Degree Regulations

(Board of directors of the University of Applied Sciences 16 March 2015 § 11, Rector's decision 8.4.2015 § 30)

1 Introduction
2 Duties and educational task
3 Student selection
4 Enrolment and eligibility to study
5 Organisation of teaching and studies
6 Studying
7 Approval of degrees and degree certificates
8 Additional directions

1 Introduction

The general legislative foundations for organising university of applied sciences studies are given in the Act (Ammattikorkeakoululaki 932/2014) and Decree (Valtioneuvoston asetus ammattikorkeakouluista 1129/2014) on Polytechnics and in subsequent amendments to the act and the decree. In order to meet the qualifications of licensed health care and social services professionals the Act (Terveydenhuollon ammattihenkilöistä annettu laki 559/1994) and Decree (Asetus terveydenhuollon ammattihenkilöistä 564/1994) on Health Care Professionals, as well as subsequent amendments to these are taken into account.

These degree regulations clarify the duties of the Oulu University of Applied Sciences (OUAS) and education provided therein, enrolment and study rights, organisation of teaching and studies, studying, approving completed degrees and certificates as well as other regulations. The decision-making bodies regarding the issues mentioned in these regulations are the Board of Oulu University of Applied Sciences and the rector in compliance with these degree regulations.

2 Duties and educational task

The function of the university of applied sciences is to provide higher education founded on the requirements of working life and its development, as well as on research, artistic and cultural principles, which qualifies students for tasks requiring professional expertise, to support the professional growth of individual students and practice applied research, development and innovation activities as well as artistic activity which serves the purposes of university of applied sciences education, promoting the working life and regional development to which supports the renewal of the business structure of the region. When carrying out its functions, the University of Applied Sciences is to promote lifelong learning (Act 932/2014 section 4).

Within the limits of the licence, the University of Applied Sciences provides education leading to a degree and vocational teacher education ((Act 932/2014 section 10). The licence of the University of Applied Sciences stipulates the educational responsibility of the University of Applied Sciences, i.e. what Bachelor’s degrees and the associated qualifications must be granted (educational responsibilities). If necessary, the licence can also clarify the degree-specific educational responsibilities. In addition, the licence stipulates what Master’s degrees and the associated qualifications the University of Applied Sciences can grant. The licence further stipulates on the right of the university of applied sciences to organise teacher training required by polytechnic and vocational education teachers as well as those aiming to become said teachers (vocational teacher training) (Act 932/2014 section 8).

According to the licence (11 December 2014, record number OKM/7/533/2014) the educational responsibilities of Oulu University of Applied Sciences starting from 1 January 2015 are as follows:

Education leading to a Bachelor’s degree

Bachelor of Culture and Arts: Media Artist, Music Pedagogue, Musician, Dance Teacher

Bachelor of Business Administration with fields of specialisation business economics, information technology, library and information services

Bachelor of Natural Resources: Agronomist

Bachelor of Health Care: Biomedical Laboratory Technologist, Paramedic, Physiotherapist, Midwife, Optometrist, Radiographer, Registered Nurse, Social Worker, Dental Hygienist, Public Health Nurse, Occupational Therapist

Bachelor of Engineering, Bachelor of Construction Architecture, Bachelor of Construction Management

Bachelor of Engineering degree is further divided in the following fields of specialisation: energy and environment, ICT, mechanical engineering, civil engineering, electrical and automation engineering

Education leading to a Master’s degree

Master of Culture and Arts: Media Artist, Music Pedagogue, Musician, Dance Teacher

Master of Business Administration

Master of Natural Resources: Agronomist

Master of Health Care: Biomedical Laboratory Technologist, Paramedic, Physiotherapist, Midwife, Optometrist, Radiographer, Registered Nurse, Social Worker, Dental Hygienist, Public Health Nurse, Occupational Therapist

Master of Engineering: Master of Engineering.

Vocational teacher training

The university of applied sciences has the right to organise teacher training required by polytechnic and vocational education teachers as well as those aiming to become said teachers.

