Studying and Living in Finland LUT Alumni Experience by Aisulu Harjula

Graduating university in Finland and abroad

When the Master’s thesis is almost done and you have gained required amount of credits, you are almost ready to graduate. What’s next?

In Finland students can graduate Master’s program at almost any time and are granted a study right which is usually a longer than the required period of studies. I have already written a post about public defense and shared my story of graduation. I know that in many countries students can graduate only once a year and have strict limited time to complete studies and prepare for the defense (both Bachelor and Master students). If they don’t meet deadlines to graduate it might turn to be very difficult to get the degree (like because of being kicked out of university).


I graduated Bachelor of Physics at Tomsk Polytechnic University, Russia. It was four difficult years with strict deadlines to complete the degree, with the final defense and the state exam. At the end we had an official graduation ceremony with a concert during which we sang ourselves a graduation song on a stage. 

At LUT Masters and Doctoral graduations are held at the end of each month together (except 31st of December). Students need to submit theses for an assessment one months before the graduation date and pass a maturity test (and doctoral students need to defend dissertations). When everything is passed well, they are invited to the graduation ceremony. It’s a public event and a graduate can invite up to three guests for the coffee and cake after the ceremony. However Bachelor graduates don’t have any graduation ceremony.


Graduation at LUT was in winter. I remember how wonderful it was to get and hold my Master’s degree diploma (MSIS – Master in Management, Innovation and Sustainability)

gsom (2)_Fotor

I also graduated the Graduate School of Management, St Petersburg State University – which was my first school in the double Master’s degree with LUT. 

At LUT the graduation ceremony takes place in a big auditorium. Masters and PhD students from different fields graduate in the same ceremony in turn. They come one by one to the head of study affairs, get a diploma, shake hands, take a rose and glass of champagne and take place on the stage. When all graduates are on the stage, the head of study affairs congratulates the students, lifts the glass of champagne and all graduates drink at the same time. Although glass of champagne is a symbolic cheer of graduation, this is the first time I have seen an official academic event with champagne offer. In many countries official parts of academic events are just formal.

lut3Graduation ceremony at LUT

After that there is a time interval for taking pictures and later all graduates and guests come back to their places in the auditorium. Usually an academic member and a couple of students have their speeches (students can submit a speech before graduation and chosen speakers get some money reward for public speeches), and the ceremony ends with a beautiful singing of students’ male choir. They sing traditional Finnish graduation songs and other songs depending on the season.


About The Author

Researcher at LUT, Master of Economics, LUT & GSOM Saint Petersburg State University. Focus on Strategy, Innovation and Sustainability. Background in natural sciences.