Subject teacher education programme (STEP)

The Subject Teacher Education Programme in English (STEP) is a one-year (60 ECTS) programme for students willing to qualify as subject teachers in comprehensive and upper secondary school in Finland.

Today's teacher needs to have the knowledge and tools for teaching their own subject and being a creative and supportive innovator of active learning and teaching in order to engage students in cross-curricular activities and projects that are tied to real-life contexts. The programme helps the future teacher to develop into a professional in the planning, implementation, evaluation, and development of teaching. Read more about teacher qualifications from website of the Finnish National Agency for Education.

STEP offers an environment where cooperation and collaboration between the students and teachers of different disciplines are strengthened and encouraged. The future teachers of both languages and science subjects study together and have an opportunity to search for common interests and create learning environments across different subjects. STEP is an intercultural, and interdisciplinary subject teacher education programme that preserves the strengths of Finnish teacher education while taking into account the multicultural student body in diverse school contexts.

Admission procedures to STEP can be seen here.

Study rights

Basic degree students

The study right for the Subject Teacher Education Programme is valid as long as the admitted applicants’ study right for their basic degree studies (Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees or Master’s degree programme) is valid.

If a student graduates and has not completed the programme, the student must within a year after completing the Master’s studies, make a transfer application of the study right to the separate student’s study right. After one year, one cannot make this transfer. If a person wants to complete the pedagogical studies after one year of graduation, he or she must apply to a programme through the normal student selection in the separate selection quota.

The transfer application can be written in free form but must include the following information:

  • personal information (name, birth date, student number, contact information)
  • teaching subject

Please send the application in pdf file format to Siltavuori Student Services.

Separate students

For a student admitted into STEP in the separate selection quota, the study right is limited to two years. For example, for the students selected in the separate selection quota in 2017, the study right is valid from 1 August 2017 until 31 July 2019. Please note that studies in STEP must be completed in a certain order.

The separate selection student can, however, apply for the extension of study right for one year. The extension is granted only for valid personal reasons (pregnancy, sickness, military service etc.).

The application for the extension of study right must include the following information:

  • personal information (name, birth date, student number, contact information)
  • teaching subject
  • a list of the STEP studies completed by the student
  • an estimate for the schedule of completion of the remaining studies

Please send the application in pdf file format to Siltavuori Student Services.

Structure of studies

Subject Teacher Education Programme includes 60 ECTS credits of teachers' pedagogical studies. The studies comprise 25 ECTS of basic studies and 35 ECTS of intermediate studies. The studies are divided into four periods and designed in such a way that the whole programme can be completed in one academic year. As a rule, the studies require full-time studying and they include a great deal of contact teaching where attendance is mandatory. Structure of studies can be seen here.

Attendance is mandatory in all group teaching. Absences must be agreed upon with the responsible teacher who can give replacing tasks, but please note that it is not possible to replace all absences with written work as interaction is an important aspect of teacher education. Please keep in mind that students must attend at least 85% of the group sessions of a particular course.

The pedagogical studies for teachers can be completed in the scope of 15 or 18 credits if the student has a decision on comparability of a higher university degree from the Ministry of Education or the Finnish National Board of Education for a subject teacher’s degree. The 15- credit degree requirement applies to those who are granted the decision on comparability after 1.1.2008 (according to the decree 1206/2007). If the decision on comparability has been granted before 1.1.2008, the student completes studies in the scope of 18 credits.

Registration to courses

Registering for STEP courses is done in WebOodi. To log into WebOodi, you need an IT username to the university's network.

Teaching Practices

STEP has two teaching practices:

  • Basic Practice 10 cr
  • Advanced Practice 10 cr

Teaching practice is carried out in schools in the Greater Helsinki area (field schools). The decision for placements is made by the Faculty of Educational Sciences.

During the practice periods, students familiarize themselves with the school community, observe and analyze lessons run by others, and plan and teach their own lessons. Students also participate in group guidance and get reflection guidance for their development as a teacher at the Faculty of Educational Sciences.

Students complete their practices in only one subject, but they can be qualified to teach other subjects if they have (or later acquire) an equivalency certificate for the subjects in question.

Criminal Records Extract

According to the Universities Act (954/2011, 37 a-b, 41 a and 43 a-d §), the University must check the  criminal records extract from students completing teaching practice and on-the-job -learning with under 18-year-olds. This applies to students who have received their study right or separate study right after 1.1.2012.

For STEP students, the extract is checked once during their studies, i.e. before the Basic Practice period.

The extract must be presented to the STEP Educational Planner. Students will be notified of the date after studies start. Students cannot begin their practice if they have not presented the extract. If the extract causes action, the one who checks the extract will be in contact with the student, field school, and other necessary parties.

Students who have, after turning 18, lived in other EEA-countries, must deliver extract from the countries in question. Faculty of Educational Sciences does not have an obligation to check extracts granted from outside the EEA-countries. The extracts can be ordered and more information received of the process from the Oikeusrekisterikeskus > "Application for a criminal records extract: students practical training".

Extract obtained for studies is free of charge. The time of delivery is about 7 working days and the extract cannot be ordered over the phone. The extract on criminal background must not be older than six months when presented to the STEP Educational Planner.


Degree student

When a degree student has completed both Basic and Intermediate Studies in Education (60 cr), an additional clause concerning the completed "Pedagogical Studies for Teachers" will be written into his or her Master’s degree certificate. The completed studies will also be marked into the official study transcript.

A separate certificate will not be given to a degree student, but a student can order the official study transcript that shows that he or she has completed the studies.

If the pedagogical studies are completed as separate studies after a Master’s degree, the qualification for the subjects taught in basic education or in the upper secondary school must be proved with an equivalency certificate (vastaavuustodistus) given by the subject faculty. The equivalency certificate is needed at the time of applying for a teaching position in a comprehensive or upper secondary school.

Separate Selection Student

A separate certificate will be given to a student who has completed the Pedagogical Studies for Teachers (60 cr) as a separate selection student. The language of the certificate is English. The Faculty does not grant STEP certificates in Finnish or Swedish.

1. The certificate writing process will begin without a separate application after the overall grades for both the Basic and Intermediate Studies in Education are aggregated by a study secretary. The study secretary has one month to aggregate the studies after the last completed study unit.

2. After the aggregation of STEP studies has been sent to the Faculty of Educational Sciences, the certificate writing process takes at least two weeks.

3. The certificate will be mailed to the student to his or her address found in WebOodi. If you want to reclaim the certificate from the Student Services at Siltavuori, contact Siltavuori Student Services.