In addition, the University of Applied Sciences may organise professional specialisation studies, education including parts of the degree as Open University studies or as otherwise separate studies as well as extension studies (Act 932/2014 section 10). When needed, also education for immigrants is organised with the purpose to provide them linguistic and other skills needed for studying at the University of Applied Sciences (Act 932/2014 section 10).

3 Student selection

The Ministry of Education and Culture and the University of Applied Sciences agree for a set amount of years in advance the key quantitative and qualitative educational, research, development and innovation objectives set for the operations of the University of Applied Sciences as well as the monitoring and evaluation of their attainment. If the quantitative objectives of the University of Applied Sciences cannot be harmonised nationally or regionally, the Ministry of Education and Culture may decide on the quantitative and qualitative objectives for an individual university of applied sciences after hearing the University of Applied Sciences in question. (Act 932/2014, section 42). The number of study places at the University of Applied Sciences is decided by the board of the University of Applied Sciences (Act 932/2014 section 16).  The number of study places to education leading to a degree in degree programmes and for professional specialisation studies is confirmed by the rector.

Selection of students to education leading to a Bachelor's or Master's degree will be organised in conjunction with the joint application procedure of higher education institutions. However, the joint application procedure will not be used when admitting students to education funded from sources outside the purview of this act or when admitting exchange students. Moreover, the University of Applied Sciences may leave outside the joint application procedure education taking place in foreign languages and education steered at a limited target group, which the University of Applied Sciences had specified separately. (Act 932/2014, section 28). When admitting students for education starting in autumn term 2016 and after, separate selection may be used instead of the joint application procedure when selecting 1) students for education aimed at a limited target group, the eligibility of whom the university of applied sciences has determined separately and the application to which cannot be arranged in conjunction with the joint application procedure 2) students for education taking place in a foreign language 3) students to Master's degree education taking place in Finnish or Swedish, the application for which is organised simultaneously with the application procedure for education in foreign languages 4) transfer students 5) students admitted based on studies completed at open higher education (Act 932/2014 section 28a).

The University of Applied Sciences will decide on the student selection criteria. The applicants may be divided on different groups based on their different educational backgrounds in the selection process. Equal selection criteria must be applied to applicants in the same group. (Act 257/2015, section 28). Some of the available study places may be reserved to those, who have not before completed a higher education degree complying with the Finnish education system and have not received a study place to education leading to a higher education degree (Act 932/2014 section 28). When admitting students to education starting in the autumn term 2016 and after, the university of applied sciences is obligated to reserve some of the study places leading to a Bachelor's degree to those who have not before completed a higher education degree complying with the Finnish educational system and have not received a study place leading to a higher education degree or have accepted a study place in education starting in the spring term 2014 or before but have not completed the higher education degree.  However, study places do not have to be reserved in the manner referred to in paragraph 1 when selecting students to education in foreign languages or to education aimed at a limited target group the eligibility of which the university of applied sciences has determined separately, or to education to which the university of applied sciences selects such a small group of students are admitted that reserving places would place the applicants in unreasonably unequal position. The University of Applied Sciences may reserve some of the study places to applicants referred to in paragraph 1 also in separate selection process. The University of Applied Sciences must ensure appropriate access to education also to those with a higher education degree and those who have accepted a study place. The University of Applied Sciences must ensure that the opportunities of individuals in various applicant groups to receive a study place do not become unreasonably unequal to applicants (Act 257/2015 section 28b). The entrance examinations related to student selection are free to students. The Finnish National Board of Education will charge a term-specific application processing fee from those applying for education starting in the autumn term 2016 and after from based on a education system outside the European Economic Area or Switzerland. Payment of the fee is a mandatory requirement of the processing of the application. Completion of fee-based international tests may be required from those applying for education in other languages than Finnish or Swedish. (Act 257/2015, section 12). Student selection principles and other implementation of student selection will be confirmed by the rector.

