About the Finnish Studies Program

The Scandinavian Studies Department is one of the oldest departments at the University of Washington. Established in 1909, the department offers courses in language, literatures, history, politics, folk lore and cultures of Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Norway and Sweden and is the home of the Baltic Studies program. University of Washington is one of the universities around the world that offers Finnish language courses.
Finnish studies had occasionally been seen as a kind of "stepchild" in the Department, but in 1990 that changed with the tenure-track hire of Thomas DuBois. A folklorist by training, but also a Fennicist, DuBois was asked to help to develop a program in Finnish studies. Within a few years, Finnish studies had reached a curriculum status equal to that of the other areas of study in the Department. In the year 2000, DuBois accepted a position with the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Following a year of uncertainty, the Department was authorized to rehire for the Finnish position. In 2001, Andrew Nestingen, assumed the position of Assistant Professor with primary responsibility for the Finnish program. Nestingen, a graduate of the University of Washington, specializes in Finnish culture, globalization and Scandinavian cinema.

A second faculty position is a visiting lectureship funded jointly through the Finnish National Agency for Education and the University of Washington. First visiting lecturer Sirkku Latomaa came to the University of Washington in 1996. Since then several visiting lecturers have contributed to the Finnish Program:

• Heljä Nurmela
• Virve Vainio
• Karoliina Kuisma
• Aija Elg
• Taija Hämäläinen
• Ilmari Ivaska
• Hanna-Ilona Härmävaara
• Anna-Maria Peltomäki

Finnish Studies at UW is also the host of a Fulbright Finnish Language and Culture Teaching Assistant Program and the Teaching Assistants play an important role in teaching first and/or second year Finnish courses and organizing events.  Fulbright Finnish Language & Culture Teaching Assistant Program

Finnish Studies is an important part of the University, preparing the next generation of leaders in business, science, education and culture with strong connections to Finland. The Finnish program enrolls around 50 students in Finnish-language instruction and cultural courses taught in English by the Finnish faculty every year. Because of its size and the activities of its students, supporters, and faculty, the Finnish program has made a significant contribution to the advancement of Finnish culture in the US as well as in the local community. Because of its importance within the university, the University of Washington created an undergraduate major in Finnish in 2008.

Finnish I Why Study Finnish I Finnish Major Requirements