Reform of the degree structure at the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry

The degree-stucture of the Faculty will be two-staged (i.e. first the Bachelor´s degree, followed by the Master´s degree) and the Bachelor´s degree will become compulsory for everyone. The reform will affect all those students, who will begin their studies leading to a degree at the Faculty after the 1 st of August 2005 . Those students who have begun their studies prior to the mentioned date may choose, whether they wish to continue with the current structure or they switch to the new system. The change can be taken any time, but it has to take place before the 31 st of July 2008 , when the transitional period ends. All the studies accomplished this far will be transferred as wholly as possible, and thus the reform will not affect the progress of the studies in any significant manner.

The study and degree requirements change as well
Starting from autumn 2005, all study-units, instruction etc. will be presented according to the new system and a new grading scale will be used. Also, the studies taken shall be measured in study points and not as credits as until now. The instruction will be arranged following the new study periods, that will also be in force from the 1 st of August 2005 onwards.

The above-mentioned changes appear big, but in most cases they will not greatly affect the students, i.e. it does not matter, according to which one of the systems the student chooses to study and graduate. In most fields offered at the Faculty, the majority of the studies and their structure in the old and new system are rather similar. The biggest change will be the relationship between the Bachelor´s and Master´s degrees, since in the new system taking the Bachelor´s degree before moving on to Master´s level is compulsory and some of the units currently belonging to Bachelor´s degree (mainly in the higher subject studies) will belong to Master´s degree.

Changes resulting from the reform
1. Bachelor´s degree and Master´s degree will be separate degrees
In the new degree system the basic degree, i.e. Bachelor of Science (B.Sc. (Agr. & For.) or B.Sc. (Food Sciences)) degree, will consist of 180 study points, and is to be finished in three years. The higher academic degree, Master of Science ( M.Sc. (Agr. & For.) or M.Sc. (Food Sciences)) consists of 120 study points and is to be taken in two years. The Bachelor´s degree is compulsory before proceeding to Master´s degree. Thus the same studies can not be included for the Bachelor´s and Master´s degree, since both form an individual entity. This is a major change to the current situation, where the B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees are cumulative, i.e. the higher degree consists of the lower degree and the advanced studies in one´s major subject.

2. The relative weight of the degrees change
By their structure the actual and the new degrees are relatively unchanged. The “new” Bachelor´s degree will be slightly “lighter” in terms of workload and the Master´s degree in proportion “heavier”. There will be less room for elective studies in the B.Sc. degree, if one wishes to study accoerding to the miniumum requirements.

The current M.Sc. degree consists of minimum 160 Finnish credits, of which ¾ belong to the lower degree (ie B.Sc.). After the reform the combined amount for the B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees is 300 study points (180+120) at minimum, and the B.Soc.Sc. degree will form 3/5 of the total amount.

3. Credits and study points
In the new degree structure the studies will be measured in study points, but those continuing with the current system, the studies will be measured in credits (as until now). In the new system, the annual student workload amounts to 1600 hours. The concept of the student workload refers to the time required to achieve the set learning outcomes of a programme. A total of 60 credits will measure the workload of a full-time student during one academic year. Thus, one study point equals to approximately 26,7 hours of work. The B.Sc. degree has been designed in such manner, that it is possible to complete it in three years. Similarly, it is possible to complete the M.Sc. in two years.

Please note, that the new national credit allocation and accumulation system resembles greatly to the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS), but it is not exactly the same. The ECTS system is based on an expectancy of the distribution of different grades, the Finnish system is not.

4. The new study requirements will be presented according to the new degree system
The new study requirements will apply to both groups of students, i.e. those who study according to the current system and those who change to the new one (and naturally all those, who will be admitted in the spring and summer of the year 2005). For instance the book requirements for the faculty examinations will be the “new” ones. For each field there will be a translational table, that will show the place of the examination in the current and new system. (This will enable those students who wish to continue with the current system to proceed until completion of B.Sc. or M.Sc. degrees).

If the current degree structure contains units that will no longer exist in the new system, it will possible to complete the required studies/units. The departments in question will give the detailed information in such cases.

The length of the accomplished studies shall be given in both, credits and study points.

5. The periodization of the instruction
The University shall take into use periodical instruction., i.e. the study year is divided into four period, two each term., with one week inbetween. Please note, that the week in between the periods can also contain examinations etc., but no instruction shall the organised during the break, unless in special occasions. For the actual periods, please see the Rector´s decision 187 /2004 (in Finnish) and also this page.

6. Harmonisation of grading scales
In its meeting on 24 March 2004 , the Senate of the University of Helsinki decided that as of 1 August 2005 , the University shall apply a six-level grading scale of 0-5 in the grading of basic degrees.

Grading scale:

5 = excellent
4 = very good
3 = good
2 = satisfactory
1 = passable
0= fail

In addition to applying this general grading system, pass/fail grading may be applied in cases of practical training and practical skills courses, as decided by the faculty council.

Bachelor's theses, as all other studies, will be graded on a scale of 0-5. A written statement giving grounds for the grading will not be required.

A seven-level Latin grading scale will be applied in the grading of the Master's theses. Clear specifications will be drawn up for each grade.

Practical advice and information

Before switching into the new system, please complete unfinished study blocks, i.e. basic or intermediate studies.

The correspondence between the studies, i.e. blocks, in the previous and the new system is thus easier to determine, which saves departments’ and teachers’ time and effort. The correspondence between individual/single study modules is determined by the teacher responsible for the study module. If the study module is outdated and it is not approved of as a part of a larger block, it can still be included in the degree as a singular study module/course.

All the studies accomplished by the 1 st of August 2005 will be recognized as fully as possible.

Studies accomplished prior to the 1 st of August 2005 measured in credits will be translated into study points in a way determined by the University of Helsinki .

Studies accomplished in other Finnish or foreign universities prior to the 1 st of August 2005 will be translated into study points in a way to be decided separately.

Please notify the faculty of your decision in writing!
Please notify the faculty of your decision in writing when you choose to transfer to the new degree system.

Once a student has chosen to complete his or her studies in accordance with the new degree system, he or she cannot return to the old system.

Once a student switches into the new degree system, he or she has to complete the degree in accordance with the new rules and regulations concerning the degree system and study requirements.