The mission of universities is to conduct scientific research and provide undergraduate and postgraduate education based on it.
Under the Universities Act, universities must promote free research as well as scientific and artistic education, provide higher education based on research, and educate students to serve their country and humanity. In carrying out this mission, universities must interact with the surrounding society and strengthen the impact of research findings and artistic activities on society.
The traditional university sector consists of multi-faculty universities, universities of technology, business schools and art academies, all of which carry out research, provide under- and postgraduate education based on research and award degrees up to doctorates.
All the universities in Finland are state-owned and mostly financed from the state budget. Their operations are based on freedom of education and research and university autonomy.
The Finnish matriculation examination provides general eligibility for university education. The same eligibility is also provided by the International Baccalaureate (IB), European Baccalaureate (EB) and Reifeprüfung examinations.
Universities select their students independently and decide on the field-specific student intake according to the agreed target number of degrees. The numbers are determined in performance negotiations between the Ministry of Education and the universities. There is restricted entry to all fields of study. As there are many more applicants than there are places available, universities use different kinds of student admission criteria.