Frequently asked questions
Answers to the most frequently asked questions
I have never studied at the Open University, but I would like to. What should I do?
Aalto University Open University is open to anyone regardless of age or educational background. You should start by thinking about your goals: are you planning to take individual courses or complete a study module?
Browse the Open University course list and filter out courses according to your chosen search criteria.
There are three terms: autumn (September–December), spring (January–May) and summer (May–August). Each term has a different registration period (starting in August for the autumn term, in November–December for the spring term and in April for the summer term). You may start your studies during any term. You have to register for each course separately, and you can do so until the registration deadline specified in the course description for as long as there are places left on the course.
When you decide to start studying at the Open University, you should:
- familiarize yourself with the course selection and the prerequisites
- register as a user of the Aimo course registration service
- read through the payment instructions and register for courses in the Aimo service
- get an Aalto user ID
- familiarize yourself with the study and exam practices of the course of your choice and follow the course pages of the course, usually located in the Aalto University MyCourses learning environment
- after the course, check that your credits have been entered in the Sisu student information system which will be in use starting 9.8.2021 (sisu.aalto.fi). You can request an official transcript of records from Open University office.
For practical information and tips on studying, it is also worth reading the Aalto University website on general study skills.
I applied to Aalto University by taking an entrance examination this spring, but I wasn’t admitted. How can I further my studies at the Open University?
Open University studies allow you to complete parts of a university degree. You may take individual courses or complete study modules of different subjects.
Credits for Open University studies may be transferred to a university degree at a later time by decision of the institution granting the degree.
For example, the field of business allows you to take courses included in the Fundamentals of Business Knowledge module, which is usually taken by the degree students of the Aalto University School of Business during their first year of studies. You can take the courses in any order you wish. You can also take language courses or other courses you would like to include in your future degree. All credits for business courses you have taken at the Aalto University Open University may be transferred to your Bachelor or Master of Science (Economics and Business Administration) if you later gain admission to the Aalto University School of Business as a degree student. Please see our web pages for further information.
Those who have pursued studies in the field of technology at the Open University also have the possibility to be admitted into an Aalto University degree programme in technology without an entrance examination and regardless of their educational background, provided they meet the requirements of the spring route.
If needed, please contact our student advisors (avoin(at)aalto.fi) in order to book an appointment for personal study advising.
Where can I find information on the courses offered at the Open University?
For the most up-to-date information on the courses offered each term, please see our course list.
Do you have a minimum attendance requirement on lectures?
Basic courses do not necessarily require attendance. Some courses, however, for instance most language courses, do require regular attendance in class or allow very few missed classes. Courses that are based on in-class assignments naturally require attendance; also exercise sessions related to some courses may be compulsory. To make sure you know the requirements, you should always attend the first lecture of any course.
The courses of the Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture usually require an 80% attendance rate.
Can I study alongside work?
Yes. Open University courses are usually organized in the evening (or on weekends), so you can easily attend classes after the workday. In the spring and autumn terms, there are also places offered on courses primarily intended for Aalto University degree students, held on weekdays between 8 am and 8 pm.
How long is a lecture of one hour in reality?
One lecture is 45 minutes.
Do lectures start on the hour, e.g. at 16.00?
The course descriptions of the courses organized by the Open University tell you the actual starting time of the lectures.
You should arrive at the first lecture in good time to hear of any exceptional starting times.
Where can I get advice on my studies?
You can call us during our telephone service hours or e-mail us at avoin(at)aalto.fi, or come to meet us in person during office hours.
Are Open University students eligible for student discounts?
Since studying at the Open University is considered part-time studying, our students are not eligible for the state-paid financial aid for students (study grant or student loan) or for any discounts or benefits given to full-time students.
Can I study at the Open University without losing my Unemployment Allowance or Labour Market Subsidy?
It is possible to pursue full-time studies without losing the right to unemployment benefits under certain conditions. You must agree on starting studies with your employment and economic development office (TE office) in advance. For details, go to: http://www.te-services.fi/te/en/index.html
I have a disability / health condition restricting my ability to study. What should I do?
If you need special support, please contact the Open University office preferably at the start of the course.
How do I register for courses?
For registration instructions, see under Registration.
Is it easy to find a place on your courses?
Students are selected in the order of registration. Most courses are easy to find a seat on, but for certain courses there are always more applicants than there are available places.
