All degree programmes include compulsory studies of the Finnish language and communication as well as studies of the Swedish language (so called state official Swedish requirement). In addition, graduates have to gain such oral and written skills in one or two obligatory foreign languages that are necessary for practising the profession and for further professional development.
Language studies are mainly field-specific, but you have also the possibility to complete language studies in the optional basic or professional studies or in the free-choice studies from the basics to the advanced level. You can select language courses not only from the course supply of your own degree programme/educational department, but also from other educational departments of Oulu University of Applied Sciences. You can search for language studies with study search (course implementation search) or with course search. You are encouraged to take versatile language studies, because language skills are needed in the international student exchange as wells as internationalised working life.
Mandatory Language Studies
The student must demonstrate through studies included in the degree of the University of Applied Sciences or through language examinations that he/she has gained such oral and written skills in Finnish and Swedish that are required of state officials functioning in a position requiring a higher education in a bilingual office and that are necessary for practising the profession and for further professional development.
However, this does not apply to you, if you have been instructed abroad or have received your secondary school education in a language other than Finnish or Swedish. You can apply for exemption from the Finnish/Swedish language requirements by the rector. You have to complete studies in one or several foreign languages instead. The scope of the compensating language studies must remain same as of the studies to be compensated. The compensating language studies must be other than the language studies that are compulsory in the curriculum of the degree programme. Studies in Finnish as a foreign language can compensate the studies of national languages. The rector of the Oulu University of Applied Sciences decides the compensating studies. The head of the degree programme and the language teachers give a statement of the student's application.
You must submit an application for the compensating language studies to the head of the degree programme in the beginning of your studies. It is recommended that foreign students compensate the Finnish courses that are meant for the Finnish native speakers with Finnish as a foreign language. The Finnish language teacher will estimate, which Finnish course would be suitable for your language competence level.
Language Studies Provided by Others
In addition to the language studies provided by Oamk you can complete virtual language studies free of charge during semesters or as summer studies during summer through Campusonline of the universities of applied sciences. Also the open university of the University of Oulu offers language studies in the Summer University of Northern Ostrobothnia . In the Oulu high school for adults (Oulun aikuislukio) you can take either day time or evening courses in languages depending on the particular language.
Please check from the service provider, if course fees will be collected. You are responsible for the expenses of the language courses taken outside Oamk.
If you would like to include the language studies completed outside Oamk into your degree, please contact the head of your degree programme, who will decide, if the language course attainments can be recognised towards your degree. Also from the language teachers of Oamk you can get information on the recognition procedures of language studies and how the achieved language competences can be recognised and accredited.
Language Studies at the University of Oulu
Oamk has a framework agreement with the University of Oulu concerning cross-institutional studies in languages. As a degree student of Oamk you can take part in the language studies organized by the Language and Communication unit of the Extension School of the University of Oulu, if there are enough places in the study groups. Also the international exchange students of Oamk can complete language studies at the University of Oulu, if the courses are offered to the exchange students in the particular network agreement. No participation fees will be collected.
Before taking part in the language courses you have to decide with the head of your degree programme whether the studies undertaken at the Language and Communication unit of the Extension School of the University of Oulu can be included in your degree.
Please see instructions on cross-institutional studies and how to apply as well as the application form for applying to the language studies of the University of Oulu. See also the course catalogue for the cross-institutional language studies.
Level tests are provided in English and Swedish for students studying in a Finnish degree programme.
Students in an English degree programme whose language of education is Finnish should take the level test in Swedish to find out their level before their obligatory course in Swedish.
Language of Education
WHAT IS LANGUAGE OF EDUCATION?
Information about your language of education is entered in Peppi under Personal Data. Your language of education is either "Finnish", "Swedish" or "a language other than Finnish or Swedish". Language of education is not always the same as your mother tongue. More detailed information on some other language as the language of education, e.g. Chinese, may also be given but it is not necessary.
If your language of education is incorrectly marked in Peppi or the entry is missing, please contact the Academic Affairs.
HOW IS THE LANGUAGE OF EDUCATION DEFINED?
