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Academic Calendar and Educational System

Academic calendar

The Academic Year officially starts 1 August and ends 31 July. The Year is divided into two teaching semesters:

  • Autumn Semester:  1 September - 31 December (beginning of August in the Faculty of Medicine)
  • Spring Semester: 1 January - 31 May  
  • There is usually no summer time teaching available (June, July).
  • There is a winter break during the Christmas holidays, usually starting on the weekend before Christmas and  lasting until the first week of January.

Both semesters are usually divided into two teaching periods per semester with an exam week between each period.

  • Periods I (28.8.2023 – 22.10.2023) and II (23.10.2023 – 17.12.2023) are during the Autumn Semester and
  • Periods III (8.1.2024 – 10.3.2024) and IV (11.3.2024 – 19.5.2024) during the Spring Semester.
  • Some courses are in session for just one period and some for the whole semester.

Please note following: 

  • International exchange and master degree students should arrive for Orientation which is held at the beginning of each semester.
  • All exchange students receive a Letter of Confimation at the end of their exchange period in Turku with their exact arrival and departure dates. Thus, the dates of the exchange period usually do not correspond to the official semester dates.

Check also the Finnish national public holidays.

Credit and grading system


University of Turku uses ECTS, the European Credit Transfer System. 1 credit is equal to 27 hours worth of work for a course, seminar or book exam or other methods of teaching.

  • This amount of work includes contact hours and/or outside independent study.
  • 60 credits represent the workload of one year of full-time studies, normally 30 credits for one semester.
  • Comparison with US system: 2 ECTS credits usually equal 1 US credit hour.


The grading or assessment of courses usually includes lectures, course participation, essay writing and/or a written examination.

  • An exam may not only be based independent study and literature in addition to lectures.
  • Some courses are taught over the whole term for two hours per week, others are taught for several hours per week over a shorter period of time.
  • Some courses are graded on a pass/fail basis only.
  • A completed study module will be assessed with a final grade. The calculated average between the grades received and the amount of credits will result in the final grade of a study module.  
  • Incomplete or failed courses will not be registered or shown in the Transcript of Records!
  • Students can check their own results in Peppi study register.

Courses are assessed according to the following scale, which can be compared with ECTS and US grades:

Finnish grading scale Qualitative definition ECTS grade US grade
 5 Excellent A A+
 4 Very Good B A
 3 Good C B
 2 Satisfactory D C
 1 Sufficient E D
 0 Fail F/FX F


Degree system

The universities in Finland have degree structure of

  • a three years Bachelor's degree (usually 180 credits)
  • a two years Master's degree (usually 120 credits).
  • The basic degree at the Faculty of Medicine is the Licentiate in Medicine which qualifies general practitioners for primary care.

Degrees usually consist of studies in one major subject and in one or more minor subjects. Studies form larger entities at three levels: basic, intermediate and advanced levels.

  • Bachelor's level studies usually consist of the basic and intermediate level studies
  • Advanced studies normally correspond to the Master's level.

Doctoral degree normally requires at least four years of full-time study.

  • PhD students are required to carry out independent research work and extensively familiarise themselves with research carried out in their field of study.
  • In most fields, postgraduate Doctoral or Licentiate degrees can be carried out also in English.

The faculties grant a diploma for a graduating student. Diplomas are granted at Bachelor’s, Master’s, Licentiate’s and Doctor’s level and for professional qualifications. As an attachment, the student automatically receives a transcript in Finnish and in English and a Diploma Supplement in English.