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English language requirements

English language requirements

To be updated

As an applicants to an International Master’s Programmes taught in English you must always prove your level of proficiency in the English language in accordance with the instructions below.

You can prove your level of language proficiency in English by submitting one of the following English-language test scores to your application:

  • IELTS Academic (International English Language Testing System): Scores in the Academic test with an average of 6.5, with no individual scores below 5.5. Even if you have the minimum score required in the different sections, you will not be eligible if the required total score is not achieved. Note that the IELTS General Test score is not accepted. For more information see  http://www.ielts.org/.
  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language): Total scores of at least 575 points in the paper-based test (PBT), or 92 in the Internet-based test (iBT). The Test of Written English (TWE) is required for those taking the paper-based TOEFL test. A score of at least 22 is required in writing.
    In addition to this it is recommended that applicants from China and East Asia, unless they take the iBT test, take the TSE (Test of Spoken English) if they have not studied in one of the following countries: Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, New Zealand or USA. The required score in the TSE is 45.
    The TOEFL reporting code for Åbo Akademi University is 9880. For more information see  http://www.ets.org/toefl/.
  • PTE Academic (Pearson’s test of English): Total score of at least 62 points. Once you receive your test score send it to Åbo Akademi University from your PTE account. Choose Finland as the “Country” and Åbo as the “City”, then select the university you want to send your results to and confirm your order. After this, ÅAU should have access to your test results within 48 hours. Be advised that online language test results will only be accepted from the test organiser. For more information see www.pearsonpte.com.
    C1 Advanced: The required grade in C1 Advanced is C or higher. For more information see https://www.cambridgeenglish.org/exams-and-tests/advanced/.
  • C2 Proficiency: The required grade in C2 Proficiency is Level C1 or higher. For more informations see https://www.cambridgeenglish.org/exams-and-tests/proficiency/
  • National Certificate of Language Proficiency in the English language (The Finnish Yleinen kielitutkinto, YKI-tutkinto): Proficiency level 5. For more information see www.oph.fi/en/national-certificates-language-proficiency-yki

Note that:

  • No other English proficiency test is accepted
  • When taking the test the applicant should choose Åbo Akademi UnIversity as a recipient of his/her results where possible
  • You must attach a copy of the results to your online application
  • The test results must be valid and verifiable at the test organizer at least 14 days after the end of the application period; most results are valid only for two years

Even if you have received your secondary or university education in English, you must still prove your knowledge of English by submitting one of the test scores listed above. This applies also to applicants from English-speaking countries (exceptions are listed below).

All language test results must be sent to the university directly from the testing centre or be verifiable through the testing agency. The results must be delivered to the university by the application deadline.

It is always your responsibility as an applicant to make testing arrangements for yourself and to make sure the test results are delivered on time. You must also attach a scanned copy of the test result to your application. Be advised that it may take several weeks before the test results are published, and thus we recommend you to book your test well in advance.

  • For the IELTS test, it usually takes at least 13 days for the results to be published after you have taken the test.
  • Test results for PTE Academic are typically available within 5 working days following the test session.

Applicants are themselves responsible for all costs regarding the English language testing.


Applicants with a bachelor’s degree from a programme given in Finnish or Swedish

If you have a bachelor’s degree from a Finnish university or university of applied sciences, you can be exempted from the language requirements if you have demonstrated language skills in the English language according to the requirements within your degree (applied to degree programmes given in Finnish and Swedish).


Applicants who have received their secondary or university education in English

If you have received your secondary or university education in English you still must prove your knowledge of English by submitting one of the test scores listed above (IELTS, PTE Academic, TOEFL, C1 or C2).

You can be exempted from this rule if you have received your secondary education in English or have completed a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree with English as the language of instruction, in a university or university level institution in one of the following countries:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Ireland
  • New Zealand
  • the United Kingdom
  • the United States
  • an EU/EEA country or
  • Switzerland

You can be waived this requirement if:

  • the official language of instruction has been English AND it is indicated in their Bachelor’s or Master’s degree certificates AND
  • the degree programme has been completed in one of the countries mentioned above

Note that degrees completed as distance education or studies on an off-shore campus are not accepted even though the degree would be issued by a university in one of the countries listed above.

Students with so called double degrees where a degree has been issued from one of the countries listed above but the majority of studies have been completed at a campus outside the countries listed above should contact Åbo Akademi University before the application deadline to find out if the language requirement is fulfilled.


Former exchange students

If you are a former exchange student at Åbo Akademi University and are applying to one of our Master’s Degree Programmes taught in English you do not need to prove your level of English by submitting a test result if you can show a good study record from your exchange period.

A good study record means that you have completed at least 20 credits (ECTS) during one term during your exchange and hence proven that you are able to study in English at Åbo Akademi University.

If you are a current exchange student you may also be exempted from the English language test by recommendation of the professor responsible for the Master’s Degree Programme you are applying to. You must in such cases enclose the recommendation with the application. Also a certificate of attendance issued by Åbo Akademi University must in this case be submitted.


Students from partner universities

In some cases the faculty can exempt applicants to Master’s degree programmes from certain partner universities from taking the English language test.
If you are from such a partner university you do not need to submit one of the language tests listed above but should instead ask your professor at the partner university to write a recommendation.
At the moment this exception only applies to applicants from certain partner universities to the Master’s Degree Programme in International Law and Human Rights. Please see their information for more details.


Proof of language proficiency through separate assessment (only for applicants to the MDP in Social Exclusion, MA)

Students who do not have the above-mentioned test results can in the application form apply for the right to be assessed separately by the coordinators of the Master´s Degree Programme in Social Exclusion. Only applicants who hold a degree that render them eligible for the program are preliminarily considered to be granted the right to get their level of proficiency in the English language tested.


Swedish language requirements for domestic applicants

Domestic applicants (i.e. applicants with domestic educational qualifications giving access to university education) to the International master’s degree programmes (taught in English) does not need to prove their knowledge of Swedish language when applying to the programme.

However, domestic students who are admitted to an English-language programme have to fulfil the general language requirements in Finnish and Swedish before graduation from the programme. For more information on the language requirements for domestic students see:


Updated 25.9.2020