How long is registration possible?
Detailed instructions on registration are given under the heading Fee in the course description. The course descriptions are linked to the Studyinfo portal, where the text ‘Continuous application’ mentioned on the top right of the Application process tab refers to the ongoing term, not to a specific course.
Can I transfer my enrollment onto a different course after registration?
No. You have to cancel your enrollment for the first course and then register for the other one according to our standard registration practice. For information on cancelling your registration, please see Fees and cancellation policy.
Why can’t you take more students on the course although there appears to be places left?
As many courses have no minimum attendance requirement, there may be free seats in the lecture hall on some lectures. That does not automatically mean that the course has places available.
We assign student places for the course in accordance with the maximum number of students agreed on with the teacher. Apart from the physical space available, the maximum number of students of a given course depends on the course type and teaching method. Some courses are based on interaction and have small groups, while others are based on listening to lectures and allow for a large number of participants.
Can I be given preference on the course wait list because I am applying for a right to pursue a degree based on my Open University studies and this is my last missing course?
No, you cannot, because Open University studies need to be equally available for everyone. We cannot give preference to anyone even if the course were necessary for, for instance, applying for a right to pursue a degree based on Open University studies.
You can, however, contact the Open University office, so we can go through your options for completing the course.
If the course is full, can I still be accepted if I only do the assignments and the exam?
If the course is designed to involve lectures, all those admitted must have an opportunity to attend lectures. Since we have no way of monitoring actual attendance we cannot admit more students than the maximum number agreed on. In the worst case, there might not be room for all those registered in the hall reserved for the course. However, in most cases, you can decide whether you wish to attend classes or not, because most courses do not have a minimum attendance requirement.
Can I come and listen to a lecture even though I’m not registered for the course?
No. While Open University courses are open for everyone regardless of background, you have to be formally admitted on the course, because there is a limited number of student places.
Since the cost of student administration must be equally distributed between all participants, we cannot accept ‘free riders’.
I’ve forgotten my password for the Aimo service
You can get a new password by e-mail by clicking on ‘With Aimo Service username and password’ and then on the link ‘Did you forget your password?’
The course I want to register for is not visible on the Aimo registration form
Check the course description to see if the registration period is still on. Refresh your browser by pressing the F5 key on your keyboard.
The Aimo service notifies me that my form is incomplete
Check that you have chosen all compulsory lecture and exercise groups. Try using a different browser or computer or updating your browser. If the problem persists, you can visit the Open University office to register.
A data field or button is not visible in the Aimo service
Try using a different browser or computer or updating your browser. If the problem persists, you can visit the Open University office to register.
My registration shows up as expired in the Aimo service
Your registration has failed, and you should redo it. If you paid the registration fee but your registration still shows up as expired, please contact the Open University office. Your registration expires if you spend over 20 minutes on your internet bank site or do not return to the Aimo service page after payment.
Does the Aimo service send me an e-mail notification upon successful registration?
Yes. If you do not receive an e-mail, you should contact the Open University office. Remember to include the ID number associated with the registration in the Aimo service. You can also check the status of your registration under Own transactions > Monitoring. ‘Processed’ status tells you your registration has been successful.
Can I register as a user of Aimo after registering for the course otherwise?
Yes. It is possible to register using your internet bank identifiers also after course registration. Log in with your username and password and authenticate yourself under System > User details.
How do I register for an exam in the Aimo service?
Registration for exams in the Aimo service has been divided into two periods: exams from 1 Jan to 30 June and from 1 July to 31 December.
To register for exams, go to the Aimo service, click on Own transactions > Course registration > Exam registration > choose the right exam period.
Register for the exam using the same IT account as you used for the course registration. If the system replies ‘You have not registered for the course associated with this exam’, it usually means that you have used different usernames to register for the course and the associated exams.
You can see the status of your registrations under Own transactions > Monitoring.
Do Aalto University degree students get a discount on the courses?
For details on fees charged per term, please see Fees.
Do students of other universities or JOO (flexible study right) students get a discount?
Do unemployed persons get a discount?
Can I complete the course in some other manner than that specified in the course description?
No. The course description specifies how the course may be completed. The teacher gives you detailed instructions on the course assignments, and you should follow the instructions given.
Do I have to take the exam associated with the course?
