Few international students think of information technology degrees when considering their study opportunities in Helsinki. However, Finland’s capital is one of the top international destinations in Europe to get prime-quality IT education.
Helsinki is such a great place to study IT abroad because of the free tuition policy for Bachelor’s and Master’s students, amazing institutes and research centres, state-of-the-art laboratories helping to bring innovative solutions in the world of technology. On top of this, you will join a welcoming student community and an environmentally aware society.
Why study abroad in Helsinki?
Helsinki is a city where you’ll be able to live a clean healthy life, stay safe, never get bored and experience a sense of community that’s hard to find anywhere else. Look for unique IT study degree options in one of the coolest student cities in the world, ranking 61th in QS Best student cities 2017. Here are some reasons why Helsinki is a popular destination for international students:
- 20 hours of sunlight per day during summer make for a great party atmosphere;
- A chic city with unique building architecture and classy cafes spread all over the city;
- High standards living with great infrastructure, low pollution and many green technology solutions implemented in everyday life;
- A lot of great events to take part in, like designer shows, heavy metal concerts, iconic festivals, weird contests like the Wife Carrying Championship, the Cell Phone Throwing Contest, air guitar competitions, and much other weird fun;
- Relax at traditional Finnish saunas between sessions of practising winter sports.
Helsinki is easily one of the most international cities in Europe. Nearly 90% of Helsinki’s population speaks English, and there’s a large number of Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees taught in English. University campuses create a strong sense of community through plenty of fun activities and projects.
Top places to visit in Helsinki include the impressive Suomenlinna Island Fortress, Esplanade Park, the Finnish National Gallery, the Rock Church, Linnanmäki Amusement Park, The Market Square (Kauppatori) near the Baltic Sea, and a lot more.
Why study IT in Helsinki?
Top-ranked universities in Helsinki enable you to conduct meaningful research and to learn by practice. Finland is an international hub of technology developments, and Helsinki is arguably its epicentre, with universities that provide a supportive learning environment. Lots of students are attracted by the diverse course offer and the inviting job opportunities in local start-up companies.
There are many specialisations to choose from such as software engineering, information networks, game design, smart systems, mobile solutions, big data, cloud computing and more.
Teaching style in Helsinki universities
IT students in Helsinki benefit from a lot of flexibility and freedom concerning their studies and course choices. A few highlights include:
- Most majors can be completed either as a long or compact version;
- Students are encouraged to include international, multidisciplinary, and entrepreneurial components to their studies;
- Problem-based learning and group assignments, conducted in real-life projects;
- Low student-teacher hierarchy, with open feedback and interaction.
Universities offering English-taught IT courses in Helsinki
Here are some top IT and computer science degree providers in Helsinki:
- Aalto University (no. 201 in World University Rankings, and no. 401 in Academic Ranking of World Universities 2017)
- University of Helsinki (no. 91 in WUR and no. 56 in ARWU 2017)
- Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences
Here are a few tips about how to apply to universities in Finland.
Career development for tech students
Because of the problem-based, and real-life focus of IT degrees in universities in Helsinki, students start building contact networks early on. Students get to conduct research and practice in global knowledge-intensive companies, such as ICT companies, consulting companies, other service or governmental organisations. Top IT companies with offices in the Helsinki area include: Microsoft, HP, Sun, Cisco, Symantec, Intel Corporation, NetApps, Oracle, Apple, Adobe, and others. You’ll likely not have trouble finding internships as a tech student in Helsinki.
Helsinki is also well-known for its rich tech start-up scene (4th in the world), such as the successful Rovio, creator of Angry Birds. Here’s a list of more start-ups based in Helsinki.
The tight student community in Helsinki's university campuses makes networking an easy affair, also leading to lifelong partnerships and friendships in the process.
Important organisations and centres for IT students in Helsinki:
- The Finnish Centre of Excellence in Computational Inference Research (COIN);
- Helsinki Institute for Information Technology HIIT;
- EIT Digital;
- Aalto Centre of Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer;
Don’t miss out on IT career fairs in Helsinki.
Living in Helsinki: accommodation and transportation
Helsinki is not a cheap city to live in for students. While tuition costs may be low, students should carefully budget their living expenses.
Average cost of living in Helsinki
Ranges 975 – 1,550 EUR/month. Read more about living costs in Helsinki on Numbeo.
To avoid the higher range of accommodation costs, students should plan their living arrangements well in advance of coming to study in the country, as demand for cheap housing is high.
Renting an apartment
One-bedroom apartment outside the city centre: 760 EUR/month.
Student on-campus housing
Single room in a shared student flat: from 300 EUR/month and up.
- Information about student housing at University of Helsinki
- Aalto University does not own student dormitories. But you can apply for housing at Aalto University Student Union or Mikkeli Student Housing Ltd
Transportation in the city is done easily by foot or by renting a brand new city bike. Public transportation also covers all parts of the city and there’s virtually no significant traffic in the city compared to most European capitals. Monthly Electronic Travel Cards cost around 55 EUR/month.
Tuition fees for IT students in Helsinki
Many of the English taught computer science and IT degrees offered by universities in Helsinki are tuition-free for EU students. In some cases, even non-EU students may benefit from tuition-free undergraduate or graduate studies, depending on the university they plan to attend. The only study costs required in this case are the Student Union membership fees, usually around 100 EUR per year. However, private institutions may charge students tuitions.
- Aalto University - free of charge for international students
- University of Helsinki - 15,000 EUR/year for non-EU Master's students, free of charge for EEA students.
- Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences - free of charge for EEA Bachelor's and Master's students
Scholarships for students in Helsinki
In Helsinki, you'll be able to find plenty of ways of financing your studies, such as student grants, scholarships, fellowships, need-based financial support, student prizes, student loans, and more.
Check out the Studyportals Global Study Awards!
Student visa for Finland
International students from the EU who want to study IT in Helsinki don’t need to apply for a visa. The rest should find information about how to get the student visa for Finland and check out the official visa regulations.
Don't miss out on the unique opportunity to take an undergraduate or graduate IT degree in Helsinki, the Scandinavian capital where technology, health and innovation go hand in hand.