Normative durations of study and applying for an extension

The normative duration of studies for lower and higher university degrees, the duration of the right to study and granting an extension to the duration of studies are enacted in Sections 40-43 of the Universities Act.

Restriction of the duration of studies apply to the rights to study for a lower and a higher university degree, which have been granted on 1 August 2005 or later. The student is considered to start degree studies at the date of accepting the study place in the university.

Normative durations of studies

Normative time

  • Lower university degree (Bachelor's degree): three academic years
  • Higher university degree (Master's degree): two academic years (an exception to this is the degree of Master of Psychology, which is two and a half academic years)
  • Licentiate of Medicine: six academic years
  • Licentiate of Dentistry: five and a half academic years

A student admitted to study for both the lower and the higher university degrees has the right to complete the degree in a time exceeding the aggregate normative duration of study by a maximum of two years (5 + 2 years, except for the degree of Master of Psychology, 5.5 + 2 years).

A student admitted to study for the degree of Licentiate of Medicine and for the Licentiate of Dentistry has the right to complete the degree in a time exceeding the aggregate normative duration of study by a maximum of two years (Licentiate of Medicine 6 + 2 years and Licentiate of Dentistry 5.5 + 2 years).

A student admitted to study for only the lower university degree has the right to complete the degree in a time exceeding the aggregate normative duration of study by a maximum of one year (3 + 1 years).

A student admitted to study for only the higher university degree has the right to complete the degree in a time exceeding the aggregate normative duration of study by a maximum of two years (2 + 2 years, except for the degree of Master of Psychology, 2.5 + 2 years).

After graduation, a student can receive a student loan deduction in taxation if he or she has completed the university degree within the aggregate normative duration of study. Read more on the terms of the deduction from Kela's website.

Time included in the normative duration of studies

The student can see the duration of his or her study time in WebOodi by clicking Other functions -> Personal data; it is updated based on the registration information. When the normative duration of studies is about to expire, the student is sent an email notification regarding this.

The following are included in the duration of studies

  • Registering as being present, or normal studies
  • Other absence (not based on legislation) that exceeds four semesters. With regard to study rights that begin 1 August 2015 or later, this absence right has been shortened to two semesters.
  • Those semesters that the student fails to register at all, in other words neglects the obligation to register.

The following are not included in the duration of studies

  • Leave due to the student performing military or non-military service according to the Conscription Act, Act on Non-Military Service (siviilipalveluslaki) or Act on the Voluntary Military Service of Women (laki naisten vapaaehtoisesta asepalveluksesta), leave due to maternity, paternity or parental leave (reasons based on legislation).
  • Other absences of a maximum of four academic semesters for which the student has registered herself or himself as absent. With regard to study rights that begin 1 August 2015 or later, this absence right has been shortened to two semesters.

The student shall register as being present for the duration of his or her study abroad period, because during the student exchange, the student will complete studies that are included in his or her degree.

Extending the right to study based on reasons referred to under the Universities Act

When a student delivers a certificate to the Student and Learning Services that he or she is performing military or non-military service according to the Conscription Act, Act on Non-Military Service (siviilipalveluslaki) or Act on the Voluntary Military Service of Women (laki naisten vapaaehtoisesta asepalveluksesta) or is on maternity, paternity or parental leave, the normative duration of studies will be extended on the basis of the length of the military or non-military service or the family leave regardless of with how many academic semesters it coincides.

For each five (5) month absence, an extension of one semester is granted. If the absence lasts less than five months, an extension of one semester is granted.  If the absence lasts five to ten months, an extension of two semesters is granted; if the absence lasts 10–15 months, an extension of three semesters is granted, etc.

The normative duration of studies is extended based on certificates presented by the student and a new expiration date of the studies will be entered in the student register.

Registering as absent in the first academic year

According to the Universities Act, a new student studying for a degree may register as absent in the first academic year for the entire academic year or for autumn or spring semester only for the following reasons:

1) if the student is performing military or non-military service according to the Conscription Act (1438/2007), Act on Non-Military Service (1446/2007) or Act on the Voluntary Military Service of Women (194/1995)
2) the student is on maternity, paternity or parental leave
3) the student is unable to begin studies due to his or her own illness or disability

A student registering absent in the first academic year must supply documents that prove the absence is legally valid (e.g. call-up order, Kela's decision on parental allowance or a medical certificate) to the Student and Learning Services by the date specified in the registration instructions. Otherwise the student will forfeit his or her right to study.

Applying for an extension

When the duration of studies is about to expire, the student may apply for an extension to the normative duration of studies. If the normative time ends on 31 July the extension must be applied for by the end of May. If the normative time ends on 31 December the extension must be applied for by the end of October.

The extension is applied for with a form which is delivered to the Administration Service Centre of the relevant faculty.

The student should append to the application an approved plan of the courses to be completed, which should be updated and include a timetable. The plan should indicate the courses to be completed and the intended times for completing them on an accuracy of one academic semester. The application should also include explanations and certificates relating to the reasons that have caused the delay in the progression of the studies.

Grounds for granting an extension

An extension will be granted if the faculty considers that the student has the necessary prerequisites to finish his or her degree within a reasonable period of time, considering the number and extent of the student's completed and remaining courses. A feasible study plan is a prerequisite for granting the extension.

Specific reasons supporting the granting of an extension include suffering from an illness during the studies or being subject to other difficult conditions beyond the student's control, civic activity, participation in international student or trainee exchange, and systematic involvement in elite sports.

A terminated study right can be restored upon application. A re-registration fee of €35 will be collected from the student if the right to study has already terminated when the student is applying for an extension or if the student has not followed the instructions given by his or her faculty on the application period and the right to study has terminated before an extension has been granted. Further information on re-registration.

Length of the extension

The extension will be granted in academic semesters. The extension will be granted for a minimum of one and a maximum of four academic semesters at a time. Should the approved graduation plan span more than four academic semesters, the extension will nevertheless be granted for a maximum of four academic semesters. The student will need to make a new extension application for the remaining semesters.

Absences which are defined in the Universities Act and which are not included in the duration of studies (maternity, paternity and parental leave and conscription or voluntary military service) will also be considered in extensions according to certificates delivered by the student.

The duration of study for the student's degree will continue to lapse if the student registers absent during the extension without a legitimate excuse.

Appeal

Appealing a decision concerning the forfeiture of the right to study is enacted under Section 82(2) of the Universities Act and Section 15 of the Degree Regulations of the University of Eastern Finland.