Studies Study Programs



Regional Studies

Master's Degree Programmes Contact Information

Division of Biogeoscience
Division of Geology and Geochemistry
Division of Urban Geograpahy and Regional Studies
Study Office

P.O. Box 64
(Gustaf Hällströmin katu 2a)
FI-00014 University of Helsinki

Department Office
Institute of Seismology

P.O. Box 68
(Gustaf Hällströmin katu 2b)
FI-00014 University of Helsinki

phone +358 294 1911 (university exchange)
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Hydrogeology and Environmental Geology


Kuva: Lissu Kaivolehto

In the geochemistry and hydrogeology program, it is possible to specialize in the geochemical study of rocks, soils and waters or the hydrological study of groundwaters. Isotopic geochemistry is a central part of the research done in the department.  Specialization in hydrogeology prepares the student for work in mapping and utilizing groundwater in the companies and government offices dealing with the matter.

Professor in charge : Juha Karhu


Grounwater as a natural resource

Groundwater is overwhelmingly the most common source of fresh water in the world - approximately 75 times the volume of fresh surface water. It is also the most important natural resource of man.

The global environments of groundwater vary greatly. Crystalline bedrock, volcanic rocks, layered sedimentary rocks and unconsolidated sediments are all groundwater environments. The groundwater surface may be close to ground level and cut it forming springs and oases, or it may be kilometers deep. Groundwater is pure, fresh and clear, high quality potable water at its best, as most of Finland’s groundwater is. Globally, groundwaters include strongly mineralized waters, volcanicaly heated waters and so forth. Hydrogeology ia a science which studies groundwater and its underground environment: the attributes, occurrence and behaviour of groundwater and hundreds of individual effects in it caused by both natural and human changes in the environment.

A degree in hydrogeology?

A hydrogeology degree is possible at the University of Helsinki Department of geosciences and Geography, in the program of hydrogeology and geochemistry.

The bachelor’s program in the department gives a basic understanding of the global water systems and hydrosphere. The first courses in hydrogeology are included in the common bachelor’s program, with a basic hydrogeology and basic geochemistry course. In the master’s degree program the hydrogeological studies consist of advanced lecture courses, field and laboratory courses. Recommended minor subjects are e.g. chemistry, geophysics or environmental science.


Work in hydrogeology

On a practical level, the task of a hydrogeologist is to produce applicable information on groundwater and its environment for the use of society, explore and evaluate groundwater sources, their potential for use and their conservation, plan programs research and actions on groundwaters – a general responsibility for scientific expertise. The hydrogeologist’s international field of work is demanding, yet also rich and varied in content.

Hydrogeological expertise in the Finnish workfield is strongest in the environmental government. Hyrdogeologists are also prominent in planning, in applied research of groundwater and environmental issues. The Geological Survey of Finland is involved in various hydrogeological tasks, including basic research. The hydrogeological research at the division of Geology focuses on groundwaters in both unconsolidated sediment and crystalline bedrock, and studies both use and protection of these natural resources. Examples of research work are projects in interpretation and modelling of groundwater environments and development of preventative conservation measures.

Environmental Geology

Photo: V-P Salonen

The youngest geological eras and their formations are studien in the program of quaternary and environmental geology. Possible fields of specialization are basic research in glacial geology or sedimentology, mapping of soils and the resources in them, protection and care of of the geological environment, geology of urban areas or various other tasks in the interaction of society and the geological environment.

Professor in charge: Veli-Pekka Salonen