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Language Studies

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.

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.

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.

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 the Solution Designer, Ms Marjo Pääskylä (firstname.surname#oulu.fi (korvaa # -> @)).

Instructions regarding mandatory Swedish language studies for people in public offices, please contact Marjo Pääskylä.

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)

Proficient User

C2

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

C1

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.

Independent User

B2

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.

B1

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.

Basic User

A2

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.

A1

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.

Administrator of the page: Marjo Pääskylä  |  Page updated: October 1st, 2020