Yes, taking the exam is necessary for receiving credits or an attendance certificate for the course. The exam cannot be seen as separate from the course as it deepens your learning on the subject. Revising for the exam helps you grasp the course as a whole and remember what you have learnt, and the exam results tell you how well you have learnt the things taught on the course. Upon completion of your studies, you can get a transcript of records from Aalto University that allows you to certify your learning.
Is the exam oral or written?
Exams are usually written, with the exception of language courses, where part or the whole of the grade may be based on oral tests. This and other exceptional arrangements are mentioned in the course description.
Where is the exam held and when does it start?
Since the different fields of education of the Open University have varying practices, you should first check the field of study of your course and check the detailed exam instructions on the page of that field.
Can I come in late for the exam?
You should always arrive in good time before the exam. If you do arrive late, however, you will be allowed to enter within 30 minutes of the announced starting time of the exam. After that, you will not be let in the hall. Some exams do not allow latecomers.
Must I register for exams separately?
You must register for all course exams no later than 7 days before the exam. Since the different fields of education of the Open University have varying practices, you should first check the field of study of your course and see the detailed instructions on the page of that field.
Although I think I did really well in the exam, I got a low score. What can I do?
If you are unhappy with your exam results, you should contact the course teacher immediately after being informed of the grade. If you do not have the contact details of the teacher, you can get them at the Open University office. The teacher is obligated to explain the evaluation criteria used and their application in your case.
If you remain unsatisfied with the grading, you can appeal against it either orally or in writing to the teacher in charge of the grading. The appeal against a grade of a study attainment shall be filed within 14 days of the date on which the student has been offered the opportunity to see the results and the evaluation criteria applied to their study attainment.
Students dissatisfied with the decision of the teacher may appeal against the decision in writing to the Aalto University Academic Appeals Board within 14 days of receiving notification of the decision. The appeal shall arrive at the university before the closing time of the Registry (at 15.00) on the deadline date at:
Aalto University Academic Appeals Board
P.O. BOX 11000
The appeal must specify the following:
- student name and contact information (address, e-mail address and telephone number)
- date of student receiving notification of the decision
- decision (incl. name of the course and its teacher)
- the change sought with the appeal
- the grounds for the appeal (copies of documents on which the student bases his or her appeal if not already submitted to Aalto University)
Are those registered for a course sent an invitation letter?
No. You get an automatic e-mail message from the Aimo service immediately after successfully registering for the course.
What should I do if I am unable to attend the first lecture?
On language courses and other courses with small groups, you have to notify the teacher in advance by e-mail or phone that you will attend the course although you cannot make it to the first lecture to ensure that your seat is not given to someone else. Please note that attending the first lecture is compulsory on some courses. The first lecture often deals with practicalities such as course materials and requirements, so in order to stay informed, ask your fellow students or the teacher about the topics discussed in class.
I’m unable to attend a lecture. How can I access the material shared there?
You can get the materials either from the course website or from the teacher. As a rule, course materials are not available at the Open University office.
Where can I find coursebooks?
Aalto University Learning Centre provides a wide range of services, the core of which are the library and information services to support study and research. You can find all the coursebooks there. Keep in mind, however, that the coursebooks of the library are very popular, so you should borrow/reserve them well in advance. You may also find coursebooks in the other libraries of the Helsinki Metropolitan Area or in the Helsinki University Library.
Many of the coursebooks are also available in the libraries of Hanken School of Economics and the University of Helsinki.
How are study attainments evaluated?
Study attainments are evaluated either on a scale of 0–5, 5 (highest), 4, 3, 2, 1 (0 = fail) or on a Pass (hyv) / Fail (hyl) basis.
Do I get a certificate after the course?
Yes, if you wish you can get a transcript of records, which shows all the courses you have completed and their grades. You can order an official transcript of records or obtain it from the Open University office during its opening hours. You can also get the transcript in English.
If you have completed a minor study module and wish to get a certificate for it, you can order one. If necessary, contact the Open University office. The certificate for a study module is ordered from the department organizing the given module.
I have registered for a course and I have an Aalto user ID, but I am unable to access the MyCourses e-learning environment of the course. What can I do?
First remember that if you have just activated your Aalto user ID, it will take until the next day before you can log onto MyCourses and access all the course materials. Also make sure that you are not trying to log in with your Aimo username by mistake. Otherwise please contact the Open University office. You may accidentally still have an old ‘not registered’ status valid at Aalto University (or at one of its predecessors), which causes problems with the Aalto user ID.