A person who has applied for admission can submit to a body of the University of Applied Sciences a written rectification request concerning the decision on student admission within 14 days of the publication of the results of student selection (Act257/2015, section 57). The student should address the written rectification request to the rector (Rules of OUAS 16 March 2015).

Students are admitted by the University of Applied Sciences (Act 257/2015, section 28). The decision to admit students is made by the rector.

A decree (Act 257/2015, section 28) will provide for transfer studies from 1 August 2015 on. The University of Applied Sciences admits transfer students. The term “transfer student” refers to a student who has been admitted to education leading to a higher education degree, whose study right is transferred from one higher education institution to another or inside the higher education institution from one degree programme to another so that the degree title related to the objective degree changes.  

In education starting in the autumn term 2016 or after it, applicants may accept only one study place leading to a higher education degree in education starting during the same term. This provision does not apply to acceptance of a transfer study place. (Act 257/2015, section 28c).

If a ranking procedure is required for the purposeful implementation of the options of a degree programme, Open University studies, separate studies containing parts of the degree, granting of a separate right to study or transfer student selection, selection extension studies or education aimed at immigrants, the decision to apply said procedure is made by the rector.

4 Enrolment and eligibility to study

Students who have been admitted to the University of Applied Sciences and who have accepted the study place must enrol to the University of Applied Sciences in a way determined by the University of Applied Sciences, after which they are registered as students. Students must enrol as either attending or non-attending each academic year in a way determined by the University of Applied Sciences. (Act 257/2015, section 29). After having accepted the study place, students may enrol as non-attending, if during the first year of studies: 1) they are performing a service in accordance with the Conscription Act (Asevelvollisuuslaki 1438/2007), Non-Military Service Act (Siviilipalveluslaki 1446/2007) or the Act on Women's Voluntary Military Service (194/1995) ; 2) they are on maternity, paternity or family leave or 3) due to their own illness or injury, they are incapable of starting their studies. (Act 325/2015 section 29). Students who have commenced their studies prior to 1 August 2015, may be absent for a total of two academic years based on their notification of non-attendance to the university of applied sciences (Act 932/2014, section 30, Act 325/2015) . The non-attendance period of students who have started on 1 August 2015 or later, will not include absence due to a service in accordance with the Conscription Act, Non-Military Service Act or the Act on Women's Voluntary Military Service, or maternity, paternity or family leave. Nor will the study time include other at most two terms' absence, which the student has announced in accordance with the section 29. (Act 325/2015 section 30). The code of practice about the enrolment is decided by the rector. Students who have enrolled as attending are eligible to study.

Full-time students must complete their studies leading to a Bachelor’s Degree or Master’s Degree within a period that exceeds the extent of the degree programme by no more than a year (Act 932/2014, section 30, Act 325/2015, section 30). For a specific reason, the university of applied sciences may grant an extension period to a student for the completion of the studies (Act 932/2014, section 32). The above procedure will be confirmed by the rector. The grounds of maximum study eligibility of other than full-time students are provided in the degree regulations of the University of Applied Sciences (act 932/2014, section 30, Act 325/2015, section 30). The period of eligibility to study for other than full-time students is determined in an approved personal study plan.

Studies at the School of Vocational Teacher Education must be completed within a period that exceeds the extent of the studies by no more than a year unless the University of Applied Sciences grants the student an exception for a specific reason. Vocational teacher studies meant to be studies part-time must be completed within three years (Act 932/2014, section 30, Act 325/2015, section 30). Instructions on the code of practice which allows a student to be granted an exception to the period of the right to study are given by the rector. The students of the School of Vocational Teacher Education do not have non-attendance right, as do the students of degree programmes.

Upon application, the university of applied sciences may grant students who have started their studies on 1 August 2015 or later extension for completing their studies in case they have failed to complete them in time provided in section 30. In the application, the student presents a goal-oriented and feasible plan to complete their studies. In the plan, the student must itemise the studies and their timetables required to complete the studies. The study right will be extended, if it is feasible that the student, taking into account the extent of completed and missing studies as well as earlier decisions of granting study time extensions, will be able able to complete the studies within a reasonable amount of time. When deciding on the study time extension, the university of applied sciences must take the life situation of the student into account. (Act 325/2015, section 30a). 

