I am Mengyu Liu from Inner Mongolia, China. I have started my Masters degree in Media Education, University of Tampere, and have been studying here for a year. Today I want to share my experience that could help potential students know more about Finnish academic life.
To begin with, it is important to mention that following the credits system is the valid for all graduates, as in other Western countries. To complete a Masters programme, the students are usually required to accomplish 120 ECTs in 2 years (with the exception of the Masters Degree in Psychology, which is 150 credits and the Licentiate of Medicine degree, which is 360 credits at UTA).
Students are encouraged to create their own study plans. Before preparing your personal study plan, you can consider few useful web tools: Student's Desktop, NettiOpsu, Moodle and electronic Exam Service Tenttis (UTA study guide). They are all important for students and you can find them on the right of the main page (Useful fact: you could also refer to a restaurant menu there).
To complete your study plan you need the curriculua and the teaching schedule. The curriculua contains details of the learning outcomes, contents of studies, teaching methods, information on evaluation and list of study materials. The study schedules contain the course name and date. When clicking the specific courses you could also find more details.
The lectures are not the only way of learning. Usually, the following common forms of learning are used:
- Tutorials and seminars
- Group work
- Independent work
A lecture is the most common way, where teachers give lectures at classrooms. Usually there are not so many students and the atmosphere is quite free. The lecture lasts for 2-3 hours and there is coffee break during the lesson. Independent work should be highlighted here as when you check the teaching schedules, you may find the independent work hours will be written there. The independent hours stand for the work you need to do after class and if the length is 118 hours or more, then you need to be careful.
There are basically two types of exams: exams based on lectures and exams based on independent study of the course literature.
Exams of lectures and other forms of contact teaching are often arranged in the classroom at the end of a lectures series. Many course units require studying some of the course literature independently in order to be completed. It is not unusual that the requirements of a taught course unit also include an exam on set books to be taken on a set examination day or as an electronic exam.
Some course units also consist completely of independent study. Exams on independent studies are either electronic exams or traditional pen and paper exams.
Another interesting form is a learning diary, which I have never been asked to do before. Learning diary means a reflection on lectures, observations or group discussions. One of my teachers provided the guidance for learning diary like this: “A learning diary means critical reflection on matters discussed during the class and possibly in other learning situations. A learning diary is written during your entire course in response to lectures.”
To sum up, academic life in Finland is quite pleasant and you can always get support from school and professors. The independency is highlighted in Finnish academic life and it is not that challenging. Once you start you will enjoy it.
Learn more about studying in Finland
Finland University serves as a gateway to one of the finest Finnish multidisciplinary Universities on offer. If you are interested in studying in Finland and would like to find out more, there's good news: the downloadable Finland University guide provides a quick starting package of how to apply for international master’s degree programmes and scholarships in the member universities of Finland University.
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