How can I become a degree student at the School of Business through the Open University?
To gain a right to pursue a Master of Science (Economics and Business Administration), you must complete a minimum of 60 credits of specified studies at the Open University. For details on the requirements, see Kauppatieteiden väyläopinnoilla voit hakea tutkinto-opiskelijaksi
The admissions criteria are confirmed annually.
Is the required minimum grade average enough to be granted the right to pursue a degree?
To be eligible to apply through the Open University route to becoming a degree student, the weighted average grade of the courses (at least 60 credits) must be at least 3.50. If there are more applicants than places available, students will be ranked based on the average grade. Gaining admission with the average grade of 3.5 is unlikely, because there are probably more applicants than 20 and a competitive situation usually raises the minimum grade requirement.
If you pursuing the Open University route to becoming a degree student, you should try to get as a good a grade as you can for each course.
How many Open University students can you admit annually to pursue a degree at the School of Business?
The Open University route to becoming a degree student at School of Business has been offered since 1998. The admissions quota for the route is decided annually by Christmas.
- In 2020, admission quota is 33 students
- In 2019, the number of students admitted through the route was 24
- In 2018, the number of students admitted through the route was 23
- In 2011–2017, the number of students admitted through the route was 20.
- In 2007-2010, the number of students admitted through the route was 30.
- In 2005-2006, the number of students admitted through the route was 35.
- In 2003-2004, the number of students admitted through the route was 30.
- In 1998-2002, the number of students admitted through the route was 15.
How many Open University students apply annually for a right to pursue a degree at the School of Business through the route?
- Application statistics on the Aalto University admissions site 2006–2016
- The statistics from 2014 onwards are not comparable to those of 2013 or earlier. The degree structures for both the Bachelor of Science and Master of Science (Economics and Business Administration) changed on 1 August 2013. Also the studies required for the route changed completely, and the applicants of 2014 were the first to complete their studies in compliance with the new requirements.
- Data on admissions 1998–2006: In 2006, there were 23 eligible applicants, and all were admitted. In 2005, there were 36 eligible applicants, of which 35 were admitted. In 2004, there were 23 eligible applicants, and all were admitted. In 2003, there were 22 eligible applicants, and all were admitted. In 2002, 15 applicants were admitted. As there were 23 eligible applicants, the admission was based both on grades and on other application criteria. Until 2001, there were always less applicants with all the required courses than there were places available, so all eligible applicants were given the right to pursue a degree.
How can I transfer credits earned at Aalto University Open University to a degree at another university?
The decision on transferring credit for courses completed elsewhere is always made by your home university, so you should contact them before taking courses at the Open University.
You can order an official transcript of records for the studies you have completed or obtain one by visiting the Aalto University Open University office in person during the opening hours. Often universities require you to provide the course descriptions of the completed courses before transferring credits for them towards a degree. In most cases, it is enough if you find the course description in the course list of the relevant term. If the course list for the term in which you completed the course is no longer available, you can check the page Old study guides, or get a copy of the programme from the Open University office. To get the transfer credits, you should take your transcript of records and the course description to the student office or similar unit at your home university.
I am a student with a flexible study right (JOO). Can I take part in Open University courses for free?
No, because Open University education is not covered by the JOO agreement. To take Aalto University Open University courses, you need to register according to standard registration practice.
Master’s programmes are not available at the Open University. Instead, you have to apply in the Master’s level admissions procedure. At the master’s level, you apply to a specific degree programme. You should find a programme you are interested in and familiarize yourself with the admission criteria of the programme of your choice. Aalto University Master's programmes and the degree requirements can be found in Into.
It is up to you to consider whether you need to improve your skills in a given area in order to gain admission, and then see if the Open University course selection has something that would benefit you in the admission process to Master’s programmes in general or when applying to a specific Master’s programme.
For details on the admission to Master’s programmes, please see the Aalto University admissions page.
Credit transfers are processed at Aalto University only after you have been granted a right to pursue a degree.
The Open University offers some Master's level courses. It may also be possible to complete Aalto University Master's degree courses as a non-degree-student.
Open University courses are open to everyone regardless of background or age. Open University offers individual courses in Business, Technology, Languages, and Art and Design. Students are admitted to individual courses in the order of registration.