Studying

Would you like to be involved in finding solutions to future challenges of food and energy production, such as climate change, population growth and limited energy resources? Are you interested in animal welfare, clean soil, environmental issues or the newest methods in biological and genetic engineering? Would you like to learn about automation and robotics in agriculture?

In the Master’s Programme in Agricultural Sciences (AGRI), you can pursue studies in plant production sciences, animal science, agrotechnology, or environmental soil science, depending on your interests and previous studies. The University of Helsinki is the only university in Finland to offer academic education in this field.

Upon completing a Master’s degree, you will:

  • be an expert in plant production science, animal science, agrotechnology, or environmental soil science.
  • be able to assess the sustainability and environmental impact of food and energy production.
  • be able to apply biosciences, ecology, chemistry, physics or statistics, depending on your study track, to the future needs of agriculture.
  • master the key issues and future development trends of your field.
  • master state-of-the-art research and analysis methods and techniques.
  • be able to engage in international activities, project work and communication.
  • be able to acquire and interpret scientific research information in your field and present it orally and in writing.
  • have the qualifications to pursue postgraduate studies in a doctoral programme or a career as an expert or entrepreneur.

With a scope of 120 credits (ECTS), the Master’s Programme in Agricultural Sciences can be completed in two academic years. The degree comprises:

  • 90 credits of advanced studies in the selected study track, including your Master’s thesis (30 credits)
  • 30 credits of other studies from the curriculum of your own or other degree programmes

The advanced studies consist of joint courses (45 credits) and study track specific studies (45 credits). By choosing alternative modules inside your selected study track, you will be able to deepen your expertise in particular areas of the selected study track. You must select your study track when applying.

The four study tracks are:

  • Plant Production Sciences – plants as sources of food, feed, energy, beauty and wellbeing
  • Animal Science – animal health and wellbeing
  • Agrotechnology – technology with consideration for the environment
  • Environmental Soil Science – dig below the surface

The study tracks collaborate across disciplinary boundaries to construct thematic modules around importance topical issues: the bioeconomy, the recycling of nutrients, food systems, and the production and exploitation of genomic information.

Read more about the structure, content and study tracks of the programme.

Various teaching methods are used in the AGRI programme, including lectures, practical exercises, practical laboratory and field courses, practical training, seminars, project work and independent study. You must also complete a personal study plan (PSP) and your studies can include career orientation and planning.

The advanced studies consist of joint courses and study track specific studies. By choosing alternative modules inside your selected study track, you will be able to deepen your expertise in particular areas of the selected study track. See a list of the alternative study modules of the AGRI programme's four study tracks.

Read more about the courses.

The Master's degree culminates in a Master's thesis of approximately 50 pages on a topic related to your study track. Completing the Master's thesis demonstrates your ability to prepare a written scientific presentation in your native language or English, to use source materials critically, and to present your thesis orally and answer questions about it.

The Master's thesis contains an experimental section, which can either be an analysis of existing research material or an independent research project completed in a laboratory, greenhouse or experimental field, after which you report the results in a scientific thesis. To support the writing and oral presentation of your thesis, you will be offered academic writing courses each year.

The Master's thesis is typically completed within research projects of the department or campus, or as an assignment commissioned by a research institute or company in the field. Upon completion of your thesis, these partners could be potential employers.

International activities take many forms. You can choose from several options:

  • You can go on a student exchange to one of the Faculty’s or University’s partner institutions abroad. Numerous exchange options and programmes are offered both in Europe and farther afield. Further information about  student exchange.

  • You can complete a traineeship abroad or in Finland in an international research group.

  • You can select English-language courses offered at the University of Helsinki (Master’s level studies and instruction are in any case primarily available in English).

  • You could serve as a tutor for international students. Further information about becoming a tutor.

  • You can become involved in the international activities of subject organisations or the University’s Student Union.

  • You can also improve your language skills and cultural knowledge by participating in the language courses of the University of Helsinki Language Centre.

Exchanges and traineeships abroad are popular because they provide you with new perspectives, skills and contacts, which may prove useful in your studies and in your future career or postgraduate education.

Agricultural sciences have a long tradition of hosting international students from many countries. Interacting with these students is a good way to broaden the international dimension of your studies. In addition, student organisations in the discipline organise excursions to destinations outside Finland. The programme uses a number of international textbooks and other teaching materials which provide a connection to the global research community.

After completing your Master’s degree, you can pursue doctoral education in Finland or abroad. A doctoral degree can be completed in four years. With a doctoral degree, you can pursue a career in the academic world or enter the job market. For some positions, the qualifications required may be a doctoral rather than a Master’s degree.

Relevant doctoral programmes for students of agricultural sciences at the University of Helsinki include:

More information about doctoral education at the University of Helsinki.

What is it like to study in the Mas­ter’s Pro­gramme in Ag­ri­cul­tural Sciences? What kind of career opportunities does the programme open? How is life in Helsinki?

Kaiye Qin is a student in the programme and works on her dissertation on the cultivation of diploid strawberries, under the guidance of associate professor Timo Hytönen. Read the article where they answer these questions and more.

Student life and especially the student organisation culture is exceptionally rich and diverse in Finland. Also at the University of Helsinki, the student community is very active.

More than 250 student organisations operate within the Student Union of the University of Helsinki (HYY), ranging from faculty and subject organisations to political and societal organisations, and from choirs and orchestras to sports and game clubs. Their activities include anniversary celebrations, academic dinner parties, cultural events, get-togethers and excursions.

As a student and member of the Student Union (HYY), you are entitled to many benefits and services. For example, affordable student housing, basic healthcare services, sports facilities and student-priced meals. You also get numerous discounts, for example on public transport fees across the country.  

Read more about the life and benefits as a student at the University of Helsinki.

Do you have questions about studies or student life? You can get answers to your questions by chatting directly with the students of University of Helsinki. Chat with our students!