The history of the establishment of Turku University is very special. When Finland gained independence in 1917, there was only one university, in Helsinki (transferred from Turku in 1828), which functioned mainly in Swedish. The Finnish intelligentsia therefore wished to set up a university which would operate through the medium of Finnish. A nationwide fund-raising campaign was organized, to which altogether 22 040 donors contributed, mainly very ordinary people - artisans, farmers, shopkeepers and teachers. University of Turku was founded in 1920.
As Finland’s second largest university, the University of Turku is a highly international institution with a reputation resting on the quality of teaching, research and student support services. The university is a member of the Coimbra Group, a network of prestigious universities in Europe. As one of the leading universities in Finland, the University of Turku offers study and research opportunities in six faculties: Humanities, Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Medicine, Law, Social Science and Education. Fields such as biotechnology, information technology, social sciences, cultural integration and the Baltic States are amongst the university's stongest and most reputable areas of study. Even though the main language of instruction is Finnish, each Faculty offers study opportunities in English to both non-degree and degree students. Finnish university degrees correspond to Bachelor´s, Master´s and Doctoral degrees; the basic degree in medicine being the Licentiate. Total enrolment of students is about 18,000 and each year about 1,000 international students study at the university. Most of them participate in English-language programmes or at the doctoral level in research projects.
For several years the University of Turku has sought to define its profile by stressing a genuinely international focus in all its activities - in research, teaching and the supporting administrative functions. The University's own strategic goals are to achieve strength in multidisciplinarity and through this strength to meet the global, international and regional challenges of the new millennium.