General upper secondary education in different languages

There are some general upper secondary schools in Helsinki where you can study in a language other than Finnish or Swedish. Please note that the marticulation examination you have to take in Finnish or Swedish, but the International Baccalaureate (IB programme) is taught and completed fully in English. Learn more about the different options in Helsinki and our neighbouring cities!
Photo: Jussi Hellsten

In general upper secondary education, you study many of the same school subjects as in comprehensive school. In addition to the compulsory studies, you study optional subjects, and get to plan your individual study path. In the city's general upper secondary schools in Helsinki, you can study in the general track or apply to a general upper secondary school that has a special emphasis, such as physical education, languages, technology or visual arts. 

Most of the general upper secondary school provide teaching in Finnish or Swedish, and the National Matriculation Examination that you must take at the end of your studies to graduate is available only in Finnish or Swedish. For these reasons, you should have good skills in Finnish or Swedish before applying.

General upper secondary school usually starts in the year you turn 16 and take two to four years to finish, depending on your pace. To graduate from general upper secondary education, you need to complete the general upper secondary syllabus of 150 study credits and pass the National Matriculation Examination in your final year. 

The city of Helsinki has 15 general upper secondary schools that can be applied to during the joint application period in the spring. The Konepaja Upper Secondary School for Adults offers Finnish-language upper secondary syllabi for adults. At Tölö gymnasium Upper Secondary School, adults can study upper secondary syllabi in Swedish. You can sign up for courses at both of these upper secondary schools flexibly all year round.

Have you completed basic education in Finland or in another country? Would you like to improve your skills before entering general upper secondary or vocational education and training, or strengthen your Finnish or Swedish language skills before starting upper secondary studies? 

In that case, you should consider preparatory education for an upper secondary qualification in Finnish (TUVA) or Swedish (Hux), which can also be a good option if you wish to refine your plans for further studies and improve your basic education grades. 

TUVA and Hux also allow you to study vocational qualification and general upper secondary school units, which can be accredited to a later degree. 

Read more:

Almost all upper secondary education requires good Finnish or Swedish language skills. You should also study Finnish or Swedish because proficiency in Finnish or Swedish will increase your chances and opportunities to apply for further studies. Also, many employers value proficiency in Finnish or Swedish.

Where to learn Finnish

Where to learn Swedish

English-language options the City's general upper secondary schools 

You can complete your studies fully or partly in English at the following general upper secondary schools run by the City of Helsinki: 

The IB programme at Ressu Upper Secondary School is completed fully in English.

Helsinki Upper Secondary School of Languages offers a bilingual Finnish-English study programme, which uses both languages in the teaching. Please note that you can take the matriculation examination tests only in Finnish.

Options in private and state-run general upper secondary schools

In Helsinki, there are also private general upper secondary schools that provide opportunities to study in different languages. Additionally, some study options are available in English in other municipalities near Helsinki. Read more about each general upper secondary school on their own websites.