Your language of education is the language in which you have completed your native language syllabus in comprehensive school and/or upper secondary school. Your language of education is therefore stated on the graduation certificate of a Finnish comprehensive school or upper secondary school. The language of education is not determined based on a basic vocational degree.
If you have attended comprehensive school and upper secondary school in different national languages, you can choose whether your language of education is Finnish or Swedish. You cannot change the choice you have made later during your studies at the university of applied sciences.
The matriculation examination may define your language of education if you have completed it in a language different from your language of education. In this case, the language in which you have completed an approved mother tongue exam in the matriculation examination or got at least magna cum laude approbatur as a grade in Finnish as a second language or Swedish as a second language may also be considered to be your language of education.
International degrees (IB, EB, Reifeprüfung) do not affect your language of education. If you have completed a degree corresponding to an international upper secondary school but a Finnish comprehensive school before that, your language of education is determined based on the graduation certificate of the Finnish comprehensive school.
Government Decree on the demonstration of Finnish and Swedish language skills in state governmental positions 481/2003 § 20
WHAT EFFECT DOES LANGUAGE OF EDUCATION HAVE?
Your language of education affects your studies in two ways:
1. Your language of education determines which studies in the other national language are mandatory in your degree:
If your language of education is Finnish, your degree includes Swedish studies as a mandatory second national language. These compulsory Swedish studies are marked in the curriculum, and you will receive an assessment of both oral and written Swedish skills. The evaluations shall be entered in the language clause recorded in the degree certificate.
If your language of education is Swedish, your degree includes a compulsory course in the other national language: YY00DT02 Finnish language and communication 3 cr. This study replaces 3 credits of the obligatory Swedish language studies marked in your curriculum. In this case, contact the head of your degree programme to update your study plan. The Finnish language studies, YY00DT02 Finnish language and communication, are usually carried out via accreditation by the communication teacher. One must agree on completing the studies with the communication teacher. After completing the course, you will receive an assessment of both oral and written Finnish skills. The evaluations shall be entered in the language clause recorded in the degree certificate.
If your language of education is a language other than Finnish or Swedish, your degree does not include compulsory studies in the other national language. In this case, you can apply for an exemption from the competence requirements of the other national language (See Language Studies). Instead of studying the other national language, you must study the same number of other studies. The entry for the exemption shall be entered in the language clause of the degree certificate..
2.Your language of education determines the language in which you write your maturity test:
If your language of education is Finnish, you will write your maturity test in Finnish.
If your language of education is Swedish, you will write your maturity test in Swedish.
If your language of education is a language other than Swedish or Finnish, you will write your maturity test in English.
For justified reasons, you can apply for changing the language of the maturity test in Pulmu. The matter is decided by the Director of your unit on a proposal from the Head of your degree programme.
The annex of the degree certificate contains an entry about your language of education and the language in which you wrote your maturity test.
WHAT DO THE LANGUAGE CLAUSES IN THE ANNEX OF THE DEGREE CERFICATE MEAN?
The language clauses in the annex of the degree certificate show that you have acquired the Swedish and Finnish skills that are a requirement for the governmental personnel working in positions for which a university degree is required.
(Act on Language Skills required of state governmental personnel 424/2003, Section 6
Government Decree on the demonstration of Finnish and Swedish language skills in state governmental positions 481/2003 § 15).
The assessment of the second national language is marked as either satisfactory (grades 1-3) or good (grades 4–5) in the language clause of the degree certificate. The assessment is given separately for oral and written competences.
The language clause of the degree certificate also includes an entry for your language of education and the language of your maturity test. When your language of education is Finnish and the language of your maturity test is Finnish, the entry indicates excellent Finnish language skills. When your language of education is Swedish and your maturity test is Swedish, the entry indicates excellent Swedish language skills.
