Audit of the National Defence University 2023

The National Defence University systematically develops education provision and integrates continuous learning into the career path in an excellent manner – the National Defence University passed FINEEC's audit

Higher education

The National Defence University received special praise from FINEEC's audit team for its systematic development of education provision and the functioning of its feedback systems. The University provides integration with working life as part of an officer’s career path and opportunities to continuously develop one’s competence during the career. Students and external stakeholders are engaged in the development work, and the pedagogical manuscripts drawn up by the University are exceptionally comprehensive.


Continuous learning and links with working life are natural parts of officers' career paths

Continuous learning and links with working life have been integrated into the degree programmes and officers' career paths. The curricula of the National Defence University have been excellently documented and described. The pedagogical manuscripts contain well-defined intended learning outcomes and competence assessment criteria. Achieving the learning outcomes is central to the education, and it is also ensured in different ways, one of which is the course leader system. Students, personnel, working life representatives and alumni participate systematically in the development of the education.

It is difficult for students at the National Defence University to get their previous studies and international mobility periods accredited as part of their degree. The University could enhance the identification and recognition of prior learning and extend it to cover a wider range of studies than it currently does. Similarly, it would be advisable to develop the internationalisation of education, starting from bachelor's degrees. The turnover of teaching staff every two years is a challenge to the transfer of tacit knowledge and to pedagogical development. A career path in teaching could be one opportunity on an officer's career path.


The quality system works in an exemplary manner

The National Defence University is managed by means of a comprehensive quality system, and the information produced by the quality system is utilised in development in an exemplary manner.  The University's quality system is a tool that is in daily use. Students, stakeholders and personnel can provide feedback and submit initiatives in various ways to develop the activities.

“On the whole, the provision of education and the quality system of the National Defence University are at an excellent level. What works in a particularly systematic manner in the development work is the different feedback systems,” comments Hanna Snellman, Vice Rector at the University of Helsinki and Chair of the audit team.

The National Defence University offers excellent opportunities, facilities and support for maintaining physical wellbeing. The mental wellbeing and coping of the personnel and the students should be monitored more systematically. The activities supporting them should therefore be developed more actively alongside the support provided for physical wellbeing.


Attention should be paid to the impact of research

The National Defence University is a nationally and internationally sought-after cooperation partner. Finland's accession to NATO has further increased interest in the National Defence University. The University's networks with other higher education institutions, other authorities and international partners are diverse and support the development of its operation. Researchers of the National Defence University actively appear in the different media both in Finland and internationally.

To increase the impact of research, the National Defence University should encourage researchers more to draw up joint publications with Finnish and international researchers. In addition, the University should develop ways to monitor the impact of research. The National Defence University could also provide more support to its researchers in applying for international research funding to strengthen its resource base.

The National Defence University has identified sustainable development and responsibility as its enhancement areas.  The audit team encourages the University to further develop responsibility and sustainable development and to implement them in concrete terms throughout the University.

The National Defence University passed the audit conducted by the Finnish Education Evaluation Centre (FINEEC) and was awarded a quality label for six years. Passing the audit shows that the activities and the quality system of the National Defence University meet both the national criteria and the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area. The audit focuses on higher education institutions’ procedures for maintaining and enhancing the quality of education, research and societal interaction. The audit criteria have been published in FINEEC's Audit manual for higher education institutions. The audits of higher education institutions’ quality systems were launched Finland in 2005.

The audit report is available on FINEEC’s audit platform.

Further information

Mira Huusko

Mira Huusko

Senior Evaluation Advisor
Higher education
+358 29 533 5565 Helsinki