Transfer students must complete their degrees in accordance with the degree programme to which they have received study rights during the transfer. The attendance and non-attendance time the student has used in studies on which the transfer is based will also be calculated in the degree completion time. When a transfer student accepts a new study right, they simultaneously lose the study right on which the transfer is based. (Act 257/2015 sections 30 and 32).

Students will lose their study rights, if they fail to enrol in the manner stipulated. If they want to start or continue their studies later, they must apply for a study right from the university of applied sciences again. Students will also lose their study rights if they fail to complete their studies in the prescribed time. (Act 932/2014 section 32). Failure to enrol will be entered in the student register. Students who have not completed their studies within the prescribed time, extended time or have not been granted an extension to finish their studies will be registered as resigned. The day following the expiry date of their eligibility to study will be entered into the register as the resignation day. The code of practice about re-admittance is given by the rector

Students who have not enrolled in the manner stipulated in section 29, or who have failed to complete their studies within the time stipulated in section 30 or during the extension period referred to in section 30 a, as well as students who have not been granted an extension to complete their studies, will lose their study right. Should they wish to start or continue their studies later, they must apply for re-admittance from the university of applied sciences. The application may be done without participating in the student selection process referred to in section 28 (Act 325/2015, section 32). The said provision will be applied to students who have started their studies on 1 August 2015 and later.

Pursuant to section of the Act of Polytechnics, students may submit a written rectification request to a body assigned by the University of Applied Sciences concerning a decision on losing their study right within 14 days of receiving notification of the decision (Act 257/2015, section 57). The student should address the written rectification request to the rector (Rules of OUAS 16 March 2015).

A student is considered to have resigned from the day they has submitted a dated and signed resignation notice to Student Services of the Oulu University of Applied Sciences. The code of practice about registering a student as resigned is given by the rector. If a student who has been registered as resigned or who has resigned wishes to continue their studies at a later stage, they must reapply for a study right by taking part in the joint application procedure, or seek a separate study right in the way determined by the rector.

Studies included in a Bachelor’s or a Master’s Degree, to which the university of applied sciences has granted the student a restricted study right both in time and in contents, can be completed as open university studies or otherwise separate studies (Act 932/2014, section 10). The duration of eligibility to complete Open University studies or separate studies containing parts of degree studies is determined by the assessment regulations. Students of professional specialisation studies are given a restricted study right both in time and in contents, the procedure related to which will be decided by the rector.

5 Organisation of teaching and studies

The degrees completed at the university of applied sciences, degree objectives and structure of studies as well as other grounds for studies are enacted by a government decree, when needed (Act 932/2014, section 11). The common objectives and minimum extent of professional specialisation studies is enacted by a government degree (Act 1173/2014, section 11a). The government decree on polytechnics (1129/2014 and Decree 1438/2014) stipulates the available degrees and provision of education, the structure, sizing, extent and objectives of the studies as well as accreditation, language skills, maturity test, taking into account the European Union legislation and international contracts, as well as cancellation of study rights. All degree education is organised as degree programmes.

Studies leading to a Bachelor’s degree include 1) basic and professional studies, 2) free-choice studies, 3) practical training promoting professional skills and 4) a thesis. Studies leading to a Master’s degree include 1) advanced professional studies, 2) free-choice studies and 3) a thesis. Vocational teacher education includes 1) basics of educational science 2) vocational pedagogy 3) teaching practice and 4) other studies (Decree 1129/2014, section 2). The goals of the study modules included in the degree and vocational teacher training are confirmed by the rector.

The decision on the curricula will be made by the university of applied sciences (Act 932/2014, section 14, Act 325/2015, section 14). Degree programmes may include parts that will be confirmed by the rector. The extent of parts of the degree programmes will be confirmed by the rector taking into account that the extent of job placement included in the Bachelor's degree is no less than 30 ECTS points (see Decree 1129/2014, section 3). The descriptions of curricula and study modules as well as the study approval procedure will be confirmed in the manner decided by the rector.