Assessment of Language Studies
The language proficiency demonstrated by the student shall be marked on the degree certificate. Compulsory foreign languages will be assessed on a numeric scale of 0 - 5. The language proficiency in the second national language (Swedish) required of state officials is assessed, unlike other language skills, on the basis of the decree as either good or satisfactory. However, the individual courses included in the state official Swedish are additionally assessed on a numeric scale of 1 - 5.The grade 'good' corresponds to grades 4 and 5 on the numeric scale and the grade 'satisfactory' to grades 1, 2 and 3. In the Transcript of Records both the numeric and wordy assessments can be seen. The assessment includes both oral and written language skills assessment. If the degree in state official Swedish consists of more than one course, and their joint grade requirements have not been specified or the weights of the courses has not been determined, the grade for the degree is the arithmetic average of the grades given for the courses. The average is rounded off to the nearest integer (e.g. 2.4 -> 2 and 2.5 -> 3). The Swedish courses that are required by the people in public offices are listed in the course descriptions.
Students who will complete the compulsory Swedish studies after 1.8.2008 will receive separate grades for oral and written Swedish as part studies. The grades 1,2 and 3 of the part studies correspond to grades satisfactory and the grades 4 and 5 correspond to grade good. If the degree in state official Swedish consists of two courses, separate grades will be given for both oral and written Swedish skills in both courses. Oral and written skills will be assessed as part studies of the courses.
National level descriptions are used in the assessment of oral and written Swedish language skills. The skill levels are linked to the grades that are used in the university of applied sciences. On the basis of the common skill level descriptions the language competences of the students are assessed uniformly and equally.
Recognition and Accreditation of Language Studies
Please see the instructions on recognition of language and communication studies. The University of Applied Sciences can for a special reason exempt a student from all or some of the language proficiency requirements. Previous language studies can be recognised and compensated according to certain principles. Secondary level language studies will not be credited, and they cannot compensate any higher education studies, because they are included in the admission requirements.
Further information on recognition of language studies and exemption applications can be obtained from the language teachers of Oamk and from Tarja Paukkeri tarja.paukkeri#oamk.fi (korvaa # -> @).
The Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR)
The Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) is a European framework developed by the Council of Europe for the learning, teaching and assessment of languages. It defines and describes six levels of language attainment (A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 ja C2). At the Oulu University of Applied Sciences the framework of reference has been used in evaluating Swedish and English language skills.
In the language course descriptions objectives and contents of the courses have been described in learning outcomes that help you understand, what part of learning will be developed in the language course and what will be expected from you prior entering the course. The skill level of the course is described in the course description of the curriculum in the field further information. In the Swedish language the skill level is usually B1 and in the English language B2 (see the CEFR table below).
In the degree programmes conducted in English the skill level of the English language is C1-C2. The framework is basis on the self-evaluation of the student as well as planning of the courses. An assessment framework has been linked to every language course description, where you can find the descriptions of the different skill levels for oral and written skills (general criteria, interaction, comprehensibility & structures, vocabulary, pronunciation).
You may also test your level of competence with the help of Dialang. The program can be freely installed in a PC. Please contact your language teacher or IT services for further information.
The Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR)
Can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read. Can summarise information from different spoken and written sources, reconstructing arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation. Can express him/herself spontaneously, very fluently and precisely, differentiating finer shades of meaning even in more complex situations
Can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognise implicit meaning. Can express him/herself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions. Can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes. Can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organisational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices.
Can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in his/her field of specialisation. Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party. Can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.
Can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc. Can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling in an area where the language is spoken. Can produce simple connected text on topics, which are familiar or of personal interest. Can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes & ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.
Can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment). Can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters. Can describe in simple terms aspects of his/her background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need.
Can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type. Can introduce him/herself and others and can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where he/she lives, people he/she knows and things he/she has. Can interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.
The European framework also acts as basis for the assessment of international language learning, when decisions are made on the recognition of the language studies completed abroad.
Language Studies for the Students of the University of Oulu
Oulu University of Applied Sciences has a framework agreement with the University of Oulu concerning cross-institutional studies in languages. As a degree student of the University of Oulu you can take part in the language studies organized by Oulu University of Applied Sciences, if there are enough places in the study groups. No participation fees will be collected.
Please see instructions on cross-institutional studies and how to apply for the cross-institutional studies as well as the application form for applying to the language studies of Oulu University of Applied Sciences.