Obtaining subject teacher qualifications after graduation

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You can obtain subject teacher qualifications after completing a master’s degree by completing, as separate studies, the required studies in the subject to be taught and/or pedagogical studies for subject teachers.
 

Teaching qualifications

The qualifications of subject teachers comprise three components:

  • a master’s degree
  • studies in the subject to be taught
  • pedagogical studies for subject teachers, 60 credits
     

Studies in the subject to be taught

Subject teachers in comprehensive education (grades 1–9) are required to have at least 60 credits in basic studies and subject studies in each subject that they teach. Subject teachers in upper secondary schools are required to have at least 120 credits in basic studies, subject studies and advanced studies in one subject to be taught, and at least 60 credits in basic studies and subject studies in all other subjects to be taught.

To complement your subject expertise, you can apply for the right to pursue separate studies from the faculty. Also check whether the relevant studies are offered by the Open University. The separate right to study is not granted for studies that are offered in the University of Helsinki’s Open University.

Pedagogical studies for subject teachers

The pedagogical studies for subject teachers can be studied as a separate study programme. Applications for a separate right to pursue pedagogical studies for subject teachers in comprehensive and upper secondary schools are accepted from:

  • Applicants who have completed a master’s degree  and whose degree includes—or who have additionally earned—at least 60 credits in basic studies and subject studies or equivalent studies in a subject taught in comprehensive schools, upper secondary schools or other education.

Applications for a separate right to pursue pedagogical studies for teachers in adult education are accepted from:

  • Applicants who have completed a master’s degree and who are missing, partially or entirely, the aforementioned subject teacher’s qualifications regarding studies in the subject to be taught.

Both orientation options lead to the same qualification.

If you are pursuing pedagogical studies for subject teachers in comprehensive and upper secondary education as separate studies after completing a master’s degree, you are required to prove your eligibility with respect to the subject to be taught by presenting an equivalency certificate.

The equivalency certificate is proof that the studies completed at the university in a certain subject correspond to the subject studies required of a subject teacher. You may need an equivalency certificate when applying for a position as a subject teacher or when applying for the right to pursue pedagogical studies for subject teachers after graduation.

The equivalency certificate is issued by the faculty in which the studies in the subject to be taught were completed and which provides subject teacher education. If the subject to be taught is not taught in any University of Helsinki faculty that provides subject teacher education, the certificate will be issued by a university that offers the studies in question.

The equivalency certificate must be requested in writing. If the faculty does not have an electronic form for requesting an equivalency certificate, the applicant must submit a free-form request in writing to the student service point of the faculty in question.

The request must include the following information:

  • the name, date of birth and student number of the person applying for the certificate
  • phone number and email address
  • what teaching subject(s) is the equivalency certificate being applied for
  • what was the scope of the studies in question: basic studies and subject studies, 60 credits (comprehensive school level qualifications or upper secondary school qualifications in a second teaching subject), basic studies, subject studies and advanced studies, 120 credits (upper secondary school level qualifications)
  • in what university/universities were the studies required for eligibility completed: if some part of the studies in the subject to be taught were completed elsewhere and the information is not recorded in the University of Helsinki student register, the person applying for the equivalency certificate is required to provide legally attested copies of transcripts or other certificates for the studies in question
  • the name of the previously completed decree, the awarding institution and the date on which it was awarded
  • the name on the certificate if different than the applicant’s current name
  • the postal address to which the certificate should be sent. You can also indicate that you will pick up the certificate from the student service point in question by a specified date. Nevertheless, you should specify an address to which the certificate can be sent by post if you are unable to pick it up.

Please note that receiving the equivalence certificate might require the completion of supplementary studies in the relevant discipline.

If so, you will be provided with a statement on the studies you must complete to acquire the equivalence certificate. (However, please note that based on this statement, you cannot yet apply for the right to complete, for example, STEP (Subject Teacher Education Programme) studies. First you must  complete the supplementary studies and then obtain the actual equivalence certificate to be able to apply for STEP.)

If supplementary studies are required, you can for example apply for a right to complete non-degree studies. Further information on applying for non-degree studies can be found here

Ap­plying for an Equivalency Cer­ti­fic­ate based on studies com­pleted out­side Fin­land

Applicants for an equivalence certificate based on studies completed outside Finland should note that the processing time for an application is usually several weeks (typically three to six). If you are applying for, say, STEP studies, be sure to allow sufficient time for your application to be processed.

It should also be noted that a comparability decision from the Finnish National Board of Education is likely to be needed for a degree completed outside Finland before applying for an equivalence certificate.

Applicants for an equivalence certificate based on a degree completed outside Finland must submit the following documents to student service point of the faculty in question:

  •     A copy of the degree diploma(s);
  •     A copy of the transcript of studies or other lists of courses completed;
  •     Descriptions of courses completed (the more detailed, the better)
  •     If needed, a comparability decision from the Finnish National Board of Education
  •     If necessary, translations of the above documents

The Cost of the Equivalency Certificate

A fee of EUR 126 is charged for an equivalency certificate. You will receive payment instructions after your request has been processed, provided that the requested certificate can be issued to you. You are required to show the receipt of your payment when picking up the completed equivalency certificate.

Equivalency certificate for biology

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Equivalency certificate for subjects taught in the Faculty of Science

The faculty of Science grants equivalency certificates for studies of 120 credits (cr) required for subject teachers in mathematics, physics, chemistry and geography and for studies of 60 cr in mathematics, physics, chemistry, geography or information technology.

If some of these studies have been included in a previous degree, it is possible to ask about required courses for obtaining teaching qualifications. These inquiries should be addressed to kumpula-student(at)helsinki.fi.

How can you do the additionally required studies?

If further studies are required to obtain the certificate, they can be done in either the Open University (mainly Finnish or Swedish courses in basic study modules) or by applying for a separate study right from the Faculty of Science. The application periods for non-degree studies in the Faculty of Science are

1 – 30 April (courses starting in the fall period) and
1 – 31 October (courses starting in the spring period).

More information about applying can be found here.

NB! No rights to complete non-degree studies are granted for geography.

How to apply for an Equivalency certificate?

You should apply for a certificate in writing. For subjects in the faculty of science (mathematics, physics, chemistry, geography, information technology) you can send the application to kumpula-student(at)Helsinki.fi. The application should include all the requested information mentioned above. If the studies have been done in other than Finnish university credits (opintopiste, opintoviikko) or ECTS-credits), the applicant needs to provide an account on how to convert study credits to either Finnish university credits (opintopiste, opintoviikko) or ECTS-credits.

The equivalency certificate application is usually processed in three weeks (exceptions are the summer and the Christmas times).

Equivalency certificate applications are not processed during July (the period of 1.-31.7.).