Course Selection
All the Helsinki Summer School courses are organised by the University of Helsinki, the largest university in Finland and one of the world's top 1% research universities. The courses are designed to challenge and inspire you in a learning environment that promotes equality.

All courses are taught in English; therefore you need to be fluent in English.

Kindly note that Helsinki Summer School 2021 will not be arranged due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Examples of Previously Offered Courses

As information keeps over-flooding our screens and daily lives, the need to read and write the Web with a critical eye and responsibility has become more essential than ever before. The ways in which the new (social) media frame reality and communication need, therefore, to be unpacked. Toward this end, the course comes to explore Web-based authorship and readership and offer ways to measure the credibility of media texts, using metaphors and narratives as tools and methods of analysis.

  • ORGANISER: CICERO Learning network & SEDUCE (Doc­toral Pro­gramme in School, Edu­ca­tion, So­ci­ety, and Culture), Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki

The course is to create an understanding of the vital necessity for a diversity of enterprise forms to match the diversity of people's needs and interests and to make (sustainable) development possible and of the function of cooperative law in this respect. The term 'cooperative law' also incorporates other fields of law as they impact on the structure and operations of cooperatives, such as

  • labour law
  • tax law
  • competition law
  • accounting and bookkeeping standards, as well as
  • law making and implementation procedures.
  • ORGANISER: Ruralia Institute, Co-op Network Studies, University of Helsinki

This course examines how the two educational systems of China and the Nordic countries intersect. China and the Nordic countries are often contrasted by the media, by researchers and by decision-makers. Past years have also witnessed a growth of interaction and intersection between China and the Nordic countries in many and varied educational fields, including joint research, publications and mobility initiatives at different educational levels. In order to compare these two utopias, the course rejects a simplistic approach that presents both spaces as culturally uniform, confronting ‘East’ and ‘West’ entities, and suggests an intercultural comparative and contrastive approach that is critical and reflexive in both theory and methodology.

  • ORGANISER: Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki

This course proposes an overview on Environmental Ethics as a philosophical discipline, progressing from philosophical theories to the analysis of environmental case studies. It aims to raise awareness about the fundamental and ethical role of the natural environment in our lives. This year the course will particularly emphasise presentations skills and discussions in class as a learning basis, together with the teachers' lectures.

  • ORGANISER: Discipline of Practical Philosophy, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki

This Helsinki Summer School course explores urbanisation from the point of view of the Nordic ‘welfare city’. A welfare city, such as Helsinki, is built on ideals of equality, the well-being of its citizens, a sustainable balance between the needs of both nature and the people, and responds to social and ecological awareness alike.

  • ORGANISER: Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki

The course explores the nexus and different dimensions of the crisis of poverty, (under)development and human rights from a historical, institutional and policy-making perspective. Domestic and international variables that have occasioned and exacerbated world poverty, inequality and underdevelopment are examined. The course also formulates and highlights what duties states and international institutions owe to the poor and the victims of global injustice.

  • ORGANISER: Faculty of Law, University of Helsinki

This course explores the development of the popular music style of Heavy Metal. The primary focus will be on the musical elements of the genre, then on its historical features and its relation to contemporary Western society. A number of lectures will be devoted to HM in Finland, where this genre is particularly successful and characterises musical culture more than in other European or non-European countries.

  • ORGANISER: Department of Philosophy, History and Art Studies, Faculty of Arts, University of Helsinki

This intensive basic course in Finnish is for students accepted into University of Helsinki master's programmes in autumn 2020. It offers incoming students the opportunity to study the Finnish language before the beginning of the University's autumn term.

  • ORGANISER: Language Centre, University of Helsinki

The course covers three main themes:

  1. Intercultural Communication as a field of academic reflection – foundations to working in an intercultural context
  2. Intercultural Communication in social interaction, including Intercultural Communication in the workplace
  3. theoretical approaches to the study of Intercultural Communication phenomena and to methods of research in Intercultural Communication.

Social and linguistic practices highlighted in the course will be investigated and critically discussed with a focus on workplace interaction, and with a view to improving understanding of current, evolving multiculturalism in public spaces and suggestions for improved quality of services in selected contexts.

  • ORGANISER: Master's Programme in Intercultural Encounters, University of Helsinki

On the course on the Philosophy of Artificial Intelligence (AI), students are introduced to contemporary philosophical discussion on AI. This interdisciplinary course focuses on three main issues:

  1. the state of art in current AI, and its philosophical, including ethical, interpretation
  2. the cognitive aspects of AI and their broader implications, and
  3. the questions of intelligibility, explainability and accountability of AI from a philosophical and cognitive point of view.

Course includes excursions that provide an opportunity for the students to learn how, exactly, AI researchers do their research and how AI researchers themselves see the development of the field.

  • ORGANISER: Master's programme in Linguistic Diversity and Digital Humanities (LingDig)/Current LingDA programme/ Department of Digital Humanities, University of Helsinki

This course examines philosophical and ethical aspects of human interactions with the natural world, especially regarding the sustainable production of food. With a rapidly growing population and consumption, humans affect the environment in ever-more detrimental ways. Roughly half of the Earth’s habitable land is dedicated to food, and about three-quarters of this for livestock. Food production is set within a larger context of environmental ethics: how do we value nature? The course examines such concepts as intrinsic value, species protection, and wilderness. Ultimately we must ask: How can humanity attain ‘strong sustainability’, which allows both ourselves and nature at large to flourish in the long run?

  • ORGANISER: Department of Management and Economics, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, University of Helsinki

While much of the study of present-day populism has focused on identifying features shared by populist movements or on populism as a social logic, this course looks at the variability and intersectionality of populism in a perspective inspired by the political philosopher Ernesto Laclau. The course offers lectures, workshops, seminars and excursions to examine such phenomena as

  • the role of affect or women in populist movements
  • the emergence of Donald Trump in the US
  • the rising tide of radical parties in Europe
  • Islamic populism in Turkey, and
  • the rise and fall of Chavismo in Venezuela.


  • ORGANISER: European and Nordic Studies & Global Politics and Communication Master's programme, University of Helsinki

This course will familiarise the students with a distinct framework to study the relational nature of political meaning-making: rhetoric-performative analysis based on post-foundational political thought. Through this framework the students will be able to critically analyse some of the most pressing questions and phenomena of our era, such as

  • the legitimacy of democracy
  • the logic of populism
  • articulations of gender and sexuality
  • competing forms of economic production and property, and
  • the functioning of identity politics.


  • ORGANISER: Master's programme in Global Politics and Communication, University of Helsinki