There are 13 universities and 23 universities of applied sciences in the Ministry of Education and Culture sector. Higher education institutions are mainly multi-field institutions.
University-level education is also provided by a military institution of higher education, the National Defence University, which is part of the Defence Forces. At university of applied sciences level there is the Åland University of Applied Sciences in the self-governing Province of Åland and the Police University College of Finland subordinate to the Ministry of the Interior.
Both types of HE institutions have their own purposes according to legislation.
The purpose of universities is to:
- promote independent academic research and academic and artistic education
- provide higher education based on research
The purpose of universities of applied sciences is to:
- provide higher education for professional expert jobs based on the requirements of working life.
- carry out applied research, development and innovation activities and artistic activities that promote industry, business and regional development and regenerate the industrial structure of the region
Universities provide bachelor's, master's and third-cycle postgraduate degrees. Students at universities of applied sciences can complete bachelor’s and master's degrees. In addition, universities and universities of applied sciences can provide professional specialisation programmes and non-degree study modules.