School of Education

Postgraduate Medical Education in Finland

Riikka Kemppinen (25) is a fifth year medical student from Helsinki, Finland.

How many hours a week do you spend on your study?

It depends on the course that you are involved in. I have around 25-35 hours obligatory teachings per week. On top of that we might have to examine patients or spend some time at the emergency room. Furthermore, I study around two hours per week for exams but I think that is an extremely low figure – some people might study up to 15-20 hours per week.

Is it financially possible for everyone to study medicine?

Medical education in Finland is for free. The government supports our studies by giving each student a study grant of €300 and housing supplement of €27-200 depending on your housing costs. On top of that you can get government guarantee for a student loan €300 a month that you have to pay back with interest once you are finished. All in all, I get €470 from the government each month. To give you some perspective, my rent is €456 a month.

What do you think is the best part of medical education in Finland?

In Finland it is possible to start working as a doctor once you have finished your fourth year. I think this is really motivating and gives us invaluable clinical experience in an early stage. Because we can start working so early the education is also very practically oriented. We don’t need to know all the molecules and pathways by heart but we need to know how to diagnose, how to treat and when to send to a specialist.

What is the biggest difference between studying medicine in Finland and countries?

In Finland medicine is definitely one of the toughest fields at the university and it is fairly difficult to get in as probably everywhere in the world. Still I feel that compared to many other countries medical school in Finland is not that time consuming and competitive. Describe your life in 2020… I would really need a crystal ball for this! I haven’t really planned my life that far. Besides medicine I am studying to become a contemporary dance teacher and my nearest goal is to graduate from both schools by 2014. After that I’ll be a happy dancing doctor!

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Popular Q&A

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Where will a 'Postgraduate Certificate in Education' allow you to teach (UK)?

I really know nothing about this, but Birmingham Conservatoire of Music that I want to go to has a 4 year course that I want to take. But, if I take a five year course, there is an integrated PGCE. All I want to know is, where will it allow me to teach? Secondary schools? Or will it allow me to teach in a college? If not, what qualification would I need to teach in a college?
Thanks. (:

Technically a PGCE will allow you to teach any age and any subject regardless of what you train in. However I'd guess that the integrated PGCE will enable you to be a secondary school music teacher. Primary PGCE's enable you to teach all subjects at Primary level. Secondary PGCE's you have to choose a specialist subject (usually the subject of your degree). Further Ed requires a PGCftE. Give the music department a buzz and get them to clarify exactly what PGCE it is.
For further ed take a look at the GTTR ( - it's UCAS but for PGCE's. A quick look shows that Birmingham City University …

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