Teaching and examination language at OUAS is Finnish. Finnish degree programmes may include study modules or programmes conducted in English, when it is expedient with regard to the field studied and supports the internationalisation of students. Likewise, English degree programmes may include Finnish study modules or programmes that support students' integration in Finnish working life.

Education leading to a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree is tuition free. However, tuition free education will not prevent the University of Applied Sciences from organising education leading to a joint or double degree, for which an international university charges a fee. Fees may be charged in other education (Act 257/2015 section 12). Decisions on the fees related to professional specialisation education, Open University of Applied Sciences education and extension studies will be made by the rector taking into account the government decree on the fees charged for polytechnics' operations (cf. Act 932/2014, section 13 and Decree 1440/2014, section 1).

6 Studies

The academic year begins on 1 August and ends on 31 July. The autumn term begins on 1 August and ends on 31 December. The spring term begins on 1 January and ends on 31 July. Instruction is given during the periods specified by the university of applied sciences (Act 257/2015, section 29). The rector decides on the dates for the teaching periods for every academic year. The studies of vocational teacher education follow the nationally agreed periods.

Students are considered to have started their degree on the day they accept a study place at the university of applied sciences (Act 325/2015, section 30). This decree will enter into force on 1 August 2015.

The procedure for the approval of personal study plans is determined by the rector.

The assessment regulations are confirmed by the vice rector (cf. (Act 932/2014, section 37). The university of applied sciences has one or more Degree Board of Examiners or equivalent bodies for the handling of rectification requests concerning study attainments (Act 932/2014, sections 15, 19, 69 and Act 257/2015, section 57). According to the Rules of OUAS (16 March 2015), rectification requests related study attainments are handled by the Degree Board of Examiners. The regulations governing the Degree Board of Examiners are ratified by the Board of Oulu University of Applied Sciences.

Decisions concerning the language proficiency required of students who have received their school education in some language other than Finnish or Swedish or abroad are made by the university of applied sciences The university of applied sciences can for a special reason exempt a student from all or some of the prescribed language proficiency requirements (Decree 1129/2014, section 7). The university of applied sciences will make the decision on maturity test, when a student is exempt from the prescribed language proficiency (Decree 1129/2014, section 8). Decisions on language proficiency required from the students, exemptions from language proficiency requirements and the maturity test are made by the rector.

7 Approval of degrees and degree certificates

The university of applied sciences awards certificates for studies completed at the university of applied sciences. A government enacts on the certificates awarded by the university of applied sciences (Act 1173/2014, section 10). The university of applied sciences will provide individuals, who have completed a degree or studies, an appendix meant for the the degree certificate or especially for international use (Decree 1129/2014, section 10).

The university of applied sciences awards students with a degree certificate for the degree they have completed (see Act 932/2014, section 11, Decree 1129/2014, section 1 and Decree 1438/2014, section 10) Information about the student's language proficiency is included in the degree certificate (Decree 1129/2014, section 7). The approval procedure of degrees, and the form and signing of degree certificates and its appendices are confirmed by the rector.

A certificate will be awarded for completing professional specialisation education (decree 1438/2014, section 10). The form and signing of certificates and their appendices for professional specialisation education, open university of applied sciences studies, separate studies containing parts of degree studies and other studies are confirmed by the rector.

8 Additional directions

The SORA (Solutions for unsuitability for studying) legislation (Act 932/2014, sections 26–27, 31, 33–36, 38–40, 58–59) applies, for instance, to cancellation and restoration of the study right, obstacles for admission as a student as well as narcotics testing and disciplinary actions. The purpose of the so-called SORA legislation is to improve the safety of universities of applied sciences and the subsequent working life. The application instructions of the SORA legislation are confirmed by the Board of Oulu University of Applied Sciences.

These degree regulations will enter into force on 16 March 2015.