Aalto Handbook

Aalto University language guidelines

Aalto University’s language guidelines support the development of the University as an internationally esteemed university established on Finnish strengths. The Aalto University Language guidelines are designed to support our university on its journey towards becoming a multicultural and multilingual environment where everyone is a full member of the community. In addition, the guidelines focus on the continual development of our two national languages as languages of science, and emphasise the value of language quality as an increasingly important indicator of high quality of all activities and operations.

Language guidelines approved by the President on 18.4.2019 ( President’s decision, Dnro D/360/

I Aalto University's language policy

At Aalto University, internationalisation and multiculturalism are built on the basis of Finnish bilingualism. The University's language policies follow these principles:

  • Working languages are Finnish, Swedish and English.
  • Everyone may participate in discussions.
  • Multiculturalism is a strength.
  • Good communication skills are valued.

II International and Multicultural Aalto University

As per the Aalto University strategy, the purpose of the language guidelines are to ensure that the Aalto community can internationalise without diminishing the role of the national languages, Finnish and Swedish, in academic discourse. Operating in an officially bilingual country, Aalto University is required by law to provide education and certain services in both Finnish and Swedish. In the language guidelines, the national legislation and regulations on languages have been taken into account. Therefore, the University embraces Finnish, Swedish and English as its working languages. 

III  A Multilingual Culture

The language guidelines promote multilingualism and multiculturalism at Aalto University. International members of the Aalto community have opportunities to learn about Finnish culture and to learn Finnish and/or Swedish. Language and multicultural training is available for all members of the community.

Aalto University:

  • encourages linguistic diversity and the parallel use of languages within the community
  • develops working methods and lays the foundation for high-quality communications
  • recognises the challenges of internationalisation
  • carries out teaching and research in Finnish and Swedish in order to ensure the academic use and development of the national languages
  • supports the integration of international students and staff.

IV   Multilingualism in Practice

1)      Research

  • Research publications are characterised by fluent and consistent language. 
  • Aalto University actively develops Finnish and Swedish academic terminology with different collaboration networks.

2)      Learning and teaching

  • Aalto University’s languages of degree are Finnish, Swedish and English. Aalto University’s main languages of instruction are Finnish, English and – in the fields of science, art and technology – Swedish as well.
  • In the fields of science, art and technology, Swedish-medium teaching is provided and Swedish-speaking students’ learning is supported in Swedish.
  • Students who have applied to complete their bachelor’s degree in Finnish or Swedish shall have the possibility to pursue also master’s-level studies in that language.
  • All bachelor’s and master’s programmes must include in their intended learning outcomes the attainment of the language, communication, and intercultural skills relevant to the field of study.
  • Good communication, language and people skills are part of the pedagogical requirements for teaching staff. Teachers are provided with pedagogical support and training.

3)     Services

  • All Aalto students and staff members are given the opportunity to study Finnish, Swedish and English.    
  • Aalto University offers high-quality editing, translation and proofreading services in Finnish, Swedish and English.  
  • Documents are written in fluent language, where key terms are used consistently.
  • Key documents concerning education are available in Finnish, Swedish and English. Internal documents concerning academic administration and services (such as forms, decisions and instructions) are available mainly in Finnish and English.
  • Aalto staff and students can participate in the activities of various working groups and committees of the university.

4)    Communications

  • Communications are conducted with an awareness of the situation, the communications channel and the language to serve the intended audience. 
  • The Aalto University website aalto.fi is published and maintained in Finnish, English and, when necessary, in Swedish.

V.  Implementation and support for multilingualism at Aalto University

  • The implementation of the language guidelines is the responsibility of the provost of Aalto University.
  • The measures required by the language guidelines as well as the resources allocated to implement them are part of the day-to-day operations of Aalto University.
  • Aalto University has employees whose primary duty is to support Swedish- and English-speaking students and to ensure fluent communications in those languages. 
  • Published:
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