Study practicalities

Academic calendar

Teaching is provided during five periods (periods I and II in the autumn term and III, IV and V in the spring term). Examinations or other forms of evaluation and assessment are usually held at the end of each period.

The exact dates can be found on the Academic Calendar.

Taking courses

The most common form of courses in Aalto University is a lecture. In addition to the lectures, a course may include other assignments as well. These can be, for example, individual or group assignments, problem-solving exercises or laboratory work. Students may need to sign up for these separately. The credits obtained from a course include lectures, exercises and the individual work the students do for a course.

Courses usually last either one or two periods, but some courses may extend over a longer period lasting three or more periods.

Note that the Examination Guidelines define practicies regarding exams and registering for them.

Credits and grading

Aalto University uses ECTS European Credit Transfer System. The Bachelor's degree in Aalto University consists of 180 credits (ECTS) and the Master's degree is 120 credits (ECTS). Grading scale used is 1 (lowest passing grade) to 5 (highest grade) or pass/fail.

According to the degree structure, studies are allotted to credits according to the amount of work required; the average number of hours demanded by one academic year of studies, 1600 hours, is equivalent to 60 credits. The work load includes lectures and other forms of instruction, exercises, seminars and independent work at home and in the library.

The scope of a course can be 1--15 credits depending on the content of the course. One ECTS credit stands for approx. 27 working hours. These hours include all the work required for completing the course (lectures, assignments, cases, possible projects, exam etc.).

The grading scale for the courses is:

5 (highest)A*
4B
3C
2D
1 (lowest passing grade)E
0 (failed, wont appear in Aalto transcript)F / FX

* Please note that the conversion table above is only indicative, because Aalto University does not use the Gaussian Curve for grading.

If you receive the grade 0 (failed), you have not passed the examination and you must take it again. If you receive 1, you have passed the test with the lowest grade. If your grade is 5, you have achieved the best grade. Some courses do not use number grading, but give only a "pass" or "fail" mark. A "pass" or "fail" mark cannot be converted into a numerical grade. The grading requirements of each course will be explained at the beginning of the course.

Note! Failed courses will not appear on your Aalto transcript of records.

The final grade of the course can be based either on the final examination only or it can be based on a combination of the final examination and course work. The grade requirements are explained at the beginning of the course.

Study culture in Finland

At Aalto taking initiative is valued and students are encouraged to make comments and participate. Here are the most important features:

"Academic quarter"

Lectures tend to start fifteen minutes past the full hour and last for 90 minutes. If the schedule is given as 12–14, it usually means 12:15–13:45. However, it is a good idea to show up in time for the first lecture and see if the lecturer gives any specific instructions as the academic quarter is not used in all schools and classes. If you are unsure, you can ask your tutor or someone in your school.

Deadlines and punctuality

Lecturers will expect you to keep to the deadlines given to course work and to show up to meetings/lessons sharp.

Plagiarism and cheating – zero tolerance!

Aalto University's values are based on high ethics, openness and equality. We wish our students to adhere to good scientific practice and good artistic practices and we have guidelines for handling misconduct. If you have questions or hesitation regarding the correct practices related to e.g. research methods or sourcing styles, you can always turn to your lecturer. You can also familiarise yourself with the university's Code of Academic Integrity and Handling of Violations Thereof.

Active participation in class

We encourage our students to be active in learning situations. Active conversation does not come naturally to everyone, so remember to also give room to other students' views.

Informality

It may come as a surprise to you how informally your professors and lecturers might wish to interact with you. Often they invite you to call them by their first name. But even if contact with the academic staff was very relaxed, remember that the professor has a lot of responsibilities, so when you have questions, be sure to adhere to office hours.

Academic freedom = responsibility

Studying in Finland is often very independent and students are given flexibility and freedom in their studies. This requires you to be good at scheduling. We trust you to progress successfully in your studies and take responsibility. The academic and administrative staff are there to support you, but it is you who has to make the most out of your studies.