A total of 6,257 individual applicants applied from both Finland and abroad to VAMK’s international degree programs. Photo: Kasper Dahlkarl/ VAMK


Finnish higher education institutions are witnessing a significant interest in their English-language programs, particularly in the social and healthcare sectors, as well as in business management and engineering. The recent first joint application round for the spring of 2024, which concluded on January 17, highlights this trend.

At Diaconia University of Applied Sciences (Diak), there were 1,981 applicants for their English-language Bachelor's programs in social and healthcare.

The applicants predominantly hailed from Finland, Nigeria, and Nepal. Diak offered 80 slots for these programs at their Helsinki campus, with the courses set to commence in the fall of 2024. Specifically, the Bachelor of Health Care, Nursing program received 996 applicants, and the Bachelor of Social Services attracted 1,057 applicants.

A notable feature of Diak's application process is the utilization of a common online entrance exam for social services, making it accessible for international applicants without the need to travel to Finland. The exam for the nursing program, however, includes an on-site phase in Helsinki, followed by an online phase, and requires Finnish language proficiency at least at level B1.

Meanwhile, Vaasa University of Applied Sciences (VAMK) reported an improvement in the quality of applicants for its international degree programs. Despite an increase in tuition fees, there was an average of 45.66 applicants per available slot across their programs. VAMK received 7,305 applications for a total of 160 slots in two Bachelor's and four Master's degree programs. Particularly, the Master's in International Business Management and Project Management were highly sought after, with 68.90 and 66.20 applicants per seat, respectively.

VAMK’s marketing efforts in 2023, particularly in Asian countries and the Middle East, have contributed to this influx of high-quality applications. The university has engaged in various international education fairs and collaborations to strengthen its brand and attract tuition-paying students.

Selection for VAMK's Bachelor's programs is based on entrance exams scheduled for March 21, 2024, while Master's programs utilize interview videos for student selection. The results for these programs will be announced by April 10 and May 31, 2024, respectively.

Both Diak and VAMK reflect the growing appeal of Finnish higher education in the global arena, attracting a diverse range of students and demonstrating Finland's commitment to offering quality education in various fields. As the spring's second joint application period approaches, Finnish universities continue to enhance their international presence and educational offerings.