Exchange studies at Aalto University
The exchange agreements between Aalto University and partner universities are made for a specific school or field of study at Aalto. This means that you should apply to and choose courses mainly from that specific school or field of study.
For example, if your home university has an exchange agreement with the School of Chemical Engineering, you cannot apply to study in the School of Arts, Design and Architecture. If you are unsure how to select the courses, please contact the exchange coordinator in the Aalto school you have been nominated to.
In addition, you are welcome to take some interdisciplinary studies such as University Wide Studies! Aalto University offers a unique possibility to try something different from your own field of studies. Please read more below.
Exchange students follow the same courses as degree students. Most of the courses lectured in English are available for you in the school you have been nominated to. However, there are courses that have some restrictions or quotas. The requirements are usually mentioned in the course description. Certain courses can sometimes be available for certain majors only or master's level students only etc. Large number of master level courses are taught in English, however, bachelor level students are allowed to take master level courses provided that prerequisites are met.
All the students are required to have a feasible Learning Agreement/Study Plan. It is important to remember that the Learning Agreement/Study Plan is preliminary and some changes after arrival are possible. Please note that you might not be accepted to all courses you have chosen. It is good to have some alternative courses in mind and you have to be prepared to make some changes to your original Learning Agreement/Study Plan.
When you choose courses for your Learning Agreement/Study Plan, the updated course information might not be available yet. In this case, the study plan is made according to the course information of the previous academic year. You can find the course list for each Aalto school below.
When planning your exchange period please remember that incoming exchange students are expected to study full time while at Aalto and to pass the courses with good grades. Full workload at Aalto is 30 ECTS credits per term.
Academic year and terms
Term dates at Aalto may differ from the ones in your home university. Please note that you are expected to follow Aalto University's academic calendar during your exchange period.
In Aalto University the academic year has been divided into 5 study periods. Periods I and II take place in the autumn term and periods III, IV and V in the spring term.
Note that if you have been nominated to study here for the autumn term you can only choose courses organised in the periods I and II (you cannot continue for the period III). Spring term applicants can choose courses held in the periods III, IV and V.
The academic year at Aalto University runs as follows:
Autumn term starts at the beginning of September and ends by the end of December, before Christmas.
Spring term starts at the beginning of January and ends in late May.
June and July are holiday seasons and there are rarely courses organized during this period. In the spring term, the student’s presence is only required until the end of May. In the autumn, presence is required until Christmas.
The actual studies start with the Orientation sessions for new students. The Orientation is mandatory for all new students. The Orientation in the autumn term will be in late August/beginning of September, and in the spring term in early January. A more detailed information with the actual dates of the upcoming orientation will be sent directly to the students with the admission letter. All the students are expected to arrive in time to participate in the Orientation!
Credits and grades
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 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:
|1 (lowest passing grade)||E|
|0 (failed, won't appear in Aalto transcript)||F / FX|
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.
* Please note that the conversion table above is only indicative, because Aalto University does not use the Gaussian Curve for grading.
Plagiarism and cheating in an exam are considered serious violations and can lead to disciplinary measures. They are also considered socially unacceptable among Finnish students. It is the responsibility of every student to become familiar with the Exam regulations, the Code of Academic Integrity and the Code of Conduct.
Individual study arrangements
Students at Aalto University have a right to reasonable individual study arrangements due to an impairment restricting his/her ability to study or other health condition. The grounds may be e.g. seeing, hearing or other sensory impairment, panic disorder or Asperger syndrome. More information available at Individual study arrangements site.
Online Tools (Sisu, MyCourses)
Aalto University uses these online tools for teaching and studying. They contain all necessary information on courses offered.
Sisu is a tool for official study programme and course information.
- Course timetables are published in Sisu before the course begins.
- Course and examination registrations are done in Sisu.
- Note! Aalto University's IT Account (username and password) is needed for course and exam registrations. Instructions on how to use online tools and complete the course registrations will be given to the new exchange students before/upon arrival.
MyCourses is a learning environment and workspace for courses. Teachers can use it to send out announcements, share materials, etc. Grades can also be published in MyCourses after the course has been finished. All information may not be visible for guest users in MyCourses but only available for those who are actually studying the course currently.
Aalto University offers you a possibility to take some interdisciplinary courses. Take the opportunity to try something different during your exhange period!
Aalto University's interdiciplinary programmes (Creative Sustainability, International Design Business Management, Aalto Ventures Program and Aaltonaut -programme) offer courses that are open for exchange students as well. These courses are suitable for everyone regardless of the study field, no special prerequisites are set for these courses.
We strongly recommend you to take at least one interdisciplinary course at Aalto University!
