Language and communication studies in Bachelor’s degree

In accordance with the Universities of Applied Sciences Act, everyone graduated with a Bachelor’s degree knows at least two European languages besides his/her mother tongue. The extent of the language and communication studies at SAMK varies in each degree programme.

Language and communication studies in Bachelor's degree

The English degree programmes have slightly different language studies from the Finnish ones. The target level of English studies for a Bachelor’s degree has been defined to level B2 and of Swedish studies to B1 in the grading of the CEFR, Common European Framework of Reference.

In accordance with the Universities of Applied Sciences Act, everyone graduated with a Bachelor’s degree knows at least two European languages besides his/her mother tongue. The extent of the language and communication studies at SAMK varies in each degree programme. The English degree programmes have slightly different studies from the Finnish ones. The target level of English studies for a Bachelor’s degree has been defined to level B2 and in Swedish studies to B1 in the grading of the CEFRCommon European Framework of Reference.

Language proficiency levels according to Common European Framework of Reference

The language proficiency is described with a six-level scale:

Proficient user:
C2 Perfect, precise and correct use of language in complex situations
C1 Diverse and effective use of language

Independent user:
B2 Fluent and spontaneous communication
B1 Deals with the language whilst travelling

Basic user:
A2 Social interaction and brief descriptions
A1 Basic needs and very familiar topics with simple phrases

Target levels in different levels of education 

upper secondary school/high school/sixth form college: Swedish B1, English B2
upper secondary vocational education and training: Swedish A1 – A2, English A2 – B2
institutes of higher education/universities: Swedish B1, English B2

N.B. The aim of the language studies at the university is to broaden the skills towards a profession/discipline, not to raise from one level to another.

The Master’s degrees do not include compulsory language and communication studies.

Studies included in Bachelor’s degree

Depending on your degree programme at SAMK, you will complete at least the following compulsory language and communication studies:
  • Foreign language, English: 3 -10 cr
  • Second national language, Swedish: 3 – 5 cr (Finnish students) or Finnish: 3 – 5 cr (non-Finnish students in English degree programmes)
  • Professional communication: 3 cr
  • Research communication: 2 cr

(unofficial translation)
Universities of Applied Sciences Act 

§ 7
Language skills  

During the studies included in the degree of a university of applied sciences or otherwise, the student must demonstrate to have acquired:

1)    such language skills in Finnish and Swedish which are required of state officials functioning in a bilingual office of a public organization according to Act 424/2003 and which are necessary for practicing the profession and for further professional development; and

2)    such spoken and written skills in one or two foreign languages which are necessary for practicing the profession and for further professional development.

What is decreed by clause 1 does not apply to a student who has acquired his/her school education in other language than Finnish or Swedish, nor a student who has acquired his/her school education abroad. Thus the language skills requirements are decided by the university of applied sciences.

The university of applied sciences, based on a special reason, can exempt the student partly or entirely from the language requirements decreed in clause 1. The language skills acquired by the student are presented in the degree certificate. Records of the language skills in Finnish and Swedish must observe the Government decree (481/2003) § 19 issued by the state administration.

Government decree on demonstrating language skills in Finnish and Swedish in state administration:

19 §
Records of language skills in higher education certificate 

The degree certificate of a higher education institution degree must include the language of school instruction and the language with which the student has completed the language test or studies demonstrating spoken and written skills in the country’s second language.

Language studies in degree programmes (Requires OneDrive login)

In addition to these, you can take elective and preliminary language studies.

Recognition of Prior Learning, Inclusion and Exemption from language studies

Have you completed language or communication studies during your earlier institute of higher education/university studies or acquired proficiency in some other way? -> Based on that, you can apply for an RPL substitution. The recognition of prior learning means substituting studies belonging to the degree programme’s curriculum with corresponding institute of higher education/university level studies.

  • It is the student’s responsibility to submit an application and prove the competencies.
  • To recognize your own proficiency, you have to take a close look at the degree programme’s curriculum.
  • The RPL application is submitted in the eServices system.
    Substitution refers to a procedure, where the studies which are part of the curriculum of a degree are substituted by equivalent studies from another higher education institution. A certificate for these studies is required from the higher education institution. The substitution application is directed to Mari Linna, team leader of languages and communication.
    Inclusion is a procedure, where the studies completed in another higher education institution either before starting the present studies at SAMK or during them are accepted as part of the degree. A certificate for these studies is required from the higher education institution. The studies are registered in Loki under the name used to complete them, e.g. exchange studies abroad or elective studies. The inclusion application is directed to the degree programme coordinator.
    Exemption from language studies means that the student is entirely exempt from completing compulsory language studies for a particular reason. The student completes other studies instead of the studies given exemption for.The exemption application is directed to Jaana Vase, Dean.Loki student desktop has a link to the eServices system.

Language studies in another higher education institution

Foreign language, usually English

a)    Statutory language skills shown previously in another Finnish degree are included in the degree studied.
b)    If the student has shown the required language skills by completing equivalent studies or studies at the same level (CEFR) in another Finnish higher education institution and the studies are not included in any degree, the language studies are accepted as such even if the extent is not quite the same if it is not more than ten years since the completion of the studies. Over ten-year old language studies, which are not included in any degree, are primarily not directly included in the degree being studied, but competence is shown by demonstration of competence.
c) If the student has shown the required language skills by completing equivalent studies or studies at the same level (CEFR) with similar goals in a foreign higher education institution, the language studies are accepted as such even if the content is not quite the same, if it is not more than ten years since the completion of the studies. Over ten-year old language studies are primarily not directly included in the degree being studied but competence is shown by demonstration of competence.

Second national language

a)    Statutory language skills shown previously in another Finnish degree are included in the degree studied.
b) If the student has shown the required language skills by completing equivalent studies or studies at the same level (CEFR) with similar goals in a Finnish higher education institution, and the studies are not included in any degree, the language studies are accepted even if the extent is not quite the same.
c) If the student has completed the National Certificate of Language Proficiency (YKI certificate) at least at level three (3) or the Civil Service Language Proficiency Certificate, the student applies for demonstration of competence based on the certificate. (Government Decree 481/2003 on the Demonstration of Language Skills in Finnish and Swedish in Public Administration, Act on the Knowledge of Languages Required of Personnel in Public Bodies 424/2003).

Exemption from compulsory language studies

The student can for a particular reason be partly or entirely exempted from completing compulsory language studies stipulated in Act 1129/2014 § 7. Particular reasons include the following a) the student has not studied the language before b) the language is the student’s native language or c) other reason, e.g. a diagnosed severe dyslexia or other verified learning difficulty, which affects language learning.

This means that the student does not need to complete the compulsory language studies in a foreign language and/or in one national language included in the curriculum. However, exemption does not decrease the number of credits required for the degree and the student has to complete other studies with the same number of credits as the compulsory language studies. If possible, these studies should support language studies. However, if the student has clearly problems in learning languages, he or she can complete other studies which support the degree studies. Information on the exemption is marked in the supplement of the diploma.

The entire procedural instructions on completing the studies and exemptions from the compulsory language studies can be found in Quality manual, in ARC.

ME1202 Completing studies (ARC requires SAMK-login)

ME1203 Exemption from language studies (ARC requires SAMK-login)