016

• 5-6 ECTS (usually equivalent to 3 US credit)
• Content: This course involves vegetation types of forests and peatlands, succession of uplift shore, laboratory works, and identification of about 450 plant species. The course is held in two parts in Oulu and on the Hailuoto Island, and in the Oulanka Research Station in Kuusamo. Prerequisite: Students are advised to arrive early and independently study the needed plant species (752303A Identification of Plant Species 2-3.5 ECTS: usually equivalent to 1-2 US credits) from the herbarium samples with the help of a handout and take the identification exam before the botany field course starts. Studying can also be done between the different field courses (middle – end of June).
• Arranged: June 23 – July 6, 2016

• 4 ECTS (usually equivalent to 2 US credits)
• Content: In this course, the fauna in different kinds of terrestrial habitats are studied using several ecological sampling and research methods in the Oulanka Research Station. The projects are done partly in the field and partly in the laboratory.
• Arranged: August 4 – 10, 2016 (with arrival at the research station August 3, 2016)


• 2-14 ECTS (usually equvalent to 1-8 US credits)
• It is also possible to participate in biology research projects during the summer or between the summer courses. Research topics include: the adaptation of plant and animal species to the northern conditions; sub arctic plants in changing environment; soil as an ecosystem; seasonal adaptation; life history strategies and population dynamics in northern populations of birds, etc. Research groups work in Oulu, Oulanka research station and Kevo research station.
The student should contact the head of the research group beforehand and agree with him/her about the project work before arriving.


Please note: This summer program is intended for students who have studied biology for two or more years.


I-to-I applicants who are not native English speakers must submit the ISEP Language Proficiency Report. Note: The host institution ultimately determines proficiency level and course eligibility.


See the Membership Directory for more details.


early June to late August, 2016 - exact arrival and departure dates depend on which and how many courses a student will take (see course dates above)


March 15, 2016


Based on tuition, housing, and meals at home university


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 innovative research. Total enrollment is more than 16,600 students, around 800 of which are international. The premises are modern, spacious, and equipped with the latest computer and data processing facilities. The main campus was designed to accommodate a northern climate and features colorful, 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 also a well-equipped sports complex.


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. It is rich in culture and provides many opportunities for leisure activities including music festivals, concerts, art festivals, sports events, theater performances, and a unique music video festival each summer. Oulu also offers excellent travel connections to the rest of the country and world in general.

The botany and zoology field courses take place in Oulu and also in two other locations. Please note: rubber boots are needed in the field courses as the conditions are too wet for hiking boots. Warm and waterproof clothes are also necessary as there might be some cool days in June.

On the Island of Hailuoto, just outside of Oulu:
A field facility exists on the Island of Hailuoto, the largest island in the Bothnian Bay and bird observation station at Tauvo.

At the Oulanka Research Station, situated in the Oulanka National Park close to the Finnish–Russian border, about 20 km south of the Arctic Circle:
Oulanka Research Station is part of the Thule Institute and is situated in Kuusamo as a regional unit of the University of Oulu. Its modern research and educational facilities provide an inspiring environment for researchers, teachers, and students alike.


Please consider the following requirements when filling out the online application :

Participant Profile: REQUIRED
Host Request List:
º Placement: SELECT "Summer"
º Site: SELECT "ISEP Exchange"
º Country: SELECT "Finland"
º Institution: SELECT "University of Oulu"
º Program Type: SELECT "Regular University Courses"
Course Request List: Select one course from the list above for each week of the program. Enter each one under Course Name and click the disc icon.
Language Proficiency: Are you planning to study at a host program where the primary language of instruction is different than your native language? SELECT "No."
Personal Statement: REQUIRED
Academic References: ONE REQUIRED
Transcript: REQUIRED

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