The best way for you to experience interdisciplinary Aalto and to meet fellow students from various disciplines is to participate in problem based project courses during which interdisciplinary teams solve real life problems. Following courses are examples of Aalto teaching on sustainable design, and user centred, iterative product development. More courses and information on interdisciplinary teaching in Aalto is on the pages of the interdisciplinary programs:
Aaltonaut is Aalto University’s Bachelor’s Minor Programme on Interdisciplinary Product Development. Aaltonaut courses rely on problem-based learning as well as interdisciplinary team-work in hands-on projects. The general goals of the Aaltonaut programme are creating collaboration between different disciplines, refining teamwork and communication skills and reinforcing the entrepreneurial attitude. The courses (except Communication Skills) are open to all Aalto students even if you are not officially part of the Aaltonaut minor (for example exchange students).
Contact person (Aaltonaut): Elina Kähkönen (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Aalto Ventures Program (AVP)
AVP courses cover important aspects of entrepreneurship; leadership, design thinking, finance, innovation, start-ups, prototyping, storytelling and much more. Exchange students at Aalto are most welcome to join AVP courses. Your exchange should however be long enough that you can complete the course at Aalto.
Contact person (AVP): Kalle Airo (email@example.com)
Creative Sustainability programme offers courses which approach sustainability from different perspectives and disciplinary angles. Most courses are open to Aalto University exchange students. Important: Courses are popular and of limited size. Please make sure to enroll as early as possible and make alternative study plans.
Contact person (Creative Sustainability): Naoko Nakagawa (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Contact person (IDBM): Anna-Mari Saari (email@example.com)
Study period in Aalto
Bachelor level courses
Master level courses
AAN-C2007 Product sustainability (5 ECTS)
AAN-C2006; Product analysis (5 cr)
TU-E4040 Opportunity prototyping (3 ECTS)
CS-E5100 Introduction to IT Business and Venturing (2 ECTS)
TU-E4100 Startup experience (9 ECTS)
AAN-C2012; ADD Basics - Additive manufacturing: from idea to business (5 cr)
AAN-C2009; Designing an Electronic Device for Business and Production (5cr)
AAN-C1013; Service design tools for creating change (5 cr)
TU-E4100 Startup experience (9 ECTS)
26E04350 Business model design (5-6 ECTS)
CS-E5440 Growth and internationalization of technology SMEs (4 ECTS)
Full academic year
MEC-E3001 Product development project (10 ECTS)
IDBM industry project (15 ECTS)
A! Summer Venture
University Wide Studies (UWS)
University Wide Business Studies (UWBS) offer arts and technology students a way to complement their knowledge with an understanding of business, management and economics. UWBS offer two starting points for business studies: Business studies in the School of Business and Industrial engineering and management studies in the School of Science.
University Wide Technology Studies (UWTS) is a course portfolio that offers courses of technical skills, methods and processes for students from all Aalto schools. The courses are regular courses of SCI, ELEC,CHEM and ENG schools, but selected in a way that no special prerequisities on mathematical subjects are required. The idea is to give an overview about engineering design and manufacturing as well as engineering problem solving. The aim is to give new viewing points to students with art or business background, as well as integrate students from all Aalto fields to meet challenges and to make better solutions based on comprehensive view.
Please see more at University Wide Studies
Aalto cross-school courses
Aalto cross-school courses are courses organized by one or more Aalto schools and they are open to all students at the university. However, there may be limitations in the number of participants etc. These courses are suitable for everyone regardless of the study field, no special prerequisites are set for these courses.
Check the cross-school courses
Finnish language and culture courses
Part of the experience of living in a foreign country is learning its language and culture. Though most Finns speak good English, you might want to learn at least the basics of Finnish language while studying in Finland. Aalto University offers exchange students Finnish language and culture courses. Especially the following courses are recommended for exchange students:
- LC-7003 Survival Finnish Online (1 ECTS credit)
- LC-7004 Survival Finnish 1 (1 ECTS credit) If you prefer contact teaching to online learning you can study the basics of Finnish with this course.
- LC-7005 Survival Finnish 2 (1 ECTS credit) After completing either Survival Finnish Online or Survival Finnish 1 you can continue Finnish studies in this course.
- LC-7009 Get to know Finland (1 ECTS credit).
Are you interested in developing your communication skills in an international context? The following course is recommended for exchange students (courses are offered both in autumn and spring terms):
- LC-0550 Communication Skills D (2-3 ECTS credits)
Note that the Finnish language and culture courses are very popular and are therefore subject to availability. More about the Finnish courses can be found from
Online course on Finnish language (1cr):
Aalto University Language Centre offers you a possibility to learn some basic Finnish already before the exchange period!
Aalto University Language Centre organizes a four week Introductory Finnish online course which is designed for people who are interested in learning basic Finnish. The work load is approximately 1-2 hours per week. Besides pronunciation and basic grammar, you will learn how to greet, introduce yourself, and communicate in Finnish in everyday situations. You can complete the course completely independently but you will receive feedback from the tutor on some of the assignments.
This online course is free of charge so you are recommend to take this opportunity to learn some Finnish! For more information and registration, please send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
School specific courses
Please refer to the school specific pages for course offering in each school (click the name the school below). Remember to choose your courses mainly from that specific school or field of study which you have been nominated to.